Surcharge dispute halted – until September

Royal Mail has agreed to suspend surcharges on envelopes which fail to meet its specification requirements until September.

The charges, which dramatically increased in number earlier this year, had been the subject of a bitter dispute between Royal Mail and mailing houses until the Direct Marketing Association stepped in.

In addition to suspending charges until September, the national mail carrier has also agreed to refund 90% of surcharges on sealing issues going back to March 26, 2012.

The association has said it is sympathetic to processing issues caused by improperly sealed envelopes, which can result in Royal Mail sorting machines being halted for to 20 minutes.

In a letter, the association has urged its members to make improvements in “maintenance, quality control and adherence to the published production specifications” as “this will help avoid reversions in the future and help improve the efficiency of mail delivery”.

The association has attributed an increase in the number of surcharges to an improvement in Royal Mails sorting ability.

It is believed that some mailing houses have faced charges of up to £70,000. In another instance, one company is said to have been charged more than £2000 when only 0.4% of 250,000 envelopes in a single job failed to meet Royal Mail specifications.