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Compensation or Rip-Off ?

In April 2013 Royal Mail introduced it's latest price hikes, and trumpeted the fact that the price of a first and second class stamp remains unchanged. Well, after last year's increases of over 30% they certainly should! Anyway, like last year there are plenty of changes to the charging bands and service names, just to make following the changes more difficult. But in amongst the other information was news of reduced compensation for lost items, presumably because of the increasing volume of such losses and the effect on their profits! Until 2012 basic compensation had for many years been linked to the price of a first class stamp, being 100 times that cost. But with 2012's price hikes that link was broken, and compensation held at £46 maximum, rather than increasing to £60 if the link was maintained. From April 2013 this amount was slashed to a mere £20, or £50 if you pay extra for Recorded Delivery. But have you ever tried to claim compensation for a lost letter or package? For all items, regardless of service used, price paid, or value of item, Royal Mail will only reimburse you with a book of stamps, or refund of postage if your item is lost or damaged...... UNLESS you can provide proof of the original cost to you. For example an invoice, receipt, bank statement etc. Or, if you are the sender and can persuade your addressee to claim they can use your invoice as proof of value. But as most such losses these days are commercial (eBay etc.) this is unlikely. How many customers will make a claim against Royal Mail when it is far easier to get a refund from the seller, who has failed to deliver their goods. And who keeps receipts for everything they ever bought, just in case one day they might sell it and need evidence for a lost mail claim? What about family heirlooms? Royal Mail know this and consequently, although their customer services are inundated with claims, only the most determined (or savvy) of their customers are refunded by cheque, rather than with free stamps. Incidentally a few years ago claims were settled by providing evidence of "market value" and only senders could claim. But with the rise in internet shopping this was changed to the current system where only buyers can claim the full value of a lost item, in the knowledge that few will bother. Sellers can claim a lower amount, IF they have kept their original invoices, if not then a book of stamps will have to do! Surely those magical words "terms and conditions apply" should be added to all Royal Mail advertising which refers to compensation? Or are they exempt?

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