Mail chiefs hit with £280k compensation bill

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ROYAL Mail bosses have been forced to pay out more than £280,000 in compensation to customers in Edinburgh and the Lothians over lost, mis-delivered or damaged post in the last two years.

A total of 36,552 complaints were made by customers between April 2009 and March this year, with an average of 50 households a day registering their displeasure.

But the number of complaints made in the EH postcode last year fell against the previous 12 months, from 19,516 to 17,036.

Complaints over damaged mail also dropped over the period, from 2648 in 2009-10 to just 218 last year.

Annie McGovern, policy manager at Consumer Focus Scotland, said: “When items are lost or damaged it can lead to a great deal of distress for individuals or organisations.

“That’s why it is incredibly important that Royal Mail responds quickly to complaints and provides adequate compensation when it is right to do so.

“When posting valuable items it’s a good idea to choose a service which provides adequate levels of compensation, such as special delivery, and to keep the certificate of posting.”

Among the complaints last year were 6772 over lost mail, 1028 over mis-deliveries, and 1685 over delays, with compensation totalling £131,255.

The previous year’s compensation bill was £152,732 while the figure for 2008-9 was £131,295 in the EH postcode.

Morag Turnbull, Royal Mail external relations manager, said: “Across the UK last year, for every 14,000 items of mail delivered by the company, there was around one complaint. The overwhelming majority of all mail arrived safely at the correct address.

“The number of customer complaints received for the Lothians for 2010/11 has fallen by 13 per cent from the previous year and we continue to work hard to reduce the number of complaints we receive.

“Royal Mail treats every complaint extremely seriously and we are doing everything we can to modernise our operation and improve our service to our customers.”

In April, it was revealed that a postman was set to face criminal charges after being caught with hundreds of undelivered letters and parcels in his home.

The employee, who has not been named, was caught after a Royal Mail investigation led to his address. It is understood some mail had been opened.

amcewen@edinburghnews.com