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Track and Trace Service
Member Name: pussycat
Date: 29/08/00, updated on 29/08/00 (6167 review reads)
Advantages: Guaranteed next day delivery, peace of mind ....
Disadvantages: ....but only when it works, no compensation for non-economic loss
When I first discovered Royal Mail's Track & Trace service, I thought that it was an excellent idea. It is available on recorded delivery, special delivery and international delivery items.
When you pay for postage, you receive a receipt with a bar code which contains a unique number for your item. You can then check on the Royal Mail website to see where your item is and if it has been delivered.
I use special delivery frequently for job applications. It is recommended for valuable or urgent items and it guarantees next day delivery which is wonderful if, like so many people (me included), you only manage to get around to completing an application form the day before the closing date for applications. If you don't have access to the Internet, you can telephone after 12.30 the next day to make sure that your letter or package has been delivered.
So, technically, an excellent service. The difficulty comes when something goes wrong.
Recently, I checked the website to see if my application had been delivered and was alarmed to find that it had not. I have it a couple more hours (delivery is guaranteed by 12.30 the following day) and checked again - nothing. I telephoned the number on my receipt but all they could tell me was that it hadn't been delivered and that it should have been - helpful!
I was extremely stressed as I didn't want to miss the closing date for the job. Royal Mail could not offer any assistance other than an apology and a repeated "but it really should have been there by now".
The application form never reached its destination. Armed with my receipt, I launched myself on the Post Office demanding the promised compensation and my £3.95 was duly refunded to me. And that was it. There were no valuables in the package - a completed application form has no economic value so all I got was my postage refunded. Despite copious complaints, Royal Mail refuse to
give me anything else as they will only recompense actual financial loss.
Even when I pointed out that they themselves advertise the system for goods which are urgent as well as valuable, they still wouldn't budge. What is the point in guaranteed next day delivery if there is no recompense when they fail to (literally) deliver the goods.
This is an excellent service when it works. When it doesn't work, there is absolutely no comeback if the item which is lost is not of economic value.
My application found its way back to me after three weeks - I have no idea where its been but it certainly didn't reach its destination. I appreciate that it is difficult to calculate a level of compensation for such items but the service becomes rather worthless if it doesn't work and all you get is your money back. I would have been better off with a first class stamp!
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