With many people throughout Northern Ireland sending festive cards and presents to family and friends through the post over the next few weeks. the Consumer Council has put together a guide to help customers ensure their cards and parcels arrive on time, and to ensure the best deal on postage.
The Consumer Council’s top tips are as follows:
Check the last posting dates before sending items
The last posting dates for second class post is 18th December and for first class post is 20th December. For the most up to date information check Royal Mail’s website. If you are sending a parcel with a different parcel company, they may have different last posting dates so always ask when is the latest you can send a parcel to ensure it arrives on time.
Do not use ‘everyday’ non-barcoded stamps
These stamps are no longer valid to send letters and parcels. Royal Mail will now apply a surcharge if you use these stamps to send items and will ask the recipient to pay this before the item can be delivered.
Shop around and pay the right price
Shop around for the best deal before purchasing your postage so you can avail of economy postal services, such as Second-Class mail or other standard services. For parcels, shop around for the best deal. Watch out for postage surcharges. These are extra delivery charges when sending from Northern Ireland to other parts of the UK.
Avoid unnecessary higher prices
Measure up and check the weight of the item to make sure you get an accurate price for sending parcels.
Michael Legg, Head of Postal Services at the Consumer Council added: “It is important to know what to do if something goes wrong with one of your postal items. Below are some tips to protect yourself.”
Ensure items are covered by compensation
Always tell the parcel company what you are sending. Check that the contents are covered by its compensation policy and that the item is allowed in the postal system.
Keep receipts and the proof of postage
Should you need them to prove the value of the item to support any compensation claims if your item is lost, damaged, or delayed.
Ensure items are suitably packaged
Packages containing fragile items should be clearly labelled so.
Always check the recipient’s details
Ensure they are correct before you post your item. Don’t forget to put a return address securely on the back of the parcel.
Check customs requirements
If you are sending parcels from Northern Ireland to other parts of the UK and EU destinations you don’t need customs declarations. However, you will need to complete and attach any customs declarations when sending items outside of the UK and EU. The parcel operator will be able to help.