Promoting consumer rights at Christmas

Xanthe Couture, Policy Manager Post and Telecoms

Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the postal service as the crucial link for people to send and receive gifts, letters and online shopping over the holiday season.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become key dates on the holiday calendar for many to snap on deals on gifts, and this year’s Black Friday was the UK’s biggest single online shopping day ever.

With the ever increasing numbers of consumers ordering and returning goods online, as well as sending letters and gifts to family and friends, it is important that consumers know their rights when ordering valuable items and getting value for money when sending gifts across the UK and abroad.

To help people stay up to date on their rights when taking advantage of deals as well as  posting cards and gifts securely, every Christmas season Citizens Advice runs a range of advice led campaigns.

We’re also posting tips online using the hashtag #christmaspostingtips on Twitter and Facebook to help people when ordering Christmas gifts in the lead up to Christmas 2016.

Find out more on our Christmas Posting Tips by visiting our YouTube page.

Our top tips on dealing with delivery problems

Plan ahead and save money

At Christmas 1st class post can take as long to arrive as 2nd class post. Leave enough time for your item to arrive, and consider posting 2nd class to save money.

Take care with money and valuables

Use cheque or postal order if you want to send money. Use insured services like Royal Mail Special Delivery for valuables or vouchers. You can claim compensation for your item and the postage if your item is lost or damaged.

Watch out for restricted goods

There are restrictions on posting gifts like perfume, nail varnish and aftershave, and some items are banned altogether.

Ask at your Post Office before you buy or see:  

Ask for a free certificate of posting is worth up to £20 you can ask the post office for a free certificate of posting. This will cover against loss or damage if you have a receipt for the item that you posted.

Wrap up

Use a padded envelope or bubble wrap to protect delicate items. Make sure it is properly sealed. Write ‘Handle with care’ and Fragile’ on the package.

Claim compensation for lost or damaged post

If you use Royal Mail 1st or 2nd class post (within the UK) and your item hasn’t arrived 10 working days after posting it, you can claim compensation.

Call Royal Mail on 0345 774 0740 (don’t forget to ask for a free reference number). You’ll need a receipt for the item you posted and a certificate of posting. This won’t cover money or valuables.

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  1. Howard Evans

    I have just purchased a brand new Fridge/Freezer. It does not work. From the time it was first turned on it does not chill the fridge or freeze the freezer. Should it be replaced for another new one or be repaired or should I have my money back. The suppliers have offered to repair it. Am I entitled to a replacement or full refund?

    1. Felicity Alma, Communications Officer

      Felicity Alma, Communications Support Officer

      Hi Howard, we can’t give advice here, but you can find information about your consumer rights on our website, or call our consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 for advice.

  2. pj

    I’ve found that putting fragile, or handle with care on a parcel makes it more likely that the postman will use it for football practice!

    Best to wrap it well enough to survive mishandling (don’t forget a lot of it is done by machinery anyway, not just human hands). 1 tip I have is, if you have any leftover wallpaper, it does a far better job than brown parcel wrapping paper does as it’s super-strong – and is a great way to recycle.

  3. Jonathan Richards

    Typo correction:
    Ask for a free certificate of posting is worth up to £20
    Ask for a free certificate if posting is worth up to £20

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