Home Home, Law & Money
If you need urgent support, call 999 or go to your nearest A&E. To contact our Crisis Messenger (open 24/7) text THEMIX to 85258.
Read the community guidelines before posting ✨

"International airmail letter"

I have a German penfriend and we exchange presents 2 or 3 times a year since 2006. Normally I'm charged between £7 and £8 to send a 1.5kg box to Berlin. I posted my latest present to her today, same conditions, except this time the cashier asked if there was a letter inside the box. I said yes because she's my penfriend, so I always add a card and letter to the present. She proceeded to slap a £14.69 charge on it, about double of my normal rate. She was rather condescending. Any idea what's up with that? This was the WHSmiths in Stafford high street (they have a P.O. upstairs).
Beep boop. I'm a bot.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think the person behind the counter may have made a mistake. These in-store Post Offices are often new and the staff are inexperienced. I looked at the Royal Mail website to see what might have happened. I think she charged you for an Airmail Letter, rather than an Airmail Small Packet - but according to the site, "you can include a letter, invoice or other document if it relates to the contents of the item." Using 1.5kg as an example, an Airmail Letter would have cost you £13.79 and an Airmail Small Packet would have cost £9.10.

    If you can weigh the item accurately and have a credit card and access to a printer, I suggest that you use the Royal Mail's "Buy Postage On-line" service to print out a mailing label. It is really easy to use. Enter the destination country and weight, and all the different priced options come up. You can click on each one to see any relevant conditions. Then use your credit card to buy the postage, print the label and hand the parcel in, pre-paid, at the Post Office counter. Simples. ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks a lot :-) So yes, it would have been around £9.10 and I obviously got stung by the upper rate. I will weigh it properly next time. When she asked me if there was a letter inside, I did say that it was personal and for a penfriend. Not knowing the question before, I simply answered honestly. Then again, I have shipped eBay items to other European countries without further question and always paid only £5-£8.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I had a bit of grief in there a few weeks back. Had to post a letter, but had no stamp. "I'd like to send this second class, please". She works it out, and tells me what it'll be. "That's fine.", I reply, whilst handing over the money.

    She looks at me.

    ...

    Slight pause.

    ...

    "Do you want me to post it for you?", she says.

    WTF do you think? I come in here, with an addressed envelope. I request to send it second-class. You bill me, I pay the money. What do you propose I do with it now?

    I always try to use a proper local Post Office when I can. My one experience of the one in town wasn't great... ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ahhhh right. It's cool we're in the same boat, quite literally down to the same in-store P.O. branch! Btw, which cashier did you get grief from? For me, it was cashier number 5 (the second one from the left just around that corner). Then again, it is possible that we had different people anyway if they're working shifts.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Man, I don't remember! I'd struggle to tell you what I ate on Tuesday! ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think the person behind the counter may have made a mistake.

    No, they haven't. Although charging nearly double is pretty wanky.

    There is a rule/t&c that letters cannot be included with parcels. Don't ask me why but they're not allowed. Might be to do with tax and customs & excise.

    To quote the Royal Mail site -

    'This Airmail service offers you a cheaper rate if you’re sending gifts, goods or commercial samples. When using this service, please write ‘SMALL PACKET’ in the top left corner on the front of the item you are sending. You can also include a letter relating to the contents, but no other personalised correspondence.'

    Next time say no, or send the letter seperate
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Posts: 16,688 Skive's The Limit
    How does it make sense for it to be cheaper to mail a packet (which could be anything, wood, metal etc) than a letter (piece of paper and ink)?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    How does it make sense for it to be cheaper to mail a packet (which could be anything, wood, metal etc) than a letter (piece of paper and ink)?

    Things over a certain size are charged by weight here.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    RubberSkin wrote: »
    To quote the Royal Mail site -

    'This Airmail service offers you a cheaper rate if you’re sending gifts, goods or commercial samples. When using this service, please write ‘SMALL PACKET’ in the top left corner on the front of the item you are sending. You can also include a letter relating to the contents, but no other personalised correspondence.'

    Funnily enough, I usually include a list of what I'm sending in the box. It just strikes me as inconsistent that the post office have not been in my favour for the first time yesterday. Actually no - there was an occasion where I attempted to send a 2.11kg box to Germany and I didn't know about the 2kg threshold. Because it was 11g too heavy, the price shot up to £29.99 so I had to sabotage the box and take something out of it. It was the same post office but cashier number 4.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Posts: 16,688 Skive's The Limit
    Things over a certain size are charged by weight here.
    Same here, but that doesn't really answer my question...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    sorry posted that from work on my phone, meant to say its all to do with classifying the type of parcel it is, and then theres separate charges for weight based on that system. Not too sure exactly how it works, but royal mail can bit of a rip off imo
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Posts: 16,688 Skive's The Limit
    I got what you meant the first time :)
    But still, it doesn't make sense to have a system that charges less for something that's obviously heavier than a letter.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I got what you meant the first time :)
    But still, it doesn't make sense to have a system that charges less for something that's obviously heavier than a letter.

    Exactly. I don't get that logic either. She asked if there were any valuables inside, usual stock question. I answered "no". Then her question about having a letter inside and I said "yes". RubberSkin did mention further up about taxes and customs, but that's only when stuff goes outside of Europe and only if the contents is over £36 or something. The stuff in my box wasn't more than about £16 and my letter was just 1 side of A4 which cost me about 4p. Stupid innit.
  • littlemissylittlemissy Posts: 9,972 Supreme Poster
    Years ago, I used to post things abroad (mainly US, France and Oz) and whenever I sent a parcel I was always asked if I had any letters in it because it changed the classification of post or something. And I'm talking 15 years ago. It seems like it's not changed.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    letters are higher priority than goods, so are charged accordingly

    The correct answer is "just a covering letter"
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That's interesting Big Gay. Mail from UK to Germany was always 1 working week on the lower airmail, so I wonder how long it'll take on the "Letter" airmail rate.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    because it changed the classification of post or something.

    There's your answer :)

    It changes it from 'small packet' to airmail letter.

    £14.69p is the charge for letters 1620g-1639g

    £9.80p is the charge for small packet of the same weight.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks guys. I will follow this thread up once I know that the box is received in Berlin. If the lower rate normally takes 7 days, then I expect a better service this time round :razz:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I said I'd follow this up, and my German lady said that the box came today. I started this thread 7 days ago, and I said that the 'lower' rate had always taken 7 days (6 days on one occasion though). It took 7 days again this time. Therefore, this so-called "Airmail Letter" service doesn't get the box to her any quicker, and I paid £5-£6 more for the privilege. And since the lady at cashier #5 was so condescending anyway, I will be forced to tell a lie next time.

    Repeat after me 3 times...

    BASTARD!
Sign In or Register to comment.