Renewed freeze on Royal Mail reversions announced

By Simon Nias, Monday 22 October 2012

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Royal Mail has announced a renewed freeze on reversion charges relating to envelope sealing issues just over a month after its initial six month moratorium ended on 17 September.

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Royal Mail has announced a second freeze on failed sealing specification surcharges from 22 October until April 2013

The renewed freeze, which will apply from today (22 October) until April next year, comes as a relief to the mailing sector, which has continued to question Royal Mail's application of costly reversion charges.

A letter dated 19 October, a copy of which has been seen by PrintWeek, announced that Royal Mail's revenue protection officers will "stop checking the sealing of envelopes as part of our core revenue protection activity" until April 2013.

Mike Lordan, chief of operations for the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), welcomed the decision to reinstate the moratorium on reversion charges and added that the DMA was chairing a working party looking at ways to tackle the issue.

"Our goal is to seek improvements to Royal Mail's reversions framework to ensure that surcharges are transparent, proportional and fully accountable to an independent appeals process. This extra time should help us to arrive a solution that is agreeable to all parties," he added.

In addition, Royal Mail has said it will refund 50% of surcharges raised on mail reverted due to failed sealing specification between the 17 September and 19 October "as a gesture of goodwill".

This will reduce the surcharges for this period to 10% as they had already been capped at 20% the postal operator added.

Royal Mail's reversion charges have been the scourge of direct mail printers all year and have in some cases are reported to have led to six-figure surcharges on an individual mailing. Royal Mail has now imposed two moratoriums and two refund periods in response to the industry's concerns.


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