UK

Royal Mail meltdown: Customers face Christmas delivery mayhem with long delays

Royal Mail meltdown: Customers face Christmas delivery mayhem with long delays blamed on social distancing and ‘exceptionally high volumes’ of post

  • Royal Mail acknowledged delays due to ‘exceptionally high volumes’
  • It also blamed social distancing rules in local mail centres and delivery offices
  • Online orders are expected to be up by more than 50 per cent this year 

Shoppers are facing Christmas delivery mayhem as the Royal Mail and leading retailers have admitted worrying delays.

Last night, Royal Mail acknowledged delays in its services due to ‘exceptionally high volumes’.

It also blamed the longer delivery times on social distancing rules in place in local mail centres and delivery offices.

A shift to online shopping means there are 200million more parcels in the postal and courier system this year. 

Royal Mail acknowledged delays in its services due to ‘exceptionally high volumes’ and social distancing rules  in local mail centres and delivery offices (stock)

Online orders are expected to be up by more than 50 per cent this year as internet festive shopping overtakes the high street for the first time.

Royal Mail has taken on 33,000 seasonal workers, while Amazon UK has recruited 20,000 staff, Hermes 13,000 and Yodel, 3,000. 

But experts say this is still not enough to meet demand.

As a result, several retailers have brought forward their last order date before Christmas in the hope of minimising the risk that presents will not arrive in time.

The postal group said that despite ‘exhaustive planning’, some customers may be experiencing ‘slightly longer delivery timescales’ than normal.

In fact, some deliveries that should have taken no more than two days have been delayed by more than a week.

Many customers have complained about items arriving late, while John Lewis, Boots and HMV have blamed Royal Mail for delivery delays. 

Yesterday, online shoppers messaged Royal Mail, as well as contacting retailers directly, to complain about parcels failing to arrive in time – in some cases weeks after they were expected.

Royal Mail has taken on 33,000 seasonal workers as online orders are expected to be up by more than 50 per cent this year (stock)

Royal Mail has taken on 33,000 seasonal workers as online orders are expected to be up by more than 50 per cent this year (stock)

Many also said their post was arriving less frequently. However, others expressed sympathy for workers having to meet a surge in demand during the pandemic.

One Twitter user said tracking information for their delivery had not been updated since December 1. 

They tweeted: ‘Still trying to get through on the phones. Seven days in a row now… I just want to know where my parcel is.’

In a statement, the postal group said there had been a ‘greatly increased uptake of online Christmas shopping’ driven ‘in no small part’ by the lockdown.

It said: ‘Despite our best efforts, exhaustive planning and significant investment in extra resources, some customers may experience slightly longer delivery timescales than our usual service standards.

‘This is due to the exceptionally high volumes we are seeing, exacerbated by the coronavirus-related measures we have put in place in local mail centres and delivery offices.

‘In such cases, we always work hard to get back to providing our usual level of service as quickly as we can.’

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