In a welcome move, Royal Mail has recently announced its plans to simplify the range of domestic parcel services for consumers, small businesses and franking machine customers.

In the snappily named Consultation Document issued on 7 December: “Proposal to amend the Inland Letter Post Scheme in relation to universal service packets and parcels, and compensation levels for loss and damage”… Royal Mail announced the following key changes to its parcel service:

• Currently there are up to 15 weight bands for parcels. Royal Mail’s proposal is to reduce that by more than half to seven weight bands from April 2013.

• The proposal means Royal Mail’s range of parcel products should be easier for consumers to understand and improve choice. They will have the ability for the first time to send parcels between 1kg and 20kg using Royal Mail’s 2nd Class service, with the added option to receive a signature on delivery.

• The proposal also includes introducing two broad parcel categories – small parcels and medium parcels. This will bring Royal Mail in line with other major postal operators, for example, in Germany, France and Italy.

Responding to the Consultation (closes 11 January 2013) Robert Hammond, Director of Postal Policy at Consumer Focus said: “Our research shows widespread confusion over the services Royal Mail offers, even with fundamental products such as First and Second Class postage. This confusion means people could be paying more for a premium product they don’t actually require, or choosing an option offering less protection than they need if something happens to their item.”

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