Royal Mail CHAOS: Currys, John Lewis warn of days-long parcel delay amid high Xmas volume

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Britons waiting for their Christmas parcels to arrive may be left disappointed after the Royal Mail issued a service update today. The postal group said they are “working hard” to get Christmas mail to Britons but that some customers could experience delays. The Royal Mail said they have been hit by a combination of obstacles which include an “update of online Christmas shopping” and “covid restrictions”.

The company’s latest service update for December 12 and 13 read: “The usual collection services will be made on Saturday.

“Deliveries are expected to take place on Saturday and, in most areas, Sunday as we work hard to get all Christmas mail to you.

“Royal Mail is working hard to deliver the most comprehensive and high quality service we can to all our customers, large and small.

T”he combination of greatly increased uptake of online Christmas shopping, in no small part driven by the recent lockdown, and the ongoing COVID restrictions mean that all delivery companies are experiencing exceptionally high volumes this year.

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“Every single parcel, letter and card is important to us.

“Despite our best efforts and significant investment in extra resource, 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. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

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The delays have sparked fury among social media users who took to Twitter to air their grievances.

One user said: “Sadly this institution has been overtaken by other couriers who provide more flexibility, strong communication, transparency & great service. Time for change!” (Sic)

Another user said: “This is a massive Post Office failing.

“You put prices up but don’t invest in staff. Incompetent management if you didn’t see a surge coming.”

One user complained of “mad delays” and a parcel that had been delayed by “two weeks”. 

Another said they were concerned four of their parcels had been lost.

However, other users expressed sympathy for the postal service.

“I feel sorry for Royal Mail. Companies have palmed off delays on them, giving them parcels knowing they’d be delayed due to pressure…” one user said.

Another added: “My husband works at the local Royal Mail parcel hub.

“He says that despite taking on record numbers of staff, there are unavoidable delays.”

The Royal Mail hired around 33,000 temporary workers to support permanent workers over the Christmas period.

Retailers such as John Lewis, Boots and HMV have reportedly blamed the postal service for delays in their deliveries.

Currys have also warned that their deliveries could be delayed. 

The company told a Twitter user: “Due to the high volume of parcels in Royal Mail’s network, there’s been a delay to deliveries.”

Those looking to send late Christmas cards and gifts within the UK this year need to be quick as the deadlines for the last posting dates are fast approaching.

December 18 is the last day for 2nd class and 2nd class signed for.

December 21 is the last date for 1st class 1st class signed for, and Royal Mail Tracked 48.

Anyone looking to leave it to the last minute can send Royal Mail Tracked 24 on December 22, and guaranteed special delivery on December 23.

John Lewis has been contacted by Express.co.uk for comment. 

A Royal Mail spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Everyone at Royal Mail is working hard to deliver the most comprehensive and high quality service we can to all our customers, large and small. The combination of greatly increased uptake of online Christmas shopping, in no small part driven by the recent lockdown, and the ongoing COVID restrictions mean that all delivery companies are experiencing exceptionally high volumes this year.

“Every single parcel, letter and card is important to us. We remain grateful to all our customers for their patience and understanding as our dedicated workforce work hard to deliver these exceptional volumes, whilst also adhering to necessary social distancing measures. We remain determined to be there for the country, just as we have been all year, and to ensure that we help all our customers deliver Christmas 2020.

“Ahead of the Christmas peak we hired around 33,000 temporary workers to support our 115,000 permanent postmen and women. Temporary staff, many of whom return year after year, are helping to sort parcels, cards and letters at sites across the UK. For the past ten years, Royal Mail has opened a network of temporary parcel sort centres to handle additional Christmas volumes.

“This year, Royal Mail expanded its portfolio of seasonal sites to help manage the anticipated growth in parcel volumes. Eight centres have been opened, including two additional sites in Northampton and Milton Keynes. We will also be operating a full Sunday parcel delivery service this weekend to help us get parcels to customers as soon as possible.

“Despite our best efforts and significant investment in extra resource, some customers may experience slightly longer delivery timescales than our usual service standards. This is due to the exceptionally high volumes we are seeing, and the impact of 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. We always endeavour to keep our customers as informed as we can of any changes to our services. We have a dedicated section on our website https://www.royalmail.com/coronavirus. Throughout the pandemic, every decision we make puts the health of our people and customers first.”

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