Royal Mail introduces new charge on top of stamp increases

An expert has warned against “secret charges” business owners may have to pay on certain products that will be introduced next month.

As well as these extra charges being introduced, Royal Mail stamp prices have more than doubled since 2012, when a first-class stamp cost 60p.

Here are some of the increases for the most commonly used stamps:

  • Standard letter first class £1.25 (up from £1.10 – a 15p increase) +14 percent
  • Standard letter second class £0.75 (no change)
  • Large letter first class £1.95 (up from £1.60 – a 35p increase) +22 percent
  • Large letter second class £1.55 (up from £1.15 – a 40p increase) +35 percent

David Beirne, manager of postal relationships at Quadient explained what the charges are, and how much more could be paid.

It should be noted that both of the increases are for businesses only, so consumers won’t see any immediate increase in postage costs.

He explained that Royal Mail has “quietly” said that it will introduce a “green surcharge” of 2p per item for tracked 24- and 48-hour mail.

The charge, which will be introduced after November 6, is aimed at helping Royal Mail fund its ambition to reach Net Zero by 2040.

The same customers will also be charged a “peak surcharge” of 5-10p extra.

Mr Beirne said: “This greenwashing attempt is just penalising Royal Mail’s most regular customers, and once again dissuading businesses from posting letters.”


The “peak surcharge” will be introduced from November 20 and last until January 7, as Royal Mail scales up the network at its busiest time of the year.

The charges will be an additional 5p for 24- and 48-hour Large Letters, and 10p for 24-hour, 48-hour parcels, and Special Delivery all formats.

He continued: “At the same time, mailing is such a valuable means of communication and goods delivery that organisations won’t stop posting. Instead, we’re likely to see organisations try and reduce costs in other ways.

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“However, there may be additional costs – for instance, businesses might increase their own delivery prices to cover their costs, or encourage customers to use delivery methods that don’t attract the surcharge.”

With Christmas around the corner, many consumers may fear this will cause extra financial pressure as packages and letters have to be sent out.

Around 71 percent of people expect to receive important documents through the post, research from at Quadient found.

Mr Beirne explained the charges may have been “quietly” introduced to avoid confusion.

He said: “Announcing these changes all at once, and putting them into effect on the same date as the stamp price increase, would almost certainly make a lot of people think that their stamps were increasing by even more just in time for Christmas.

“That said, it’s possible communications could have been clearer. The new charges were updated on the Royal Mail website, but weren’t included in any other price increase notifications or the updated business price guide. As a result, businesses should check to see how or if they’re impacted before November.”

He suggested some steps people can take if they’re worried businesses will pass their costs on to the consumer:

  • Be aware of when you shop: if you’re ordering online, can you do it outside the peak surcharge times to avoid having the delivery cost passed on to you?
  • Do you need your Black Friday order on the Saturday? These extra charges are only for the most urgent deliveries, so a slower service shouldn’t see any changes – and might even be more reliable.
  • Check for changes – not every business will try and pass these costs on, so don’t take special action if you don’t need to.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “These surcharges will only affect business account customers and are only applied on certain products. Christmas is our busiest time of year and we invest in thousands of additional staff, more vehicles and additional parcel sorting sites to manage around double the normal volume of parcels. Other parcel carriers already apply a similar surcharge during the Christmas period.

“We are proud to have the lowest reported emissions per parcel* of any UK parcel carrier. Our Steps To Zero plan contains stretching targets to reach Net Zero by 2040. The money raised through the Green surcharge will help fund decarbonisation measures in our network.”


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