Royal Mail: isn’t it quicker to knock?

A quick search shows I’m not the only one this has happened to: having been in all day long I discover a card from Royal Mail has come through the door saying “Sorry you were out” and telling me to pick up a parcel the next day.

On the card are the following pieces of information:

  • Some kind of parcel ID number
  • The time
  • The date
  • My name
  • The first line of my address
  • The type of item (checked box)
  • The number of items (there are several this time)
  • A check in the box saying it’s too big for the letterbox
  • The photo ID serial card number of the postman
  • A check in the box telling me to pick them up from the delivery office
  • The date I should pick them up

I coudn’t write it all in less than 27 seconds.  Surely it would have been quicker to just ring the bell?

22 Responses to “Royal Mail: isn’t it quicker to knock?”

  1. Andy Smith says:

    A couple of times I have caught the postman on the doorstep writing out one of these, and he didn’t actually have the item with him. Other times I suspect he’s wanted to go home early and looked through his bag for anything that needs to be signed for so he can claim the people weren’t in.

    PS we miss you in #bitfolk 🙂

  2. Chris Tyler says:

    The same thing happens in Canada. It leads one to suspect that the package was never near the house…

  3. Here in Barcelona they never ring the bell or knock. If you get a package with the normal postal service you get a card and have to pick it up from the post office.

    This can be quite annoying, especially with the strange opening hours some of the post office have here.

    The advantage is that the postman doesn’t have to drive around in a van.

  4. Mark Cox says:

    A couple of times I’ve managed to catch a postman pushing the card through our door without having the item with him; in fact the ‘while you were out’ card was written by him in advance before even leaving to make deliveries. It’s only happened with temporary postmen though, and since we’re at the end of their run I can understand them not wanting to carry lots of heavy packages all morning although you’d think they would defer it to a van delivery or something.

  5. Lukas Riha says:

    And I thought this happens only here, in Prague:) I understand that carrying heavy and large parcels without knowing that they will actually be able to deliver them is a nuisance, but I am a bit upset that in most cases they don’t try to deliver 300g A4 envelopes that just don’t fit into the mailbox, especially if some of the postmen here use small two-wheel pull-carts.

  6. tim says:

    This wasn’t even something that needed to be signed for, but perhaps they were heavy or something.

    …which is just great, seeing as I don’t have a car to collect them in.

    I am surprised that this kind of thing is so wide-spread though!

  7. Béranger says:

    Yes, Mark Cox is right: the postman DIDN’T CARRY THE PARCEL WITH HIM! He only came with the pre-filled card. This is how real life is.

  8. JL says:

    How strange! Pre written cards….. what ever next!!
    I would have thought that as most postmen have a push-along cart or a bike with tray that carrying parcels would not be a problem.

    The next time I am expecting a parcel I shall crouch in wait and watch by the window…….

  9. tim says:

    Today I had a “you were out” card, not from Royal Mail this time but another delivery company, and they’d left the parcel next door. I was in at the time, and there is a note on the door saying I AM IN, PLEASE KNOCK, and the doorbell is working.

    There was no knock, and no ring. 🙁

    I don’t see any sneaky advantage for the courier here — they had the parcel with them, and they came to the door to post the card through, and they actually delivered the parcel (just not to me).

    Is my doorbell not working? How come it works every time I test it?

    Now, I do live at the end of what is effectively a no-through road, so in theory it’s one house-width less for the guy to have to carry the parcel, but he’s still got to walk that distance in order deliver the card.

    Maybe it’s time to attach a buzzer to the letter box…

  10. Brian Damerell says:

    I had the same problem this very day. I got up just before 7.30am and went downstairs to put the kettle on and found a Royal Mail card (Sorry you were out) with details of how to collect my package which was ‘too big for the letterbox’.
    It had no item number to refer too, just the photo ID card serial number.
    The card was timed at 7.30am.
    I have arranged to have it delivered to my local PO to be collected on Wednesday (two days away!)
    I shall be writing to Royal Mail with details but won’t hold my breath for a reply.

  11. Lauren Finlay says:

    This has happened at least 4 times where I live, on 2 occasions my mum has actually been at the front door and confronted the postman, but she still didn’t receive an explanation or apology!

    Its near Christmas and I am waiting for 2 presents to be delivered that were apparently dispatched on the 9th of December! God only knows where they are or when the postman will decide he wants to bring them to me.

    I am going to write and complain to royal mail, its a very poor service.

  12. Josh says:

    This has happened to me twice in the last two weeks. The first time I actually caught the postman who looked rather sheepish and went back to get the parcel after he had finished his rounds and came back. He admitted that he had not even brought it out for delivery.

    I complained to Royal Mail who replied saying that they had raised it with the delivery office. The second time it happened I spoke to someone in their call centre who was very helpful and has, apparently, escalated it to someone who should be getting back to me in the next couple of days. I’m not holding my breath, though.

    Isn’t it fraud to take payment for a service (i.e. direct to door delivery) and then deliberately not provide the service?

  13. Byron says:

    Josh and others, yes the person/s or organisation you have paid to provide you with a service is legally obligated to do so. To do otherwise forms a breach of contract.

    If you have tried contacting Royal Mail customer services to notify them of your situation and you have had no joy then seriously consider writing to the chairman of Royal Mail Alan Cook and if necessary your local MP.!

    Royal Mail has gone down the pan over the past 15 years or so. I have worked for Royal Mail at various sites doing Christmas casual work and I have to say my experience has been a real eye opener. There is a divide and rule “I shall do as I like and please myself” kind of culture at Royal Mail sorting offices. Many staff do not act in ways one would expect for what should be a professionally run top down organisation.

  14. Vess says:

    I have had this happen 3 times now and my husband had been here waiting in for them – I’m guessing its a change of postman or something as our perviously reliable postman went above and beyond for us when it came to parcels and packets larger than the letterbox.

    The last occasion my husband caught him and the postman full out lied to his face – he said that parcel force deliver parcels and left this card in his sorting office for him to deliver. Not only that, he placed the day before date on the card so it makes me wonder just how long he’s had our parcel! Absolutely disgusted.

    I have raise a compaint with the customer services but when I go to collect the package today I’m going to insist on talking to a manager also.

  15. Ross says:

    Had this happen today. I was waiting for a Recorded Delivery package to come, so I was waiting, I heard the postman come to my door, expecting him to knock the door, instead he just pushed a “Sorry you were out” notice through my door.

    I didnt realize this at the time, so presumed since he didnt knock, that my parcel had not been sent. Really pissed off he could be bothered to do his job, now Ive got to take two buses and 2 hours of my time at least, to go and get the bloody thing.

    I thought the NHS and Royal Mail were the only decent things left about the UK think I might just piss off to another country lol.

  16. Graham says:

    Waited in all morning for Special Delivery. Nothing.

    Next morning discover card on door mat claiming to have delivered 1040 yesterday.Card has invalid tracking number (11 not 13 digit).

    Royal Mail offer money back if their next-day Special delivery service fails; this just seems to convert into a further motivation to defraud their customers.
    Their cover-up means you end up getting worse service than you would have sending standard mail.

  17. Martin says:

    I live in a flat in Glasgow with a friend of mine, and this happens EVERY time we order a package, and we order a lot of packages.

    I got tired of the 45 minute walk to the depot and back, before 9am class as that is my only available time to fit their opening hours, and there is almost always someone in. My friend caught them out one day though, and they promised to return the next day with the packages. Sure enough, they arrived, and could have definitely fit through the letter box, being two well folded tshirts, separately packed.

  18. Sarah says:

    This happened to us today, I’ve been in all day and received a “Sorry you were out” card, I contacted Royal Mail customer services to kick off and they said that there is a law which states that delivery companies don’t have to deliver to a block of flats. Even though we pay the same for delivery charges as everyone else, we are not entitled to the same service and they are within their rights to leave at the depot for us to go out of our way to collect. I’m furious! I can’t believe the absolute lack of customer service, surely this cant be right?!!!

  19. Czeslaw says:

    So it is not worth paying?

  20. Raf says:

    Hi,
    I part time at Royal Mail during Christmass. 4 yers now.
    I want to ensure you – they do their best.
    They hire part timers – like me – and have to train them. Thats why there are misdeliveries etc. (During Xmass).
    All year long – about 75% of my prcels I collect from them. Luckily its just 10 min awy from me 🙂