Royal Mail wins court battle after losing £300 parcel… because address was wrong by one letter

January 17, 2013 | by | 15 Comments

A businessman has lost a court battle with the Royal Mail over a missing parcel – because the address was wrong by just a single character.

Engineer Graham Wright took legal action after a recorded delivery package containing £300 worth of components went missing in the post.

But he lost the case in court because of a little-known piece of legislation which states that compensation will only be paid if addresses are 100 per cent accurate.

Graham Wright, 71, who lost his year-long battle with Royal Mail over a missing parcel he sent because he had post code wrong by ONE character

Graham Wright, 71, who lost his year-long battle with Royal Mail over a missing parcel he sent because he had post code wrong by ONE character

The correct postcode should have finished 2HX but the parcel ended up with 2HK.

But Graham, 73, is still baffled by the case – and suspects the Post Office simply lost the parcel and only won the 18-month case on a legal technicality.

He said: “It seems to be another example to me of the quality of the Royal Mail’s service going down while their charges keep going up.

“I think everyone needs to be aware that the address has to be absolutely spot-on otherwise there’s no chance of getting your money back if there’s a problem.”

The saga began in August 2011 when Graham, who runs a small engineering firm, sent a specially-made component to a customer who he deals with several times a year.

He took it to his local post office in Newent, Glos., and asked it to go special delivery to the address in Stockport, Cheshire.

The receipt for Graham's postal delivery which had one wrong character

The receipt for Graham’s postal delivery which had one wrong character

But several days later his client rang and said the order – worth around £300 – had not arrived.

When puzzled Graham checked with the Royal Mail they told him it had been delivered and signed for by someone with an unusual name.

But the business expecting the parcel knew no-one by that name and the package had apparently disappeared.

Frustrated Graham launched a complaint against the Royal Mail in a bid for compensation and went through six different levels before ending up in court.

He said: “At every level I was told ‘We delivered your package’ and I said ‘You did – but to the wrong person’.

“They insisted they’d done what they were supposed to do so I took them to court.”

The Royal Mail employed a costly legal team as the row finally reached a conciliation hearing before a judge in Gloucester last week.

Graham said the judge appeared sympathetic – but could not ignore the clause about addresses being absolutely correct before compensation could be paid.

The judge ordered the Royal Mail to pay their own costs, leaving Graham around £1,000 out of pocket including the value of the lost item.

He suspects someone at the post office entered the wrong postcode when the parcel was taken from him and put on their tracking system.

He added: “I’ve been dealing with this firm for ten years and am very familiar with their postcode.

“But somehow it ended up on their system with the wrong postcode – and it’s actually a postcode that doesn’t exist.

“I suspect that the regular postman wasn’t on duty at the other end and it was simply handed to someone who signed for it.

“But since then I’ve been butting my head against a wall trying to get them to admit they got it wrong and sent it to the wrong place.

The Royal Mail said: “We accept the decision of the court.”

Category: News

Comments (15)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. James says:

    the amount of mail that is ‘killed off’ because morons like this who can’t be bothered to put the right address is amazing. Also while on the subject, why didn’t he put a return address? Postman and Royal Mail employees have to sort 70 millions items a day between them, to 32 million addresses. if you don’t put the full address, how is royal liable? the author of this article is trying to portray Royal Mail as a petty and incompetent service. Royal Mail has to win cases like this whatever the cost because if he wins, it sets a president in legal terms that millions of people who don’t put the right address can claim compensation. Anyone consider he was trying it on, now his winging because of sour grapes? One more point for the brilliant author of this article.

    • Graham Wright says:

      I am Graham Wright.

      If you read the report properly, you would not have made such an irresponsible comment.

      The address was that I had used in innocence for ten years covering around 50 deliveries. None had been lost. The post code is not used for delivery at the street level. The rest of the address was correct.

      Royal Mail insisted it had been delivered correctly. It was not and they did not contest this.

      The return address was included. (Why do you think it was not?)

      • hassanabdulla68@yahoo.co.uk says:

        Mr wright
        I have more sriuos problem than yours.I appleid for a registratio with proffesiona body. They turned down the application and sent me a letter of the reason and giving in their advice on hwo to fill it in a letter was sent to the wrong adress. two month leter they proscuted me for not registering. It costed me tens of thousands of pounds…Can you advise withyour experience.

      • hassan Abdulla says:

        can you please help me

  2. Anonymous says:

    a complete out rage!!
    Where was the common sense to read the door number/street/town

    • Mary Iallo says:

      If you’d bothered to look at the receipt pictured above you would have noticed that the address information consists of:-

      Building Name or Number Postcode
      23 SK1 2HK

      A couple of points: There is no UK postcode ‘SK1 2HK’, so assuming that the Stockport delivery office delivered it to an address in SK1 2HX, which is an industrial estate, it would have been delivered to Unit 23(currently occupied by Reddish Electroplating). Did Mr Wright address his package to the company, an individual within the company, or just to ’23 SK1 2HK’?

  3. Mr says:

    This makes me sick. Royal Mail know they have messed up this and I will not stand for this (: I am going to make sure that WATCHDOG UK know about this scandal and will be forwarding all information onto them immediately.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The royal mail ‘lost’ ALL of my re-directed post for THREE MONTHS and then had the cheek to claim is was delivered – which it was in one lot THREE MONTHS late.

    More recently, they tried to deliver and subsequently lost a parcel. It was my 2 year olds birthday present. After a week of calling and emailing I have nowhere. The service sucks. I feel sorry for anyone trying to conduct business using the royal snail.

  5. Bob says:

    Receipts DO not have the full address on them as they are on the packaging. I send parcels all the time and have only ever had the number and poscode on the receipt. It probably takes too long for the cashier to type the full address. Also if the package has a written address on it then it is definitly the cashier who wrote the wrong postcode into the system.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi

    I read this article with interest being a online Internet business and here’s my views on them.

    1. The order has a tracking number therefore it would have been tracked by Royal Mails tracking system. If an incorrect post provented them from delivering then the item is is still in their pocession and therefore the address would have been queried.

    2. If there was none return delivery address then surely Royal Mail would have tracked where the post office took the parcel and tried to identify the seller?

    3. If the order had been delivered to the wrong address surely anyone receiving a parcel marked for someone else would not accept the delivery or inform the post office of this?

    4. Whilst it maybe human error to input the wrong post code there are many other ways to identify the correct post code simply to say its your cock up and it’s lost appears rather cold to me.

    5. We know from our experience it is so easy for buyers to claim they have not received delivery, especially with all the bad publicity Royal Mail have recieved recently. We personally think Royal Mail do a very good job however their claims process needs to be tightened up and is clearly open to abuse.

    6. As a business seller we have found over 95% of claims made by buyers to be bogus. Claims are made in the same areas as our competitors are selling.

    7. We have a map on all the post codes in the uk on our wall. We use small sticky dots where are competitors trade from in one colour and use another colour dots where the claims are being made to identify a pattern.

    8. All odd buying activity is recorded and passed to Action Fraud and we would recommend that more sellers use this reporting facility.

    There’s lots more I can say about this but have to rush off… Thanks for sharing this story

  7. Kiddy says:

    in the picture says

    Address Validated N

    I am guessing they don’t check this section when they key on, but clearly indicates there is an error and for a special delivery the RM should have raised the question at the point of accepting the delivery.

  8. Hassan Abdulla says:

    I had more srious case than this.I lost tens of thousnds of pounds because proffissional body sent me arefusal and advise letter on a wrong adress

  9. Maik says:

    Mr Wright, Good on you taking this to court. It is a shame you lost the case, which is most unfair.
    Royal Mail, in my humble opinion, is causing a lot of distress to businesses with their shoddy antics.
    I run a small company, and have seen our postage costs for sending goods out rise from 25% to nearly 40% of our turnover. Losses have increased across the board, with a failure rate of 10% for UK mail, and 30% for overseas.
    We used to frank our mail, but have ended this, which has cut the failure rate down by 50%.
    It’s a total nightmare. We must refund or replace when the item doesn’t arrive, and trying to claim back from Royal Mail is just impossible. You must present a whole case against them, to them, proving your worth and honesty. It’s almost a full time job in itself! So.. it’s more expensive, it’s less reliable.
    The chinese markets benefit from very cheap international business post – we suffer from very expensive. Lose Lose situation for the country.
    Mr Wright, well, done, ignore the rubbish comments of the haters who didn’t even read the article properly. You did the right thing.

Add your comment

Libellous and abusive comments are not allowed. Please read our House Rules

For information about privacy and cookies please read our Privacy Policy