Home Finance Royal Mail investigates counterfeit stamps as customers complain over £5 fines

Royal Mail investigates counterfeit stamps as customers complain over £5 fines

Royal Mail has launched a probe into counterfeit copies of its new barcoded stamps amid concerns customers are being wrongly fined to receive their mail.

Many people have complained of being forced to pay a £5 fine to receive a letter because the stamp on the envelope was deemed to be fake.

As reported in The Telegraph, Richard Trinder, who runs a Post Office branch in Sheffield, said he had seen two or three customers coming in and complaining of being fined.

He said he had heard of 10 or 20 other postmasters who had similar experiences. Royal Mail said it uses “specialist equipment” to ensure a stamp is real, with stamps verified using scanning devices at its sorting offices.

The Post Office said the stamps it sells come directly from Royal Mail’s secure printers and are delivered by specialist delivery vans.

A spokesman said: “Any allegation that fake stamps have been purchased at a Post Office are extremely serious.”

The group urged customers who think they have purchased a fake stamp to produce an itemised receipt so the matter can be investigated further.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “When a customer reports to us that they bought a stamp from a retailer that is subsequently found to be counterfeit, we will always look into the circumstances of that case.

“We also work closely with retailers and law enforcement agencies, and actively seek the prosecution of those who produce counterfeit stamps.”

Barcoded stamps came into circulation in February 2022 in efforts to reduce postal fraud and save money in processing.

Traditional stamps had to be delivered to a sorting office where they were given an ink stamp to show they had been used.

The Post Office said scammers could wash away the postmark ink and resell the used stamps.

The price of stamps has just increased, with the new prices coming in from April 2.

The cost increases include:

  • First class – standard – £1.35 (up from £1.25)
  • First class – large – £2.10 (up from £1.95)
  • Second class – standard – 85p (up from 75p)
  • Second class – large – £1.55 (no change).

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