Christmas parcel and postage advice 

We have put together some top tips to help consumers ensure their festive cards and parcels arrive on time, and to ensure that you get the best deal on postage. 

Michael Legg, our Head of Postal Services said; “Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the postal service with many consumers sending cards and presents to family and friends. Follow our top Christmas postal tips to help your mail arrive on time and safely.”

  • Check the last posting dates before sending items – The last posting dates for second class post is 18th December and for first class post is 20th December. For the most up to date information check Royal Mail’s website. If you are sending a parcel with a different parcel company, they may have different last posting dates so always ask when is the latest you can send a parcel to ensure it arrives on time.
  • Do not use ‘everyday’ non-barcoded stamps – These stamps are no longer valid to send letters and parcels. Royal Mail will now apply a surcharge if you use these stamps to send items and will ask the recipient to pay this before the item can be delivered.
  • Shop around and pay the right price - Shop around for the best deal before purchasing your postage so you can avail of economy postal services, such as Second-Class mail or other standard services. For parcels, shop around for the best deal. Watch out for postage surcharges. These are extra delivery charges when sending from Northern Ireland to other parts of the UK.
  • Avoid unnecessary higher prices - Measure up and check the weight of the item to make sure you get an accurate price for sending parcels.

Michael added: “It is important to know what to do if something goes wrong with one of your postal items. Below are some tips to protect yourself.”

  • Ensure items are covered by compensation - Always tell the parcel company what you are sending. Check that the contents are covered by its compensation policy and that the item is allowed in the postal system.
  • Keep receipts and the proof of postage - Should you need them to prove the value of the item to support any compensation claims if your item is lost, damaged, or delayed.
  • Ensure items are suitably packaged – Packages containing fragile items should be clearly labelled so. 
  • Always check the recipient’s details – Ensure they are correct before you post your item. Don’t forget to put a return address securely on the back of the parcel.
  • Check customs requirements - If you are sending parcels from Northern Ireland to other parts of the UK and EU destinations you don’t need customs declarations. However, you will need to complete and attach any customs declarations when sending items outside of the UK and EU. The parcel operator will be able to help.

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