Citizens Advice: Your rights should anything get lost or delayed in the post

Citizens Advice North Herts is offering guidance on what to do if items get lost in the post

Citizens Advice North Herts is offering guidance on what to do if items get lost in the post - Credit: Citizen Advice North Herts

With many of us affected by delays in processing applications for passports and driving licences, it’s worth checking what your rights are should anything get lost or delayed in the post.

This applies to items you send yourself, as well as those you are expecting to receive. You might be able to claim compensation from Royal Mail but what you get depends on how the item was sent and what the problem is.

If you are waiting for an important document you should contact the organisation that issued the document as soon as possible. Make sure you ask the organisation to cancel the document to stop anyone from using it to pretend to be you.

You will only get compensation from Royal Mail if the item was posted in the UK and sent using a Royal Mail service such as a Post Office. You can’t claim compensation if it was posted to somewhere outside the UK or by special delivery if it had to be redirected.

Either the person who sent the item or the person receiving it can make the claim for compensation. However, if the item was sent using the Tracked 24 or Tracked 48 service, only the sender can claim.

It’s usually easier for the sender to claim because they’re more likely to have the evidence that’s needed, but if you are the receiver and you want to claim yourself you can always contact the sender to get copies of that evidence.

If an item is lost and was sent to somewhere within the UK, you must claim within 80 days from the date the item was posted. How long you need to wait before you claim depends on how it was sent and the rules are slightly different where items are delayed, so it’s worth checking either with Royal Mail, the Citizens Advice website or by calling in to see us.

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Remember, you’ll need proof of posting. This could be your receipt or certificate of posting if you sent something at the Post Office. Include the name and address of the sender and receiver, where and when the item was sent, type of postage, the contents and any reference or barcode numbers. You can either claim online to Royal Mail or with a paper form.