Ofcom orders delivery companies to “significantly” improve their handling of complaints

The regulator Ofcom has warned that parcel firms “must improve” their handling of customer complaints after around a quarter of people experienced problems with delivery.

The watchdog confirmed a series of measures first outlined last December and said fines or tougher regulation could be on the way if it failed to see “significant improvements” in complaints handling and customer service across the industry.

Sad results of the survey of more than 2000 people The British Ofcom found in January last year that nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) had experienced problems with parcel delivery in the past three months.

The survey also found that around a quarter of respondents found it difficult to lodge a complaint or contact parcel companies when their delivery went wrong.

Two out of five said their complaints were only partially resolved, while nearly one in 10 had their complaint completely unresolved, the observer noted.

Ofcom has now unveiled new guidance on customer complaints, which will come into force from 1 April next year.

The new rules will ensure that parcel firms tell customers who to contact and how to make a complaint, what the process is and how long a resolution will take, and ensure that staff are properly trained.

It also proposes a new requirement for “clear and effective” policies and procedures to treat customers with disabilities fairly, who it says are 50% more likely to experience serious parcel delivery problems.

The new protections for consumers with disabilities will take effect on November 1, 2023.

The customer service that some people received when the delivery went wrong is just not good enough

Lindsay Fassell, Ofcom

Lindsay Fassell, Ofcom’s network and communications group director, said: “The customer service that some people have received when a delivery has gone wrong is simply not good enough.

“So we are strengthening our rules to make sure delivery people are treated fairly.

“If we are not satisfied with the response of parcel companies, they may face enforcement action or stricter regulations in the future.”

But Advice to citizens said the guidelines did not go far enough to address the “horrendous” service.

Matthew Upton, the organisation’s director of policy, said: “Until the regulator begins to monitor firms and fine those who fail to comply, disappointing deliveries will continue to be the norm.”

Ofcom also said it would continue to set “stringent” annual delivery targets Royal Mail and the price cap on second class stamps, which is currently set at 68p.

It comes as Royal Mail faces pressure from disgruntled staff and delivery problems.

Royal Mail is under investigation for failing to meet delivery targets for the past year

(PA Wire)

Royal Mail managers announced plans to strike and “work to manage” – strictly adhering to contract terms – this month.

Last week, the group announced that the action was suspended and that Unite union members will vote on proposals aimed at resolving the conflict and canceling all planned strikes.

It is also being investigated by Ofcom for failing to meet targets during a staffing crisis last year.

Royal Mail is criticizing Ofcom’s decision not to allow mail tracking services under its latest regulatory review.

A spokesman said: “The very purpose of the Universal Service is to offer non-market postal services at a single affordable price across the UK – and tracking for all at an affordable and shared price for all must be a feature of the modern Universal Postal Service in 2022 “.

Ofcom orders delivery companies to “significantly” improve their handling of complaints

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