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Claiming compensation from Royal Mail

This advice applies to England

You might be able to claim compensation from Royal Mail if your post has been damaged, lost or delayed. If you’re not sure, check if you can claim compensation from Royal Mail.

Check how much you can get 

How much you can get depends on what happened to the item.

If the item was delayed

If the item was sent to somewhere within the UK, the normal compensation is a book of 6 first class stamps. There are exceptions if it was sent by special delivery, Tracked 24 or Tracked 48.

If the item was sent by special delivery guaranteed by 9am, you’ll get a full refund of the postage cost.

If the item was sent by special delivery guaranteed by 1pm or special delivery Saturday guarantee, you’ll get £5. You’ll get £10 if it arrives at least 7 working days after it was due to arrive.

If the item was sent using the Tracked 24 or Tracked 48 service, you can’t get compensation for a delay.

If the item was sent to somewhere outside the UK, you can’t get compensation for a delay.

If the item was damaged or lost in the post

If the item was sent to somewhere within the UK, how much you can get depends on how it was sent. If it was sent:

  • by first or second class post, you can get the value of the item up to £20
  • by first or second class signed for post, you can get the value of the item up to £50
  • by special delivery, you can get the value of the item up to £500 – or more if there’s extra insurance for the item
  • using the Tracked 24 or Tracked 48 service, you can get the value of the item up to £100
  • using the articles for the blind service, you can get the value of the item up to £46

If the item was lost and you can prove it was worth some money, you’ll also get a full refund of the postage cost.

If the item was sent to somewhere outside the UK

How much you can get depends on how it was sent. If it was sent:

  • by international standard post, economy post or HM Forces Mail, you can get the value of the item up to £20
  • by international tracked or signed for post, you can get the value of the item up to £50 – or more if there’s extra insurance on the item

If the item was lost and you can prove it was worth some money, you’ll also get a full refund of the postage cost.

Check how to claim compensation

You can make a claim for compensation by either:

  • filling in Royal Mail’s online form - you’ll need to be able to use a mouse
  • filling in a paper form and posting it to Royal Mail

If the item was sent by HM Forces Mail

You can’t use Royal Mail’s online form. You can claim compensation by either:

  • filling in a paper form - you can get one from any Post Office
  • contacting the British Forces Post Office

British Forces Post Office enquiries

Telephone: 03457 697978
Monday to Thursday, 8am to 3:30pm
Friday, 8am to 4:30pm

Email: desbfpo-enquiries@mod.gov.uk

Your call is likely to be free of charge if you have a phone deal that includes free calls to landlines - find out more about calling 0345 numbers.

If you can’t use the online form or send a paper form

You can call Royal Mail Customer Services for help making a claim.

Royal Mail Customer Services

Telephone: 03457 740 740
Textphone: 03456 000 606
Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 6.00pm
Saturday, 8.00am to 1.00pm

Your call is likely to be free of charge if you have a phone deal that includes free calls to landlines - find out more about calling 0345 numbers.

Claiming online

You can claim compensation on the Royal Mail website - it only takes a few minutes.

You'll need to upload a digital photo or scan of:

  • proof of the value of the item, for example a receipt or bank statement
  • proof of posting - for example your receipt or certificate of posting if you sent the item at a Post Office
  • the item and packaging – if it was damaged

You’ll also need the reference number or barcode number - you can find this on the certificate of posting or on a label on the package.

Claiming by post

You can pick up a paper claim form from your nearest Post Office and send it to the address on the form - find your nearest Post Office on the Royal Mail website. There are different forms so make sure to say how the item was sent when you ask for it - for example ‘first class’ or ‘tracked 24’.

You’ll need to include:

  • proof of the value of the item, for example a receipt or bank statement
  • proof of posting - for example your receipt or certificate of posting if you sent the item at a Post Office
  • the reference number or barcode number - you can find this on the certificate of posting or on a label on the package.

Make sure you send originals - not copies. It’s a good idea to make copies for yourself in case the claim gets lost.

If you’re claiming for damage, you’ll also need to include either:

  • the damaged item and packaging
  • photos of the damaged item and packaging if it’s not convenient for you to post the item, for example if it’s bulky

Check what happens after you claim

You’ll get a response within 30 days - or 90 days if the item was sent to somewhere outside the UK. If your claim is successful you’ll get a cheque in the mail.

Royal Mail might refuse to give you compensation if for example the item:

  • wasn’t addressed clearly or packaged properly - for example if the packaging wasn't sealed or strong enough
  • was posted by an inappropriate method - for example if you sent expensive jewellery by 2nd class post instead of a service with insurance and tracking
  • was lost, damaged or delayed by someone other than Royal Mail
  • was damaged by something out of Royal Mail’s control, for example bad weather
  • didn’t have the right warning on it - for example “FRAGILE HANDLE WITH CARE”, “DO NOT BEND” or “PERISHABLE”

Check what you can do if you’re not happy with Royal Mail’s decision about compensation.

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