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If your post has been damaged, lost or delayed by Royal Mail

This advice applies to Scotland

You might be able to claim compensation from Royal Mail. What you can get depends on how the item was sent and what the problem is.

If you bought something online, over the phone or in a shop

You should contact the seller first - you’ll usually get a better result. You can:

Check if you can claim compensation

You can only get compensation from Royal Mail if the item was posted in the UK and sent using a Royal Mail service - for example by using a Post Office.

You can’t get any compensation for delay if one of the following applies:

  • it was posted to somewhere outside the UK
  • it was posted by special delivery and it had to be redirected
  • it was posted using the Tracked 24 or Tracked 48 service

Check who can make the claim

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

It’s usually easier for the sender to claim because they’re more likely to have the evidence that’s needed. If you want to claim as the receiver, contact the sender to get the evidence you need.

Check you've got the evidence you need

To get any compensation, you’ll need proof of posting. This could be your receipt or certificate of posting if you sent something at the Post Office. If you received the item, you can use the packaging with the postmark on.

If the item was sent by post box and lost in the post, you won’t usually have proof of posting - this means you can’t get compensation.

You’ll also need to know:

  • the name and address of the sender and receiver
  • the amount paid for postage
  • the type of postage used - for example 1st class, special delivery, metered (franked)
  • where and when the item was sent
  • the reference number or barcode number - you can find this on the certificate of posting or on a label on the package
  • the contents of the post

If you’re claiming for damage or loss you'll also need to give a description of the packaging and condition of the item. Take photos if you can.

You might get some extra compensation if your item was valuable - you’ll need original proof of its value, such as a receipt, bank statement, repair quotations or paypal records.

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 in compensation. 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 much time you've got to make a claim

There are different rules depending on if the item was damaged, delayed or lost in the post.

If the item was put in a post box or sent at a Post Office after the last delivery of the day, it only counts as posted on the next working day.

If the item was damaged

If the item was sent to somewhere within the UK, you must claim within 80 days from the date it was posted. If there’s extra insurance for the item (called ‘consequential loss insurance’), you must claim within 14 days from when it was posted.

If the item was sent to somewhere outside the UK, you must claim within 6 months from when it was posted.

If the item was delayed

How long you need to wait before you claim depends on how the item was sent. If it was sent:

  • by first class post, you can claim 4 working days after the item was posted - or 7 days if it had to be redirected
  • by second class post, you can claim 6 working days after the item was posted - or 9 days if it had to be redirected
  • by special delivery, you can claim 1 working day after the item was due to arrive
  • using the articles for the blind service, you can claim 4 working days after the item was posted - or 7 days if it had to be redirected

For example if the item was posted by first class post on a Wednesday, you can claim the following Tuesday - or the Friday after that if it was redirected.

If the item was sent at any time between the first Monday in December and the first working day in January, you’ll need to wait an extra day before you can claim.

If you sent the item, you must claim within 3 months of the date it was posted. If you received the item, you have 1 month from the date it was posted.

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

If the item was lost in the post

If the item 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. If it was sent:

  • by first class post, you can claim 11 working days after it was posted
  • by second class post, you can claim 14 working days after it was posted
  • by special delivery, you can claim 5 working days after it was due to arrive
  • using the articles for the blind service, you can claim 11 working days after it was posted

For example if the item was posted by first class post on a Wednesday, you can claim 2 weeks later on Wednesday.

If the item was sent at any time between the first Monday in December and the first working day in January, you’ll need to wait an extra day before you can claim.

If the item was sent to somewhere outside the UK

You must claim within 6 months from when it was posted. How long you need to wait before you claim depends on where it was sent. If it was sent:

  • to Europe, you can claim 20 working days after it was posted
  • outside of Europe, you can claim 25 working days after it was posted

Claiming 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 damaged 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”

If you’re not happy with the compensation decision

You can complain to Royal Mail’s customer services team. You can complain by phone, send a letter or use their online contact form.

Royal Mail Customer Services

FREEPOST
Royal Mail Customer Services

Telephone: 03457 740 740
Textphone: 03456 000 606
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturdays, 8am to 1pm

Twitter: @royalmailhelp

You can also contact Royal Mail using the form on their website.

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're not happy with the response to your complaint

Contact the Postal Review Panel using their online form or by writing them a letter. The Postal Review Panel are part of Royal Mail but they’ll look at your complaint fairly. They should get back to you within 30 days.

Postal Review Panel

FREEPOST
Postal Review Panel

You can also contact the Postal Review Panel using the form on the Royal Mail website.

If the Postal Review Panel can't resolve your complaint, they’ll usually refer you to an alternative dispute resolution scheme run by the Postal Redress Service (POSTRS). POSTRS is independent and will examine the case from both sides to reach a decision they think is fair.

You can go straight to POSTRS without a referral from the Postal Review Panel if Royal Mail:

  • take longer than 90 days to solve your complaint

  • haven’t followed their complaints procedure

You should check if POSTRS can investigate your complaint before you contact them. For example, if the item was posted to somewhere outside the UK, they can usually only investigate complaints from the person who posted it.

You can download the application form from the POSTRS website or call them to start a claim.

POSTRS (Postal Redress Service)
70 Fleet Street
London
EC4Y 1EU

Tel: 020 7520 3766
Fax: 020 7520 3768
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Email: postrs@cedr.com

Website: www.cedr.com/consumer/postrs

Calls usually cost up to 55p a minute from mobiles and up to 13p a minute from landlines. It should be free if you have a contract that includes calls to landlines - check with your supplier if you're not sure.

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