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Left behind: The need for affordable mail redirections

29 June 2022

Left behind: The need for affordable mail redirections [ 5.7 mb]

A postal redirection is a service provided by Royal Mail which allows people to have their mail forwarded from their old address to their new home. 

Our new research shows that people rely on post more than they realise. Even when they don’t send a lot of letters themselves, they can receive appointment letters from health services, or messages from the council or government departments. Some letters are unexpected or infrequent, such as letters about a court date or fine.

People can face many problems when their post goes missing. If people lose bills sent in the post, they risk fines, damaged credit scores and even court summons.

When people move house, they face a long list of tasks and expenses. Many don’t feel able to prioritise paying for a redirection - especially as many people believe they don’t get a lot of letters.

Home movers often opt for a free-of-charge workaround rather than paying for a redirection. But we found that workarounds aren’t sufficient to avoid losing letters and experiencing harm.

Our new research highlights how the rising cost of mail redirections means it’s in danger of becoming a luxury add-on, when it should be a basic service. People on low incomes struggle to afford a redirection the most. 

Although Royal Mail’s discount on redirection makes it more affordable, the service is still out of reach for many. Ofcom and Royal Mail should take action to make redirection more affordable.