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

This advice applies to Wales

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 try to contact the seller before you ask Royal Mail for compensation - you’ll usually get a better result. You can:

If you don’t want to claim compensation, you can make a complaint to Royal Mail instead. They might still ask you to fill in a claim form. Check how to make a complaint to Royal Mail on their website.

If Royal Mail has lost a document like a passport or driving licence

Contact the organisation that issued the document as soon as possible. For example, if Royal Mail lost your passport you should contact the Home Office on GOV.UK.

Ask the organisation to cancel the document. This stops anyone from using it to pretend to be you.

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 if your post is delayed and 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 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

If you can claim compensation

Check how much compensation you can get and how to claim.

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