If your mail is damaged when it arrives or has gone to the wrong address, you might suspect that someone else has opened it or tampered with it in some way.
It is against the law to open mail that is intended for someone else. It is also against the law for an employee of Royal Mail to open or tamper with items of post.
This page explains what you should do if you suspect that someone else is opening or tampering with your post.
Top tips It is against the law to open, destroy, hide or delay any post that is addressed to someone else. This is set out in the Postal Services Act.
If your post arrived damaged and you think someone has tampered with it
If your post has arrived damaged and it looks as though it has been opened, this may be due to damage caused by sorting machines. However, you should check whether anything inside the envelope or packaging is missing.
If something is missing or you suspect your mail has been opened by someone else, you should:
- keep the envelope or packaging, as it may be needed during an investigation
- if the item was damaged, keep that as well
- report the problem to Royal Mail 03457 740 740 (Textfone 03456 000 606), who will decide whether to investigate
If the contents of your mail were damaged or taken, you may be able to claim compensation. If you think that valuables or money have been taken from your mail, you will only be able to claim compensation if they were sent using special delivery.
If your mail went to the wrong address and you think someone opened it
If your post has been delivered to someone else’s home, the person who receives it is not allowed to open it. Post cannot be opened if someone knows or suspects it has been delivered to the wrong address.
If you believe your mail has been opened by someone else or tampered with, you should report it to Royal Mail on 03457 740 740 (Textfone 03456 000 606).
If you see a postman opening mail
If you see a postman opening mail during their round, he or she is committing a crime. You should report them to the police and to Royal Mail on 03457 740 740 (Textfone 03456 000 606).
If you think your post is being intercepted
Interception of communications means someone who is not the intended recipient accessing the content of mail, a telephone call or email. Examples include a landlord opening a tenant’s post or a private investigator using a bugging device to listen in to someone’s phone calls.
Most of the time it is against the law to intercept other people’s communications in this way without their consent. However, there are some instances where it is allowed.