21 August 2006 | Paul Snell
Independent watchdog Postwatch said confusion remains among small businesses about new charges introduced today by Royal Mail.
Under the "pricing in proportion" system, the cost of sending mail is based on size and shape, as well as weight. It divides post into three size formats: letter, large letter and packet.
Details of the changes are available at: www.royalmail.com
At the beginning of August Postwatch surveyed post offices throughout the UK and found many were not displaying information on the changes.
Judith Donovan, chair of Postwatch's trade association forum, said: "We are concerned post offices are not ready to help customers. Confusion among residential customers and small businesses could lead to unnecessarily long queues at post offices."
A Postwatch spokesman added it did not have the same concerns about large companies, as Royal Mail has made efforts to keep them informed.
Royal Mail estimates 80 per cent of mail will cost the same or less to send. Business customers who spend more than £100,000-a-year on post, and whose costs rise by 50 per cent or more, will be eligible for a rebate. The refund will cover 40 per cent of the additional costs in the first year, and 20 per cent in the second.