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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 September, 2004, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Is the Royal Mail delivering?
Postman wearing his new Royal Mail uniform
The Royal Mail has failed to meet all its 15 performance targets, including its goal for First Class letter delivery.

Between April and June, 88.3 percent of First Class letters across Britain were delivered the next working day, below Royal Mail's 92.5 percent target.

In August, about 92% of first class post was delivered on time.

The company is two years into a three-year turnaround plan and announced in May that its day-to-day operations made their first annual profit in four years.

Is the Royal Mail delivering? Why did it fail to meet its targets? Do you have a story that would like to share? What should happen to postal services?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Tim, Bradford UK:
Royal Mail has missed its targets. Is it true that profits come with a price and that the price is loss of quality of service to costumers?

The postal service in London has been appalling for the last 5 years. Any letter or parcel that looks as if it may have something remotely valuable in it never seems to get delivered. I blame it on all those temp agency staff - they don't care as they know they're only going to be doing it for a few weeks at most. Glasgow's going the same way now - my sister has had a bank book, a credit card and a bottle of perfume all go missing within the last 2 months.
Ken Walker, Clapham, London

What about the positive comments? How about the postie the other week who delivered a letter to the ex-soldier in Newcastle with just a name and the town on the envelope? You can't tar all with the same brush, 99.9% of the staff are decent dedicated hard working people. First class post is not a guaranteed service and RM have never professed it to be, so how can your post be 'late'? Out of 80 million items delivered every day over 90% of items are delivered on target, that is amazing!!
Lisa, Royal Mail employee and proud!, Bolton, Lancs

I try to deliver all my letters personally whenever possible. I do this because the Royal Mail lost all the invoices, bank statements etc, that I was sending to my accountant for my VAT declaration. The Royal Mail was uninterested in tracking down my envelope. Not easy, I suppose, when so many other letters go missing. They did, however, offer to refund the postage!
Steven Bray, Camberley, UK

The quality of the normal delivery went from excellent to appalling
Ian Eaton, Waltham Abbey, Essex, UK
From the moment we received our letter advising that the second delivery was being discontinued, the quality of the normal delivery went from excellent to appalling. It was as if the Royal Mail had switched off its customer service at the point the letters were sent out. Our regular, early, smart, friendly post lady was replaced by an ill-assorted bunch of contract staff, and the post now comes any time up to four o'clock - if we're lucky. The Royal Mail is a definite candidate for outsourcing...it can't get worse!
Ian Eaton, Waltham Abbey, Essex, UK

I suspect the criticism of Royal Mail in the UK is similar to those against the US Postal Service in my country. Reactionaries will always condemn any government service and demand it be "privatised" or "reformed." Great Britain was a pioneer in helping to create the model for a successful postal system. This model has been successfully adopted throughout the world and calls for its radical alteration should be resisted.
Albert, Indiana, USA

We have an excellent service, the post arrives before 8.30am most days of the week.
Mr I Wilson, Newtown. Powys, UK

I receive in Toronto Air Mail from the UK in 2 days; this is in contrast to letters from the USA which take up to 10 days. Well done Royal Mail, keep up the good work.
Jon, Toronto Canada

The Royal Mail can be run profitably and reach its targets. The problem is that with the management philosophy in the UK of making cuts to decrease costs rather than solving problems to decrease costs, it's not something that will ever happen. The Royal Mail is not alone in this.
Ian P, Birmingham, UK

I dread to think where my letters end up
AJ, Finchley, London, UK
Two years ago I thought the Royal Mail was very good. However, recently they have changed their service and now I get the wrong letters delivered to my door (the address is right, the postman just does not read the road name!) and the post seems to take longer to reach me. I dread to think where my letters end up.
AJ, Finchley, London, UK

The Royal Mail is delivering! All that useless junk mail that should be re-directed to the managing director's in tray. Then perhaps he will realise that all those companies using a system that is meant for communication and delivery of goods for advertising should pay a lot more for their services. After all, if I send spam email, I would get a big bill in the end wouldn't I?
Liam, Worcester, UK

Royal Mail: First-class prices, second-class service. These days if I want anything even vaguely important delivered I send it FedEx rather than royal mail. Time to privatise the post, I think!
Steve Roberts, Nr Bath, Wiltshire

As much as you think the Royal Mail sucks, consider this: In the USA, we get mail delivered once a day. It arrives sometime between noon and five in the evening, and most of the time it never gets to your door - a lot of places have communal mailboxes where the mail is just dumped and you have to come and collect it yourself. So quit whining and enjoy it while you still have it.
Ian, Brit in USA

The only problem is with the unforgiving, totally unrealistic bellyachers who seem to think that everything in this life should be perfect
Mark Rotherham, Colchester

I think the Royal Mail are brill. The only problem is with the unforgiving, totally unrealistic bellyachers who seem to think that everything in this life should be perfect. The posties are just ordinary people doing their jobs, and quite frankly I think they do a very good job. People should stop running them down, and, incidentally, lose this illusion that it's a firm or a business. It's not; it's a public service, performed by public servants, who are human, and therefore fallible. Who believes targets anyway, that's just another discredited system of auditing. Leave our posties alone and let them get on with their jobs. They do it better than anyone else.
Mark Rotherham, Colchester, UK

I received a letter a few weeks back that had been posted in September last year! It was posted second class. Need I say more?
Caroline, Brighton

I can honestly say I rather like the service we get from the Royal Mail. Ok so they fail to deliver some of the letters some of the time, but the post man or woman is always friendly and polite, always does their best no matter if it is pouring down with rain or scorching sunshine. And how many times have the papers told of the postal service tracking people down and delivering letters with barely a hint of an address or a name. Give them their dues. They are not miracle workers, and there are improvements that can be made. But all in all, they do a fantastic job and they should be congratulated for their dedication to their service.
Annabelle, UK

This is nothing new - I haven't bothered to use the Royal Mail for anything important since my application for a postal vote took 11 days to travel 2 miles causing me to be disenfranchised at the last general election. 10 years ago they had my passport for over 4 months. The moral of the story is - if it is important, don't use them.
Jan, UK

Why don't people realise that, as with the trains, you get what you pay for!
Noel, London, UK

I was blissfully happy with Royal Mail until my postman retired due to ill health. When he was doing the rounds, our post would arrive between 7 - 7.30am every day without fail. Although post reaches me in time even after the abolishment of the second post, I am stunned deliveries come round as late as 1pm. ironically the sorting office is a 2 minute drive away. Is this Royal Mail's way of getting us to give up and collect our post from them directly?
Afsheen, London

Royal Mail appear to be the only thing in the Northwest that does work
John Gearing, St Helens, UK
Well Royal Mail appear to be the only thing in the Northwest that does work, I have never had any issues sending letters to people, nor have I had any issues of bills being delivered on time to me. Keep up the good and rather cheap service compared to are European friends.
John Gearing, St Helens, UK

Take the "Royal" off their name - that'd teach them. I know the royal family have a strong recent history of association with failure and uselessness so it is strangely appropriate but surely they shouldn't be seen to endorse the quality of service currently on offer.
Paul, Yeovil

I don't think that Royal Mail is providing the service they promise. We consistently have mail go missing and it constantly takes 3 days or more for 1st class post to arrive after we are informed of its entry into the postal system. We constantly receive post for a different address (inc post code).We have complained a number of times and all we received was a letter saying '..out postmen don't make mistakes...'
Mark L, Southampton

The postal "service" in Oxford is terrible, we know by mail being returned to sender or people phoning us that about 10% of our mail is lost. How much mail is being lost that we don't know about? None of the mail that was caught up in the strike earlier this year has arrived.
Andrew, Oxford, UK

5 months ago I moved from Manchester to London. I paid 77 to the Post Office for my mail to be redirected. I have since received not one item (even junk) of mail redirected. Two months ago I queried this and the result was that my local postman was instructed not to deliver to my new address because it was wrong. He had the sense to query this with me after 2 weeks of storing up my post when he received a registered post delivery for me. My next step will be in writing to reclaim the fee for a completely non-effective service.
Catherine, London

Something has gone dramatically wrong, both in service and its perception, over the last 12 months. The single delivery has simply been an excuse to deliver post much later in the day, and so the public have lost their impression of mail being on the doorstep before they leave for work. I still don't understand the reasons for this. The statistics seem to be bearing out all the growing anecdotal evidence. Unless RM reign things in they will find themselves in an irretrievable situation soon.
Simon, High Wycombe, UK

I've got as many nightmare stories about the British post as I have on the trains.
Heather, Stockport, UK
Oh, Royal Mail... I've got as many nightmare stories about the British post as I have the trains. Letters (like commuter trains) seem to get through alright, but sending and receiving parcels is such a hassle. I've had an urgent special delivery parcel come back to me (they got the 'to' and 'from' addresses mixed up), and numerous others go missing en route - I'm still waiting for a birthday present that should have arrived at the end of June, which they tried to deliver whilst I was out then returned it to the depot before I could re-arrange delivery, never to be seen again. The worst of it is, if you complain, they send you 12 stamps as compensation! "Oh, we're sorry our service is rubbish. Here, use it another 12 times for free..."
Heather, Stockport, UK

It is still a great thing to be able to send a letter across the country for 21p! I wouldn't mind paying a few more pence. My mail used to be delivered before 9am, now its more like 1pm.
Dan, Harrogate

Since our regular postman retired 6 months ago and his round manned by agency staff, there has been a marked decrease the quantity and frequency of mail, particularly junk mail. It is an absolute disgrace that the country that invented the modern postal system now has a service akin to something in the third world.
Adrian Myers, Bradford

Our post is getting worse and worse- very unreliable. Things are taking ages to arrive and we can go days without mail even though we are all waiting for something important! Plus we keep getting mail which is obviously not addressed to us- makes me wonder how much of ours has ended up elsewhere!
Sarah, Bromley, UK

I live in East London and our postal service is appalling. We have gone for two weeks without a single letter before, and complaining to Royal mail gets you a book of stamps and no visible improvement. I am on the phone to them so often I should have them on my autodial!
Juliet, East London

No real problems with letters, and the parcel service is many times better than almost all of their commercial competition.
Keith Walker, Stafford, UK

Is it really that difficult? Take letters out of post-box, sort them, transport them, put them through a house letterbox. And repeat. Ad infinitum. How come it worked 50, 100 or 150 years ago, but not now? It's clearly a "people" business so scrap the hideously expensive computer systems and go back to employing enough people to do the job!
Pablo, Sunderland

On the day the latest Harry Potter came out our local post office at the time organised a special round first thing in the morning just to deliver the books. If that's not service I don't know what is.
Stephanie Clarke, Cambridge, UK

Am I the only to notice that until the government started to make the Royal Mail more efficient it actually made profit every year and gave us a good service. It seems the government is now determined to do to the postal service what they have done to directory inquiries in the name of competition.
James Newman, UK

One of the worst companies to deal with. I sent a mobile phone back for repair. I sent it recorded delivery and it was still stolen. I complained to Royal Mail and got a standard response claiming it probably had been delivered, but they had no evidence to prove it. I received a CD recently that had clearly been snapped in half. I requested compensation but haven't got an answer 2 months later... I don't trust them, and they don't care about their customers!
Phil, London

Letter from China sent 2nd August delivered 9th August. Letter from Germany sent 2nd August delivered 5th August. Postcard from Mexico sent 1st August, delivered 11th August. Letter from Sunderland to Newcastle sent 19th July delivered 31st August. Enough said!

I must admit that I have had, on the whole, a very good service from the Royal Mail. Considering the price we pay for stamps it offers excellent value for money. What some people fail to mention is that some letters are incorrectly addressed by the sender. Finally, I would point out that not all of us can expect to receive mail before 9.00am. Do you expect the postman to start deliveries at 3.00am or something?
James D, Birmingham, UK

Yes! Give them a break. I send hundreds of letters everyday from work all of which reach their intended recipients. My postman is friendly. I think the Post Office are brilliant and cannot believe people can complain given the massive amount of post which they handle.
Tracy, St Albans,

I am a postman and have been for the past 20 years and I am shocked and saddened at how our delivery system has failed us once again.
Steven , Glasgow
I am a postman and have been for the past 20 years and I am shocked and saddened at how our delivery system has failed us once again. We used to have a dedicated bunch of workers who all helped one another but now it is gone because of cutbacks.

I honestly don't know how much longer we can go on as a company where senior managers are too busy `shuffling the pack`. Bring back the old days where you got two deliveries a day and everybody was happy in their job. I for once can't understand why we made millions of profit every year then all of a sudden it's all gone to pot. Questions must be asked and answers must be given to this shambles.
Steven , Glasgow

My friend just had her wedding dress stolen. It was posted in a parcel with several other items. When the parcel arrived, the dress was gone. The thief had meticulously re-wrapped the parcel. Disgusting.
R Payne, UK

I cannot believe the rubbish that people talk to facilitate having a good moan at Royal Mail's expense
Jon Gray, Chesterfield, UK
I cannot believe the rubbish that people talk to facilitate having a good moan at Royal Mail's expense. I used to work for a despatch company and I can tell you that from 10,000 packages not one genuinely went missing! We regularly had reports from business customers that they had not received items but these invariably turned out to be stuck in their mail room. Royal Mail is the best postal service by far in the world. It's a shame that we seem to want to complain about and talk about getting rid of the last thing that actually works in this country.
Jon Gray, Chesterfield, UK

For a flat fee you can send mail from anywhere to anywhere in the British Isles and an extraordinarily low percentage is delayed by more than a day. The task is immense and no other company will deliver a better service. Nor is any other company under such scrutiny. If you looked into UPS, for example, you'd discover that customers are so used to delays that we call them OOPS. For all our sakes, the Royal Mail must survive.
Mark Fulford, Southampton, UK

Our post used to come at about 8:15 every morning, and was delivered by someone on a bike. Now, it rarely comes before 3pm, and is delivered by someone in a rented van. So much for the Royal Mail improving!
Sam Pritchard, Newbury, Berkshire, UK

I missed my cousin's wedding in Ireland this year as the invite never arrived and by the time I found out it was too late to arrange anything. Cheques go missing, and our post is completely random both in terms of length of arrival and time of delivery. Use the internet as much as possible is my advice.
George, Sanderstead, Croydon

There seems to be a developing theme in the comments posted so far, with people in more remote or rural locations valuing Royal Mail, and those in more urban areas slating the service.
Paul, London, UK
There seems to be a developing theme in the comments posted so far, with people in more remote or rural locations valuing Royal Mail, and those in more urban areas slating the service. Is this something to do with postmen being a more identifiable part of the community in smaller locations? For the record, since living in Hackney, no greetings cards with cheques or money in or packages have reached my home address. Anything that looks potentially interesting usually shows signs of having been tampered with. It's a disgrace.
Paul, London, UK

I remember my joy as a kid receiving all my birthdays' cards through the letter box on my birthday. These days you need to post days in advance to make sure they get there on time. That wonderful noise of letters all dropping through the letter box at once has gone!!
Paul Egan, Bournemouth Dorset

No. They are not delivering and when they do deliver they deliver the wrong mail
Lisa , West Hartford, Connecticut
No. They are not delivering and when they do deliver they deliver the wrong mail. I pay for my mail to be redirected to the USA and for the past two years have been receiving my mother's mail! to her dismay. Despite informing Royal Mail on numerous occasions (by telephone, by e-mail, by my mother in person at the post office and sorting office) that my mother does not wish her mail to be redirected to the USA (as she lives in the UK and always has done) Royal Mail continues to send her mail to my address in the US because we have the same surname.

To make a point and to try to stop Royal Mail sending her post to the USA she applied for 10 pounds for each piece of mail that had taken more than 10 days to be delivered to her (as per their new compensation policy as of April 04 for domestic mail that takes longer than 10 days to be delivered) only to be informed that she could not apply for this as she has her mail redirected!
Lisa , West Hartford, Connecticut!

I think the Royal Mail is just fabulous. I am from Italy where the postal service is expensive and slow. I find it astonishing that the Royal Mail can deliver 80 million items a day, as accurately as they do. Sure - they have some problems but I think it is high time we cut them some slack. The only complaint I have is the number of bills they bring me - but then that's hardly their fault.
Anita Califano, London

The mail arrives promptly. Just a shame that it is rarely mine! Still, having to swap mail all the time is a good way to meet the neighbours and build a sense of community. And at least Royal Mail is better than the Spanish postal service!
Jason, UK

Here in Cambridge, we all routinely leave at least a week for anything posted 1st class to arrive. From Dorset to Cambridge, everything seems to take 2 weeks, but at least it is consistent.
Hannah, Cambridge

I have lived in the UK, USA and Canada. The Royal mail is by far the most outstanding mail service in the world. Intercity mail in Canada and the US takes three days. Home delivery of mail is not dropped off at my home but at a super-box, clustered mailboxes on a street. You should be thankful
Philip, Ontario, Canada

I still don't know how many of my letters go missing or went to neighbour's rubbish bin
Dina, Halifax-UK
Good opportunity for me to say something about Royal mail failure. It is not a surprise to me to hear their poor performance as I was one of their victims. They delivered not once, not twice but repeatedly my mail to my neighbours, even my passport was delivered by one of the lady who knows me from our local church.

The worst scenario came in March when Royal mail delivered recorded delivery sent to me with out getting signature to the wrong address. The item was "original land registry certificate" a very valuable document sent by the bank. It was reported to the royal mail which they sent acknowledgment letter saying the individual will be subject to disciplinary procedure. The question is, it is not about individual employees it is about the whole organisation failure. I hope something will happen to clear their mess. I still don't know how many of my letters go missing or went to neighbour's rubbish bin.
Dina, Halifax-UK

No problems with mail in Bedford or Luton.
J. Rietveld, Bedford, Beds
No problems with mail in Bedford or Luton. My private mail sent and received in Bedford is always punctual and so is business and private mail sent from Luton, especially the mail I send to the continent.
J. Rietveld, Bedford, Beds.

I've lived in the UK all my life, and I moved to Oxford 2 years ago. I had never had a problem with the post office before then, and tended to be of the opinion that those who complained were simply whinging. However, since I've moved to Oxford a frightening number of my letters and parcels have gone missing. And my boyfriend had a cheque book stolen out of the post, which had a 2,000 cheque cashed from it!
Kate, Oxford

I think overall we get a good service from the Royal Mail considering the cost of posting letters, although it has been declining over the years. Just look at the postal systems of any other country and find one that even matches the service of the Royal Mail, let alone exceeds it. Having said that, I do miss the first and second post deliveries and now assume that First Class post means one to three days.
Taz, UK

I'm getting married in just under three weeks and have experienced many invites and replies going astray. One person who did not receive their invite replied twice. Neither reply has arrived at my parent's house which is less than 10 miles away from where the replies were posted. Unacceptable.
FAK, Reading, UK

The postal service needs a lot to be desired. The post arrives late most of the time. In saying that, another problem is the general appearance of the postman. Today, when the post was delivered, I thought it was someone just delivering leaflets, who could have been anybody. He did not look anything remotely like a postman. He was wearing jogging pants, a baggy casual shirt and a cap which was worn to the side. Why wasn't he wearing his uniform which is supplied by the Post Office? Standards have dropped!
WB, Cardiff, Wales, UK

I recently sent a birthday card to my brother-in-law in Glasgow that did not arrive. Unfortunately for me I had put a 20 note in it. I will certainly not be trusting Royal Mail in future!
Wendy Craig, Edinburgh, Scotland

The decline of the Royal Mail could be linked to the decline in people's behaviour. Very few people show others respect and the employees of the royal mail and other companies don't feel valued and therefore do the bare minimum work if they bother doing any at all. Until respect for others is drummed into people this problem will never be solved.
Suzy, UK

Where I live, postal service is infamously unreliable.
Anna, London
Where I live, postal service is infamously unreliable. I was on my way to the shops one afternoon recently, and just up the road drove past the postman, a young lad, chatting and laughing with three or four other boys. About an hour later, on the way home, I drove past him again and he hadn't moved! After seeing this, I consider myself lucky that I get any post at all.
Anna, London

Still waiting for my son's birthday card to arrive, sent just over a year ago from London!. When they closed our local Post Office I kind of accepted that things weren't going to get much better very soon.
Mark, Weston-super-Mare, UK

My company sends out many high value parcels and packages via royal mail and parcel force, how many have they lost in our 5 year history? None.
Andrew Baker, Kent, England
My company sends out many high value parcels and packages via royal mail and parcel force, how many have they lost in our 5 year history? None. Companies and individuals often blame royal mail when they haven't sent the goods / letters out. People are too quick to blame, yes they can be slow (very slow sometimes) yes we have to make sure the parcels are very very well packaged, but look at the cost of royal mail, and compare to any courier company, you get what you pay for!. Now don't even get me started on courier companies!
Andrew Baker, Kent, England

First class post just isn't a first class service anymore as letters simply don't get there the next day but take between 2 and 5 days. Daily collections from post boxes at 5.30 pm can't help as a letter posted in the evening loses a day sat in the post box!
D Bashforth, Christchurch, UK

I live in rural community of 3 houses. The nearest shop is 3 miles away, and every day without fail my mail is delivered, a fantastic job by the royal mail.
Tony, Betchworth
I live in rural community of 3 houses. The nearest shop is 3 miles away, and every day without fail my mail is delivered, a fantastic job by the royal mail. I do not think I would get this service if the mail was privatised (not cost effective). All the complaints I have read here are one off mistakes, get real people, for the money we have pay it's a fantastic service.
Tony, Betchworth

Is the Royal Mail delivering? Don't make me laugh! Since when has any 'service provider' with the name British, Royal or ex nationalised industry ever delivered. As soon as targets are imposed to improve service and make the service work, the unions decide they don't like that, flex their muscles and vote for strike action. Until all subsidies are removed, the unions tamed and the company made to operate at a profit or close down then we will get only a very poor service from the Royal Mail.
Alex Grundy, Horwich

I recently found a parcel under a bush in my front garden that I had been waiting several weeks for. Says it all really!
Madeline Cox, UK

I'm not setting out to defend the Royal but perhaps if they could concentrate on delivering the mail that people wanted to get rather than junk encouraging people to get further in to debt they might stand a chance of doing so on time. My post never arrives before I go to work and when I do get home and read through it it's almost all junk that goes straight in the bin (or a least in the shredder!)
Amanda, Nottingham UK

I have had post go missing in the past were my parents have forwarded wedding replies to me and this caused a great deal of extra stress
Mrs Deevey-Iliffe, Leicester

My experience of the RM has been negative. I sent a DVD with proof of postage and the package was subsequently lost. I have contacted the Royal Mail twice, have been given a reference number but never a proper response, that was over 2 months ago.
James Sidney, Milton Keynes

We do not get our mail delivered until after 12.30 everyday! I got a letter on the 27th August that was posted on the 18th August! Sometimes if it rains I swear to god the postman just wont bother to deliver
Jona Zincke, London

I've had several important letters go missing in the last year that have resulted in financial problems for me. In addition, I get post for someone in the next street with the same house number! I no longer trust that important things will get delivered at all, and always check with the sender / recipient that letters have been sent or have arrived. Thank god for email!
Phil, Nottingham

A hand full of pence to take a letter from one end of the country to the other, and pop it through someone's door! It's shockingly cheap when you think about it. Sure, they could be doing better, but still, what an achievement!
Martin, Reading, UK

My postal delivery in south west London is very good. I receive most letters the day after posting. No complaints at all although I have to swap mail with the neighbours sometimes!
Roger, UK

We pay much less than our European neighbours to send mail so perhaps we get the service we pay for?
Pete H, London
We pay much less than our European neighbours to send mail so perhaps we get the service we pay for?
Pete H, London

I am glad to see that I am not alone in my views about Royal Mail - I recently graduated in June and only got my degree last week. A neighbour from further down the street brought it to me because he thought it looked important! The date mark on the envelope was the 23/7/04 and I received it more than 1 month later!. My view of them has only recently fallen in the last 6 months dramatically - What exactly is going on in there? They need to get out of this downward spiral and fast
Mitch Rowley, Cardiff, UK

Last week I came home to find a parcel I ordered left on the doorstep, yet I live on a busy road and it was raining, luckily my goods survived but this isn't the first time it has happened! If I have to pay extra for peace of mind I will but it just shows what a poor service Royal Mail are giving to customers these days!
Paul, Camberley, England

My brother posted me two cheques in two separate envelopes within a few days of each other. That was in March - I'm still waiting in vain for either of them to arrive.
Emma, London, UK

As a Royal mail employee, I can say that the problems the Royal Mail are experiencing are the result of a hyper-unionised working environment, and years of poor management
Mark, London
As a Royal mail employee, I can say that the problems the Royal Mail are experiencing are the result of a hyper-unionised working environment, and years of poor management which mean that those currently in charge of the Royal Mail not only have to keep abreast of changes in the industry, but also catch up with several years of previous management failing to keep the business in line with the times. It is a very tough job. The Royal Mail may not be doing as well as it - or anyone else - would like, but it is doing a great job considering the circumstances.
Mark, London

It really is time to privatise the Royal Mail. Free from the "dead hand" of government, they could respond to increased competition from Dutch and German postal operators and drive up efficiency and quality of service.
James Heaphy, Guildford, UK

In the last two months, I have twice been on the receiving end of the Royal Mail's incompetence. In June, I received an anniversary card that was two months late, even though it had the complete address and a first class stamp. I was compensated with two books of first class stamps. What I find outrageous, is that an item of post is not deemed lost by the Royal Mail until 15 days have passed. I no longer trust the Royal Mail, and if I receive any post at the moment, I consider it a miracle!
Anita Rosser, Old Coulsdon, Surrey

Sorry to say I was expecting some improvements concerning mail delivery but I can only say it got worse in the last couple of months; 3 of my letters were delivered to the wrong address, I did receive neighbour's mail instead and it gets delivered really late in the afternoon. Overseas mail was received 5 days later and I can carry on. I honestly cannot see improvements being made. Is it me or quality of service is being scrapped for an annual profit?
Marie, Greenford

I posted a parcel at the beginning of Jan it should have arrived within 2 working days. 5 days later it still did not show as delivered on the PO website and after several e-mails, filling in of their on-line form -twice and claiming for refund and costs, they said they couldn't find it either. I sent all the details yet again and nothing. I tried phoning, more e-mails, completely ignored. I tried contacting Postwatch, they then contacted the PO, and they were ignored. Eventually it turned up delivered but it has taken 7 months of constant e-mails to get the postage cost refunded. Nothing for the inconveniences I had due to the missing item.
Ron Burgess, Crewe ;England

It's all very well knocking the Royal Mail's service but to a great extent their hands are tied. The price of letters is set by the regulator and this prevents them from charging a commercial price for the service. If the price of a first class stamp was increased to 50p, the service would improve drastically.
Andy Riley, Huddersfield, UK

Carrier pigeons are more reliable and cheaper to feed.
Tim Mcmahon, Pennar, Wales
I worked for royal mail for many years. In my days we had pride in what we did and the customer was the priority. Today by greedy fat cat managers we have the shambles what is now a service. I am pleased to say I left when royal mail still delivered. Carrier pigeons are more reliable and cheaper to feed.
Tim Mcmahon, Pennar/Wales

A registered letter was mailed to me from Ireland on 20 June. I could track the item via the internet to see that it left Dublin for London on 21 June. I did not receive it until 5 July. And on 28 August I received a letter mailed on 14 August. A disgraceful service and an embarrassment to the country.
Alan, London UK

The Royal Mail delivering used to be almost perfect. Now it gets worse because it is becoming more heavily duted. That's logic. It is still better than most other mail service round the world.
Issam, Newcastle

Reading between the lines of the comments, the 88.3% statistic is only half the story. It seems that people in many areas (myself included) get almost 100% delivery on-time, whereas people in "rogue" areas have a large proportion of the letters delayed or lost. We need a better breakdown of what is happening and where, rather than just an overall statistic.
Chris Q, Bradford England

I live in a rural area where they recently closed our small local sorting office. Our nearest sorting office is now a 20 mile round trip. The Royal Mail insists on delivering parcels during working hours, which is when most people are at work. They no longer leave items hidden round the back, nor will they leave them with neighbours. So getting my hands on my own property becomes problematic. And I'm fortunate, I can drive the 20 miles, I don't know what people without cars do. Complaining and escalating those complaints gets you nowhere. Service? What service?
Kate Tudor, Burghfield, Berks

Stop moaning - 21p is a bargain!
Derek Gogley, Reading, Berkshire

I live within 1 minute of the sorting office. We used to get our post at 7:30am. Now it turns up any time after 11am. They didn't abolish the second post, they got rid of the first!
Lisa, London

We have the best postal system in the world, bar none. For a few pennies you can have a letter delivered anywhere in the UK and it will mostly arrive next day. Deregulation will do to the postal service what privatisation did for the trains. Sure, there are some problems but lets address them sensibly rather than persecuting and destroying a great service.
Jon King, Cambs, UK

This is a difficult one to measure. I have ordered four packages from the same company in the last couple of weeks. This company's standard method of delivery is second class post. All four packages arrived, intact, within three working days. While it is clear that some items go astray (this has also happened to me), I think a lot of the problems are anecdotal and the Royal Mail is a convenient scapegoat for personal failings ("the cheque's in the post" is known as one of the biggest lies around).
Jonny, England

It's time to remove the Royal Mail's monopoly
Matt Fowler, Fareham, Hampshire
It's time to remove the Royal Mail's monopoly and let anyone compete for letter-post business who feels that they want to try. I'm not interested in "encouraging" them to improve their performance, I just want an alternative so I don't have to deal with them at all.
Matt Fowler, Fareham, Hampshire

The service in Guildford is appalling. I have seen full mailbags left part way round a delivery round for the Postman to return to - anyone could have tampered with the mail. Just two weeks ago I had 100 worth of DVD's that I had ordered; dumped on my doorstep (I was in). Each DVD was individually packaged and they could have posted through the letterbox - the Postman couldn't be bothered. Nor could he be bothered to wait after ringing the doorbell.....Pathetic!
Stuart, Guildford, UK

The service we are getting is disgusting. We can't trust 1st class post, so we send some items recorded. 30% of the items sent have gone missing; Special Delivery items have also gone missing. It seems ridiculous to have to pay a courier 7 just to send an important letter or document.
Ashley, London, England

I frequently send mail which turns up day's late, a majority of the counter staff don't know about the services they are meant to provide. Post dumped on the roadside or delivered to the wrong address is common place. Roll on the demise of Royal mail and the introduction of some decent alternatives
Graham Shaw, London

I live in a small village near Diss in Norfolk. Mail always arrives on time and in the 20 years I have lived here I have never had a lost letter.
Ken Smith<
I feel I have to write in support of Royal Mail. I live in a small village near Diss in Norfolk. Mail always arrives on time and in the 20 years I have lived here I have never had a lost letter. The service in the post office is exceptionally friendly and helpful. Please do not condemn the many hard working workers in this area because of problems elsewhere!
Ken Smith

Where we are the royal mail isn't even managing to deliver 80% late or early. We have missing birthday cards, opened mail, post for the wrong house and the postman sometimes delivering as late as 6:45 in the evening. It's all a shambles.
Jonathan Kelk, Dalry, Scotland

Some improvement! Our post never used to turn up particularly early in the morning, but nowadays it often doesn't arrive until the afternoon (and sometimes quite late in the afternoon). The only day it is at all likely to arrive at an acceptable time is Saturday, and I suspect that has more to do with the fact that more people are in and therefore likely to notice late deliveries than anything else.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

What I find worrying is the treatment of Special Delivery parcels. I know of a number of occasions when the Parcels have either been posted through the door without a signature being obtained or parcels have gone missing and, apparently, have been signed for and received on the Post Office records. What are we paying for? I had to send two Reading Festival tickets in the post with two weeks before the event...I was worried they wouldn't get there even by special delivery...What does that say about customer confidence/service?
MB, Derby

I'm definitely losing my trust in the Royal Mail. I've had a few things go missing in the post over the past few months - including a 3 month supply of contact lenses and a book from Amazon. In fact the book got returned to Amazon about a month after it was sent out but there had been no attempt to deliver it. I'm definitely thinking twice now before sending things if they are of any value.
Alex, London

I live about 400 yards from the sorting office and am lucky to receive first post of the day by 14:00 so I'd say the Royal Mail was a fairly hopeless case.
Bill, London, UK

If ever there was a corporation in crisis, this is it. Now we even see Royal Mail even offering bribes to its staff just to go to work. The service is just poorer and poorer. Earlier this year, the Mail announced it was abandoning 2nd deliveries as part of cost cutting. All this really means for customers is fewer deliveries, later than previously, no longer guaranteed, no appropriate reduction in price. An exchange with RM Customer services revealed they think that sending out deliveries later than usual will improve the service! As usual, the customer is the last person considered.
Nigel Cubbage, Redhill, Surrey

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