Jeez, what a start to the year this has been, eh? Buckle in, as this is going to be a long one…
As many of you know, Royal Mail’s International services have been heavily impacted by strike action, which was then later compounded by a Cyber Attack. This has led to a lot of orders we have sent, going back as far as November, being delayed. We really want to thank you all for your patience throughout this, we know it hasn’t been ideal. However, we do have good news.
So what has been going on? Well, at the end of last year Royal Mail workers held a series of strikes around pay and contracts. We are really supportive of these strikes as quite frankly, they need to be treated better. However, this led to a backlog of items building up at collection depots across the country.
Just to clear things up, as we have had a couple of people ask, Royal Mail collected ALL of the orders we sent out despatch notices for. We know when you log onto the tracking the message you get is “We're expecting it - The sender has let us know they have despatched your item.”. This is not true. Royal Mail have the items and they are being held in their depots. We also asked them to return these items to us so we could send, at our expense, via other couriers. However Royal Mail told us that this was not possible.
Then in January the Cyber attack hit. This happened on the 10th of January, but Royal Mail did not tell customers and businesses until many days later and continued to collect orders after this point. The Cyber Attack impacted was directed at Royal Mail’s customs system, so they could not submit any customs data to destination countries. This is why those lucky enough to make it out of the UK and have tracking update may have seen it stuck in customs for a while.
Why has it taken us (Vice Press) to tell us this, we hear you cry! Well, quite simply, Royal Mail did not tell us. One of our co-owners James has been doing the rounds on TV and Radio over the past few days, appearing on BBC TV and Radio to talk about the subject. As a result of this our case has been escalated to the Commercial Resolution Team. This is where we have been provided this information. Royal Mail’s CEO has also been called in front of MPs to talk about the situation and has been as evasive with them as Royal Mail have been with businesses and customers - something we hope he is held accountable for.
That is all well and good, but where is my goddamn poster? Here is the good news. We have been assured that ALL items have been located and are now starting to work their way through the system. Some of you may already have had updates when you log onto tracking. For those of you who haven’t, we do just ask a little bit more patience. Royal Mail are also still not fully updating their system and you may even still get the “We’re Expecting It” message. However, if you head to the tracking page of their local delivery partner which we will provide a link for in a minute, enter your tracking there, you may have an update. (Please remember, it may say we received your item on the xx of January. This isn’t the case, RM had it since the day we sent your despatch email).
Here is the link - https://www.royalmail.com/sending/international/international-tracked-signed/delivery-partners
In a nutshell - your orders are on their way!
How are we going to avoid this moving forward and make it up to you folks?
First, we have been in discussion with other Global Delivery Partners and will be adding in services such as UPS, DHL Global Mail which both offer services similarly priced to Royal Mail. We will still have DHL Global Express too, for those who want a super speedy but pricier service. For some countries we will still offer Royal Mail International. However this will be limited.
While this hasn’t been our fault and we have done everything we can to push things along, customers also should not suffer and should have the best service possible.
Royal Mail have asked us to ask customers to allow a further 30 working days for delivery of items. So in total it would be 62 working days (excluding weekends and bank holidays) from when we first sent your order despatch email. If you haven’t had your item by that point, we will replace the item and send by another service where possible, or refund your order in full.
Again, we really do thank you for your patience here. We are really very grateful to have such an awesome customer and collector base!
All the best
James, Matt and the VP Team
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