Royal Mail customer on how company 'sold on' his medals
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After Ruth and David Lincoln, from Suffolk, were devastated when thieves broke into their church and stole around £70,000 worth of antique silver back in 2017, the couple used some of the insurance money to commission a silversmith to create new pieces.
These items included two chalices and a baptism bowl and the silverware was sent to St Peter’s Church in three parcels using Royal Mail’s special delivery service.
However, two of the parcels arrived but the third – believed to contain around £80,000 worth of silver – never turned up.
Despite the Royal Mail claiming no one was in when they had tried to deliver the last parcel, the couple said they did not receive a missed delivery card, according to BBC’s Rip Off Britain.
The postage service said it would be returned to the sender but it never found its way back to the artist.
After telling the couple the parcel may have gone to the last property depot in Northern Ireland, they said there were too many parcels to double-check.
Following publicity in the local newspaper, the Royal Mail found the parcel in an auction house in Guilford, Surrey, where it was about to go under the hammer.
In a similar case, Mark Johnson, a former soldier, lost his two war medals at a funeral but luckily a friend found them and sent them to him in the post.
Despite his friend using the Royal Mail’s signed for, first-class delivery, the medals never arrived and were returned to the sender.
The precious medals were not seen again until an army friend spotted them for sale on eBay – where the seller claimed to have bought them at a Royal Mail auction.
The former army veteran said he was “upset” but managed to be reunited with his prized possessions following help with the police.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “The overwhelming majority of mail we handle is delivered safely to the correct address.
“If a recipient is not at home when we attempt delivery, and we cannot leave the item with a neighbour, a card is left informing them that their item has been forwarded to the local delivery office to be collected at a convenient time.
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“In the case of non-collection from a delivery office, the item is returned to the sender after 18 calendar days, where there is a sender’s address.
“If there is no sender’s address on the outside of the item, it will be sent to our National Returns Centre (NRC), which is based in Northern Ireland.”
The spokesperson added: “Only if an item has not been claimed and all other options have been exhausted, would we auction valuable items that cannot be returned in order to partially pay the considerable cost involved in seeking to reunite customers with their items.”
According to consumer rights group Which?, all courier firms auction off parcels, not just Royal Mail.
Parcels are sold to recoup the money spent trying to track them down, the BBC reported.
One in five people have had a delivery go missing that has cost them financially, according to Which?
If a parcel has gone missing or is lost or delayed, a customer may be able to claim compensation from Royal Mail.
However, someone will only be eligible for compensation if it was posted in the UK and sent using a Royal Mail service.
Either the sender or the recipient is able to make a claim.
But it is easier for the sender to claim as they are likely to have the necessary evidence, including proof of postage.
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