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COMMENT: ‘Why are we at the mercy of such a dysfunctional parcel redelivery system?’

PUBLISHED: 11:45 11 February 2015

Ann Anderson of the Hornsey Pensioners' Action Group

Ann Anderson of the Hornsey Pensioners' Action Group

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

An exasperated member of Hornsey Pensioners’ Action Group on the trials and tribulations of a nonsensical operation.

"In 2013 Royal Mail was sold off at an estimated £2.2billion loss. It seems in parcel redelivery we have also lost the guaranteed universal service unless you are a driver, an internet user, or housebound with carers to open the door."

Ann Anderson

This is a story of four parcel redeliveries which reflects the contempt that privatised companies have for pensioners without a car or those of us unable, or unwilling, to use the internet.

Hornsey delivery office and collection point has shut, part of efficiency savings – but not for the customer. When I wrote to Royal Mail they were very clear that I could not use the Wood Green depot, a pleasant 15-minute walk through Alexandra Park.

They explained they did not have enough storage space for the Hornsey catchment area. Hornsey’s non-delivered parcels are now to be collected from a depot in Tufnell Park.

Parcel one contained my regular order made by telephone, as many older people are not too confident about the safety of using a debit card on line. I then set off on a trip which would have been a 20-minute walk to Hornsey depot.

As I do not drive, walking to the new depot would have probably taken 90 minutes. Fortunately I have a Freedom Pass (yes I am lucky, but this does help to support pensioners’ £40billion net contribution to the economy) and took three buses.

Parcel two arrived too near to Christmas for me to repeat such a journey so I looked at redelivery. Alas, to have it redelivered to my home address I could only choose the day, not a time slot. The alternative was to pay 75p to have it sent to Hornsey Post Office, but at least it was only a 10-minute walk.

Parcel three was different as it had been ordered online by a relative to the Hornsey Post Office address, therefore this one was free.

Parcel four was delivered through a competitor firm. Again a redelivery, this was very accessible, the pick-up point being a dry cleaner’s in Crouch End. And, unlike Royal Mail, free on collection.

In 2013 Royal Mail was sold off at an estimated £2.2billion loss. We older taxpayers paid over 50 years for its public service. It seems in parcel redelivery we have also lost the guaranteed universal service unless you are a driver, an internet user, or housebound with carers to open the door.

For more information on the group, see hornseypensionersactiongroup.org.uk.

[Haringey blogger: Ann Anderson]

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