I have been charged £1 surcharge for underpaid postage – why?

Historically, Royal Mail has tried various methods to obtain the correct amount of postage on letters which were improperly stamped, such as delivering with a franked reminder, or enclosing a card for the sender to return bearing more stamps to redress the difference in postage.

Unfortunately, neither solution was successful, which led to the introduction of the £1 surcharge in 2003.

Where an address is visible on an item of mail bearing insufficient postage, it is Royal Mail’s policy to inform the recipient that an item of mail is available for collection.

This provides the customer with the choice of whether to collect the item of mail with the £1 surcharge or to refuse collection which will allow the item to be returned to the sender.

Royal Mail says that the handling charge is necessary to cover the cost of assessing the item for the correct postage and diverting it from the normal stream of mail, so that the additional postage can be requested from the recipient.  It does not represent additional profit for Royal Mail.