Royal Mail announces grace period for use of definitive stamps without barcodes
By David Hartwig
Great Britain’s Royal Mail will introduce a six-month grace period following Jan. 31, 2023, for the use of definitive stamps without barcodes on mail, Matthew Parkes, managing director of stamps and collectibles at Royal Mail, said in a statement reported Nov. 13 in Mail on Sunday, the Sunday edition of the Daily Mail.
During this six-month period, mail franked with definitive stamps without barcodes will still be delivered as normal, Parkes said.
Royal Mail announced the introduction of barcodes on its definitive stamps in a Feb. 1, 2022, press release.
The postal agency said this was part of an “extensive and ongoing modernisation drive and will allow the unique barcodes to facilitate operational efficiencies, enable the introduction of added security features and pave the way for innovative services for customers.”
Royal Mail established what it calls a “Swap Out” plan for stamps without barcodes to be exchanged for new stamps with barcodes, and the postal agency originally planned to stop accepting letters franked with definitive stamps without barcodes on Jan. 31, 2023.
According to Royal Mail, customers can now send mail franked with definitive stamps without barcodes for the six months following Jan. 31, 2023, and there is no deadline for when customers can swap out stamps.
Royal Mail noted that it is free to swap out stamps, and all 31 million addresses in the United Kingdom will receive a leaflet and swap out form.
Parkes announced that the post office would also include swap out forms in order to make things easier for customers. He said the post office could then submit the forms along with any stamps without barcodes turned in by customers.
The Mail on Sunday reported that Royal Mail’s system of having customers download and print a form from the internet was unpopular among some customers.
The Mail on Sunday also said that after the six-month grace period customers will have to pay fines of up to £3.50 (approximately $4.12) to pick up mail posted with definitive stamps without barcodes.
More information on the swap out program is available from Royal Mail online.
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