World Stamps

Royal Mail to pause fines for counterfeit stamps

May 2, 2024, 8 AM

By David Hartwig

Great Britain’s Royal Mail announced April 29 that it would temporarily pause collecting fines for mail sent with suspected counterfeit stamps.

According to the Telegraph newspaper, the move comes after growing complaints from recipients of letters who were fined £5 despite the stamps being purchased from legitimate sources.

Royal Mail raised the fine for mail found with no postage or a counterfeit stamp from £2.50 to £5 in October 2023.

Royal Mail also said it would increase efforts to charge the senders of items with counterfeit stamps rather than the recipients.

Royal Mail plans to reinstate the fines once a counterfeit stamp scanner is developed in the Royal Mail smartphone app. According to Royal Mail, customers using the app will be able to scan a stamp’s barcode to check if it is a recognized counterfeit.

While the scanner for the phone app is in development, Royal Mail will apply stickers to mail with suspected counterfeit stamps advising the recipient that the stamp has been scanned as a counterfeit.

Royal Mail also announced April 29 that it would add an independent stamp expert to its team of specialists, who will verify a stamp’s status as a part of an escalation process for customer complaints.

According to Royal Mail, the expert’s decision will be “fully independent of Royal Mail and the judgement binding.”

Royal Mail said that the number of counterfeit stamps in its network has already been reduced by 90 percent since the introduction of barcoded stamps. Royal Mail added that more than 1.5 million counterfeit stamps have been seized.

Nick Landon, Royal Mail’s chief commercial officer, said: “The combination of new barcoded stamps with added security features and Royal Mail actively working with retailers, online marketplaces and law enforcement authorities, has led to a 90% reduction in counterfeit stamps.

“We want our customers to buy stamps with confidence and always recommend that customers only purchase stamps from Post Offices and other reputable High Street retailers, and not to buy stamps online — unless from the official Royal Mail shop.”

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