Royal Mail suspends counterfeit stamp fines, following Chinese surge

Royal Mail has confirmed that stamp prices will rise again, marking the fourth increase in the past two years for first-class letter postage.

Royal Mail has announced a temporary suspension of £5 fines imposed on individuals who receive mail with counterfeit stamps, responding to concerns over the surge in fake stamps, particularly from China.

Reports indicate that the switch to a barcode-based system has led to an increase in fraudulent stamps, prompting complaints from customers who were penalized for unwittingly collecting post with bogus stamps.

To address the issue, Royal Mail is introducing measures such as developing a new counterfeit stamp scanner in its app, allowing customers to verify the authenticity of barcodes. Additionally, stickers will be applied to items with counterfeit stamps to alert recipients, and efforts will be intensified to charge senders of items with counterfeit stamps rather than recipients.

Fraudulent stamps from China have been a major source of complaints, with accusations of economic warfare stemming from the alleged influx of millions of counterfeits into Britain. The problem intensified after the transition to barcoded stamps last July, with small retailers reportedly unknowingly purchasing forgeries in bulk.

In response to concerns, Royal Mail is bolstering its efforts, including adding an independent expert to verify stamp authenticity and strengthening partnerships with retailers and online marketplaces to combat the sale of counterfeit stamps. Despite reports of Chinese suppliers offering to print counterfeit Royal Mail stamps, the Chinese embassy in London has dismissed the claims as “absurd.”

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 per cent 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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Royal Mail suspends counterfeit stamp fines, following Chinese surge