Is Royal Mail Revenue Protection into Revenue Creation?

I recently received not one but two Fee To Pay Notices from Royal Mail, a rare event indeed.

Both were for pieces of pre-paid or franked post that would normally be redirected with no problems. The reason for both was that the sender didn't pay full postage: yet clearly in both cases this was not true.

It wasn't a redirection problem: because one of the pieces actually had a name and address which had a Redirection Service on it but had not been redirected correctly, with the poor owner of our old home writing 'please send to' notices for some time now.

It seems that the Royal Mail has picked up a business practice that is akin to the European Lottery scam: a "send a notice that tells you have won a prize, but you will need to pay to find out what kind" scam.

Gone are the days when the post-person would knock on your door and show you the piece of mail to which you can pay the fee - so giving you the choice to accept the item and the opportunity to dispute the charge.

But now that has gone: you are left with 3 choices. Pay online, add postage to the card to the value of the fee or visit the sorting office in person. The first two give you no opportunity to reject the mail or dispute the fee; whilst the last assumes you can get to a sorting office at a much lesser expense than the cost of the fee. The expense has to be zero in time, fares or petrol if the mail were to be rejected or the fee incorrectly applied.

These are the tactics of a scam operation: knowing you cannot visit their premises without cost, you are not given any means to determine whether the money you pay will legitimately provide you with what you thought was on offer.

On the second occasion I phoned the sorting office to find out what was going on - and they simply apologised and marked the Surcharge as Paid and delivered it the next day.