Royal Mail has been hit with a £5.6 million fine by Ofcom for major breaches of its first and second-class delivery targets.
The regulator said this marks a “wake-up call” for the company.
Ofcom revealed Royal Mail’s failure to meet its obligations had caused “considerable harm” to customers.
The regulator also accuses the postal service of not addressing the issue adequately.
Royal Mail’s delivery performance has fallen well below standards as it faces challenges like a prolonged industrial dispute and bad weather.
Royal Mail only delivered 73.7 percent of first-class mail
In 2022-23, it delivered just 73.7 percent of first-class mail on time.
90.7 percent of second-class mail met the stipulated targets.
Even accounting for exceptional events like the industrial strike and weather disruptions, Royal Mail still fell short of expectations.
Ian Strawhorne, Ofcom’s director of enforcement, said: “Clearly, the pandemic had a significant impact on Royal Mail’s operations in previous years.
“But we warned the company it could no longer use that as an excuse, and it just hasn’t got things back on track since.”
Royal Mail, admitting liability, must pay the fine, which includes a 30 percent reduction, to the Treasury within two months.
This isn’t the first time Royal Mail has faced penalties for service shortcomings.
In 2020, Ofcom fined the firm £1.5 million for failing to meet its first-class delivery target in 2018-19.
Ofcom also investigated claims Royal Mail prioritised parcel delivery over letters, finding no evidence of senior management doing so.
However, it expressed concern about insufficient control and oversight in certain delivery offices.
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The regulator urged the company to enhance training for local managers.
Ofcom pledged the firm to closely monitor its performance and corrective measures moving forward.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We are very disappointed with our quality of service performance.
“We take our commitment to delivering a high level of service seriously and are taking action to introduce measures to restore quality of service to the level our customers expect.”