Warning: Stamps that say '1st' or '2nd' class are going to become unusable from 31 January 2023

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expressman33
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Warning: Stamps that say '1st' or '2nd' class are going to become unusable from 31 January 2023

Post by expressman33 » Thu Feb 10 2022 8:34pm

Royal Mail is shaking up the rules on stamps, so if you've got a stash that say '1st' or '2nd' class on them then by 31 January 2023 you'll no longer be able to simply stick 'em on a letter and use them. This is because Royal Mail is moving to a new barcode system, which these stamps don't have.

If you try to use these stamps – which impacts all those with the Queen's head on them that say '1st' or '2nd' class, or any other price, or they're Christmas-themed – after this cut-off date they will not be valid and you will have to pay a surcharge. Though Royal Mail is yet to confirm what this surcharge is or how it will work in practice.

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/ ... year-to-u/

Royal Mail will let you 'swap out' these stamps for free
You will, however, be able to exchange current stamps for barcoded ones for free under Royal Mail's new 'Swap Out' scheme, which opens on 31 March 2022 and will run until 31 March 2023.

To do this, you just need to fill in a 'Swap Out' form from its website (the page isn't live yet), or call it, or get one from a local delivery office (not a post office though). You'll then have to post back the stamps you want to swap to a Freepost address. We're waiting to find out if there are any limits on the numbers you can swap and if you're covered for non-delivery.

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Re: Warning: Stamps that say '1st' or '2nd' class are going to become unusable from 31 January 2023

Post by blythburgh » Fri Feb 11 2022 10:37am

So hard for some to do this. Why cannot they be swapped at a Post Office????
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Re: Warning: Stamps that say '1st' or '2nd' class are going to become unusable from 31 January 2023

Post by rayf » Fri Feb 11 2022 3:56pm

I think this is out of order. They are not living up to their obligations. Also why is there a time limit on doing the 'swap'.
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Re: Warning: Stamps that say '1st' or '2nd' class are going to become unusable from 31 January 2023

Post by macliam » Fri Feb 11 2022 5:36pm

I wonder whether this is actually legal......

When you buy a stamp you prepay for delivery - and that makes a contract between you and Royal Mail.

If Royal Mail wish to change the contract, it is up to them to take the hit, not the customer. However, they seem to be working under the delusion that, like the bank of England, they can change their token and limit the customer's scope to use the ones they have.

I see no reason why the introduction of new technology should alter the service offered - but do you think the government or whatever "agency" is responsible for this private sinkhole called Royal Mail to force them to meet customer requirements?
Last edited by macliam on Fri Feb 11 2022 10:18pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Warning: Stamps that say '1st' or '2nd' class are going to become unusable from 31 January 2023

Post by Sarah » Fri Feb 11 2022 6:01pm

Yes, I was thinking that too. This might be at least as much about removing pre-paid obligations from their balance sheet, as it is about fighting fraud.
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Re: Warning: Stamps that say '1st' or '2nd' class are going to become unusable from 31 January 2023

Post by pabenny » Sat Feb 12 2022 8:55am

macliam wrote:
Fri Feb 11 2022 5:36pm
I wonder whether this is actually legal......

When you buy a stamp you prepay for delivery - and that makes a contract between you and Royal Mail.
I doubt the contractual status of a postage stamp has ever been tested in law - but I suggest that they are more akin to a gift token than a prepayment. We're used to the idea that gift tokens expire, so why not stamps?

Sarah wrote:
Fri Feb 11 2022 6:01pm
... This might be at least as much about removing pre-paid obligations from their balance sheet...
If I trade old stamp for a new one, the pre-paid obligation remains. They only win insofar as stamps go unconverted. Most of those are probably in collectors' albums and were never going to be stuck on a letter.
blythburgh wrote:
Fri Feb 11 2022 10:37am
So hard for some to do this. Why cannot they be swapped at a Post Office????
Whilst I appreciate your concern for others, how many people do you think (a) can't download a form and post it and (b) will still have stamps they need to trade in in a year's time. And how many of us want to be stuck in a PO queue behind someone with a vast number of different stamps to swap.

That said, while most people can access the form, many don't have access to a printer. We at least need the form to be available from POs.
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Re: Warning: Stamps that say '1st' or '2nd' class are going to become unusable from 31 January 2023

Post by Sarah » Sat Feb 12 2022 9:42am

pabenny wrote:
Sat Feb 12 2022 8:55am
If I trade old stamp for a new one, the pre-paid obligation remains. They only win insofar as stamps go unconverted. Most of those are probably in collectors' albums and were never going to be stuck on a letter.
I assume there'll be significant breakage though. I have lots of unused stamps (books, sheets and collector sets) so it's going to be an inconvenience to exchange all that need to be replaced and even being pro-active it could be easy to miss some of them. If they impose limits on swaps or make it problematic in other ways, I shall be unhappy about it. Stamp dumping on ebay will presumably increase over the next 12 months and potentially drop prices.
Last edited by Sarah on Sat Feb 12 2022 2:31pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Warning: Stamps that say '1st' or '2nd' class are going to become unusable from 31 January 2023

Post by pabenny » Sat Feb 12 2022 12:29pm

A lot of the detail has yet to be published - and the exchange scheme does not open until the end of March. It does however say on the RM website that 'Special Stamps' (as they now call them) will remain valid.
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Re: Warning: Stamps that say '1st' or '2nd' class are going to become unusable from 31 January 2023

Post by Trustee » Wed Feb 16 2022 6:40pm

The elephant in the room -->

Universal service: Royal Mail is required by law to maintain the universal service, whereby items of a specific size can be sent to any location within the United Kingdom for a fixed price, not affected by distance. The Postal Services Act 2011 guaranteed that Royal Mail would continue to provide the universal service until at least 2021.
Can it be too far off when the highlands and islands are required to pay more?
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Re: Warning: Stamps that say '1st' or '2nd' class are going to become unusable from 31 January 2023

Post by poland71 » Fri Feb 18 2022 8:21pm

Similar situation it seems with rogue 1st and 2nd class stamps as there was with the old £1 round coin.

Counterfeiting must be hitting the bottom line. Royal Mail are doing what the other 'RM' (Royal Mint) did, call them all in and start again with better anti-counterfeiting measures in place. Who knows what this little bar code/QR code will contain? It could be sophisticated enough to show that once a stamp has passed through the postal system and managed not to be franked at the other end, then that stamp can't be removed and reused. How much is RM losing this way?
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