A Filofacts on POSTAGE

Useful summaries fm Jill Papworth and Joanne O’Connell on posting letters and parcels, Gdn, 30.11.13, filleted and added to by me …

POSTING DATES
Set up a Christmas reminder service at postoffice.co.uk. You are sent an email three days before the recommended, followed up by an optional text message one day before.

LETTERS & PACKETS
A second class stamp costs 50p; first class costs 60p, for a standard letter – which includes most greetings cards and postcards – measuring up to 24cm long x 16.5cm wide x 0.5cm thick and weighing up to 100g.
* My PS: In old money, this is 9 inches by 6.5 inches by a quarter-inch and should cover a CD in its case, provided the case is a simple one.

Bulkier envelopes measuring up to 35.3cm x 25cm x 2.5cm and weighing up to 750g come under the “large letter” format – covering items such as DVDs in their cases, some large greeting cards and most magazines. These cost 69p second class and 90p first class.
* My PS: This is just under 14 inches by just under 10 inches by one inch thick.

PARCELS
You can calculate the cost of sending larger items, based on their size and weight, at the Royal Mail’s online Price Finder service – http://www.royalmail.com/price-finder/
Prices to send parcels in the UK start from £2.60 second class, due to arrive in two to three days, and from £3 first class, due to arrive the next working day including Saturday.

Parcels are divided into three categories: small, medium and large. Once you know what it is you are sending, you can look up the cost for various posting options.

* A small parcel weighs up to 2 kgs and fits one of the following specs:
Wide option: 35 cms, by 45 cms, by 8 cms = 13.5 inches by 17.5 inches by 3 inches.
Deep option: 35 cms by 25 cms by 16 cms = 13.5 inches by 10 inches by 6 inches.
Cylinder: Up to 45cm long by 8cm in diameter = 17.5 inches by 3 inches.
For the cost of various options, see http://www.postoffice.co.uk/price-finder/

* A medium parcel weighs up to 20 kgs and fits one of the following specs:
Parcel: 61 cms by 46 cms by 46 cms = 24 inches by 18 inches by 18 inches.
Cylinder: Length of item plus twice the diameter must not exceed 104 cms (41 inches) – and the length must not exceed 90 cms (35 inches).
For the cost of various options, see http://www.postoffice.co.uk/price-finder/

* Large parcels weigh up to 30 kgs and can be up to 1.5 metres in one dimension by up to 3m total for the two other dimensions.
For pricing, see http://www.parcelforce.com/
Some smaller parcels might go cheaper by Parcelforce than by standard Royal Mail.

ALTERNATIVES
Collectplus.co.uk/ lets you drop off parcels at one of 5,250 convenience shops, which often open late. You can also opt for a courier to collect from your home.
Compare various options at sites like
myParcelDelivery, Parcel2Go and DeliveryQuoteCompare.
But mainly they are aiming at business customers, who can negotiate discounts for bulk.
CourierPoint is a re-seller of international courier services at discount prices.
You could also consider reverse auction sites, such as Shiply. You list the packages you want to send and providers compete to offer the cheapest prices.
* Find more Filofacts at
http://tinyurl.com/oscthjf/

**

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