Millions of UK letters are lost in post

More than a million UK letters a month are being delivered to the wrong house, but few customers bother to complain, according to a new report.

About 14.4 million items of post are lost every year, with 60 per cent simply put through the wrong letterbox.

Postwatch said that it had received 2,000 complaints over the past year about misdelivered mail.

The consumer organisation commissioned a survey among 2,100 customers and found that half had received mail not intended for them in the past six months.

One in 20 put misdelivered mail straight in the bin, with 48 per cent delivering it themselves to the right address. A handful admitted that they had opened mail that was not theirs.

Postwatch is to encourage customers to complain to Royal Mail if they receive the wrong post. Peter Carr, its chairman, said: “It may not seem important if you get someone else’s mail, but that letter sitting in your home could mean a great deal to the person it is addressed to.”

Postwatch said that it had evidence of residents in Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland missing hospital appointments and failing to receive benefits on time because of wrong deliveries.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We halved the amount of mail loss and delay in 2002-03 from 2001-02. Only about 0.07 per cent of the 21 billion letters we handle a year were lost or substantially delayed in 2002-03.”

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