Posting Your Debt Letters

I am very keen on writing letters. I think it is much easier to make your points clearly and get them across. Also it is by far the best record you can make of your debt experience, and how your creditor is behaving.

But it has just been brought home to me that delivery of those letters is equally important. And this is because of an experience I am in the middle of.

In the afternoon of August 12 I sent important papers related to a debt by Recorded Signed For from our local sub-Post Office. I was assured that this would go with the Royal Mail collection man who was bustling around at the time.

It is some time since I used recorded delivery—as it used to be known—and then it cost 88p and I was able to track the course of its progress online, and it was delivered by the third day.

This time I paid £1.50 and online only reveals when it has been delivered and signed for. I am still getting “Come Back Later”, and today is August 22. As a comfy ride for Royal Mail you cannot query its delivery until 20 working days have passed—which in this case means September 1.

Normally, for cost reasons if nothing else, I sent letters—debt or otherwise—by straight first or second class, according to my sense of urgency. I cannot think of one that has not been reliably delivered, and usually within one, two or three days.

I am quite convinced now that this is lost. And, one other sign of Royal Mail’s self love and contempt for its customers; you cannot contact a live human being in the operation. Usually when something like this happens I write to the Chief Executive Officer and complain to the Office of Fair Trading.

But I will have to wait a bit longer before anyone will listen to me. Lucky it wasn’t done because of time constraint. But when the importance is to be sure it arrives this kind of service seems to me the very worst of what British is all about.

So, while I might have recommended using this signed for system for really important papers, I cannot recommend it any longer. Especially not when some aspect of your debt negotiations has serious time constraints.

Within a realistic price structure I do not know of any alternative way to be secure in the knowledge of delivery. I would say it is worth checking with the recipient.

But then again the big creditors have two problems for debtors. First I have found that the internal distribution service can hold mail up for a week. Second it is not easy to know where the letter has gone to unless you have addressed it to a named individual.

So I can now say with some certainty that I will in future be sending my mail by ordinary post, and my best suggestion to you is that you do the same.

Joseph Harris
Debt Control Man

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