Feeds

Royal Mail double-dip billing bug enrages stocking-filling biz

Not the best time for postage screw-ups, admit bosses

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Royal Mail apologised on Thursday for the resurgence of technical problems that have bedevilled the website over recent weeks.

The SmartStamp and Online Postage applications are both playing up at the worst possible time of year as business customers rush to get Christmas mail out the door. About 600 of the 30,000 SmartStamp and Online Postage customers were told transactions had failed when in fact they had gone through, resulting in double payments when they retried. Business customers were left an average of £50 out of pocket as a result.

Royal Mail promises to refund customers affected by the billing cock up as well as providing a £25 goodwill payment by way of an apology. Some customers have also paid for postage that has then not printed out. Others have not been able to see the result of a top up to their pre-pay account. Clients paying via PayPal for postage, however, have been unaffected.

The UK's postal service says other services on the Parcelforce Worldwide and Post Office’s websites are "largely unaffected by these difficulties".

Capgemini, which manages the Royal Mail website, is looking into the problems, the root cause of which remains unclear at the time of writing. It's unclear when the affected services will be restored to normal.

In a statement jointly issued by the chief execs of CapGemini and Royal Mail, both bosses apologised for the snafu.

"Royal Mail and Capgemini would like to sincerely apologise for the disruption at this key time of the year for our customers. We do really appreciate the level of inconvenience this is causing some of our SmartStamp and Online Postage customers," the statement said, in part.

"We will keep you updated about our progress as we strive to restore services to normal."

Reg readers tell of Royal Mail fail

The problem was first brought to our attention on Wednesday afternoon by a number of Reg readers hit by glitches.

"Royal Mail website is still broken and the Smartstamp system is now unable to add up," reader Steve told us. "It took £10.91 for a £1.86 stamp just now. Other are twittering that this has occurred to them - and if you ring the Smartstamp helpline you now just get a recorded message and get cut off."

"There is a few pissed off small businesses," he concluded.

Technical issues with the Royal Mail website first surfaced late last month when the whole website went awry on a Sunday, with problems in using the Smartstamp service for printing postage persisting well into Monday. Royal Mail's electronic redirection website wasn't finally restored until Thursday - after three full working days of problems.

Royal Mail eventually blamed problems migrating to a new website platform was last month's troubles. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.