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Now Post Office branches hit by computer glitches

Xmas queue misery after Royal Mail's web fail

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Computer glitches reduced Post Office branch services to a crawl on Monday.

The Post Office network was knocked for six in two 30-minute periods, leading to long queues on one of the busiest posting days in the run-up to Christmas. The bugs coincided with problems accessing services on the Post Office website.

The Post Office has apologised for the glitch, telling the BBC that services have been restored across its network of 11,800 branches. The Post Office handles pension and benefit payments, driving licence applications and other services as well as letters and parcels.

El Reg has heard that French technicians are beING brought over to sort out the Post Office's problems.

Government-backed watchdog Consumer Focus Is to complain about the incident, which follows the collapse of the Post Office's banking payment network back in July.

In a statement, Andy Burrows, head of Post Offices & Essential Community Services at Consumer Focus, said: "We are extremely concerned that this is the second nationwide computer failure in post offices in less than six months. This will have caused major disruption for consumers at the busiest time of the year for the Post Office."

"People rely upon the Post Office not just for mail services but also to access cash and much needed pensions and benefits. We will be taking up our concerns with Post Office Limited as a priority," he added.

Last week Royal Mail confessed that it had charged business customers twice for online postal services. It promised to refund overcharged clients as well as paying a £25 goodwill payment. The problems centred on a failure of the SmartStamp application to notify users that transactions had gone through, leading to customers retrying and repaying, as well as issues in topping up accounts and accessing Price Finder, an online postage application.

A Post Office spokesman said that problems affecting its network were unrelated to those that nobbled Royal Mail's website services last week.

In a statement issued on Monday, Royal Mail said it was continuing to work closely with Capgemini, which manages the Royal Mail website on its behalf, to restore services to normal. ®

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