Internet business slams new Royal Mail delivery surcharge

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The introduction of a new fuel surcharge for Royal Mail business customers has angered the director of a small internet company. 

From today, Royal Mail is applying a 2.5% fuel surcharge for contract parcel products.

On its website, the company says: "The application of a fuel surcharge is established practice in the parcels delivery market. Royal Mail has until now included these costs into the overall parcel price. This will bring Royal Mail in line with other parcel delivery companies who already apply a fuel surcharge."

But Ruel Taylor, operations director at phone accessories company Mobile Fun, criticised the changes as impacting disproportionately on online retailers.

"We recognise that Royal Mail is undergoing a period of change and undertaking cost saving initiatives," he said. "However, during a recession, it is unfair that loyal business customers and consumers should have to shoulder additional costs for the same services.
"If Royal Mail is to remain competitive in the long term, it must evaluate its relationship with the growing online retail sector. Every year online businesses brace themselves for Royal Mail price rises, which are frequently above the rate of inflation.
"This year we are being hit by rising costs across the board, starting with Royal Mail introducing a 2.5% fuel surcharge on deliveries. Although we receive a volume discount on Royal Mail delivery services, the addition of fuel surcharges will effectively nullify this discount.
"With the new Royal Mail pricing structure, it will become a daily battle for online retailers to keep costs down without compromising customer service and delivery times.
"Many businesses, like ours, simply do not have sufficient margins to continue offering next day delivery at an affordable low price for our customers. We have no choice now but to begin offering our customers cheaper and therefore slower delivery services, which is a bitter pill to swallow.
"We urge Royal Mail to reconsider its pricing structure and try to accommodate the needs of its business customers. We would like to continue to support Royal Mail but the increasing costs involved mean that we must consider alternatives, to continue offering best value for money to our customers."

About Dan Martin

About Dan Martin

Dan Martin has 10 years experience as a journalist writing about entrepreneurs and the issues that affect them.

After three years working as a researcher for Sky News, he joined BusinessEurope.com as a reporter. This was followed by two years working as news editor for Startups.co.uk during which time Dan also contributed to Growing Business magazine. In 2006, he joined Sift Media as business editor before being promoted to editor of BusinessZone.co.uk. He also has responsibility for UK Business Forums, the UK’s most active online forums for small business entrepreneurs. In addition, Dan founded The Pitch, BusinessZone.co.uk's nationwide competition for small business owners. He host the grand finals in 2009 and 2010 in front of an audience of 300. 

As well as interviewing many entrepreneurs, Dan has written content for leading business organisations such as the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, British Chambers of Commerce, Forum of Private Business, Investors in People and Business Link for London. Among the publications that have quoted Dan are The Times, Mail On Sunday, Financial Times, Personnel Today and Bristol Evening Post. His articles have also been published by publications including eGov Monitor, Virgin Express in-flight magazine and Personal Success.

Dan regularly speaks at events about small business and social media issues. Among the events he has presented at are the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies' annual conference, Learning Technologies, Publishing Expo and World of Learning. He has also chaired high profile debates featuring senior representatives from Business Link and the Federation of Small Businesses and Dragons' Den judge James Caan.

Dan was named the 10th most influential political blogger on Twitter by the Independent and won the public award for best B2B tweeter at the Golden Twits 2010. He also organised the Bristol Twestival, part of a global Twitter driven charity initiative, in February 2009 and March 2010. Volunteers from 175 cities around the world organised events using the social network. In total, $350,000 was raised for charity: water in 2009 and $500,000 for Concern in 2010. In Bristol, £1,500 and £5,600 was raised.

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