Royal Mail fined 158,000 people for ‘fake’ stamps before finally pausing penalties

Royal Mail fined close to 160,000 customers for counterfeit stamps before the penalty was dropped over fears they were wrongly applied. The postal service collected £686,000 in fines from 158,000 customers in a nine-month period between July 2023 and March this year but maintains it did not profit from the surcharges. In that period, the fine doubled from £2.50 to £5 as Royal Mail introduced new barcode scanners to identify fake stamps in delivery offices nationwide. Royal Mail suspended the controversial penalties last month after a Telegraph campaign revealed a number of fines may have been incorrectly issued. Whistleblowers at the time said they feared mistakes were being made – with genuine stamps ruled fakes – and said staff were using Google to identify counterfeits due to a lack of training. In March, The Telegraph also revealed that China was flooding Britain with counterfeit stamps in what security experts described as an “act of economic warfare”. Royal Mail disclosed the total number of penalties issued after Labour MP Liam Byrne, who is chairman of the Business and Trade Committee, wrote to the firm’s new chief executive Emma Gilthorpe demanding answers in light of the public concern. However in his response...

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