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Royal Mail finally vows to investigate fake stamp farce after hundreds of Britons were wrongly fined £5 to receive letters sent using stamps that postal service claims are ‘counterfeit’


Royal Mail has vowed to investigate a problem with barcoded stamps after hundreds of Britons were wrongly fined to receive letters sent using stamps the postal service deemed counterfeit.   

People have complained they are receiving £5 penalties to collect post because Royal Mail considered the stamps on them fake. 

The problem comes after Royal Mail switched exclusively to a barcoded system in July 2023. 

According to postmasters, the allegedly counterfeit stamps were purchased from a Royal Mail shop directly, sparking fears they are being wrongly considered fake, the Telegraph reported. 

The newspaper understands a formal investigation has not started yet but Royal Mail told ministers it is working with retailers to get to the bottom of the issue. 

Royal Mail has vowed to investigate a problem with new barcoded stamps after hundreds of Britons were wrongly fined

Royal Mail has vowed to investigate a problem with new barcoded stamps after hundreds of Britons were wrongly fined

Peter May from Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire, was sent a letter that had a fake stamp on it and had to pay to collect it

Peter May from Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire, was sent a letter that had a fake stamp on it and had to pay to collect it

People have complained they are receiving £5 penalties to collect post because Royal Mail considered the stamps on them fake

People have complained they are receiving £5 penalties to collect post because Royal Mail considered the stamps on them fake

Post office minister Kevin Hollinrake said: ‘We spoke to Royal Mail and they are investigating and they are working alongside the Post Office and other retailers to try and ascertain the source of the problem.’ 

Royal Mail recently said it used ‘specialist equipment’ to check whether a stamp is genuine. 

The Post Office said any claims that the fake stamps were purchased at one of its stores were ‘extremely serious’ as it suggested a member of staff or postmaster had swapped legitimate Royal Mail stamps with fake alternatives. 

The chairman of one postmaster campaign group said: ‘It goes without saying that postmasters do not want to have to deal with false accusations about something else.’ The campaigner was seemingly making reference to those wrongly convicted during the Horizon IT scandal. 

Barcoded stamps became compulsory in July last year, after which some customers started complaining about being accused of using fake stamps. 

A spokesperson for the Post Office said: ‘Any allegation that fake stamps have been purchased at a Post Office are extremely serious. 

‘Any customer who thinks they may have purchased a fake stamp from a Post Office must produce an itemised receipt so that this can be looked into further.’

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: ‘We work closely with retailers and law enforcement agencies, and actively seek the prosecution of those who produce counterfeit stamps. We reaffirmed that policy to the minister today.’  



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