New Royal Mail process for underpaid franked mail charges

Franked mail envelope

Royal Mail’s new, simplified method for collecting underpaid franked mail charges for Mailmark® franking machines means that Franking Sense franking machine customers will now be paying significantly less if you make an error when franking your mail and do not put enough payment on your mail piece. The new system will also save you considerable time and inconvenience.

If you underpay, you will no longer receive a letter from Royal Mail with a reply card to frank with the underpaid amount. Instead, under the new system, which is now in operation, the total underpaid amount plus a greatly reduced admin fee will be automatically collected by your franking machine manufacturer directly from your franking machine postage account (the account from which you top up your franking machine). The full details of the underpaid amount and total collected for each underpayment will be itemised on your postage account invoice.

Under the old manual process, there was a different charge for domestic and international charges. With the new automated process, the charge has been reduced and standardised for all franked mail underpayments, whether your underpayment relates to domestic mail or international mail.

The new Royal Mail underpayment charges are as follows:

Royal Mail underpaid franked mail charges

How does the new simplified process work?

The new simplified and automated process has been made possible thanks to information stored in the Mailmark® frank. During the sortation process, if Royal Mail identify from the frank that you have accidentally underpaid on an item or items of your franked mail, they will capture the details of the underpayment and your mail will be sent to its recipient. The details of the underpayment will then be transferred using a secure link by Royal Mail on a weekly basis to your franking machine manufacturer who will deduct the underpayment amount and the charge above from your postage account and show the details of the underpayments on your postage account invoice. The invoice will show the date, the number of items underpaid, the adjustment type and the total underpaid amount and admin fee.

Please be aware that, although your franking machine manufacturer will be providing details of the underpayment amount paid, neither they nor Franking Sense will be able to answer questions about the underpayments themselves as the details of the underpayment captured by Royal Mail during sortation are held securely by Royal Mail. Furthermore, the only information captured by Royal Mail and transferred to your franking machine manufacturer is the meter die (the unique identification number associating your Royal Mail licence and your franking machine) and the actual error data related to the underpayment. Neither Franking Sense nor the machine manufacturers have access to data about the actual error.

What do I do if I think a charge has been made in error?

If you believe a mistake has been made and that you shouldn’t have been charged for an underpayment, you can call Royal Mail on 08456 113 111.

In the very rare event that the underpayment has been charged incorrectly, the underpayment amount and the charge will be refunded and, as per the underpayment itself, the refund will appear in your franking machine postage account.

What can I do to avoid underpayment?

The best way to be avoid underpayments on your franked mail is to ensure that all team members responsible for preparing and sending your post are suitably trained. At Franking Sense we always provide free franking machine training for all your staff members at the point of installation. Post-installation, we are always happy to provide advice if you have a query about any aspect of franking – however simple the question might be. We are just a phone call away.

There is also an excellent resource on the Royal Mail website about how to prepare and post your franked mail. Royal Mail franked mail support hub.

Here are a few tips for ensuring that you avoid underpayments on your franked mail:

  • Separate your mail by size and destination before you start to frank it. If you are unsure how to categorise your mail by size, you can find details on the Royal Mail Size Guide page.
  • Why not print the size guide and display it by your franking machine so your team have an at-a-glance guide right where they need it?
  • Be sure to train new team members or staff covering for holidays.
  • If you send both domestic and international mail, avoid mixing domestic and international mail by setting up a separate domestic mail and international mail in-tray. Also, please note that one of the most common mistakes people make is to frank mail destined to the Republic of Ireland as domestic when it is actually international.

Even if you take all of the steps above, there will still inevitably be the odd mistake made. However if underpayment is happening on a large number of your items, Royal Mail will try to get in touch with you as soon as possible to make you aware that there may be a more serious problem. If this happens, Franking Sense will be happy to help you to resolve any issues you may be having.

If you need any further information on the new Royal Mail underpayment process, please don’t hesitate to contact us.