I need to send a letter to the Open University in Milton Keynes that must arrive by September 29th. If it doesn't arrive on time I might fail a course that I have put a tremendous amount of effort into over the past twelve months.
If I send the work by first class mail with a 39p stamp it should arrive at the university's offices tomorrow morning. By buying a first class stamp which should enable delivery within 36 hours one would have thought that I am entering into a contract with the Royal Mail to provide the service that I am paying for.
To guarantee that the work does arrive on time to be marked and accredited I have to pay a whopping £5.40 Special Delivery fee. If any other business charged more than 13 times the basic price of a service in order to guarantee that a job that they have promised to do is done, they would be bankrupt within days.
So how does the Royal Mail get away with such a rip-off?
The Royal mail claims that about 95% of its first class mail does arrive on time. Which makes one wonder if the 5% deficiency is caused by systems failures, or if it is part of a cynical attempt to raise doubts in order to force people to pay an extra £5+ for a service that should be guaranteed for 39p!