ROYAL Mail have confirmed that the widespread confusion about post collections in Duns last week was caused by an error on their part.
Local residents and businesses were alarmed when posters went up saying that collection times had been brought forward, leaving many panicking that they would not get mail delivered on time.
A number of concerned constituents got in touch with Berwickshire MSP John Lamont after seeing the new times advertised without any prior consultation.
Like them he was shocked by the move and endeavoured to get answers from the Royal Mail, commenting: “Clearly the company faces significant financial challenges but reducing the level of service offered is hardly likely to win new customers.”
But the shared concerns of politicians and residents were quashed when Royal Mail admitted that there was to be no change in collection times after all, and the widespread worry was down to a mistake made by them.
Confirming the mix up earlier this week, a Royal Mail spokesperson told The Berwickshire News: “Royal Mail is reviewing collection times at postboxes with low volumes of mail in the Duns area as part of our ongoing business plan to improve efficiency.
“In instances such as this, Royal Mail is not required to undertake public consultation. However, notification is given by advertising any changes on the relevant postbox for a recommended period of two weeks prior to any changes being introduced. Customers with any concerns to local changes are advised to contact our Customer services team on 08457 740740.
“On this occasion, the recent notification in Duns has regretfully been the result of an error and the notices have been removed. Customers will be notified of any future changes in the Duns area under the aforementioned process. Royal Mail would like to apologise profusely to our customers for any confusion caused.”
Although reassured by the Royal Mail’s admittance, John Lamont said he hoped there would not be a similar error any time soon as the volume of correspondence he received on the issue proved just how big an impact a change in collection times would have on Duns and the surrounding area.
He added: “Many residents and businesses were very concerned that the changes in the collection times would inconvenience local firms and residents in Duns who rely on an efficient and reliable postal service.
“I immediately contacted senior managers at Royal Mail’s HQ and it now appears that a mistake had been made. The notices should not have been put up on the post boxes. It is clearly unfortunate that this mistake was made and I hope that the Royal Mail will ensure that their systems are tightened up to ensure that this type of error is not made in the future.”
Mr Lamont was not the only local politician contacted when the incorrect posters went up, Michael Moore MP also took a number of calls on the issue, and pleased that the status quo would remain.
He said: “Councillor Frances Renton and I were both very concerned by the move from the Royal Mail to reduce the postal service in Duns in such a way, without any notice or consultation. I am very glad that this turned out to be an error and final collections in Duns will revert to their previous times.
“The Royal Mail did however confirm that they would be reviewing collection times for boxes with low volumes and I will certainly be in contact with them again should any significant changes occur.”