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Royal Mail International Shipment Delays - More Information Here
|Tuesday, 21 February 2023 15:36|
Here at Seed City we have been operating for roughly 12 years now. We have spent a great deal of time and energy building a reputation as an honest and reliable place where customers from all around the world can buy their seeds. We have always dealt with our customers as we ourselves like to be dealt with and this is not just the moral thing to do but also good business! This is why it has been so upsetting to us that our delivery times have been hampered by the issues with Royal Mail and that we have unwittingly let down a portion of our customers who ordered during this period. We thought we would go into some detail about the issues that Royal Mail have experienced so that we can point customers here to give them a full run-down of the situation.
For a general rundown of the situation please see this article from The Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/feb/21/royal-mail-international-deliveries-cyber-attack-ransom-strikes
In short, Royal Mail were already experiencing delays with international packages due to the staff strikes around Christmas of last year and were just clearing this when they were hit by a Cyber Attack on or around the 10th January 2023. This Cyber Attack locked them out of the system which sends customs information from the sending country (UK) to the receiving country. They were quickly able to sort out a workaround and were able to accept new packages for international delivery around the 25 January 2023. Unfortunately this system could only be used when booking postage online rather than handing packages over to the Post Office. This is because when booked online, the customs information is passed directly to the receiving country and they can then process the package once it arrives as they are already expecting it.
We send our packages through a Post Office and the Royal Mail lost the ability to scan the customs information on these packages and send to the receiving country. This has created a backlog of packages with hand-written customs information that are having to be manually processed which is time consuming and is resulting in delays for those packages which we shipped between around the 7th January and the start of February. We have been closed for most of this period to ensure that we are not sending packages which cannot be delivered as this would not be fair to the customer.
We have now re-opened on the 21st February as the backlog of packages from January are now being processed and we expect them to show updates shortly. As the Post Office has now regained the ability to accept international packages we are assuming that the same system that allows them to enter information digitally will be able to be used to process those remaining packages shipped from around 1 - 31 Jan 2023 which have not yet been processed. We can only apologise for these delays and assure you that these packages will arrive but will still likely take another week or two to be manually processed by Royal Mail.
Going forwards Royal Mail's latest update can be seen here - https://www.royalmail.com/service-update
Their words at the time of writing this article are:
ROYAL MAIL INTERNATIONAL EXPORT SERVICES
Royal Mail International export services have now been reinstated to all destinations (with the exception of a small number of untracked contract services for business customers where alternatives are available). Customers can purchase postage online, through shipping solutions and over the counter at Post Office branches.
Delivery of International items may take slightly longer than usual. Customers using International Tracked services may notice different tracking information as items leave the UK. We are seeing delays to some tracking events in a small number of destinations. As we continue to work with our partners to resolve this, if you cannot see tracking information for your items it is likely to be available on the overseas’ posts tracking websites. Please see hereOpens in a new window for more information.
Customers sending items requiring a customs declaration (such as goods or gifts) internationally are asked to purchase postage online, through shipping solutions or over the counter at Post Office branches rather than using stamps or meters.
We’re sorry for the disruption this incident is causing impacted customers.
We believe that the delays currently are somewhere between 1 and 3 weeks and will be until they have cleared the backlog of packages that are already in their system. We want to make all customers aware of these delays so you can make a choice as to whether you are willing to wait this extra time. We have no desire to run a business which is not dealing with customers as we would like to be dealt with and so it is very important to us that customers are aware of this likely delay. Due to these delays we are not currently able to guarantee delivery within 4 weeks as is our normal guarantee. We will re-instate this guarantee once these issues are fully resolved. I would expect full resumption of service without delay in around 1 month but this is just an estimate based on what we can read online and may or may not be fully accurate.
Royal Mail Tracking may not update as it should and so please use the below two websites to track your order if you are not seeing updates:
We very much appreciate your patience and can only apologise for these unforeseen issues.