Citizens Advice has today published new research on people’s behaviours at post offices to help consumers ahead of the last guaranteed posting dates for Christmas.
The charity – which is the statutory watchdog for postal consumers – is encouraging people to avoid the busiest periods during the annual rush, by visiting post offices outside lunchtime.
Citizens Advice is also reminding consumers to send letters and parcels before the last posting dates of 20 December for second class, and 21 December for first class.
Social media analysis by Citizens Advice shows that complaints about queues are highest at lunchtime, and have increased since the start of December. The research also found that consumers are most likely to have to wait in line between 12pm and 2pm.
Post Office Limited has introduced self-service machines in 220 of the largest branches across the country with staff on-hand to assist customers in order to cut down waiting times.
However, initial research from Citizens Advice found 97% of people over 65 would rather post a parcel at a staffed counter than a machine, with Londoners and young people (18-24 year-olds) most willing to use self-service machines.
Overall, the polling found the majority of people are open to the idea of using self service machines, with 3 in 4 saying they would consider using them to buy a stamp.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Christmas is the busiest time of year for postal services, so we are encouraging people to send their items ahead of the last guaranteed posting dates to avoid missing the big day. They can also cut their wait at the post office if they visit at off-peak times.
“New technology like self service machines may help reduce queues, and we know Londoners and young people are the most willing to use them. However older people are less confident about using self service machines so it is important that staff are on hand to give them the assistance they need.”