I sent a parcel to Sweden on Friday – some binoculars I’d sold on Ebay. Because I sent them International Signed For, I got a tracking number to use on royalmail.com. Entering this number on Friday resulted in a message saying that the parcel hadn’t yet been entered into the system, and to wait to the next day. Fair enough – this isn’t exactly Fedex or UPS, and I posted them at a rural post office in Hursley.
But after entering the number on Saturday, I got this message: ‘We have received your item, posted on 21/07/06 and it is being processed for delivery abroad.’ Well, duh. This gives me no useful information. I posted it to a foreign country, so what else would I be expecting? And I know when I posted it. How much longer is it going to take? Are there any delays at the moment? That’s what I want to know.
After entering the number on Sunday, I got: ‘Your item, posted on 21/07/06 with reference xxx has been passed to the overseas postal service for delivery in SWEDEN.’ In other words, Royal Mail have no link to a foreign tracking system, so can’t tell me anything more about it.
Is this really the best the Royal Mail can do? Some tracking systems actually provide some useful (or at least reassuring) information – a historical record of which depot a parcel went to, and when. I know this is a cheap-ish service (eight pounds for about 450 grams), and perhaps Royal Mail can’t stretch to that. But my conclusion is: if you actually want to track your parcel closely, don’t bother with the Royal Mail.