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Family's anger over second-class service

PUBLISHED: 23:00 16 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:45 03 March 2010

AFTER losing two passports and a birth certificate Royal Mail officials offered to compensate an Ipswich family – with one book of first class stamps.

Ipswich mother Sheila Shields said today she is "disgusted" with the treatment by Royal Mail, both of her package and the company's lack of customer care.

AFTER losing two passports and a birth certificate Royal Mail officials offered to compensate an Ipswich family – with one book of first class stamps.

Ipswich mother Sheila Shields said today she is "disgusted" with the treatment by Royal Mail, both of her package and the company's lack of customer care.

She said the documents had been posted recorded delivery to the Passport office, in Peterborough, on March 3.

The passports belonged to Mrs Shields' 19-year-old son Mark and her ex-husband. They had been posted as part of an application for a separate passport for Mark, along with his birth certificate.

When she had received no response by April 8, Mark telephoned to see what had happened.

"The passport office told him they had not received anything from us so I contacted Royal Mail. They said they had no record of the letter having been sent.

"They just fobbed me off," she added.

Then came what Mrs Shields said was a joke.

"Royal Mail offered me a book of first class stamps as a gesture of goodwill. First they fobbed me off and then offered me what I saw as a joke," she added.

Later Royal Mail admitted the valuable documents had been lost.

A customer services spokesman said: "Obviously it's not acceptable. But I've been told this is something we can't address any further."

He insisted nothing could be done to trace the lost items.

Later the Royal Mail came up with another response.

A spokeswoman said Mrs Shields had made no mention of the letter's valuable contents, even though it had been posted by recorded delivery.

"However, we will be contacting the customer again. The maximum compensation payable in £27," she added.

Mrs Shields said: "I'm more worried about what's happened to the passports.

People can doctor passports and use them to open bank accounts."

She said that her husband would be reporting the matter to the police.

Mrs Shields said she hadn't realised it was necessary to say what the contents of the package were.

She added: "I've sent things recorded delivery before and never had a problem. It says it's ideal for legal documents. They want their money, they advertise their services, but they don't deliver."

And she added: "Nobody wants to take responsibility. Talk about passing the buck."

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: "Passports are extremely valuable and people should make every effort to keep them securely.

"If they do fall into the hands of criminals they could possibly be used to commit any number of identity crimes," she added.

nWhat do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk


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