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Pensioner left without passbook

PUBLISHED: 22:00 24 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:46 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK pensioner Ethel Beecroft was left fuming after a Royal Mail blunder left her unable to get money from her bank for 10 days.

The 92-year-old's passbook and bond certificate were lost in the post after being sent the Benefits' Agency.

SUFFOLK pensioner Ethel Beecroft was left fuming after a Royal Mail blunder left her unable to get money from her bank for 10 days.

The 92-year-old's passbook and bond certificate were lost in the post after being sent the Benefits' Agency.

Nephew Raymond Beecroft, 66, of Clive Avenue, Ipswich, was left having to spend weeks chasing the missing documents – only to find that all trace of them had vanished.

But when he wrote to Royal Mail in disgust asking for his costs to be reimbursed, all he received was a book of first class stamps and then a cheque for £7.50.

Royal Mail has now refused to further consider his case.

Miss Beecroft, who lives in Castle Court, Garrick Way, had put in a claim to the benefit agency in Norwich. Her nephew, Raymond Beecroft, therefore duly sent off her Lloyds TSB passbook and Yorkshire Building Society bond certificate to the Norwich Pensions Service in January.

Mr Beecroft began to suspect that things were amiss when, by early February, Miss Beecroft had still not got her documents back.

He therefore contacted Norwich Pensions Service, only to be told that the documents had, in fact, been sent back to Miss Beecroft by recorded delivery on 17 January – and had just never arrived.

Mr Beecroft said: "I immediately phoned the post office, but they said that because it was recorded delivery – which is just put in the normal post and signed for on delivery – there is no record of what happened to it.

"There would only be a record of it if it had been signed for and delivered.

"Over the next two weeks I made about 15 phone calls trying to track the documents down – many of which were long distance calls to the customer services centre in Plymouth.

"I also went down to the sorting office in Ipswich. I even contacted the postman – and he recalls being given no such letter to post.

"My aunt was left unable to withdraw the money she needed to pay her bills and I was worried that somebody had stolen the documents and would try to withdraw her money."

Mr Beecroft eventually had no other option but to give up the quest and, on 5 February, he ordered replacement documents.

Outraged with having to spend so much time and money trying in vain to track down the documents, he wrote to Royal Mail on 24 February asking for £25 compensation.

But all he received was a book of first class stamps. Disgusted with this response, he sent back the stamps and again asked for compensation.

Mr Beecroft was then sent a cheque for £7.50, which he also sent back.

Royal Mail has now told him that the stamps and the cheque were but a "goodwill" gesture and that he is not eligible for compensation for any recorded delivery mail lost. Royal Mail only provides compensation for the loss of special delivery mail.

Mr Beecroft said: "I am just outraged that they have caused such unnecessary stress and at their general lack of interest in what has happened. And to send a book of first class stamps and then a cheque for £7.50 is just cheek, given all the time I had to spend doing their work for them."

A spokeswoman for Royal Mail said: "We would like to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused over the loss of these items.

"A full investigation has been carried out and we feel that Mr Beecroft has been compensated accordingly.

"Our recorded delivery service is not a secure service and we would recommend that our special delivery service, which comes with insurance and compensation, is used when sending items of value."

This incident comes as the latest in a series of Royal Mail blunders. On Monday it emerged that Kesgrave couple Laurence and Annette Power were awarded just £250 compensation after their £250,000 banker's draft was lost in the post. The couple were left with no life savings and unable to buy their Suffolk bungalow.

Meanwhile Sheila Shields of Ipswich was last week offered just one book of first class stamps after Royal Mail lost two passports and a birth certificate.

nHave you ever been awarded a ridiculous amount of compensation? Or have you had something valuable lost in the post? Write to Your Letters, Evening star, 30 Lower Brook street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.


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