HC Deb 19 August 1895 vol 36 cc253-4

I beg to ask the Representative of the Postmaster General—(1) whether he is aware that large numbers of plain (or private) postcards, bearing adhesive penny stamps, are only delivered abroad on payment of a fine of 3d. (or 30 centimes) in every case, solely on account of the absence of the printed words "post card" on the cards delivered; and, whether the Post Office will make arrangements with Foreign Post Offices that the required words may be written by the sender, or omitted, so that large quantities of private post cards may not be disqualified for use in Foreign correspondence, and the recipients heavily fined for the senders' want of knowledge of the rules.

The hon. Member further asked (2) the Representative of the Postmaster General, whether, referring to the hon. Member for Canterbury's question in the House of Commons on 8th April 1895, requesting the Postmaster General to state under what authority, statutory or other, the fine levied on the delivery of an unstamped post card amounts to four times the deficient postage, whereas insufficiently stamped letters and newspapers are only charged double the deficiency, and to the correspondence,which has since passed between the hon. Member and the Post Office, dated; the 29th of April, the 11th of May, he 24th of May, and the 11th of June, the supports the course taken by his predecessor against any reduction in the fine complained of; and, if so, upon what ground?


With respect to the first question, the Postal Union Convention requires that a post card shall have the words "Post Card" clearly printed upon it. The Postmaster-General cannot alter the requirements of the Union, and foreign post cards which do not conform to these requirements will be liable to be surcharged as letters. With respect to the second question, the essential feature of the private post card is that it must be prepaid. The rule is very clearly explained on page 6 of the "Postal Guide," where it is stated that a private card without a stamp is not a post card, but a letter. The hon. Member is aware that the authority for the rule is the Treasury Warrant of August 24th 1894.