HC Deb 18 May 1896 vol 40 cc1559-60

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that in a recent case where a gentleman residing at Wellingborough sent by inadvertence an unstamped postcard, which was refused by the addressee, the officials posted it back to the sender in an enclosed envelope marked returned letter, on which twopence was demanded and paid, under the belief that it was an ordinary unpaid letter; and whether this system of obtaining the deficient postage and fine in such cases from the sender is warranted by any regulations; and, if so, whether he will direct that the envelope employed shall be marked returned postcard instead of returned letter?


The case referred to by the hon. Member cannot be traced at the Returned Letter Office. The treatment of the card, however, appears to have been correct. A private card does not under the Treasury Warrant become a post card unless it has a half-penny stamp attached. Such a private card posted unpaid can only be treated as an unpaid letter, and if refused by the addressee it is at the Returned Letter Office placed like an ordinary letter in an envelope, the sender being charged twopence on delivery. The recovery of this charge from the sender is authorised under the Post Office Act of 1840. The Postmaster General does not concur in the suggestion of the hon. Member that the envelope should be marked returned postcard instead of returned letter.