HC Deb 21 May 1973 vol 857 cc9-10
8. Miss Quennell

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications if he will give a general direction to the Post Office to inform senders of parcels that, unless they pay a compensation fee at the time of dispatch, the corporation declines to accept liability for their loss.

Sir J. Eden

No, Sir. This is clearly within the direct responsibility of the Post Office and a general direction would not be appropriate.

Miss Quennell

Is my right hon. Friend aware that as from last September the Post Office decided to cease to pay for packages or parcels lost in transit unless the poster had paid a compensation fee in addition to the normal postal charge, and that it did so without embarking on a widespread publicity campaign to inform postal users? If he will not issue a general directive, will my right hon. Friend at any rate exert his influence to ensure that Post Office users posting parcels see an advertisement making their liability clear, so that we do not have post offices, like the House of Commons post office, where there are no signs to inform the public?

Sir J. Eden

There is a great deal in what my hon. Friend says, and I am sure that the Post Office will wish to take careful note of it.

Mr. Heffer

Will the right hon. Gentleman impress upon the Post Office the importance of this matter? Is he aware that I was a victim of the new system? I sent the usual Christmas parcels to my friends in America. Those parcels were never received. I then wrote to the Post Office asking for some sort of compensation. I was told, "You should have paid the compensation fee." That was something about which I knew absolutely nothing. I am sure that if that applies to me and the House of Commons post office it must apply to many thousands, or hundreds, of people throughout the country. Will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that the point made by the hon. Member for Petersfield (Miss Quennell) is taken up?

Sir J. Eden

I said at the outset that this is a matter for the Post Office. I am sure that it will take careful note of what the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) and my hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Miss Quennell) have said.