Royal Mail stamp scandal: Post Office forced to pay compensation after admitting to selling 'counterfeit' stamp supplied by Royal Mail

Royal Mail stamp scandal: Post Office forced to pay compensation after admitting to selling  'counterfeit' stamp supplied by Royal Mail

Royal Mail customer Natasha received a gesture of 'goodwill' after Post Office admitted selling a 'counterfeit' stamp

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 08/03/2024

- 11:35

Updated: 13/04/2024

- 11:24

GB News investigation finds Royal Mail has charged people across the UK for 'fake' stamps bought at Post Offices

Post Office has apologised to a customer after their first-class stamp bought from Post Office was deemed counterfeit by Royal Mail.

The firm said they were “sincerely sorry” for the “concern and inconvenience” caused and offered her £25, but said they were “unable to explain why only one of the stamps taken from a book of stamps was deemed counterfeit by Royal Mail”.

Natasha, 49, was shocked to find a young relative was charged £2.50 to get her heartfelt letter.

She posted an envelope to the youngster at the end of October last year, using a first-class stamp bought at a Surrey Post Office just days before.

She told GB News: “My relative had written a story and I wanted to share it with her mum so I’d taken a photocopy of it and then posted it.

“I thought it would be quite fun for her to receive a piece of post, so I put it to her rather than to her mum.”

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Natasha in pictures

Natasha sent a heartfelt letter to a young child, but they were told to pay Royal Mail £2.50 to get it


A £2.50 fee to pay card subsequently arrived from Royal Mail, and as it was addressed to the young child, her mother realised who the post was likely to be from and contacted Natasha.

Convinced the first-class stamp was sufficient postage for a small envelope and conscious the item could be replaced and provided in person, Natasha advised against driving to the delivery office and paying the fee, as she could give another photocopy in person instead.

“Luckily because I’d put her name on there, when the mother contacted me, we knew that it was the letter that I’d sent,” she said.

Natasha had included her own details within the letter, and around three months later, the uncollected item was returned to the sender.

A yellow sticker had been attached to the envelope, which declared a “counterfeit” stamp had been used.

Natasha said: “I was pretty angry because I knew the stamp wasn’t counterfeit and because there was real heartfelt sentiment behind what I was doing.

“I wasn’t just posting a letter or a cheque to somebody or filling a form in, I was sending a six-year-old something that she had really taken a lot of time to write - her own story.

“I wanted her to show it to her mum and her teacher, with her handwriting and everything.

“It would have been exciting for her to receive a piece of post because she’s six and six-year-olds don’t normally get post.”

Natasha decided she would write a letter of complaint, and sent it, along with the stamped envelope, to Royal Mail via Royal Mail freepost on January 16.

Having not heard back after a couple of weeks, Natasha logged a complaint via Royal Mail’s customer complaints service online.

She was asked to electronically send photos of the item and having taken photos before putting them in the post, Natasha submitted these to Royal Mail.

She says Royal Mail confirmed the stamp was counterfeit but did not offer an explanation as to how a stamp bought at a reputable source could be counterfeit.

Furthermore, she has not received any complaints from recipients regarding post sent with the other stamps within the book.

GB News understands Royal Mail has reviewed the stamp and confirmed it is counterfeit.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Royal Mail takes the counterfeiting of postage stamps seriously. The practice is illegal. We also recognise the inconvenience and financial loss incurred by our customers who believe they are purchasing legitimate Royal Mail stamps.

“It is vital we can investigate any instance where a person believes their stamps have been incorrectly identified as counterfeit or pre-used.

“To do this, we require any customer who believes they have been incorrectly surcharged to send the envelope with the barcoded stamp attached to us, along with the exact location of where the stamp was purchased.

“We then follow a robust, multistage process when assessing whether barcoded stamps are genuine. This includes a thorough examination using specialist equipment, then a follow up inspection by a skilled member of the team, before any stamp is marked as counterfeit or pre-used.

“We will always happily review individual cases and if an error has been made then we will of course correct it.”

After Natasha contacted GB News, Post Office was subsequently alerted to the matter and has since contacted Natasha offering a letter of apology.

In a message seen by GB News, Post Office said they “support” the complaint. They added: “We are sorry that we did not meet your expectations on this occasion”.

Post Office also said they were unable to explain why the stamp was deemed counterfeit by Royal Mail, and added: “Whilst we are unable to provide an explanation in this regard, the fact remains that your postage stamp was purchased from a Post Office branch, and we are truly sorry for any loss of confidence in our services that this experience has caused you”.


Counterfeit stamp label and Natasha's first class stamp beside Post Office and Royal Mail logos

Natasha sent the first class stamp to a young relative


A Post Office spokesperson told GB News: “Stamps are available to buy from a number of different sources. Post Office Ltd receives its stamps direct from Royal Mail’s secure printers.

“Customers who buy stamps at Post Offices are given an itemised receipt, and this is required to investigate any allegations of fake stamps.

“We want to sincerely apologise for the experience Natasha had after purchasing stamps from one of our Post Offices.

“We have apologised to Natasha and as a gesture of goodwill have offered a £25 cash voucher.”

Jonathan Gullis MP said: "It is important that there is complete transparency from Royal Mail in how they are deeming stamps to be counterfeit or not."

A GB News investigation last month found books of stamps bought directly from Post Offices and some local supermarkets from across the UK have been deemed “counterfeit”.

After Royal Mail doubled the counterfeit stamp surcharge from £2.50 to £5 at the end of October 2023, innocent Britons have been forced to pay four times the price of the first class postage for items which were sent with stamps bought in good faith from reputable sources.

GB News saw examples of first and second class stamps, including Queen Elizabeth II's definitive and King Charles III's profile, bought in Post Office stamps being branded counterfeit.

We found cases at different locations across the UK, including Sussex, Nottingham, Birmingham and London.

A Post Office spokesperson said at the time: “Stamps are available to buy from a number of different sources. Post Office Ltd receives its stamps direct from Royal Mail’s secure printers.

“Customers who buy stamps at Post Offices are given an itemised receipt, and this will be required to investigate any allegations of fake stamps.”

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