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using the paper docket system

This guide is intended to help people avoid the problems I had when starting to use these facilities from Royal Mail, and is based on what I have been told by my Royal Mail contacts. You may find that your sorting office/post office have slightly different requirements in the details, but the overall information should remain unchanged.

I'm assuming that you've read my overview of the system, but if you haven't, you may like to do so now.

You should be aware that from 1st September 2007 there is a minimum order-value of £5 per order/docket. From early 2008 the minimum will become £20 with a £1 admin fee per order/docket. This means that if the amount of postage is lower than the minimum, it will be rounded up.

Completing your Posting Cheques and Bagging your Mail.

For the paper-based system you receive a series of books containing forms called Posting Cheques, 50 per book, with replacements being sent automatically. How many different ones you get depends on the type of mail you send. I have one each for

  • Standard Tariff, Cleanmail and PacketPost (ie inland items)
  • International Services (basic overseas items)
  • Special Delivery, Airsure and International Signed-for (trackable items inland and overseas)

I also have one each of

  • Recorded Delivery Posting Book
  • Special Delivery, Airsure, International Signed-for Despatch Book.

These latter two are signed by the postman or accepting office instead of the Post Office signing individual slips; they are your proof of posting, so keep them carefully in case you need to make a claim.

You will also need stationery; this will be ordered for you when you first sign up for PPI and PacketPost and thereafter you order on line (go to my Useful Links page) or by phone, 0845 795 0950, option 6. I can email you an on-line order form. I've added a list of what I find useful in a separate guide (coming shortly). Your postman will bring your sacks as required.

Once addressed and PPI'd you need to sort your parcels into piles according to how the Post Office handles them. Each sack that you use needs a label, as below.

  • Inland
    • first and second class, large letters, recorded and standard
    • special delivery
  • Overseas
    • airmail untracked
    • airmail tracked
    • surface mail untracked
    • surface mail tracked

It's probably easier to use an example.

Assume that I have one first class recorded item weighing 1590g; two second class recorded delivery items weighing 1370g and 400g; five second class standard items weighing 170g, 230g, 280g, 380g, and 400g; two large letter weighing 20g and 495g; one airmail international signed-for item weighing 1780g; one Special Delivery item weighing 450g.

Using my next available UK posting cheque I fill in my name, address, PPI number, etc then fill in four lines as follows -

  • line 1 - contract code 01/packetpost daily rate/first class/recorded delivery/packet/1 item/weight per item 1590g;
  • line 2 - contract code 01/packetpost daily rate/second class/recorded delivery/packet/2 items/weight per item 885g (ie (1370+400)/2); you also need to complete one Recorded Delivery sticker for each parcel, sticking the large label on the parcel, and one reference label in the Recorded Delivery posting book;
  • line 3 - contract code 01/packetpost daily rate/second class/packet/5 items/weight per item 292g (ie (170+230+280+380+400)/5);
  • line 4 - contract code 01/special delivery/packet/1 item/weight per item 450g; you also need to complete a line in the Special Delivery/ISF despatch book (see below) and put stickers on from a roll;
  • line 5 - contract code 01/packetpost daily rate/large letter/2 items/weight per item 258g (ie(20+495)/2).

Using my next available International Signed-for posting cheque I fill in line one - destination country/product code OLA/E/weight 1780g, and another line in the International signed-for despatch book (see above). Using the roll of ISF stickers, the big label goes on the parcel; the bar-code and one reference label go on the posting cheque; the other reference label goes on the despatch book.

Once you've completed all these dockets, put your 2nd class inland items into one sack with a green PPI label, P5068CT, the 1st class ones into another sack with a red PPI label, P5067CT, the overseas items in another sack with an international airmail label P6138C, making sure to mark it ISF in this case, and the Special Delivery item in another sack with another red label marked Special Delivery (these types of mail are handled as priority).

The posting books tell you which copies go off with your post. Tear them out of the books and put in a pouch SS981 along with the signed copy of the Special Delivery/ISF despatch book. You keep the Recorded Delivery Despatch Book and any Certificates of Posting that you complete; the postman will sign them for you.

And that's all there is to it.

If you're using On-line Business Accounting (OBA), why not see my guide for that, too.

If you've found this helpful, or if you think others would find it helpful, please use the link below to let others know. If on the other hand you think it needs tweaking, please Ebay Message me with your input.

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