Thinking of posting a shock via Royal Mail? Read this first

December 20, 2013

If you’re thinking of posting a shock for servicing or if you have sold your unwanted shock or even if you are buying one from an online shop, you may want to read this before using Royal Mail as it appears it’ll likely get disposed of, leaving you shock less and out of pocket.

Lost in the post?
Dangerous goods?

Following this thread on our forum, we asked Paul Gillespie to fill us in on his experience…

“In August 2013 I had a break-in and three bikes were stolen. The insurance company paid out in October and I purchased a Commencal Meta SL frame and shock direct from the Commencal store. I built up the frame pretty quickly with new parts and took it for a spin. The shock that came with the frame was a Fox Float CTD Boost Valve with Trail Adjust and Kashima. The CTD lever did not work unfortunately. No matter what position the lever was it, the shock always felt like it was in descend. I contacted Commencal and they told me to contact Mojo for assistance.

I was entered into the Dudes or Hazard Enduro in November so didn’t want to send my shock away while I was training after 3 months off the bike. The bike rode fine so I decided to wait until after the race.

On the 10th December I posted the shock by 1st class recorded delivery. I don’t remember if I was asked what I was posting but if I was, I would have responded with something like “a bicycle component”. The shock was well packaged in a sturdy cardboard box with bubble wrap type of protection inside the box.

On the 18th December I hadn’t heard from Mojo so I contacted them. They said they hadn’t received my package so I checked with the RM online tracker where I got a message saying that my item was a dangerous item and had been disposed of.

I called RM customer services and was told that my item looked like a compressed gas canister and was identified as dangerous. I was told to contact the dangerous goods dept if I wanted to get further information. I was also told that as my item breached their T&Cs that I would get zero compensation.

I contacted

They reconfirmed what customer services said but said they’d look further into the situation…I’ve not heard back despite chasing up.

I emailed the chief exec and head of customer services at RM and politely stated my case asking for assistance. I was called back shortly after by “Dave G” who acknowledged my email to senior management and said he’d look into my issue and would get back to me on Thursday the 19th. Not heard back yet.

I called RM customer services again and they could find no record of a Dave G on their employee system and could find no record of me calling them on their system. He confirmed that my item was with the dangerous goods team and gave me a reference number for the call 1-2792643494. I asked that my package be delivered I got the opinion that this was a fruitless request.

I re-emailed RM senior management to ask them to get Dave G to get back in touch as I had no contact details for them. Not heard anything back yet.

So that’s where we’re at just now…”

The Royal Mail website lists what can and can’t be sent through their network here. The specific part that RM have stated makes a shock a prohibited item reads…

Gases: Gases that are compressed, liquefied or dissolved under pressure, permanent gases which cannot be liquefied at ambient temperatures, liquefied gases which become liquid under pressure at ambient temperatures, dissolved gases which are dissolved under pressure in a solvent.

  1.  All flammable compressed gases are prohibited e.g. blowlamps; butane; lighters and refills containing flammable liquid or gas; ethane; gas cylinders for camping stoves; hydrogen; methane and propane.
  2.  All toxic compressed gases are prohibited e.g. chlorine; fluorine etc.
  3.  All non-flammable compressed gases are prohibited e.g. air bags; scuba tanks, carbon dioxide; fire extinguishers; neon and nitrogen.”

In a response to Paul a representative of RM dangerous goods team also stated that, “Because the product is charged by filling with compressed air and whether it is full or not it is deemed a prohibited item under the above guidelines.“, which clearly implies that simply letting all the air out before posting is not a solution.

Until RM clarifies the situation our recommendation is that if you have to send your shock to someone through the mail then do NOT use Royal Mail. It’s worth checking the t&c’s of any other delivery company first and it is worth noting that for ordinary post RM still provides the final delivery to households even where the service is provided by another supplier at point of collection.

Further questions surrounding what RM does with disposed of items have been asked and it seems that most items are sent for auction with proceeds raised used to fund the parts of the RM network involved in the disposal of these items. Investigations by some of our forum users have revealed a number of Ebay accounts that seem to specialise in the sale of items the RM deems too dangerous to go through their network.

In a further development, shock service company Mojo, who Paul was trying to send his shock to, have contacted him and offered him a new shock to replace the one RM have disposed/sold off.

Saturday AM Update

We’ve just received this response from Royal Mail:

“There are some items which Royal Mail is unable to carry in the UK for legal or health and safety reasons.Dangerous goods transport regulations also apply to other parcel delivery companies. Full information on prohibited and restricted items are published on Royal Mail’s website and also in leaflets in Post Office branches.”

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