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

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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.”

Comments (23)

    Very simple!… It was addressed to Mojo. I would be very surprised if ever see it again! … apart from on Ebay!

    The suspension tuning companies need to get involved here too, as a quick glance around their sites shows that none of them note the dangers of RM classing a shock or fork as dangerous goods.

    One even makes specific mention of using RM Recorded Delivery to send the forks/shock back to the customer.

    Right, pressuization issue would be with rear shocks we will be using another carrier for the moment.
    Forks shouldn’t be an issue.
    We’d suggest other carriers to us, just make sure the item is covered by insurance to full value on it’s way to us.
    Royal mail recorded would have only covered any item to £50 max.

    Looks like Mojo have offered the guy a replacement shock FOC which is more than decent of them.

    Don;t think this should lead to a reduction of efforts to get the original shock back and some sort of clarification from Royal Mail, though.

    I once sent a bike frame to someone and that was intercepted by Parcel Force, as a potentially dangerous item. That was a hardtail! A law unto themselves, though the frame did get delivered, after much wrangling.

    interesting to see that RM consider compressed gas cylinders as dangerous. I have had boxes of 20 CO2 cartridges delivered via them several times.

    Would be more worried about a co2 cart. than any shock tbh

    Good stuff Simon. Must be a royal PITA to have this stuff happening.

    How are dangerous goods delivered after you have won the ebay bid

    Just lost my battery too for my light by the looks of it. Doh. Reckon Royal Mail have just switched onto another income stream…..
    Sure they delivered the battery not too long ago….

    How do they ship from the ebay accounts?

    By RM’s logic, inner tubes, even when deflated, are dangerous goods as, when inflated, they contain pressurised gas. :0

    What about the pressurised air in jiffy bags!!! They might pop

    So a complete non answer then. I like the way they blame some of it on “legal” reasons, but fail to say which. I guess we can only summer that the stuff off relevance in this case is at their own choice then. I suppose the alternative is that it is illegal to ship shocks and similar by any means. I suspect this isn’t true…

    To me if they are selling the item not destroying it (as if its dangerous how could they sell it?) then that is theft their first reaction should be to contact the sender to arrange collection from their depot with possibly a fine for breaking their rules but I dont see how they can destroy or sell something that is theirs without the owners permission. The police cannot dispose of vehicles they cease before a certain time has passed. Think the legality of what they are doing should be checked, They would be within their rights to refuse to handle it but to deprive the owner of their own property without contacting them is a pretty shady activity

    I guess the lesson is, don’t use Royal Mail. TNT?

    As RM say it should apply to all carriage so in theory we cannot send anything to anyone via RM, TNT, CityLink etc. How are companies shipping frames, full bikes etc – the industry needs to take this up with RM asap.

    Still no sight of my battery which is apparently dangerous too.

    “… none of them note the dangers of RM classing a shock or fork as dangerous goods.”

    because they’re not?

    Can we assume that this will also apply to all complete bikes being shipped, as most bikes use air forks as well as any rear shock?
    I wonder how this will impact on the big guys like chainreaction and Evans?

    Singletrack – have you heard any more on this?

    I don’t believe that air forks cannot excluded as I use a shock pump to put pressure in just like a rear shock! Now I am worried about shipping a Reverb as this has air and fluid in it!!

    Royal Mail response to my confiscated battery:

    “Finally, I would like to explain that our terms and conditions explain to customers what prohibitions and restrictions are in place and, in accordance with those conditions, we may deal with dangerous or prohibited items as we see fit, including but not limited to, disposing of the parcels concerned. The method of disposal for prohibited goods sent in the post is determined by the nature of the item concerned. In some instances, items may be sent to be recycled, handed to the relevant authorities including the Police and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), or sold at auction. Any monies raised are used to fund the National Returns Centre’s work. They manage prohibited items which enter the Royal Mail network.”

    So, apparently it is fine for them to take a prohibited item and then re-sell it to make a profit. I wonder who they use to ship it………….

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