The elderly could be left out of pocket and isolated by an impending shake up of the postal system, campaigners have warned.
First-class stamp prices will rise by 10p to 95p while second-class ones by 2p to 68p, as of next week. The previously state-run institution is also phasing out traditional stamps from tomorrow and replacing them with “digital-friendly” ones that display barcodes.
However, it has limited where customers can swap existing stamp books for the modern equivalent. The overhaul has prompted warnings elderly customers will be vulnerable to additional charges and left out-of-pocket with a stash of unusable stamps.
Dennis Reed, of Silver Voices, a campaign group for the over 60s, said it was “extremely worrying” for the elderly who often bulk-bought stamps to protect against price inflation.
He added: “A stamp is almost £1 and retirees just cannot afford that on the state pension. It is also unclear how many stamps customers can exchange. We are all in the dark.”
To swap stamps, customers must either pick up a form from a delivery office, print one from its website or contact the company to request a form in the post. They will not be available from Post Offices, meaning elderly customers in rural communities will find it even harder to exchange already purchased stamps.
Customers can change £200 worth of stamps using a standard form. However, those with more will be forced to ask for another type of form, complicating matters for those who have bulk bought.
Any post sent after January 2023 using a traditional stamp will be treated as having no postage at all and therefore be liable to a surcharge of £2.50 for a letter and £3 for a small parcel.