Q: The Royal Mail has stopped delivering letters to my address and claim that they are able to terminate their service. I have had a few disagreements with our usual postman over the fact that he says my dog is dangerous and scary (Barley is miniature poodle of a calm temperament) and so this wasn’t completely out of the blue. But surely they cannot do this?
A: The Royal Mail, under its universal service obligation has a responsibility to deliver mail to every UK address on every working day. The introduction of the Postal Services Act 2011 sought to ensure this universal service.
Royal Mail say they are extremely reliant upon their front line staff who will inevitably face challenges whilst on their rounds and will only be expected to make reasonable and practical efforts to deliver the mail. This means there can be exceptions to the universal service obligations. Delivery may, for example, be impossible due to certain location, or access conditions of an address, or if an address is considered unsafe or may pose a risk to its staff.
As you can appreciate, safety of staff is extremely important and, on average, seven postmen and women are attacked by dogs each day. Therefore, they consider it to be reasonable to prevent delivery where a dog is considered dangerous and they can terminate your deliveries should they think it is necessary.
You may need to collect your mail until you find a solution, perhaps by attaching a metal box around your post box, placing a mail box on the edge of your property, or simply by keeping your dog away from the box during the delivery time.
You may wish to appeal the decision to suspend delivery of your mail or alternatively seek specialist advice on the area.
(Article published 15/05/2017)