Amid growing dissatisfaction about Royal Mail services, disgruntled business customers are demanding compensation for lacklustre performance. The UK Direct Marketing Association, the Mail Users' Association and government-funded postal watchdog the Post Office Users' National Council have held joint talks with the Royal Mail to voice dissatisfaction both with pricing and reliability.

Accuses Jeremy Partridge, director of POUNC: "With quality of service levels continuing to fall well below acceptable standards, business mailers are extremely concerned about the Post Office's performance."

The complaints focus on the Royal Mail's delivery of direct mail and other marketing literature which, businesses allege, goes undelivered. This service, complains POUNC, has "consistently failed to meet targets". The watchdog has submitted a paper to the Post Office urging it to change current rules which prohibit paying customers compensation for service lapses. The PO declined to comment on its compensation policy but insists it "constantly strives to improve the quality of services".

According to David Robottom, postal services director at the DMA, his members are suffering because of the Post Office's global expansion policy: "We support their bid to become the world's leading postal service, but before spending millions overseas they should sort out their home market."

Commented Labour MP Martin O'Neill, chairman of the Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee responsible for the Post Office: "If the Royal Mail wants to maintain a monopoly in this area of business post they must win the confidence of customers."

News source: Financial Times