Plans by state-owned UK postal operator Consignia to reform its pricing structure could hike costs for the direct mail industry, consumer watchdog Postwatch has warned.

Consignia’s flagship delivery business Royal Mail is mulling a change to its weight-based price scheme so that thickness and size are also taken into account.

This, warns Postwatch, would raise the cost of mailing light but bulky items, restricting direct mailers’ creative options and prompting greater uniformity. The watchdog is concerned direct mail might subsequently suffer at the hands of other marketing channels.

“To require someone to measure the thickness to within a few millimetres as well as the size and weight is an unnecessary complication,” blasted Postwatch chairman Peter Carr.

“We will be petitioning both Consignia and the regulator [PostComm] to try to ensure that these proposals do not go ahead in their current form.”

Meanwhile, Consignia is due to commence a pilot of its new delivery scheme later this month. The system on trial involves one delivery to business customers before 9am and another to residential customers between 9am and lunchtime.

The new delivery scheme is scheduled for national roll-out in the autumn. It is expected to save Consignia around £350 million ($542m; €545m) a year.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff