John Lewis mail glitch leaves customers with £1.53 bill for marketing circular

Unknown number asked for payment by Royal Mail

An unknown number of John Lewis and Waitrose customers have been asked to pay a £1.53 postage charge by the Royal Mail after a franking machine failed to correctly stamp letters sent out as part the firm's latest credit card marketing campaign.

The Royal Mail notices started dropping through people's letter boxes in Scotland last week, asking householders to arrange collection of a mystery item that had been sent to them without enough postage.

It was only when people turned up at sorting offices they realised that the mystery item was in fact a circular pushing the Partnership's credit card. That meant paying a £1 handling charge plus a steep 53 pence for the postage, which is the individual rather than commercial letter rate.

When contacted by Computerworld, John Lewis admitted the error, claiming that only a "small number" of people had been affected. But on the basis of a report in Edinburgh press noting that several hundred letters had been sitting awaiting collection at a single sorting office in the capital, the numbers seem more likely to run into the thousands at least.

"Due to a technical printing error, a communication regarding the partnership card was sent to a small number of our customers without the postage mark printed on the envelope," read a press statement.

Affected customers would be sent £5 vouchers as compensation for the inconvenience regardless of whether they had picked up the marketing letter or not. The other winner from the affair is the Royal Mail, privatised in 2013, which will make a healthy sum as long as enough letters are collected.

Of course, if it had mentioned the nature of the item perhaps fewer people would have made the trip to their local sorting office although the option of paying online was offered as an alternative.

"We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience caused and are offering customers John Lewis Partnership vouchers as way of an apology and to cover any costs incurred."

The customer support number for John Lewis is 0345 604 9049, for Waitrose 0800 188 884.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags John LewissecuritycomputerworldRoyal Mail

More about

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John E Dunn

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts