Royal Mail plans to charge post according to size ? as well as weight ? is not likely to lead to higher mail-order d&p prices for customers, says Bonusprint.

The d&p industry will escape the brunt of changes because firms can use a cheaper pre-paid ?business? service when customers send them film, according to Bonusprint?s managing director Anthony Ward who was instrumental in campaigning for this less-expensive business post route.

Commenting on Royal Mail?s changes – which come into force on 21 August and caused concern among many AP readers – Ward stressed that mail-order firms will be allowed to use a Business Response Service. This will work out cheaper for posting bulky items than the standard postal service available to non-business customers because the mail can be up to 50mm in thickness before it is classed as a ?packet?.

Firms using this service pay Royal Mail for the cost of an item sent to them by customers in a pre-paid envelope, so that customers do not pay postage.

Under the Business Response Service, a 50mm thickness limit will apply to a ?large letter?, instead of the ?25mm? limit applicable to non-business post.

The Royal Mail confirmed to AP that this means posting a roll of film will be classed as a ?large letter? and not a more expensive packet.

Though Ward admits incoming postage costs will rise, he expects Bonusprint?s total charges to increase by less than 7% because – he told us – the overall cost of its outgoing post will fall under the new system.

Asked whether – given the overall cost increase – consumers will end up paying more, Ward claimed that the rise is ?manageable? and prices would be ?held as best we can?. He added: ?We are swallowing that [cost increase] effectively. Our view is that film is declining quite quickly anyway and the last thing it needs is any encouragement.?

? A full report on this will appear in an upcoming issue of AP