Offensive Weapons Bill

Further written evidence submitted by Springfields (OWB106(a))

This further evidence (to our existing OWB106) has one clear objective. To answer the following question:

Can online retailers use the Post Office’s local collect service for customers to pick up their parcels?

1. The Royal Mail state (A):

2. "To pick up your parcel, all you’ll need is proof of identity (for the person the parcel is addressed to) and proof of delivery address. Your item will be held at the Post Office® branch for 18 days. After that time your item will be returned to the retailer."

3. This does not include any provision for checking age. This would be done by the online retailer prior to dispatch of the order as stated in 12.3.4.A of the proposed Offensive Weapons Bill. To clarify the Post Office does not offer a service for age verification.

4. However this is contradictory to the Home Office’s Overarching Document: Overarching fact sheet. (B)

5. The Home Office state (B):

6. "If ordered online bladed products or knives will need to be collected from a place where age verification can take place, either by the purchaser or their representative."

7. "If ordered online any knives that fall under the definition of an item that causes serious injury then it will need to be collected from a place where age verification can take place"

8. This also seems to be contradictory to what is understood by Victoria Atkins,

9. Victoria Atkins states (C):

10. " the product should be delivered to the local post office, delivery depot or village shop that acts as the delivery depot for a company"

11. "Picking up packages from the post office and delivery depots is a fact of life in the modern age, when we all order stuff on the internet."

12. "The clause is not about stopping food processors being sent to people; we will just have to go to the post office to pick them up."

13. "I represent a rural constituency, so I am rather pleased that we will drive more business to rural post offices so that they continue to thrive in our villages and market towns. "

14. "All I am saying is that the purchaser will have to go to the post office with identification to pick up such a product-that is it."

15. "they would just have to go to the post office to pick it up. That is the point."

16. "when somebody puts an order in, they will have that conversation and say, "I’m sorry; you will have to go to the post office to pick this up."

17. The bill wording is ambiguous and seems to have been understood in two different ways by the Home Office.

18. The proposed bill as introduced states:

19. (6)35Condition C is that the seller took all reasonable precautions and  exercised all due diligence to ensure that, when finally delivered, the 
package would be delivered into the hands of a person aged 18 or over.

20. This question needs answering at committee stage. The alternative to not using the Post Office would mean all sellers would need to use UPS which has 75% less collection points and costs considerably more. Sellers would also have to send much higher volumes in order to use the UPS services as they do not offer ad-hoc collections, only daily collections for volume sellers. Clarification is much needed in order for online retailers to stay compliant with any new laws.

Sources:

A) Royal Mail - https://www.royalmail.com/personal/receiving-mail/choose-local-collect/

B) Home Office - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/735013/2018-06-20_Overarching_Fact_Sheet_v0.1.pdf

C) Victoria Atkins - https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-09-06/debates/ed235df7-0afe-46a6-9380-2e67ef16eda3/OffensiveWeaponsBill(SeventhSitting)

September 2018

 

Prepared 10th September 2018