Postal reform: New postal law – letters travel longer

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Delivery on the third or fourth day

In the future, consumers will, on average, wait significantly longer for the mail than before. In future, 95% of standard letters should arrive on the third business day and 99% on the fourth business day. This is what the postal law reform that the Bundestag approved on June 13th provides. adopted. The expectation is that the Federal Council will give its approval in July – when the legislative process will be completed.

Currently, throughout the year, there is an average probability of 80 percent of letters reaching the recipient on the next business day and 95 percent on the second business day.

The longer delivery time means the couriers save costs. It canceled the domestic flights it used to carry letters for decades. If you are in a hurry, you can send a faster priority letter. It will be more expensive than the standard letter, the price is still open.

Delivery takes six days. Therefore, mail still needs to be distributed to recipients on Mondays. The new terms only apply from 2025.

Complaints increased sharply

For some customers it was already unlikely that they would receive letters the next day or the day after that. Complaints to the Federal Network Agency, the state supervisory authority for postal service providers, reached a record high in 2021.

A Finanztest reader survey published in early 2023 had a great response. At the end of 2023 we reported again what had happened with several cases where postal victims can complain. In some cases delivery improved, in others it did not.

If angry recipients don’t contact official bodies like the Federal Network Agency, couriers will become frustrated. The new law also aims to improve their working conditions.

Shipping costs are expected to increase

From January 2025, not only will letters take longer, but postage will likely become more expensive. How high is still unclear. However, the traffic light coalition wants to ensure that a normal license does not cost more than 1 euro.

The Federal Network Agency determines every three years how much leeway the post office has to increase postage. The Postal Law provides the framework for the procedure. In 2019, domestic postage for a standard letter increased by 10 cents to 80 cents, and in 2022, postage increased by 5 cents to 85 cents. Other types of correspondence – such as postcards and maxi letters – have also become more expensive.

More machines instead of branches

The post office remains committed to maintaining a dense network of branches. People don’t always need to sit on a branch for this; in some cases, machines may be sufficient. However, the local municipality and the Federal Network Agency have a say.

O Postbank plans will contribute to the death of agencies: it wants to close around 250 of its 550 agencies by 2026. This means: All the extensive postal services offered there will also be eliminated. Postal customers will then have to go elsewhere. At first glance, Postbank branches almost look like post offices. But Postbank has its say. It decides whether a branch will be closed.

Reform without much controversy

The traffic light coalition agreed to a compromise on postal reform without any noisy arguments. Social Democrat Sebastian Roloff also sees the consumer as a winner in an interview with the dpa news agency: “We will guarantee postal services nationwide six days a week for a long time and in all regions of Germany and we will ensure that the letter market continues operating despite the drop in volumes.” CSU opposition politician Hansjörg Durz, on the other hand, criticizes – like the post office itself – excessive bureaucracy. You can tell by its length: the previous postal law was 19 pages long and the new one was 80 pages long.

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