Postal services

Introduction

In Ireland, the national post service is provided by An Post. The postal sector is regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg).

As the national regulator, ComReg makes sure that:

  • Prices are affordable, that they properly reflect the service provided by An Post, and are transparent and non-discriminatory
  • The postal service meets set quality standards
  • A basic level of service is provided.

The universal service provider is obliged to provide certain services. While other postal service providers operate in Ireland, only An Post is obliged to provide specific services.

COVID-19

Since Friday 20 March 2020, the majority of Post Offices are open from 8am to facilitate older customers who want to conduct their business ahead of other customers.

Since 30 March 2020, An Post are delivering a range of new measures to support communities, including:

  • Check-ins with older or vulnerable customers in their homes
  • Newspaper-ordering and delivery service
  • Free mails and parcels pick up service for housebound customers
  • Delivery of free postage-paid postcards

An Post has also announced special arrangements for people unable to collect their social welfare payments at the post office. Customers can nominate a person, called a Temporary Agent, to collect their payment on their behalf. The recipient must download and complete a Temporary Agent form (pdf). The form is also available from the post office.

The postage stamp price rise planned for 19 March 2020 has been postponed.

COVID-19 Post and parcel delivery

An Post have introduced staggered delivery times for postal delivery staff. This will result in later mail and parcel deliveries in some areas. You can find more information on delivery services during COVID-19 on anpost.com.

Mail services to some countries have been suspended due to international and local suspensions and others are delayed. You can check the latest list from An Post.

You can keep up to date with any customer notices on anpost.com or An Post’s social media channels.

Postal services

Postal service providers

Anyone can set up a postal business to handle any form of mail. If you want to provide a postal service you must notify ComReg. A postal service involves the clearance, sorting, transport and distribution of postal packets. Services such as document exchange, courier services and the delivery of unaddressed advertising material are not considered to be postal services. When completing the notification form, you will have to decide whether your postal service is within the scope of the universal postal service.

When you receive an acknowledgement from ComReg of the notification, you are authorised to provide the postal service described in your notification, subject to the conditions of authorisation. You are required to draw up a code of practice covering customer complaints and redress.

ComReg provides more information on the regulation of authorised providers.

Universal service provider

As the universal service provider, An Post must provide a universal service to everyone and every organisation in Ireland. This involves at least 1 collection and 1 delivery, on every working day (that is, Monday to Friday) of of letters, packets and parcels weighing up to 10kg. It must provide the following services:

  • A single piece service involving the clearance, sorting, transport and distribution of letters, large envelopes, packets and parcels
  • Free certificates of posting
  • A registered items service
  • An insured items service
  • Postal services free of charge to the postal service user for the transmission of postal packets for the blind or partially sighted
  • A service for the clearance, transport and distribution of:
    • Postal packets deposited in bulk for delivery only
    • Postal packets deposited in bulk pre-sorted by country of destination abroad
    • Postal packets deposited in bulk for deferred delivery
  • A service for the clearance, transport and distribution of postal packets from a foreign designated postal operator
  • A number of special facilities including:
    • Redirection
    • Business Reply
    • Freepost

Full details of the postal services that An Post must provide nationally and internationally are set out in the Communications Regulation (Universal Postal Service) Regulations 2012 (SI 280 of 2012).

An Post’s other services

An Post also provides the following other services:

  • Postal services that do not fall under the universal service requirement
  • Services that are not postal services, for example Express Post, Passport Express, Philatelic Services (dealing with stamps) and Courier Post. It also has other services, such as, financial services, collecting TV licence fees and business directories.

Information on all of An Post’s services, as well as the services available through the network of local post offices is available on An Post’s website.

Parcels from abroad

If a parcel or package comes from outside the European Union (EU), you must pay the VAT and any duties that you owe, before the parcel is delivered to you. If the parcel comes from another EU country, it is not subject to VAT or duties, as these are already included in the price of the goods within the parcel.

The way that VAT and customs duties are collected depends on the company that delivers the package and varies from one provider to another. One of 3 situations will apply:

  • The delivery provider pays the fee to clear the item from customs and then charges you directly
  • The delivery provider tells you the relevant charge and asks for payment before delivering the package to you
  • The delivery provider lets you deal directly with Revenue

The amount charged for clearing postal items through customs is up to the delivery provider and can vary from one provider to another. Usually these charges are based on a percentage of the value of the goods stated to be in the package. You should contact the delivery provider for a list of the charges.

From 1 January 2021, you may have to pay customs duty and VAT when you buy from a UK business (except Northern Ireland). You can read more about buying from the UK after Brexit.

Postcodes

In July 2015, a new national postcode system known as Eircode was introduced. All residential and business addresses have been given a unique Eircode. Residential addresses include every address where post is delivered.

An Eircode is a unique 7 character code. You can find or check an Eircode using the Eircode Finder.

Delivery problems

The most common postal and delivery issues are about lost, delayed or damaged items.

Delayed post

An Post’s standard post service will usually ensure that items are delivered 1 or 2 days after posting. Delays can be caused by:

  • Incomplete, unclear or incorrect addresses
  • Posting items after the final collection day
  • Problems accessing the property
  • The involvement of many postal services and customs agents for international post
  • Handling of prohibited items including:
    • Flammable matches or lighters
    • Aerosols of any king including saline solutions and cosmetics
    • Corrosive substances such as batteries
    • Liquids of any kind such as gels, creams and perfumes

Standard post should be delivered within 5 working days from the date the item was posted or 15 days for international post. If the items have not been received within these timeframes, you should contact An Post.

You can get more information and advice from An Post’s FAQ support section.

Missed deliveries

There may be situations where delivery was attempted but was missed because no one was home and:

  • The item was too big to fit through the letterbox or delivery box
  • It required a signature, this could be because the item was sent as registered post
  • A payment was required, for example, items bought from traders outside of the EU may require payment for VAT or customs duties.

When this happens, An Post will leave a ‘sorry we missed you’ notice (also called a Docket In Box or DIB notice) providing instructions. You will have the following options:

  • Collect the item at your local delivery service unit – bring the ‘sorry we missed you’ notice and identification such as passport or driving licence
  • Nominate someone else to collect the item on your behalf – you must sign the ‘sorry we missed you’ notice and the nominee must bring this with them along with their identification documents.
  • Arrange for it to be delivered again to the same address, or somewhere else. Redelivery usually takes 2 working days. An Post has an online redelivery service.

An Post will only keep items that have not been collected for:

  • 5 working days for standard post
  • 3 working days for registered post
  • 16 working days if it is received from abroad

If the item has not been collected within these timeframes, it will be returned to the person who sent it (if a clear address has been provided on the outside).

You can get more information and advice from An Post’s FAQ support section.

How do I complain?

An Post's postal services

You can complain to An Post by filling out the online contact form. Alternatively, you can fill out the form at your local postal or delivery office or complain by post or by phone.

An Post will usually acknowledge the complaint within 3 working days and give you a unique reference number. It will attempt to resolve the issue within:

  • 30 days for mail within Ireland
  • 40 days for mail to Europe
  • 60 days for mail to all other destinations

You can find out more from An Post’s customer charter.

If your complaint is not resolved by An Post, you can refer it to An Post’s Customer Advocate for an independent assessment. You can do this by completing Customer Advocate Contact Form online or by sending by post. You must refer your complaint within 30 calendar days from the date of the final decision received from An Post Customer Service. A final response should be received from the Customer Advocate within 30 days.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of An Post’s investigation you should contact the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), which can review your case and let you know if it can take further action for you.

ComReg has more information about postal complaints.

Other authorised service providers

If your complaint relates to a postal service provided by an authorised service provider other than An Post, you should contact the relevant provider, outline the complaint and ask for it to be resolved.

A register of authorised service providers is available on ComReg’s website.

As mentioned above, ComReg may be able to help if you are unhappy with the outcome of the provider’s investigation. Comreg provides further information on postal services and how to make a complaint.

Compensation

If your complaint concerns a monetary claim and relates to one of the other postal services provided either by an authorised service provider or An Post, you may also take action through the Small Claims Court.

Whether you can claim compensation depends on the product, service and postal service provider used. You should first check the terms and conditions of the product or service to see if you are entitled to compensation.

Further information

Read more in our document on shipping and deliveries.

ComReg has a list of Postal Services FAQs.

You can get more information and advice from AnPost’s FAQ support section.

Commission for Communications Regulation

One Dockland Central
1 Guild Street
North Dock
Dublin 1
D01 E4XO
Ireland

Tel: (01) 804 9668
Fax: (01) 804 9680

An Post

Consumer Services

G.P.O
FREEPOST
O'Connell Street
Dublin 1
Ireland

Tel: (01) 705 7600
Locall: Callsave 1850 575 859
Fax: (01) 809 0900
Page edited: 14 January 2021