ROYAL Mail have admitted to initially confiscating a customer’s eBay item which was ‘bound for destruction’ – then try and resell it for nearly £50.
Peter Barker, from Stoke-on-Trent, was sending a gaming device to America using special delivery, but the parcel was stopped by Royal Mail as it contained a lithium battery.
The TinyPi Pro device, was alleged to have broken commerce policy and was prevented from reaching its destination as a result.
Peter was then shocked to discover his confiscated item was up for sale online without the battery, when a customer got in touch alerting him to missing parts last week.
He noticed the item was up for sale on eBay until June 10 for £49 despite being told by Royal Mail it had been destroyed.
Tracking for the product, which includes a number to ensure all items are safely delivered, said it had been disposed of April 30.
Only 300 copies were created of the world’s smallest Raspberry Pi gaming device, which was funded by a Kickstarter campaign set up by Peter who works in software.
Peter took to Twitter to call out the postal service for his discovery. He wrote: “I found out today that when Royal Mail says they destroy a parcel for prohibited contents, what that actually means is they sell it on eBay for personal gains.”
The item was listed on eBay from a seller in Bedford, Bedfordshire, with the title ‘TinyPi Pro Raspberry Pi Zero Handheld Portable Kit Kickstarter – Part missing’.
A Royal Mail spokeswoman explained why the product was confiscated and admitted that selling items on does happen.
She said: “To comply with national and international laws governing the carriage of mail, as well as ensure that mail in transport does not present a danger, we restrict or prohibit certain items from our network.
“This includes sending lithium batteries by air. If a customer attempts to post items that do not comply with the 2013 Dangerous Goods legislation, then we may deal with the items as we see fit.
“This may include disposing of the relevant item or working with auction houses to recoup our administrative costs.”
Peter uploaded an image with his tweet showing the labelled item with a serial number that is also used to track the item.
Twitter users reacted to Peter’s discovery.
@KatieHoweyPhoto wrote: “This is disgraceful. Royal Mail have some serious explaining to do.”
@FeelItWorking said: ““They also have to report it as theft. I have seen quite a few post office workers names in my local paper for stealing postal items. They should take it seriously.”
And @twalter_hunt added: “Royal Theft.”
Speaking today (Mon), Peter said: “I was of course shocked. It had been binned as far as I was aware. The Kickstarter campaign was for 300 items, and only 195 made it out the door because the battery issue came up.
“The customer was happy to wait until we resolved the postal issue. The policy seems daft if it is too dangerous to post but it’s safe enough to sell online.
“I think they are just selling off the unclaimed items, which also seems to include the ones for disposal.”
Peter continued: “I had written the item off as lost, and was going to replace it until someone contacted me asking for spares as they had bought the item on eBay with bits missing.”
Staffordshire Police said they could only comment if Royal Mail confirm a crime had taken place.
An insider said: “We will only comment if it’s a crime and as it stands, Royal Mail are looking into it and we’ll have to wait to see what they come back with first.
“They seem to be under the impression that it’s a customer service issue.”