Detailed guide: BFPO services guide

Defence Equipment Support

October 9
14:09 2019

Follow our short guide to find out how to send mail with the British Forces Post Office (BFPO).


Age Verification Knives and Blades

Amendments to the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 (OWA) will come into force shortly. One of the main outcomes of the OWA is to prohibit the online sale and delivery of blades to people under 18 years of age. Under the OWA, both the vendor and the courier company will, in certain circumstances, be criminally liable if bladed items are delivered into the hands of an individual who is under 18 years old.

Customers should note the following:

  1. Parcelforce has announced it will introduce an Age Verification Service on 1 November 2019. This service will only be available to account customers and not to personal customers at Post Office counters. Further details can be found on the Parcelforce website.

  2. Royal Mail has updated its Terms and Conditions and has added Age Verification items to the prohibited list for BFPO customers. This will also commence on the 1 November 2019.

  3. Due to these prohibitions personal customers can no longer send a bladed product to or from a BFPO address using Royal Mail or Parcelforce stamped products, for example non-account holders purchasing mail products/services at the counter.

Posting dates for Christmas 2019

Here are the BFPO recommended posting dates for Christmas 2019 (PDF, 166KB, 8 pages).

International driving licences

For enquiries about International Driving Licences, visit the DVLA website.

Advice for customers buying goods by mail order and online

BFPO has become aware that some customers based overseas are purchasing valuable items without ensuring that adequate compensation (insurance cover) for the item has been purchased at the same time.

Please note that it is entirely the customers responsibility to ensure that an item has adequate compensation cover when purchasing items that will be sent through the postal and BFPO system.

If the company will not offer additional compensation cover for your item, we advise careful consideration before placing an order with them and that you give further consideration to purchasing instead from a company that does.

It is especially important to ensure that items are adequately insured when buying from small marketplace sellers (e.g. EBay, Gumtree, Spock ).

Its worth remembering that couriers used to deliver goods will not know the value of your parcel and will not allow for additional compensation unless the individual or seller requests this. You should check with the supplier that they are using a service that offers the right level of compensation for your purchase.

As the individual placing your order, it is your responsibility to make sure your purchase is adequately covered should loss or damage occur.

Please note that BFPO cannot pay full compensation for damage or loss should your item not be covered for its full value. We strongly recommend using Royal Mail Special Delivery for expensive purchases, which offers several levels of compensation and comes with a full track and trace capability.

See full details in our Customer Service, Compensation and Commercial Mail Service sections.

BFPO customer services

Whilst the vast majority of customers will receive an excellent service and customer experience occasionally things go wrong and mail becomes lost or damaged.

To minimise the risk customers are advised to ensure the following:

  • use the correct full address, include the unit and sub unit, BFPO receives many letters and parcels with only a name and BFPO number; it may be impossible to locate the correct recipient especially in larger garrisons without the unit details; ensure that third parties have the full address and use it especially when internet shopping with commercial companies

  • BFPO mail may endure a long journey to reach its destination especially in remote areas of the world and mail may pass through several organisations e.g. airport cargo handlers and foreign mail administrations; senders of mail should use good quality packaging sufficient to withstand rough handling

  • the main cause of damage to contents is when the tops of plastic containers open in transit covering contents in liquid or gel. The main cause of this is shower gels. BFPO has to deal with several of these daily. Customers are advised to send these with screw caps or if not feasible secure the cap with adhesive tape to prevent opening in transit

  • include the senders address preferably on the reverse in order that the mail can be returned if we are unable to deliver it

If your mail has not arrived within 30 working days then initially:

  • at a BFPO Location contact the Forces Post Office staff who will advise what course of action to take and assist with compiling claim forms, ensuring that the necessary evidence is attached to the claims form

  • in the UK collect a claim form from your local Post Office and once complete ensure that the necessary evidence is attached to the claims form

  • normally the sender of the mail should initiate claims for lost mail and the recipient for damaged mail

  • for goods purchased from commercial companies (mail order/on-line shopping) the commercial company holds the contract with BFPO and has to initiate the claims procedure; customers must contact the company to initiate the process

  • ensure you have the correct amount of compensation for the value of the goods being sent, basic cover included in the postage cost is for Royal Mail a maximum of 20 per mail item and Parcelforce 100 per mail item; if your goods are valued in excess of these amounts purchase the extra compensation or you will not recover the full cost

Compensation services

Letters and small parcels

There is no fee is payable in addition to postage. Compensation up to a maximum of 20 may be paid where it can be shown that a letter was damaged or lost while in the custody of either Royal Mail or the British Forces Postal Service. Customers should obtain a Certificate of Posting and retain evidence of the value of goods, which must be produced in the event of a claim for loss or damage.

Royal Mail Signed For (formerly Recorded delivery)

This service is available for all letter services (air and surface letters, small parcels and printed papers) to the UK, plus to and from BFPO numbered addresses. Prices start from 1.90. The maximum compensation that can be claimed is 50 for loss or damage, where there is evidence of the value of the contents.

Special delivery (not by surface mail)

This service provides a signature on delivery and compensation cover for valuables. There are six weight steps for the sending of Special Delivery to BFPO. These are shown in the tables below. The maximum weight that can be sent is 20 kilogram, subject to the restrictions each BFPO number.

Customers may use their own envelope, but items containing money or jewellery must be sent using the Royal Mail special delivery prepaid envelopes if compensation cover for loss or damage is to apply. Special delivery does not provide timed delivery, telephone confir

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