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Royal Mail urges UK regulator to rethink no-parcel-tracking rule

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Royal Mail is seen outside the Mount Pleasant Sorting Office as a delivery vehicle arrives, in London
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(Reuters) - UK's Royal Mail on Monday urged regulator Ofcom to reconsider its decision to not allow the post and parcel delivery firm to track packages under the Universal Service Obligation (USO) rules.

Earlier in the day, Ofcom said it had decided to not allow tracking of parcels under USO as it could hurt competition. It also laid out fresh guidelines for all postal operators to simplify their complaints processes and provide better service to disabled customers, effective 2023.

Ofcom is the UK's designated independent regulator for postal services and ensures compliance with the universal postal service standards.

Royal Mail had requested the regulator to add tracking to first and second class parcels under USO to ensure all postal users receive a minimum level of service at a reasonable price.

"Tracking is no longer seen as an optional extra or a premium offer, it is a necessity," Royal Mail said in a statement.

"If regulation is a blocker to modernisation, it will increasingly put the finances of the universal service at risk."

Apart from increased competition that is eating into its profits, Royal Mail has also been dealing with union disputes, striking employees and soaring costs.

The company is required to deliver at least 93% of the first-class post across the U.K within one working day, and 98.5% of second-class post within three working days, with the price of second-class stamps capped at 68 pence.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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