Whistl van LR

Whistl CEO Nick Wells has blamed Royal Mail for the demise of its final-mile delivery service last month, claiming the company “screwed” Whistl with “differential pricing and some changes to zonal arrangements”.

Speaking at the Mail and Express Delivery Show in London last month (30 June), Wells said: “Because of that uncertainty we had no option. Our investor at the time for the end-to-end service found that the market conditions were not viable to continue.”

Whistl, formerly TNT Post, began trialling its own final-mile delivery service in March 2012, expanding in to Manchester in September 2013. This new source of competition to Royal Mail’s monopoly on the postal delivery market prompted an Ofcom overhaul of its regulatory framework, allowing it to change its prices to encourage competition in the market.

In February 2014, however, Whistl made an official complaint to regulator Ofcom, claiming Royal Mail was breaching the Competition Act with proposed fee increases for private final-mile deliveries.

In response to Wells’s comments, Stephen Agar, Royal Mail’s MD of consumer and network access, said it could not be blamed for the collapse of Whistl’s final-mile endeavour.

“The price changes Whistl is referring to were never implemented. It’s interesting that Nick somehow thinks we’re responsible for it losing £10m last year,” said Agar.

“We have a clause in our contracts that says if we do something that someone thinks we shouldn’t be doing, and it goes to the regulator, we do not deploy the change until the regulator has approved it.”

Wells retorted: “We’ll find out when Ofcom makes its decision. And I can guarantee now that it will agree with me.”