asked the Postmaster-General why sample packages, marked "No Value," which are accepted by foreign countries for delivery in the United Kingdom are being detained by the British postal authorities and a charge is made on the ground that the samples enclosed are of value though, on protest being made, the overcharge is generally refunded; and whether he will, with a view to avoiding these annoyances, make some international arrangement as to limitations or definitions?
By the Regulations of the International Postal Union a sample of merchandise may not be sent at the reduced sample rate of postage if it has a saleable value. In many foreign countries articles of saleable value are from time to time irregularly marked "No Value" and accepted for transmission at the reduced rate. When such a packet is detected in the British Service the appropriate charge is raised upon it as provided by the Postal Union Convention. Charges so levied are only refunded in special cases in which the addressee furnishes proof that the contents of the packet are not actually of saleable value, although they appear to be. I have no power to vary the arrangement made by the International Convention, the provisions of which on this point are clear. The remedy for the annoyance to which the hon. Member refers lies in strict observance of the Regulations by the senders of sample packets.
Will the right hon. Gentleman have these Regulations posted in a conspicuous place in our post offices?
I will suggest that.