The national postal service says people have until January 31 next year to use their old stamps
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The Royal Mail has said traditional postage stamps will soon be a thing of the past thanks to the introduction of a new barcode system.
A rollout of the new barcoded stamps began last week, with the public warned that regular stamps will be phased out by the end of January next year.
People could have to pay up to £3.50 to get their post from next March, it has emerged.
The measure has prompted fears that some elderly and other vulnerable people will struggle with the changes, writes The Daily Star.
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That's because the national postal service has revealed that letters and parcels with the old stamps will no longer be delivered from February 2023.
Instead, they will be left at sorting officers and their intended recipients required to pay a surcharge to retrieve them.
The rates currently stand at £2 for a letter and £3.50 for a parcel.
Campaigners are unhappy at the move, which they say will hit the very people who still use stamps the most.
Malcom Booth, chief executive of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, said it would make life "most difficult" for the elderly and vulnerable.
"Stopping people using normal stamps and making them pay to receive post will cause disruption," he said.
Under the changes, anyone sent items using non-barcoded stamps will receive a 'fee to pay' card through their letterbox and informed they need to collect them from a sorting office.
This will further impact older people living in rural areas, it is claimed, as they have to travel further to get to their nearest Royal Mail sorting depot.
Under the scheme, traditional stamps can be swapped for the same value of new barcoded ones from March 31, this year, until March 31, 2023, via Freepost.
Older and vulnerable people are also less likely to realise how the changes will effect them until it is too late, claim opponents.
"Many people have a stash of stamps at home," said Mr Booth. "How many will not get the message about the changeover?"
Campaigners are calling for a longer switch-over period to make sure everyone can become accustomed and familiar with the new system.
They would like to see people be able to use both traditional stamps and the new barcoded stamps for at least a few years as it would be fairer.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: "Non-barcoded stamps can be used as postage up until 31 January 2023.
"We encourage our customers to use them within this time but if they can’t, they can send them in to us and we'll swap them out for barcoded stamps free of charge."
They added: "Our 'Swap Out' scheme will open on 31 March 2022 and they can pick up a 'Swap Out' form from their local Delivery Office's Customer Service Point; print one off our web site; or contact Customer Experience and one will be posted one out to them."
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