Royal Mail has had an investigation launched into it and could be fined millions due to falling well short of delivery targets for the second year in a row.

The investigation has been instigated by Ofcom after finding nearly a quarter of first-class and nearly one in 10 second-class deliveries arrived late over the past 12 months.

This is despite bosses at the postal services getting a warning over late deliveries last year.

It was also reported by The Metro that the current late delivery rates are the worst since records began in 2007.

The investigation was welcomed by Citizen's Advice whose polling suggests more than six million people have suffered problems in their lives due to postal delays in the past month alone.

Hereford Times: Ofcom has said Royal Mail could no longer use the impacts of Covid as an excuse for not meeting targetsOfcom has said Royal Mail could no longer use the impacts of Covid as an excuse for not meeting targets (Image: PA)

The organisation's Executive Director Matthew Upton said: "Royal Mail's poor service is now business as usual.

"We know the strain Royal Mail is under, but people must be able to rely on their post arriving in good time, including vital medical letters and urgent bills. Year after year of service failures have real consequences. It’s just not good enough." 

What action might Ofcom take against Royal Mail?

Ofcom opted not to fine Royal Mail last year due to the impacts of Covid, but it has reportedly said it could no longer use the pandemic as an "excuse" for letting customers down.

Companies can be fined up to 10% for regulatory breaches - around £800 million in Royal Mail's case.

Any fines imposed over this year's apparent breaches are expected to be much lower but still comfortably into seven figures.

Grant McPherson, chief operating officer of Royal Mail, said: "Improving quality of service is our top priority.

"We are committed to accelerating Royal Mail's transformation and restoring service levels to where our customers expect them to be.

"We're sorry to any customers who may have been impacted by our performance during a year that has been one of the most challenging in our history."

He added that with there being plans in place to drive up service levels he hoped to see some "progress" within the next few months.