Deutsche Post says inflation makes raising postage costs unavoidable
Sending letters and parcels is about to get more expensive. The price of postage stamps in Germany may rise earlier than initially scheduled, Deutsche Post announced this week. Meanwhile, some German politicians are saying service costs are being passed on to customers unnecessarily.
German postage stamps may soon increase in price
It’s easy to think of the post as an outdated form of communication, but online shopping and returns are more popular than ever and much communication surrounding official issues in Germany is still done via good old-fashioned letters. Now, after submitting an application to the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) Deutsche Post is likely to be granted permission to raise the cost of stamps earlier than was initially planned.
Since it is a universal service provider, the only company that delivers letters across the entirety of the federal republic, Deutsche Post is not allowed to raise prices on its own and must seek permission from the Federal Network Agency. If the company's recent application is successful, a price hike scheduled for 2025 could be brought forward to as early as January 2024.
Normally, postage costs increase every three years in Germany. The last price hike came at the beginning of 2022, when the cost of a standard domestic letter rose from 80 cents to 85 cents and the cost of sending a postcard increased from 60 cents to 70 cents. If you have any stamps from before the price hike, they can still be used but must also be franked.
Post bosses say inflation and higher wages make price hikes a must
As a universal service provider, Deutsche Post must fulfil certain service obligations set by the government, such as postbox accessibility and speed of delivery. If these obligations are fulfilled the German government may allow Deutsche Post to charge prices that mean the business can continue to make a profit. In 2022, the delivery company made a profit of 8,4 billion euros.
Deutsche Post has said that inflationary costs mean raising postage fees is “absolutely necessary”. According to the service, increasing the postage fee is long overdue. "In view of drastically increased costs due to inflation, higher energy prices and the very high 2023 tariff settlement, as well as unexpectedly sharp declines in letter volumes, there is no way around an increase in postage," Post board member Nikola Hagleitner told Berliner Zeitung.
Politicians from the SPD and the Left Party see the cycle of increasing wages by passing costs on to the customers as a clear sign that Germany’s Postal Act must be reformed. SPD member Sebastian Roloff told the dpa, “An affordable, nationwide and high-quality postal service can be guaranteed in the long term - and with good working conditions and fair wages." Left Party member Pascal Meiser concluded Deutsche Post’s profit demands mean that costs are driven up unnecessarily.
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