AN ANGRY Poole woman has accused Royal Mail bosses of acting like modern day Scrooges after she was penalised for receiving a Christmas card half an inch too big for postal regulations.

Sonia Cox is one of many customers who have had to go to a sorting office and pay a £1 surcharge because a card was sent with less than the required postage.

Under Royal Mail regulations, the envelope – which was wafer thin and addressed to Sonia Cox at Belmont Road, Parkstone – needed eight pence more than the normal first class postage it carried because it was half an inch wider than the standard letter size.

But when her husband went to pick up the undelivered item from Parkstone Post Office, on Friday, he was charged the extra eight pence and a £1 handling fee.

Mrs Cox, of Belmont Road, said: “It’s meant to be the season of goodwill. It was barely half an inch too big, not one of these unusually sized Christmas cards.

“I know it’s not the normal Post Office staff’s fault – it’s the powers at be – but Royal Mail will be making a good little packet out of this.”

According to Mrs Cox, when her husband begrudgingly paid the £1 handling fee, the person behind the counter said: “We are getting a lot of this at the moment.”

She added: “At this time of year people are not going to be thinking about things like this – you buy the cards, write them to your friends and pop them in the box.

“I bet lots of people will fall foul of this. It’s not right to be making extra money out of people like this, especially at Christmas.”

Since August 2006, UK postage prices have been based on the size of an item as well as its weight.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We always take a common sense approach to the tiny fraction of mail with underpaid postage. “Surcharging customers is the last thing Royal Mail wants to do and we urge people to ensure they use the correct postage.”