The Christmas period is the peak time for buying stamps as family and friends send each other festive wishes through the mail.

In an attempt to avoid lengthy seasonal queues at the local post office, I visited local corner shops in my area that sell postage stamps. I was surprised to find that all three charged me more than the face value – a practice that Royal Mail forbids.

The price of a first class stamp for a letter should be 67p and a second class stamp should cost 58p. But in all three shops I was overcharged by 5p to 10p.

A few pennies here and there might not seem like much – but being charged 75p for a red stamp and 65p for a blue represents a mark-up of 12pc. I wouldn’t stand for…

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