Conditions of Use

There are some fundamental rules to observe when using a franking machine. To begin with all items have to be posted on the same day that they are franked. They need to be posted in the area that the franking mark covers and the mark should be clear and legible. The mark should be applied in the top right hand corner in red ink. When all items have been franked they need to be sorted into bundles according to class or type of item. Each bundle should be secured by an elastic band and all the items in the bundle need to be positioned with the franking machine facing upwards and to the right. Each bundle then needs to be placed into either a red or green bag, supplied by the Royal Mail, according to class – red for first class and green for second class. The Royal Mail also provides bags or sacks for large amounts of post and trays or containers if necessary. Pouched mail can be taken to a Post Office or Enquiry Office. Trays and Containers need to be taken to a Mail Centre.

How to use the machine

The franking machine will need a red ink cartridge which corresponds to the type and make of your machine. Envelopes should be of the correct size but labels should be used for parcels and large packages. The machine needs to be programmed with the latest tariffs available from the Royal Mail and these will usually be available through the company that supplies your machine. Updates to tariffs are usually charged for. The machine needs to be inspected annually by an engineer approved by the Royal Mail.

Some machines are equipped with digital weighing scales, but not all of them so you may have to provide your own. Equally, some machines have an automatic letter feed, but with others you will have to feed in the letters by hand. Virtually all machines can display or print a statement showing the amount of franking used with the higher usage models also supplying more detailed invoices or statements.

First, weigh the item. Then select the class and type of item from the machine’s user interface. This will also enable you to select marketing logos etc in some cases. The machine may be able to calculate the charge from the weight of each item but with some machines you may have to calculate this yourself from the tariff. Next, feed the letter (or label in the case of a bulky parcel) through the machine. The item is now ready for posting.


Author - Nigel Vaughan

Nigel has over 10 years experience in digital marketing, and loves tech and all kinds of electronics. A keen cyclist and cycle-tourist, he has cycled through 25 countries worldwide.

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