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Do not return batteries via the Royal Mail

Published on Thursday 06 November 2014
Categories: General |

Faulty battery pack

On the 15th October 2014 I ordered a pair of Voltz 5300mAh 8.4v Stick Pack with Traxxas Connector NiMH batteries from www.modelsport.co.uk which they sent to me via Royal Mail at a cost of £76.90

When the batteries arrived they were packaged in a plastic bag with a card label stapled across the top in a bubble envelope.

In order to maximise the life of the new batteries to use them on our LED bike lights we slow charged each one and then using a 1C discharge rate (5.3Afor these packs) we discharged them on our Maynuo M9812 Programmable LED DC Electronic Load until the cells had discharged to 7 volts overall.

For a 5300mAh battery this should have given us 5.3Ah of capacity but we found that both packs experienced a sudden voltage drop of approx. 1.2 volts after a few minutes and then dropped to the cut off voltage between 1.4Ah and 2.0Ah capacity which was much less than the battery packs should have supplied.

We also found that one of the cells in the pack was much hotter than the others after the discharge cycle which suggested that each pack had a faulty cell internally.

We tried 3 more charge and discharge cycles but the results were the same each time.

The images below show the discharge curves for both batteries:

Battery Discharge

Battery Discharge 2

I then contacted Modelsport Modelsport who asked me to return the packs in the post so they could test them and refund the order and so I repackaged the cells in their original bags and stapled the card label back onto the packet. This was then packaged in bubble wrap in a strong cardboard box which was sent via Royal Mail small parcels service back to Modelsport which cost approx. £6.00 in postal charges.

After not having any response to my request for a refund after some time I contacted PayPal who I used to pay for the order and tried to ask for a refund for the faulty items. This was refused by Modelsport who told me that the batteries had not been returned!

Later the same day the post arrived with a letter from the Royal Mail explaining that they had opened the parcel on route and decided that it contained it “containing items prohibited as dangerous goods”

The letter also stated “Where Royal Mail finds parcels that contain dangerous goods in our network, we mail deal with them as we see fit, including but not limited to, disposing of the parcels concerned (in whole or in part).

In this instance, having opened your parcel and examined the contents more closely, we determined that the items contained within it did breach dangerous goods transport regulations. We have therefore disposed of the parcel accordingly. The details of the addressee, the contents of the parcel and the reason for this disposal can be found overleaf.

No reply to this letter is required, and not further action will be taken on this occasion.”

On the back was:

“The parcel contained items classed as Dangerous Goods by the International Civil Avation Organization (ICAO) and is also prohibited from being sent to addresses within the UK”

So now the batteries which were new and returned well-padded in their original packing have been dumped and no chance of getting a refund for the faulty battery packs.

I phoned the Royal Mail helpline number on the letter and was told that I couldn’t return batteries even if new and in their original packing via the post. To return them personally would have been a 300 mile drive each way!

Before I sent them back I checked on the Royal Mail website regarding prohibited goods which stated:

Prohibited goods - personal customers

Items you cannot send in the post


Batteries that are classed as dangerous goods by the latest edition of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Technical Instructions are prohibited. This includes wet spillable lead acid/lead alkaline batteries (such as car batteries), used alkaline metal, nickel metal hydride (NiMH), nickel cadmium (NiCd), zinc-air batteries, and damaged batteries of any type.

Lithium ion/polymer/metal/alloy batteries when not sent with, or contained in/connected to an electronic device, are prohibited.

Lithium ion/polymer/metal/alloy batteries are allowed when sent with or contained in/connected to an electronic device, but are subject to packaging, volume and quantity restrictions. Please see www.royalmail.com/restrictedgoods.

For more information on lithium batteries please see the IATA Lithium Battery Guidance Document   .

Sealed lead acid batteries are allowed in the UK, but are also subject to packaging, volume, quantity and labelling restrictions. Please see www.royalmail.com/restrictedgoods

Alkaline metal, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries may only be sent when new and in their original packaging. Please see www.royalmail.com/restrictedgoods

As the batteries were new and in their supplied packing I didn’t think this was against the rules.

Just found it very strange that I was sent the batteries via the Royal Mail but they wouldn’t let me send them back!

In future I will just use local retailers rather than online sellers for any battery purchases now that I know that they cant be returned in the post if they don’t work.



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