ARCEP fines La Poste for failing to include an offer allowing the shipment of small items at an affordable price in the universal service

Paris, 21 December 2011

In a decision issued on 20 December 2011, in application of Article L. 5-3 of the French Postal and electronic communications code (CPCE), ARCEP has imposed a fine on La Poste for failing to recognise its universal service obligations.

Both European and French Law require the universal postal service to include an affordably-priced offer for postal items weighing up to 2 kilogrammes.

Since 2007, however, the La Poste "Lettre" with or without commercial value. Moreover, the La Poste "Mini Max" service for small items currently excludes items that are more than 2 cm thick and weighing more than 1 kg.

As a result, the Authority has ascertained that the universal service – which La Poste is mandated by law to provide – contains no affordably-priced offer, in other words comparable to the “Lettre” service, which allows users to send postal items, other than correspondence, weighing less than 2 kilogrammes and which are more than 2 centimetres thick. Such offers nevertheless do exist in a great many other European countries.

Having been alerted repeatedly, notably by consumer protection associations and online retailers, of the need for an affordably-priced offer of this kind, the Authority can only conclude, despite the order to comply issued on 28 July 2010, that La Poste has continued to fail to recognise one of its universal service obligations.

As a result, the Authority is imposing a fine of €1 million which it believes is proportionate to the ascertained breach.