Royal Mail cyber attack is ‘destroying’ small businesses

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Small business owners that rely on posting items overseas say the impact of the glitch has been devastating. Caroline Blackburn, a sculptural ceramics artist, says about 80 per cent of her orders come from the US. For the past couple of weeks, these have been gathering dust in a corner of her studio in Stockport, Manchester.

Royal Mail, which Caroline, 58, relies on for shipping, told customers on January 11 to stop posting items overseas following the attack.

She told the Express: “I have already paid for half of the postage for these orders and I’m going to have to pay all of that postage again while waiting for a refund from Royal Mail.

“I’m worried about how this disruption is going to affect my rankings on Etsy, where I sell my ceramics, but there’s nothing more I can do.”

Royal Mail has restarted the export of parcels from a backlog and is accepting new letters for overseas, as it tries to recover from the attack.

But it is still advising people not to send new parcels internationally.

Caroline said: “I have written really grovelling messages to my customers apologising profusely and I am trying to make it as easy for them as possible but we have heard next to nothing from Royal Mail about when things will return back to normal.”

She added: “I’ve been forced to look at alternatives such as couriers. Something that would cost me about £15 to post with Royal Mail would set me back more than £30 with Parcel Force, for example.”

Royal Mail customers have also been hit by strikes over pay and conditions in recent months.

Caroline said: “My sales took a massive hammering just before Christmas, a time when I usually do 50 per cent of my annual sales.”

Tina McKenzie, policy chair at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Cyber attacks can have devastating consequences on small businesses and entrepreneurs live in fear of this threat – indeed, 20 per cent of small businesses say cybercrime is one of the most impactful crimes.”

A spokesperson for Royal Mail said: “We would like to sincerely apologise to impacted customers for any disruption this incident may be causing.”

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