‘RELAX on Mother’s Day’ says the front of Michael Dooley’s card to his mother Annie.

But the family’s efforts to send the greetings card proved anything but relaxing and extra costly when it ended in a 68-mile trip to pick up the undelivered gift after a Royal Mail cock up.

Michael Dooley had to make the trek to Stockport collection office from his Old Hall home to pick up his blind 90-year-old mother’s card after mail bosses wrongly claimed the full postage had not been paid.

The 66-year-old said: “I sent her a card which, because of its size, required large letter postage of 73 pence, so I stuck two second class stamps at 53p each on the envelope, thereby overpaying by 33 pence.

“The card never arrived, which caused my mother concern. Shortly afterwards she received a card from the sorting office saying that they were holding the envelope as postage was underpaid by 19 pence, with a £1 handling fee.”

He made the 68 mile round trip to the sorting office to pay the handling fee and asked why he had to pay again and was told it was nothing to do with the sorting office.

Mr Dooley, of Vincent Close, then decided to take it to a post office to double check the letter and it weighed in at 64g - less than the 100g for extra postage cost.

“When I complained to the Royal Mail's Revenue Protection Service, I was offered the usual placebo of a book of stamps in compensation and was told that ‘these things happen’.

“The whole affair has cost me time and petrol and has caused distress to a blind old lady.

“If the Royal Mail can extort money from me when I have already overpaid postage, who else has this happened to?”

Val Bodden from Royal Mail said: "Surcharging customers is the last thing Royal Mail wants to do and we would urge people sending mail to ensure they use the correct postage. The surcharge that is levied helps to cover the extra cost of handling items that have been underpaid.

“In this particular instance, it appears we made an error when applying the surcharge and we have apologised to the customer and refunded the surcharge paid.”