View Full Version : Little old lady versus international delivery company

12th Dec 2017, 10:55
I am sharing this story partly as a warning to others, but also to find out if anyone here has had a positive outcome in these circumstances.

Senior citizen friend with limited income decided to send Christmas presents to grandchildren in USA and uses a well known international parcel service. The following happened:

Parcel collected and tracked to depot.
Tracking shows parcel in depot beyond delivery date.
E mails between parties confirm parcel is lost.
Insurance claim initiated.
Senior citizen friend now very distressed that presents lost and purchases new gifts to avoid disappointing grandchildren.
The delivery company now cancels insurance claim stating parcel found.
Delivery company states parcel will not be delivered to USA as originally required but would return the parcel to sender.
The company states this could take between 2 and 8 weeks and cannot provide a delivery date.
Numerous emails between friend and company take place to understand why when the parcel was found it was not delivered as originally intended.
Now just getting apology emails and no details etc. When the parcel is returned she can have her postal costs back.

My friend is now very upset about no delivery after having found the parcel and now out of pocket after having to replace presents on the basis that the insurance claim was proceeding. To put it mildly, she is seething with rage against this company and is looking for some sort of justice.

Has she any hope of finding closure on this?

12th Dec 2017, 11:00
Name and shame.

Espada III
12th Dec 2017, 11:45
If she is in the UK - use the Small Claims Court; or at least threaten it if money not fully refunded and compensation paid for distress.

12th Dec 2017, 11:49

12345678910...long enough now?

12th Dec 2017, 15:24
Write a letter listing the whole sorry mess with full details of what has occurred and what it has cost and with an invoice for the amount she is out of pocket. Give them 14 days to pay up or small claims court. If it is taken to court they can (and almost certainly will) opt to have it heard at a court local to their head office. Respond to this by saying that she will enjoy a day out in London (or where-ever) at their expense. They usually (IME) pay up before court day. Ensure their managing director receives copies of all this.

old,not bold
12th Dec 2017, 15:40
Assuming that facts stated in the first post are in good faith, reasonably accurate and complete, there is no reason whatsoever to be shy about naming the company concerned.

So Mr Grayfly, please do just that; these mealy-mouthed circumlocutions are annoying. And unless you do, why raise the matter in the first place?

(Talking of annoying, so is mixing the present and past tenses in a narrative.)

I'll second UniFoxOs on what to do next. There's a good website (https://www.ceoemail.com/) for finding out CEO direct contacts; perhaps it includes the "well known international parcel service".

(Story removed as not relevant!, now we know the culprit).

12th Dec 2017, 15:53
The organisation in question is Hermes and upon further research, they appear to be a company quite used to naming and shaming if their Facebook page is anything to go by.

The lady in question is very determined to take action against them and is definitely considering the small claims court. She is in contact with the CEO but that contact name and email address just appears to be a collection point for the complaints department.

old,not bold
12th Dec 2017, 16:00
CEOemail.com gives us the following, and a few more if this is not the right one;

Hermes Parcelnet UK

Mr Martijn de Lange Chief Executive

Email [email protected]

Telephone 0113 397 6400
Switchboard 0113 397 6400
Website Hermes : Makes Delivery Easy (http://www.hermes-europe.co.uk)
Social Media T

Postal Address Capitol House 1 Capitol Close, Morley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS27 0WHM
Company Number 03900782C
Company Status Active (Established 22/12/1999)

12th Dec 2017, 16:04
I suspect she doesn't have any basis of claim. It would depend on the Ts&Cs of the shipper, but unless there was some element of guarantee to deliver by a specific date the only contractual failure is that they have decided not to ship the items. I would expect that their Ts&Cs entitle them to do this with an appropriate refund.

If you want to argue some criticality ("it needed to be there by Xmas", or "It was imperitive that it got there because they were Xmas presents") then the shipper would argue that the customer should have used an althernative shipping contract with greater assurance and more assured timescales* as appropriate to the less tolerable level of risk. Of course that costs more...

But you can only sue in the courts (whether small claims track or otherwise) for the recovery of actual tangible losses. As she will now get the goods back it's hard to see what these tangible losses would be.

Sorry, but that's just the way it is.


* Note that no commercial shipper can guarantee a delivery date to an address in a country in a different customs zone - they are entirely at the mercy of the import freight inspection organisations of the end-address country - they could have a 12 month backlog and there is precisely zip that anyone can do about it. Again, if it's really, really important your option is to "courier" it - to pay someone to take said freight as their personal baggage and fly there themselves. There have been times when we have done this with urgently needed spares.

Pontius Navigator
12th Dec 2017, 16:06
Sadly Hermes is CHEAP and skate to go with it. I use them as it is convenient and they did meet my insurance claim for damages.

12th Dec 2017, 16:07
OK, well now you've named them - if it was urgent I certainly wouldn't have used Hermes, although I have used them frequently for shipping within the UK. Hermes have one primary selling feature - they are cheap. That's all.

This is just another case of someone wanting to pay a lemonade price and expecting a champgne service in return. Sorry, but that's all it is. Hopefully the lesson has been learned for next time.


12th Dec 2017, 16:24
Lessons learned indeed.

I have also used them in the UK and never had any issues.

Now to try and calm down an enraged OAP.

old,not bold
12th Dec 2017, 16:46
t least she can get it off her chest to Mr de Lange. It would be interesting to hear the outcome. He won't reply, of course, and may not even see the email, but it will be forwarded to someone who is expected to deal with it properly. Especially when she politely mentions the County Court (ie small claims court), BBC etc.).

The County Court is worth a try; contracts entered into between large corporations and individuals who only enter into a contract with unreasonable T&Cs by buying something and maybe clicking a box, where the opportunity for reading and understanding the small print is limited, tend to take second place to what is reasonable and fair. And Hermes behaviour is neither reasonable nor fair.

I get a good laugh out of many big companies' pathetic belief that they can bury outrageous T&Cs in pages of pseudo-legal drivel and hope that they can rely on them when they provide the appalling quality and service they were clearly expecting to provide when they wrote the drivel.

And when the T&Cs actually defy the law, as many do, they are useful only for wiping the CEO's bottom.

12th Dec 2017, 16:59
And when the T&Cs actually defy the law, as many do, they are useful only for wiping the CEO's bottom.

If the terms are illegal, they are not enforceable. But I suspect they follow the good old IATA Recommended Practice, which many airline's copy - because they have withstood the tests of time.

12th Dec 2017, 17:03
Surely the points here are these, nothing more:

1. She contracted with Hermes to ship goods to the US.

2. Hermes accepted the contract, by taking payment and the goods.

3. Hermes reported that they had lost the goods and confirmed that fact by email.

4. As the goods were insured via Hermes against loss a claim was initiated and replacement goods were purchased.

5. Hermes found the goods they had confirmed to have been lost, and cancelled the insurance claim.

6. Hermes are returning the goods.

The key points here are that Hermes changed their position, and in doing so caused the lady to incur significant additional expenditure. This is not about their Ts and Cs, this is about them confirming the goods to have been lost, accepting an insurance claim, finding the lost goods and then cancelling the insurance claim AFTER the customer had incurred additional expenditure.

I agree that Hermes are a complete and utter shambles, and I don't think we've ever once had a satisfactory delivery from them, in fact I shudder every time I buy something and realise that Hermes are the shipping company, as I just know they will fail to deliver, deliver to the wrong address, lie about whether or not a parcel has been delivered, etc, etc.

I do think there is the basis of a case here, not because of Hermes Ts and Cs, but because they provided written confirmation that the parcel was lost, so instigating an insurance claim, which they then cancelled after additional expenditure had been incurred. That is unreasonable, even from a shit company like Hermes.

12th Dec 2017, 18:07
Next time tell her to use Amazon. I buy all my Christmas gifts for nieces and nephews through Amazon UK even though I'm in the US. They buy stuff for my son through Amazon US. Never had a problem.

I hate to think what the shipping cost was for her. One of the reasons we stopped shipping gifts was because you often spent more on getting it there than the gift was worth in any case.

12th Dec 2017, 18:53
AFICT, Hermes is a fluid entity that operates as a courier by subcontracting to whoever is prepared to undertake a section of the delivery.
I see them down my road - anyone from a non-liveried white van to an ancient scruffy estate car.
I know one of the 'couriers' who decides when and if they want to work and then collects parcels from a depot - along with dozens of other 'casuals'.

Agreed they have liveried trucks - but they move parcels nationally to the distribution depots where the casuals take over.

I doubt that Hermes have any significant operation outside the UK.

On the subject of alternatives - I bought several Christmas presents from the South American River Company a couple of years ago which failed to arrive despite their system claiming that they had been delivered.
On reporting the non-arrival they immediately repeated the whole order - which arrived within two days (I presume that they used a preferential service for them to have arrived so promptly) - all at no charge.

12th Dec 2017, 21:37
I dropped off a package at a TNT depot on a Friday to be delivered over a distance of 900ks to a large city north of me.

I checked the online tracking over the weekend and there were no entries,con note number not found.

I visited the depot the following Monday,and spotted my package on the floor next to the front desk. I asked the bloke ( same guy who I gave it to on Friday) if he'd mind scanning it in to the system please ? I waited around to make sure I saw him do it. Took him 5 minutes to find a handheld scanner !

It was then delivered as expected and arrived 2 days later than I'd paid for.

All courier companies are unreliable, no surprise given the quality of some of their workforce and management

favete linguis
12th Dec 2017, 22:40
Have used Hermes a few times and thankfully pay by credit card each time, so I can put the transactions into dispute when they fail, currently 66% of the time.

As the goods I order generally are not urgent I can manage with the delay, but their latest excuse for non delivery was that the collection was cancelled. Not by me, so another dispute created. If nothing else these disputes cause them inconvenience and its my way of dealing with it - doesn't take long and theres transcripts of the conversations online with Gupta and co in Mumbai. So if you word it carefully you can create a robust claim at that point.

Ultimately you get free delivery until they sort their act out.

12th Dec 2017, 23:01
Hermes eh? Now there's a surprise!

I appreciate that most people on here are probably talking about sizeable parcels, but I post up to a dozen small packets a week, mainly to the UK but also to USA, Canada NW Europe Australia and New Zealand. I invariably use Royal Mail, and I doubt if I lose one package in 100, if that. Within the UK I only use second class mail but nevertheless quite often my packages are delivered next day.

I wouldn't dream of using any of the alternatives, as the sort of horror story the OP tells seems fairly common. It's nice to have something to praise in this country, and speaking as I find, I find our postal service excellent.

13th Dec 2017, 02:36
........to pay someone to take said freight as their personal baggage and fly there themselves........

Did you pack this bag yourself Sir/Madam, and do you know the contents ?

I met Mrs. ExSp. on a flight when she had answered a USA newspaper ad. for "couriers". She turned up at the airport and was given a suitcase to check in against her baggage allowance on her ticket, which was paid for by the "company" - which is why she was travelling, i.e. a free ticket to an exciting, Asian, destination. At least on arrival she was met by a representative of the "company" inside the baggage claim hall, so she didn't have to make any declaration to Customs. Same procedure on return to the USA.

Can you imagine doing that these days ? Especially to somewhere like Bali, it would be an instant ticket to jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect 200 !!

Pontius Navigator
13th Dec 2017, 07:07
Well I use Hermes and have rarely had an issue. The reason I use them is my local drop off has no queues and is open 7 days and to 9pm 6 days. In contrast the post office staff are surly, slow, and there are always long queues.

For delivery, on was a local Rotarian who did it for two years, then a retiree who stuck it for 4 weeks (too many parcels, too little time, to places he didn't know). Then for 3 years a very pleasant chaos, always a few words, and even a tip for removal of moss and algae from our drive.
New guy is OK.

As you can gather, I avoid the postal service whenever I can.

13th Dec 2017, 08:04
I wouldn't dream of using any of the alternatives,

Trouble is the PO are a load of [email protected] who also don't give a toss, and expensive at that. I am downsizing and trying to sell off surplus junk on ebay, and heavier items won't sell if I ask PO shipping rates.

13th Dec 2017, 10:20
Use DPD and UPS, RM special delivery tracked is ok as well, the rest are complete rubbish.

13th Dec 2017, 10:38
Just sent 3 A4 sheets of paper to bank in UK, by DHL.

It cost R405.00/22.30/US$29.96

13th Dec 2017, 10:45
Trouble is the PO are a load of [email protected] who also don't give a toss, and expensive at that. I am downsizing and trying to sell off surplus junk on ebay, and heavier items won't sell if I ask PO shipping rates.

Agreed on rates for heavier items, but I did say I only send small packages, and at the bottom end of the weight scale the PO are very competitive. I take issue with your opinion of their staff though. I think we must be lucky in Cornwall. I find the counter staff friendly and helpful in both our local main post office and the nearby sub PO, and our local postman is excellent. I feel sorry for those people delivering items to me from the various private outfits such as Hermes etc as I know they are working for peanuts.

13th Dec 2017, 11:23

Did you pack this bag yourself Sir/Madam, and do you know the contents ?

Yes - in order to do this it was necessary for the courier to be present when the crate was packed and sealed. We went one step further, and only used people who were competent engineers and the LRUs were opened for inspection before being tested and packed (but we were subsequently told this was overkill - the export license and CofC were deemed sufficient).

There was a time when the nature of the business meant that we needed almost weekly collections, so we allowed people to volunteer for the trip. They would fly out to LA on the friday, have the weekend in the hotel on expenses and then report to the vendor 1st thing monday. They would then inspect, observe reassembly, test & packing and "take delivery" before being limo'd to the airport. I think we did a dozen or so runs (I did two) before an amendment to the export license rendered it unnecessary.


Pontius Navigator
13th Dec 2017, 11:30
TTN, we have two permanent PO staff, we have had several new staff join, happy, helpful and quick. Then they catch the misery bug. An envelope going through the gauge is rejected if touches the gauge.

13th Dec 2017, 11:31
I often use hermes; not any problems to date........

Pontius Navigator
13th Dec 2017, 11:33
On heavy weights and eBay, I sold a boot scraper. It was mounted in a sandstone block and weighed 25kg. I was staggered at the charge. Too heavy for Hermes, with Parcel Force just 12.50.

I just loved passing it over the counter at the PO :)

13th Dec 2017, 11:59
Use DPD That would be the DPD who haven't delivered my order for three days now due to the snow. The delivery date is updated daily and shows "at my request" which presumably makes their stats look better. Hermes, Yodel and the PO have all delivered in the meantime, from depots in a similar place.

An envelope going through the gauge is rejected if touches the gauge. I was selling some surplus grommets on ebay - the sort of thing that you have to buy in hundreds but only want 10. I was selling them in fives, and to keep the packet flat I sellotaped them to a piece of paper. The envelopes went through my (PO-supplied) gauge all right but about 50% of the purchasers had received a card inviting them to cough up a surcharge which was more than the items cost with delivery.

13th Dec 2017, 12:38
Ensure their managing director receives copies of all this.

A pal of mine has developed this... He gets the name and address of every director from Companies House and writes to them too. They don't like being doorstepped apparently.


StAn gelo
13th Dec 2017, 13:49
I agree that Hermes are a complete and utter shambles, and I don't think we've ever once had a satisfactory delivery from them, in fact I shudder every time I buy something and realise that Hermes are the shipping company, as I just know they will fail to deliver, deliver to the wrong address, lie about whether or not a parcel has been delivered, etc, etc.

Couldn't agree more...

I've had one delivery flung at the door,but unfortunately for the driver i was just about to open it to greet him.He left red faced to say the least...and after an email to Amazon i never saw him again.

Another delivery arrived damaged...and the third ended up 'lost'.
Again...all via Hermes but Amazon sent replacements and refunded me for the original orders.
I enquired about selecting an alternative courier but did not receive a reply.

13th Dec 2017, 15:42
That is the most frustrating thing about online shopping. The inability to select who will handle the delivery. None of the companies chosen by them are capable of telling you anything more than the day of expected delivery.

Where I live the Post Office is excellent, their delivery time predictable and I can go online and give them instructions to leave it with a neighbour, or behind the 2nd tree to the right.

The fees that the charge for customs clearance are daylight robbery - and yet I have no choice.

13th Dec 2017, 16:04
The most frustrating thing for me is when we have ordered something from Amazon and an email has been received to say your parcel will be delivered on a certain day. The delivery never occurs and we have been at home in the house all day. My kids have a small baby that will wake easily to the noise of the door chime and the delivery address is correct.

Later we receive an email from the subcontracted courier to say that delivery was attempted but there was no reply. So what happened - did the driver get to the end of the working day and quit leaving the remaining parcels to be delivered the next day or whenever.

It has happened so many times recently it seems like an acceptable way of doing business. For deliveries in France it is worse, the email also contains a number to call to "arrange a new date/time for delivery". You've guessed it, the number is either busy or they have no record of your parcel, or they do not recognise the format of the tracking number. (You only have Amazon's not the couriers tracking number......Grrrr)

Makes you want to cancel the order.


13th Dec 2017, 16:26
Sometime back Amazon US started using a service called OnTrac. This was one of my deliveries.


Luckily the contents was something that could handle the shock.

Pontius Navigator
13th Dec 2017, 19:19
Our Postman in UK was superb but would have been sacked instantly had we praised his efforts.

We never had to sign for recorded delivery. He would either shove it through the box or hide it by the bin. He surpassed himself one day and threw it over the back gate towards the shelter; he missed.

When we recovered a soggy cardboard box a few days later the LCD screen was water logged. Remarkably, once drained and dried in gentle heat it all worked.

Random SLF
13th Dec 2017, 20:37
The last online shopping item I bought arrived last Saturday, delivered by DPD. I tracked the delivery with the DPD App on my smartphone, and this is the way to do it chaps, it was incredible: It showed the current location of the delivery vehicle on Google Maps; it gave the driver's name (Dave) and a photograph of him too; it gave the exact hour during which he was due at my address; and he was there within that hour too. Just brilliant.

13th Dec 2017, 21:08
Sunday gone I purchased an item online from ALDI - with predicted delivery by the end of this week.
Today (Wednesday) I received an email from Yodel stating that the item had arrived at their depot at 01:50 and would be delivered today before 9pm.
There was a tracking function which told me when the delivery vehicle had picked-up the item from the depot and how many deliveries the driver had to do before mine - constantly updated - so, although there was no predicted time, it was possible to estimate roughly when it might arrive.
It was delivered at 2pm - after returning from lunch and before the afternoon school run so there was somebody in to receive it.

Excellent service!

Takan Inchovit
14th Dec 2017, 05:22
Moral of the (original story)? Dont put all your baskets in one (bad) egg.

StAn gelo
14th Dec 2017, 07:21
Unlike Hermes,Yodel and DPD are very dependable where i live...just a shame i cannot choose to use them.

14th Dec 2017, 07:31
The last online shopping item I bought arrived last Saturday, delivered by DPD. I tracked the delivery with the DPD App on my smartphone, and this is the way to do it chaps,

Fine if you have a smartphone, and DPD can be arsed to put the parcel on the van and bring it out. Mine has been sitting in their depot all week, and although delivery has been promised again for today I have not, as yet, received the promised email telling me the one hour slot, and I have no confidence I will get it. We have had another 1/2" of snow overnight, so this "severe weather" as they call it will result in yet again no delivery.

If Parcelfarce, Hermes, Yodel, the PO and whoever Amazon uses can deliver here, as well as all the oil merchants then what the hell are the snowflakes at DPD doing. I am beginning to suspect that "held" at their depot means "lost". Wankers.

14th Dec 2017, 08:01
A consistent problem we had with DPD, which now seems to have eased, is that they over-loaded their delivery vans, assuming that a certain percentage of deliveries would not be made, because of people being out, etc. The result was that if you were near the end of a daily run (as we were) very often you kept getting the updates online that your parcel was due at such-and-such a time, then suddenly, around 17:00, that would change to "parcel returned to depot - no one in to accept delivery", when I was hanging around waiting for it. After this had happened twice I asked one of the drivers what was going on and he said they had be back at the depot by a certain time, so any parcels left in the back would be returned to the depot and their system automatically put out the message about there being no one to accept the parcel..........

14th Dec 2017, 08:01
There is a background to all these delivery firms; the human cost. Contractors working for Amazon have recently been in the news for the outrageous treatment they receive in terms of wages, conditions etc. I know this applies across the whole lot of them as my son previously worked for one of these contractors on a zero hours contract. He was employed, intermittently, to drive for DHL, DPD, Argos and others. After the agency had taken out money for their fees, compulsory accountants fees he was often earning four fifths of bugger all. And yet each of the employers wanted their pound of flesh. He now delivers for Parcelforce, as an employee. The stories he tells me about the way that outfit is run are hilarious and sad at the same time. Parcelforce offer timed deliveries and collections and, rightly, place great emphasis on maintaining these times. Yet their clever management and rip roaring IT systems regularly have him make a delivery when he is miles away on his route. His route covers a large area, mainly rural with typically rural roads. So he may need to stop his deliveries, drive 20 miles back to a delivery location he may have passed an hour earlier. make the delivery and get back onto his route. He has occasionally had fixed time deliveries and collections at opposite ends of his route at the same time! While struggling with this nonsense, he also has other silly rules to cope with. If he has a puncture, he has to call the office, then sit and wait until a 3rd party company arrives to deal with it. Despite having the spare in the van! And that often means a wasted 2 hours with the result that some deliveries will fail and the recipients will be quick to blame him, not the organisation. Last week, he had ordered a new part for his car. Fed Ex were to deliver it and sent him a text to say it will be delivered that day. No time specified. I ended up waiting at home to take delivery for him. The parcel eventually rocked up at 18:00! A day wasted and Fed Ex would boast about how good they are at deliveries. Maybe they are but they are not so good at keeping the customer informed!