Politicians call for more delivery regulation

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There’s an article in the Independent today, slamming courier companies for poor delivery experiences.

Labour’s consumer affairs spokesman Ian Murray, complains that a parcel he ordered as a Christmas present wasn’t delivered as the courier couldn’t find his address – his constituency office.

He’s right about some things, businesses do need to make it easy to seek redress if an item doesn’t arrive or is late. He’s wrong to say that most responsible retailers will leave consumers out of pocket when things go wrong. I had a couple problems with deliveries over Christmas and the online businesses I was buying from were a pleasure to deal with.

One item was broken on arrival, and although delivered on the 17th I didn’t report the breakage until after Christmas. They did query the return asking why it was over 10 days but, as soon as I explained there was no visible external damage to the retail box and it was only when opened on Christmas Day that the damage was discovered, they immediately arranged for a return and sent a replacement which arrived this Friday in perfect condition.

Whilst that might be considered a “bad” experience, as far as I’m concerned these things happen and the company did everything they’re both required to do by law, and that I could have asked for as a consumer.

Baroness Hayter compains of frustration that shoppers couldn’t choose their preferred courier. Quite frankly it’s a nice idea, but in practice retailers can only offer competitive courier rates by shipping with a single provider in volume. If her wish for choice became common place I wonder what her thoughts of paying rack rate for her preferred courier would be, I suspect she’d regret having choice over cost.

Overall I’ve heard very few complaints of poor courier service over Christmas. I had a couple of deliveries take two days instead of one, and one parcel to the Isle of Wight which took three working days for a 24 hour delivery and finally arrived on Christmas Eve. Apart from a couple of late deliveries, all of which were trackable online so that I and the recipients knew where the parcels were, it was a pretty faultless service for all the couriers that delivered to or collected parcels from me.

Do you think consumers should have a choice of having their parcel delivered by their favourite courier company, or would that be totally impracticable for your business? How many delivery options do you offer and do you plan to increase customer choice in 2013?

I should add that the image is from two years ago and I had nothing delivered to my Dust Bin this year, it’s just too good an image not to use again!

32 Responses

  1. delivering parcels has not just been invented,parcels letters etc have been delivered for the best part of 200 years or more, you would think the bugs could have been ironed out by now, and all the gaff about Christmas is daft , therte is one most years you know its coming

  2. I am a little confused by the thought that the Courier could not find the MP’s Constituency Office. The Constituency Office is not only the Local Office of the MP during the years he/she is an M.P. But during General Elections is usually the Campaign Headquarters. So it is vitally important that it is visible and well known in the area.

    If the Courier could not find it I would suggest that the Constituency Office is failing in its primary purpose and the M.P. should think very seriously about looking for a new Office.

  3. I couldn’t believe The Indy had this as their front page story.

    If this the best news they have God help us all!

  4. Any Courier/Postman or other who puts any parcel or similar in the Dustbin should be shot at dawn. Every year thousands of parcels/phone books/etc go missing never to be seen again because some idiot has put them in the dustbin and the binmen have then emptied the bin.

    I rarely agree with Labour Politians on anything but if they called for Couriers and others to be Fully Liable for Compensating the Recipient when this stupidity happens then I would agree fully with them.

  5. pay the poor sods who run round like blue arsed flies a decent wage and they might then have an interest in doing the job right, but then their would be an uproar about costs, so were all responsible to some degree by constantly trying to get the cost down

  6. Interesting, I especially noted about not opening a parcel for 10 days and then reporting it and you say they did everything within the law?

    My issue is I thought the law would be for seven days after delivery and also after this amount of time you wouldn’t know what the customer had done to the parcel, wrapping it, delivering it to someone else etc etc?

    We ask for all damages to be reported within 48 hours, is this not allowed?

  7. There is another point. Word of mouth advertising such as giving a glowing recommendation to a company for its service is probably the most effective form of advertising. Chris D. has given just such a glowing recommendation to Elite Housewares UK Ltd. So to those thousands who see this posting and the recommendation we will remember the name. So good service can only mean a good reputation amongst customers and potential customers. So even if they were not fully liable they have done the right thing and will benefit from it in the future.

  8. Totally get your point, I suppose I am just questioning how long do you give it? Is it just a blank bend over backwards and do everything the customer asks?

    Just reviewing our customer service after Christmas so it’s all interesting to read at the moment.

  9. customer service has more to do with profit and success than integrity,
    not the other way round,
    someone pays for customer service its not free

  10. Interesting question Chris, as I asked an online catalogue company if I could have a different courier to their stated one of M.H….s, I didn’t mind paying more but was told no. So I took my money elsewhere where I could choose.

    Sorry folks but we always ask couriers to leave parcels in the wheelie bin (plastic sack opened ready for them) but they are up off the road so no risk of being emptied.

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