Parcelforce unexpected Termination of Contract

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Parcelforce featWe’ve heard from a Parcelforce customer who out of the blue received a letter from their account manager stating that their parcels are unsuitable for the network, that their account will be closed permanently and the contract terminated.

This is a strange one as they’ve been a Parcelforce customer for many years and with Parcelforce’s generous 30kg parcel limit and reasonable size allowances were by no means sending parcels anywhere close to the maximum allowed (Their average weight is below 10kg!).

parcelforce termination of contractThe letter states that “a high proportion of the items you send require manual handling” and says that “the nature of your traffic is unsuitable for our network”. That’s bizarre, we recently visited the Yodel depot in Hatfield and their sortation equipment is able to handle anything from a jiffy bag to a lawn mower with no problems at all!

What’s even more concerning is the short notice period given. On the letter dated the 3rd of June a contract termination date of the 19th of July was given. Sadly that was a typo and Parcelforce failed to pick up last Friday – the 19th of June which is the date the letter should have read. Two weeks (and a typo!) seems like a very short notice to terminate a long standing business contract, one might have expected a 30 day notice period.

Have you had notice that your Parcelforce contract is to be cancelled? It would be great to know how widespread this rebalancing of Parcelforce’s network is and if many retailers are affected.

How to protect yourself from a courier contract termination

With the suspension of Yodel’s services in Peak season last year, CityLink going bust on Christmas Day, TNT Express being sold to Fed Ex and Whistl scrapping their end to end delivery service, the UK is fast becoming a country of contracting courier options.

Today we publish some thoughts from Becky Clark, CEO of NetDespatch on the effects of last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the supply chain and what the industry can do to make the next set of holidays a successful one. If nothing else the possibility of an abrupt termination of a courier contract is a timely reminder that you should have at least one back up courier contract in place and the ability through software to instantly switch your shipments from one carrier to another.

26 Responses

  1. i honestly cant believe this would come as a bolt out of the blue.

    the first step would be for Parcelforce to tell you that your parcels require manual handling, and what you can do to address this.

    we had a similair issue at one point, apparently DPD’s conveyer belts dont like black shrinkwrap. we stopped black shrinking everything. sense prevailed.

    to cut off this kind of critical business service with two weeks notice and no prior warning is just asking for litigation.

  2. This is Royal Mail all over.

    When you think price rises we only get 30 days notice and that price rise could effect your whole business model that you have to plan for perhaps a year in advance.

    A couple of years ago there was a change at Royal Mail which left me stuck with about a 1000 of a product that would no longer sell because of the change.

    The market feels like there is going to be some hefty price increases in courier prices, inc RM and I think free delivery on everything will soon start to finish and people will start paying for the service again.

  3. Call me a cynic but we’re not getting all the relevant details. This story doesn’t stack up, there’s missing details somewhere.

  4. Likely the goods are large and irregular as opposed to boxes which can be stacked.

  5. For no real reason I’m thinking of the least appropriate items that could be sent by courier. Solid blocks of ice, tightly wrapped balls, helium balloons are some ideas.

  6. its because the items you are shipping are ‘non-machinable’ – the Parcelforce account manager should provide you with more info about dimensions and packaging requirements

    Parcelforce only tolerate 10% non machinable items maximum (according to our account manager)

  7. Wonder if they are doing a Dr Beeching and amputating non profit making routes.
    Say you are the only customer in an area and require a one hour round trip to collect a few parcels, leaves a couple of options; obtain more customers, or drop the one you have.
    As PF dont have to offer a universal service guess they can cherry pick the ones they want to keep. As dont know location of customer in this example, just a bit of speculation.

  8. My Parcelforce account got cancelled as well due to irregular shaped items, even althought they were all within parcelforce size limits. My account manager even came out to chack my goods before we started and he told me how well they would go through there automated system. After using the service for 2 weeks without any problem, i got a call from my account manager to say i had to stop using them within 2 weeks. The only reason i got was that the powers about him did not like my parcels and that parcelforce was changing there model. Not at all happy but i learned a few lessons in the process

  9. Sounds to me that it is the dimensions that are the problem, maybe the longest side is greater than 1 metre? It is becoming more and more of a problem to send larger goods with either high surcharges being added or the couriers refusing to take the parcels at all.

    Before City Link went a lot of bigger parcels went through them. With City Link gone the bigger parcels have gone to the other couriers and they just dont like it. They prefer to take the smaller items which fit on their conveyers and require minimal manual handling.

  10. The key issue could be low volumes on top of the manually handling. The account contribution and payment history would be a major factor before any termination.

  11. I have recently reviewed my courier set up and now have 2 or 3 companies in place for deliveries ranging from 1 box , 20 boxes or 200 boxes via pallets. Both UK and Europe. Took very little time or effort really.

    Like most things is just common sense to have backups in place. I only did it because I got the hump with my regular carrier and realised I have been paying over the odds for years !!


  12. Too many variables to mention and I was merely trying to make the point that with a small amount of effort backup accounts can easily be created whilst also potentially getting cheaper rates than existing carriers

    Cheers Bryn

  13. Parcelforce turned me down last week for a 1500 a year parcel account because they said they didnt want to carry big items.APC have already dropped sizes twice in 6 months.The other carriers tend to want 100cm or less.
    This needs highlighting as a massive problem for SMEs.No doubt the big accounts will still get their items carried while others are cast adrift.One of the big carriers needs to break ranks and carry bigger items.If manual handling then charge extra,not end accounts.

  14. out the blue – I doubt it. there is more to this than meets the eye. I reckon it is due to a few issues which has led their traffic to be profiled in more detail and like others say it is how “machine friendly” the cartons are, nothing to do with weight and size that is just the basic restrictive requirements which are published.

    could be any of: poor payment history, decreased volume, increase in claims, increase in non-deliverable items or items to be destroyed.

    however, regardless, it is a pain that this is implemented against you at short notice, but that is typical big corp mentality.

    it would be worth having a frank open discussion with your a/c manager but also look positive and go and get a better deal elsewhere. good luck

  15. I don’t suppose it has crossed your mind that if items you are regularly sending are deemed as ‘mis-shapes’ to acquire a quantity normality of boxes that they will fit into to?

    Parcelforce is not a charity – or a ‘it’s only a hobby’ side business.

    They, like other businesses of varying aspects., take an average of the client’s packages to deem if it is viable for them. Thus, if the majority of the parcels from one person are considered messy and / or an inconvenience, with hardly any easy-peasy (for your understanding) handling packages, what do you think?

    I have seen some of the parcels being sent by others when queuing in the post office, and have thought why the Post Office does not have guidelines when to reject such tardiness and hand written address that cannot be read without spending time to decipher? Certainly in some other countries it is not permissible


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