Citizens Advice parcel company league table

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Citizens Advice is warning urgent action is needed across the parcel delivery industry after today publishing their first annual parcel company league table. They say that they have found consistent problems across the sector. It makes for pretty poor reading if you’re expecting your Christmas presents to be delivered this year, with all companies classified as average at best.

The Citizens Advice parcel company league table lists the top five delivery companies by parcel volume, who were measured against four criteria using data from Citizens Advice Consumer Service, consumer polling and social media complaints. The annual parcel company league table compares the top parcel firms against criteria like customer service, problems and accessibility and found that no delivery company received more than three out of five stars overall.

Some of the more incendiary complaints which Citizens Advice want to highlight include:

  • One man got in touch after he received confirmation a pair of headphones he ordered had been delivered to Australia, despite him living in and ordering them to his address in Hertfordshire
  • Another man reached out after he was forced to repeat his problem to almost 30 different customer service agents when his parcel worth £150 was stolen
  • A woman contacted the charity after one driver claimed her son’s £350 birthday present had been delivered, even though her CCTV showed them leaving with it in their hand

Parcel company league table highlights

According to Citizens Advice:

  • Hermes and Yodel performed the worst, scoring 1.5 and 1.75 stars respectively. Amazon Logistics scored highest, but with just 2.75 stars overall
  • DPD scored lowest when consumers were asked if they’d had a problem with their last delivery. 41% of DPD customers polled by Citizens Advice reported a problem with their last delivery, whereas at the top end 32% of Amazon Logistics customers reported an issue
  • When trying to resolve issues, 48% of people polled weren’t able to get the help they wanted. This rose to 56% for Yodel and 43% for Amazon Logistics

Though online sales have increased 56% from pre-pandemic levels, the charity warns parcel problems have exploded during that time. Citizens Advice online advice ‘If something you ordered hasn’t arrived’ has been viewed almost 160,000 times so far this year, a 69% increase on the same period before the pandemic in 2019.

DPD refute the findings saying:

“We don’t recognise the findings from this survey at all and have raised significant concerns about the methodology directly with Citizens Advice. Our own data shows that over 99.5% of all DPD parcels are delivered right first time, which is one of the main reasons we have been voted top in MoneySavingExpert’s annual parcel delivery customer satisfaction poll of over 10,000 recipients, eight years running.”

Exactly what is a parcel problem?

The one thing that we’d have liked more clarity on is exactly what a ‘problem’ is classified as. For some this will be the fact that they decided to order stuff online and then go out for the day and were surprised that their order couldn’t be delivered or was left in what they considered to be an inconvenient neighbour or safe place. Others will be genuine issues such as lost parcels or questionable such as damage which could be as a result of unsuitable packaging or could be considered to be the carrier’s fault.

As ecommerce professionals, the dire league tables probably leave you wondering which carrier you should entrust to deliver your sales?

We suspect that the reality is that just about all carriers offer what might be considered a reasonable level of service and the only way consumers are going to get a service they won’t complain about is if they were willing to pay for purchases to be hand delivered by a liveried footman, at a precise time selected by them, which they could change at a moments notice when something more interesting comes up which is more exciting than waiting in for a parcel.

In the mean time if consumers aren’t willing to pay for this type of service then minor inconveniences like waiting in for a parcel are going to have to be accepted.

Call for regulation and fines

Things can and do go wrong though and Citizens Advices are calling for stricter rules for parcel companies, better complaints processes, and fines from the regulator, Ofcom, if company negligence leads to parcels getting lost or stolen.

“Parcel deliveries became a lockdown lifeline for us all, but the scale of the problems experienced by many of us shows huge cracks in the sector.
Even though Amazon Logistics and Royal Mail top the table there’s still significant room for improvement. And Hermes and Yodel need to improve in leaps and bounds to make sure they’re providing a solid service to their customers.
While this should be a wake up call for firms to strive to deliver a five-star service for consumers, we have serious reservations about how far companies will improve if left to their own devices. Our findings show it’s time for Ofcom to come forward and introduce tougher rules across the board for delivery companies.”

– Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice Consumer Expert Jane Parsons offers her top tips to help combat parcel delivery issues:

  1. Check delivery information
  2. Before you place an order find out the delivery times, costs and returns policies for the items you want

  3. If you’re out of the house during delivery
  4. Consider asking a neighbour or friend if it can be delivered to their address if you think it may be a time or date you’re not home. But beware, if you do provide details of a safe space or nominated neighbour and something goes wrong it’s not the seller or courier’s responsibility

  5. Online trader or online marketplace?
  6. Make sure you know if you are dealing with a trader or a private seller on an online marketplace as dispute processes may vary. If you have an issue with a trader, a dispute can be raised directly with them, but if it’s a private individual it may be easier to go through a marketplace’s dispute process

  7. Check reviews
  8. It’s always worth taking a careful look at reviews to gain an insight as to how reliable the company is and how well they deal with missing parcel complaints and refunds

  9. Who to deal with when a parcel goes missing
  10. Your purchase and contract is with the seller. If your parcel goes missing you should speak to them to deal with the problem, not the courier company

15 Responses

  1. DHL, UPS, FedEx (TNT), Clipper, Tufnells, did they not make the cut? All market leaders in b2b and b2c, I hope that’s just due to not enough complaints.

  2. “One man got in touch after he received confirmation a pair of headphones he ordered had been delivered to Australia, despite him living in and ordering them to his address in Hertfordshire”

    How did it clear customs.

  3. Isn’t is funny, even if this “study” is perhaps not the most comprehensive or reliable, that Amazon Logistics got a higher “trust” score than Royal Mail despite that they use freelance couriers who are more likely to steal stuff than RM staff? Maybe it’s because all the Amazon Logistics drivers are GPS tracked at all times so they think twice about doing anything illegal

  4. I can’t believe 43% of people couldn’t get help from Amazon Logistics when there was a problem…. just ring Amazon and they’ll replace/refund/redeliver! Amazon don’t care about problems, they just want happy customers! 43%

  5. Also 41% reporting a problem with their last DPD delivery? DPD have led the way with the best tracking in the industry and a map showing exactly how far away your parcel is!! How did 41% of people have a problem with this on their last delivery?

  6. These things all depend on who you ask and the question .
    Used hermes for 99% of our parcels overthe last 2 years
    Non lost 2 late
    Royal Mail for the other 1%
    2lost 3 late

  7. We would add that the 2 lost by royal mail were untracked large letter ,we think were highly suspicious claims

  8. Rather than dismiss these issues, or deny they exist, it would be better to start dealing with the issues.

    First up would be how most of these companies treat their couriers. Having spoken to a lot of them over the last 18 months, it’s clear that they are being squeezed by these big companies to max profits, leaving them with less money in their pockets. Recent fuel rises have not seen increases in allowances for drivers, DPD apparently not raising them, according to one driver I spoke to who switched to Yodel as a result.

    As for low customer service ratings, most of those people will have had a late / lost/ damaged / incomplete delivery, so that explains the low ratings.

    They are rating the problem not necessarily the response.

  9. I was amazed to find that there is no regulatory body for couriers… Almost every other industry has one, but not the postal service.
    This could account for the lack of interest in delivering good service… After all who is going to punish them?
    Up until recently DHL have charged us a large admin fee for investigating claims, even when they have admitted fault!
    In many cases despite selecting a deliver to address only service, I have found it was left elsewhere. Then ‘elsewhere’ claims they haven’t had it…..oh and DHL point out that in the T&C’s it states that regardless of what you specify, even with their own tick box… They reserve the right to do something different. So a contract that means nothing!
    It is a joke. We used to send out tens of thousands of parcels each year and fraud was far too high… The biggest issue being you were often unsure if customer or courier, esp as C.S used to take an age going back and forth to depot, who’s management didn’t give a damn.

  10. I have an account with Parcel2Go and booked all my parcels with Hermes. All the way through the pandemic and up until about 4 or 5 weeks ago they were great. Now they are photographing parcels left between bins or on the doorstep in plain view of passing strangers and porch Pirates.

    Other items that have been signed for at opposites ends of the country will sometimes have the exact same signature on the tracking system.

    I’m not sure when it became their policy to to avoid redelivery. They used to redeliver next day by default but something has changed.

  11. There is no doubt that DPD who in my opinion are the leader in B2C delivery, have started to experience issues. We never used to have any problems and now have them on a weekly basis and they just do not care. Drivers leave expensive parcels outside in public view and DPD say this is “Left Safe” and refuse to pay out.

    On top of that they have increased prices, introduced 3 new surcharges in the last 18 months and removing any sort of personal touch.

    Sadly – they are still better than most of the others, but i’m not sure for how long.

  12. So this is basically a survey from all the people who complain. If you asked a lot of the people on here who send parcels it would be more like 1 – 2 percent of issues with deliveries. The hard thing with parcel delivery, what works and is a perfect solution for one person is a complaint for the next person.

  13. We have a small business that relies on carriers and have continuously found there is no accountability or responsibility taken when things go missing or get damaged. We as the seller have to refund or replace the goods for the customer. We use UPS who are meant to be one of the better ones- they refuse to use GPS and/or photo confirmation for delivery leaving us the seller at risk. We are paying for a service that we bear responsibility for when it goes wrong. We are unable to fully insure the cost of all goods sent therefore even when they do admit responsibility we get a fraction of the value back and then have to wait 6 months for the privilege. The time and money wasted is outrageous not to mention the stress and frustration caused. Many of our parcels are bespoke handmade items which are not quick or easy to replace putting additional pressure on us. This is the single biggest issue that would make life easier for our business.

  14. All companies should have contact telephone numbers and on-line chat facilities.
    In my experience as a regular purchaser the league table is correct.
    Come on – you can do better!


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