Ofcom: Parcel complaints must be handled better

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99 times out of a hundred, parcels are delivered and consumers are happy, but there’s always the odd case where things go wrong and that’s when it becomes tricky and parcel complaints aren’t always handled well.

First – what goes wrong, well the most common parcel complaints are where is my parcel and many times nothing has gone particularly wrong – it’s shipped late, held up a day, or you simply weren’t at home when the delivery happens. Whether having to collect your parcel from a neighbour should really justify the status of a complaint is debateable, but some do.

Probably the next common parcel complaints are when a package is left in a ‘safe place’ that the home owner doesn’t consider safe. Well, if you got your parcel it was safe enough, but dustbins, thrown over fences or occasionally on a roof isn’t a safe place and while these cases only cover a miniscule number of instances each year, they do attract a great deal of press coverage.

Proper complaints would include lost parcels and damaged parcels and this is also a tricky area. The problem is that the customer’s contract is with the retailer and not the carrier and the correct course of events is to go back to the company you purchased from. The reality however, is that you immediately want to ring the carrier and demand they put things right. (It’s also worth nothing that consumer to consumer deliveries are often paid for through online booking with no way of contacting most carriers other than a webform).

Now, parcel firms must get better at handling complaints as Ofcom confirm new measures to help improve service standards in the industry.

Ofcom research from last year found that almost two thirds (64%) of customers had problems with deliveries over a three-month period.

Around a quarter of senders found it difficult to make a complaint, or to contact parcel operators, when their delivery didn’t go to plan. Two in five said their parcel complaints are only partially resolved, while almost one in ten are left with their complaint completely unresolved.

Guidance on customer complaints handling will come into effect from the1st of April 2023. Ofcom expect parcel customers to be:

  • told who to contact, and what channels they can use to make a complaint;
  • told what the complaint process will be, and how long it will take to resolve;
  • dealt with by staff who have received appropriate training.

Again, it’s worth pointing out that consumers taking their frustrations out on carriers means they are speaking to the wrong person if they purchased from a business, and should go to the company they paid and not the carrier with whom they have no contract.

If Ofcom do not see substantial improvements in customer service and complaints handling as a result of these changes, they will consider enforcement action or further regulation.

2 Responses

  1. Looking on OFCOM there is only a section about Royal Mail or Parcelforce. Can you complain about any other parcel company’s like Evri, Amazon etc and if yes where to look.


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