If you’re Christmas shopping online, make sure you trust the retailer’s choice of delivery company, says our chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith
When I wrote about a disastrous home delivery in Which? magazine in 2014, I sang DPD’s praises.
I questioned why shops couldn’t take a leaf out of DPD’s book by making one-hour delivery slots the norm. This would save us all the headache of waiting around for parcels that fail to turn up.
Three years on, and an online survey of the general public we’ve just published shows that some delivery companies are doing exceptionally well on customer satisfaction. They are beating both DPD (a surprise) and Yodel (not a surprise – for me, anyway).
Perfect delivery? Not this time
I recently bought an item on Ebay, selecting 72-hour delivery, and the seller dispatched it using Yodel (their choice, not mine). It arrived at the Newton Abbot depot in Devon on 26 September, but then, nothing.
When the parcel failed to turn up within the stated 72 hours, I started to investigate.
It turned out that there had been a chemical spill on the road outside the depot, which I can see would cause a delay. But for how long? I couldn’t find out, because it was incredibly difficult to get hold of anyone at Yodel.
Its tracking service said the parcel was at the depot. Its web chat was constantly busy, and when I did manage to get through I was just told that the parcel was delayed, and that Yodel would prioritise delivery (which it apparently didn’t).
I couldn’t find a complaints number or email address. When I called customer services, I just got the same recorded message about the parcel being in the depot.
A tip here: say no to every option, and then say that your query is how to make a complaint. This means you do eventually get through to a human being – not that they can sort the problem for you, though, as I found.
Helpless and exasperated customers
I was certain that I wasn’t alone in this feeling of helplessness, and when I looked at various online chatrooms, I found plenty of similarly exasperated customers.
Eventually, the parcel did arrive… more than two weeks late. Come on, Yodel, sort your act out.
If there is a silver lining, it’s that it was delivered properly – and not wedged in a cat flap, left in a neighbour’s greenhouse, dumped in a recycling bin or abandoned on the doorstep (all examples of your own disastrous deliveries).
Which delivery companies are best?
Have you had any bad (or good) experiences of Yodel? Or are there other delivery companies that you would rate – or slate?