There are just a few days until Christmas and the kids are palpable with excitement for their presents. But what if their presents haven’t arrived yet? That’s exactly the situation I was looking at for my son’s new bike…
With more and more people choosing to shop online, Christmas is inevitably going to be a rather busy time for delivery firms. Despite this it seems as though the second half of December has taken them by surprise.
Yodel had to temporarily stop collecting parcels from retailers, to help clear the backlog. And then there’s my own delivery problem with Hermes – it had the bike I ordered my eldest son for Christmas for nine days before delivering it.
It got to the point that I worried about leaving the house unoccupied, just in case the courier turned up while I was out and I’d have to go through the entire rigmarole again. Or have it ruin Christmas, should it have been left on the doorstep and stolen.
Hide and seek
On the surface, Hermes customer services look good. It has a website that allows you to track your parcel, and have the option to talk to someone over the internet by typing into a live-chat box at a convenient time to you. I could see by the tracker that my package had been held up, but on live-chat no one would tell me why or would do anything about it.
I’d have happily collected it myself, but they couldn’t tell where it was. The live-chat assistant wouldn’t call the courier as I’m not the retailer, but the retailer told me they weren’t getting anywhere either.
There’s another side to this story too
The shop I ordered the bike from is a small firm that’s being hit hard by delivery problems – apparently I wasn’t the only customer order they had to chase. The people working there were brilliant in trying to get information for me and also offered me a refund – but if I had accepted this, it meant they would lose out on a sale and my son could have missed out on his Christmas present. However, it is worth pointing out at this point that your legal rights are with the retailer when deliveries go wrong – you can find out all about this on our Consumer Rights site.
After tweeting, contacting the site’s live-chat three times, posting on the Hermes Facebook page, sending a message via Facebook Messenger and emailing the CEO, it was the latter that paid off. I got a call from Hermes and was guaranteed the bike before Christmas. I was even assured it will be monitored personally by a member of staff. It’s now arrived, but I went through a lot of stress in the process. Hermes provided the following response:
‘We handle over 200 million parcels every year and 98.9% of these are delivered within 48 hours with less than 1% of parcels returned as undelivered. We believe the vast majority of our customers receive good service, a view that has endorsed by a number of independent third parties. This year we won the 2014 Motor Transport Operational Excellence and Compliance award and also received the second best customer score of the national carriers in the 2014 Which? report ‘Best and worst courier delivery firms’. However we are aware that in a very few cases our processes fail which has an adverse impact on the customer delivery. This affects only a tiny proportion of the 200 million parcels we deliver each year, but we are still constantly striving to improve this. We would like to apologise wholeheartedly to Ms Barber for any inconvenience caused and are very pleased that the bike arrived in time for Christmas.’
It’s these sort of delivery experiences that inspired the launch of our Stamp Out Dodgy Deliveries campaign. Out of the more than 2,000 stories that have been shared with us, Hermes happens to be second most complained about courier, with Yodel taking the top spot. By the way, Yodel’s top. A situation retailers must address.
Have you had any problem deliveries this Christmas? How has the delivery firm or retailer offered to resolve it?