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Your dodgy delivery stories keep on delivering

Delivery Watch

It’s been a few weeks since we launched our Dodgy Deliveries campaign and you’ve been busy sharing your stories. Can you top a wedding dress in a compost bin, or a suit in a rabbit hutch?

First thing’s first, thanks very much to the 17,000+ people who have signed our petition.

A good 2,000 of these supporters also shared their examples of dodgy deliveries, including Paul:

‘Blu-ray player ordered from Amazon was delivered by being dropped over a six foot gate and left to sit in damp ground! I sent it back without opening the outer packaging. Disgraceful.’

Our supporter Mary has suffered from dodgy deliveries of all shapes and sizes:

‘Parcels left in the bin (which was full of nappies), left in the compost bin, left on my doorstep in full view of anyone passing by, left in the rain, damaged, not turned up, no attempt to knock on neighbours when I’ve asked them to etc.’

Deliveries left in bins

Ah yes, compost bins. They seem to be the delivery storage box of choice, despite customers rarely asking for their parcels to be left there. Here’s Jonathan Bliss on Twitter:

That’s bad, but not quite as bad as what Amanda found in her bin:

‘Hermes delivered my wedding dress earlier this year and left it in my garden waste wheelie bin. Luckily, not on bin collection day.’

Eek! Since we’re on the subject of clothes, here’s Ann on why her rabbit was nearly the proud owner of a sharp suit:

‘I came home to find a card saying a suit I’d ordered for my son had been left in the back garden. I went to look and couldn’t see it anywhere, noticed a small piece of plastic hanging out of the rabbit’s hutch and when I opened the door there was the suit.’

Thankfully the suit was replaced, which is more than can be said for the flowers delivered to TimeforTiffin on Reddit:

‘They once “delivered” a box of flowers (they were sent with condolences after the death of my partner’s father) to my house. We were out. Our neighbours, I discovered later, were in. The driver obviously found themselves unable to knock on the door IMMEDIATELY NEXT TO MINE to check if there was anyone who could accept the package and instead posted a card through my door saying that they had left the package in a safe place, “in the hedge under the bin”.

‘And that’s where I found them, squashed between the privet and our full and heavy bin, in the rain. I was, and still am, livid.’

In the dog house

Janet’s delivery driver is in the dog house, just like her parcel:

‘A parcel left in my neighbour’s garage and the note that he posted said, left in the dog house. What????’

Mountainfail on Reddit had his parcel signed for, but not by anyone he knows:

‘I’ve not had any issues recently (famous last words?) but about eight years ago I ordered a book which I had to receive the following day, so I paid for tracked and signed guaranteed delivery.

‘Came home on the day of expected delivery, and no book. Called the seller and asked for proof of delivery – and lo and behold it had been signed for. By “A. Porch”.’

That just about sums up the types of delivery stories you’ve been sharing. I just want to end on a small plea – these stories are key to helping us challenge retailers, but we need your photos too. So I’m putting you on Delivery Watch – if you’ve had a delivery from hell, please take snaps and send them to us (use conversation.comments@which.co.uk) so that we can shame the culprits.


I used to think that Amazon was good with its deliveries, but last week I had a “missed delivery” despite being at home all day waiting for it. What annoys me is when they already have my mobile number, why can’t they ring me if they have any problems delivering? This should be normal practice for every delivery driver. In fact, they could ring as soon as they are on their way to the delivery address to confirm there will be someone there, and save themselves an unnecessary trip if they need to rearrange the time. That would be a win for both the delivery driver and the customer.

Margaret7 says:
22 November 2014

I find with Amazon deliveries that oftentimes the delivery people are not as reliable as they could be (perhaps because they are understaffed and have a huge load of deliveries to make..??) so they often say that your parcel could not be delivered – putting the onus on you – when it really was them not turning up at all. This has happened to me a number of times and I got onto Amazon and told them off for pressurising their delivery people so that they blame the customer when really they don’t always have the capacity to do the work – because they don’t want Amazon to know they can’t cope..

In the absence of further comments about dodgy deliveries, I would like to say that I have had very little to complain about over the years. I prefer to use companies that use Royal Mail because there is a local depot to collect from, rather than having to stay at home for a second attempt at delivery.

I confess to being a little concerned to see a card from Yodel on the doormat, having read all the criticism of that company. I need not have worried because the delivery chap turned up at the same time on the following day, apologising for the fact that he had been unable to leave my parcel with a neighbour.

I hope I am not alone in being very happy with delivery services.

Hermes (known as ‘Herpes’ in this home as we hope never to experience them) completely smashed up a microwave oven in the Spring. Worse are Royal Mail who keep delaying express delivery parcels we regularly receive from Portugal and who keep trying to send them back claiming ‘address not known’.

Amazon’s people deserve a bouquet for regularly finding my mother’s address which has no number and is on a lane in the wilds of Derbyshire which has no name plate and is doggedly called different names at both ends and a third name by people who live in the middle! You get a different name from each of the digital mapping providers but none call it by its proper name except Royal Mail. The last lost courier called with a coherent description of what he could see and asked for directions from there.


Tired tired tired!!!!

22 November 2014

Yodel must be the most consistent couriers for non-delivery and their standard excuse of unable to gain access to property.
I have lost track of the amount of times i have been given this excuse.
As I am housebound to to my disability online shopping is my life line..yet again yesterday an Argos delivery which i paid extra for next day delivery failed to arrive
Again the same old excuse was used unable to gain access.
I live in sheltered housing,all the driver has to do is press my door number for me to release the security door.
The sheme manager monitors the car park as we have a problem with illegal parking .and ctv is in opperation.
Yodel came nowhere near.
Funny how 2other couriers had no problem delivering to me…well done tnt and ups.
Argos admitted to me they have this trouble with yodel all the time.so why keep using them?
I had the same problem with yodel at my previous address in a different county.

[This comment has been edited – please refrain from using all caps. Thanks, mods]

Yodel are probably the worst for my experiences. Ordered something early last year for delivery to work (council building). According to tracking they attempted to deliver 3 times and left a note (who knows where) then apparently delivered. I was out of the office that day so expected to find my parcel on my desk. Lo and behold it was no where to be seen. Almost a week later the delivery driver appeared with it saying he’d been looking for our building for a week! I can sort of understand them having problems finding our building but the lies I can’t abide.

I’ve had another company allegedly attempt delivery but being told there’s no one there by that name. Again to work. I suspect the company I ordered from sent it to house 33 rather than unit 33. No issues when I switched delivery to home.

Last but not least I had an order of tea left in my recycling bin. Thankfully not on collection day.

Ooh I did have one company leave a parcel in my little greenhouse. That one made me smile. Oddly the next delivery a week later was left leaning against my front door.

Margaret7 says:
22 November 2014

My favourite problem with deliveries is that people DON’T READ SIGNS – mostly with Amazon deliveries, sometimes with others.
Where I live, there is a big ‘entrance door’ to the building (it is a bunch of flats) – but that entrance has not been in use for YEARS – AND there is a sign on the door clearly saying to take deliveries around the back of the building to the individual flats (there is a big driveway on the side of the building and the gates are open until 6pm).
BUT people almost NEVER read the sign and insist on banging on the dratted door. It is next to my front room so I often have to get their attention and point to the driveway.. Or let them in if the gate is locked. Rarely do they think of phoning – although some Amazon chaps do, thank heavens..
But my favourite was a couple of weeks ago when someone banged on the door – I was busy and didn’t answer (the gate was open, by the way) – and I checked out the front later to find the CD they were delivering (to me, as it happened) stuffed behind the sign saying ‘take deliveries around the back to individual flats’… She turned up next day with something else and I caught her and directed her around the back. Bloody annoying though – and you have to wonder at people’s reading skills because the majority of delivery folks do not have English as their first language. Mind you, most people don’t read notices and signs anyway…
So as a result, they often just leave stuff on the step outside that door – which is in full view of a very busy street in Brixton. We even get our rubbish stolen here, so you can imagine how safe that is..

Margaret7 says:
22 November 2014

Another Amazon story – garden recliner in a large box. Was later than I expected it and was going to hassle Amazon – but before I got around to it, I had a knock on the door on a Saturday morning. Nice lady, who I didn’t know (i.e. not a neighbour), handed me the parcel saying it had been delivered to her. NO idea where she lives – thank heavens she was honest. And clearly could read better than the idiot who originally delivered it – or perhaps dumped it…

I ordered from Amazon Prime this week at the start of my trial subscription. Delivery Wednesday. Fair enough, we were out and a note was left to say retrying tomorrow. My wife stayed in all day and no sign of any carrier. I tracked the package and it had been returned to depot Wednesday at 20:30 and then marked as lost by 22:00! Really??
So why no email to let me know it was never going to be delivered, as “lost”? Not a good start to my Prime experience. I am now glued to the house all day today as they cannot give me a delivery time for the replacement.

Norman Foster says:
22 November 2014

I always give preference to any company using DPD couriers. They text you to let you know they have your parcel stating which day it will be delivered – on the day they text you to give you a one hour slot for delivery, they email also giving you a link to enable you to track their delivery van on what looks like Google maps. A superb service, second to none!

I agree Norman. DPD are brilliant. They even tell you the driver’s name so you can greet him or her on arrival – their timing is spot on within a minute or two either side of the predicted time. You can really organise your day usefully with this quality of information rather than worrying about missing the ding-dong on the doorbell and running downstairs to find the messenger has vanished.

Another plus point for DPD is that they take much more care of your parcels than several other carriers.

Peter Collings says:
22 November 2014

Ordered two suits of slightly different sizes in order to make sure of a good fit. Contacted the supplier after about ten days as they had not been delivered. Supplier resent the order which arrived three days later. Found the one that fitted correctly and returned the other. About 3 months later out in the front garden to cut back a hedge that was alongside the garage at the side of the house and what did I find….. Yes, the first delivery of the suits, soaked and ruined. No card posted through the front door to indicate where they had been left, just stuffed in the hedge completely out of sight from the front of the house.

Sarah says:
22 November 2014

My mother-in-law had died and her ashes were unexpectedly delivered to my brother in law. They were out so the parcel was stored away in the BBQ ! My M-i-l had a good sense of humour and would have enjoyed this one!

Deliveries are certainly the weak link in the chain of Internet shopping.

I live deep in the countryside and drivers have great difficulty in pinning my house down. Now many are made after dark that makes things much more difficult. I always make sure that the house name is visible and back this up with a large piece of card with the name of the parcels company written clearly on it. That simple step makes life a little easier for poorly paid and stressed workforce.

DPD always gives you a one hour delivery slot which is great but Yodel telling me it could be any time between 7am and 9pm means hanging around all day which is pretty poor.

There’s a Co-op Supermarket in the nearest large village and they now act as a local delivery collection point so given the choice I always opt for that as you can pick things up at your convenience and have a more productive day than simply hanging around.

I had a delivery from Hermes, and answered the door in rubber gloves. The driver offered to sign for me. I questioned how this proved I had received it, but the driver assured me it did as he had signed MY name.
Another time the same delivery driver left a parcel at the back of the wrong house. He said he had knocked at the door, but I was in and listening out for him – and no note was put through the letterbox. Turned out OK – a phone call to the shop, Amazon, and the driver came to show where he’d left it, and brought it to me.
I much prefer the Royal Mail but of course other companies can be cheaper.

Andrew says:
22 November 2014

An Amazon Logistics driver called me to say he was at the front door. I think the idea was that I should go out and collect the parcel from the van.

DPD are brilliant. With some retailers, a tracking system actually the driver’s position on a map and constantly updates the expected delivery time. Superb.

Ian Costain says:
22 November 2014

Living on the Isle of Man, I always ask people sending parcels to use Royal Mail. Other carriers are virtually always much dearer. When I bought a stage lantern on EBay in September, I paid £10 for postage and packing, and understood that it was being sent by Royal Mail. Unfortunately, the seller used Hermes.
They were given the parcel on September 27. On October 14, they said that the parcel had been damaged, returned to the depot, but was now lost without trace.
On October 17,their tracking information claimed that the 10kg parcel had been delivered through my letter box. Really? A 10 kg parcel though a letter box? Unfortunately, there was no delivery at all. No parcel, no card, nothing.
On November 10 (six weeks after the parcel had been sent) it turned up, not damaged at all. I just happened to go out and found that the van driver had left the parcel outside my property, on the public footpath, on a day when rain was forecast.
If you want to wait six weeks, have entirely fictitious ‘tracking information’, have your parcel left in the rain for anyone passing to steal, I’d recommend Hermes.

Even though we were in, Yodel left a parcel at the side of the garage and never put a card through the door. It rained. Luckily my son went round the side of the garage that evening and fell over the box in the dark otherwise we would never have found it. The dehumifier was slightly damp, the cardboard box was mush.
Rang them to complain, never even got a reply

I ordered some books from The Book People. They were delivered by Yodel who left the box of books outside my front door in full view of passers-by.
I complained to The Book People and received a less than satisfactory response so I am no longer a customer of theirs.

I think that’s the “right” way to do it, Malc. Many people try to complain to the couriers about a bad delivery, but you are not the courier’s customer and they therefore won’t talk to you! They will only answer to their customer, who is the sender. I also had a few bad experiences a few months ago with a particular courier company (Hermes in this case, but I don’t want to single them out because a lot of couriers are as bad as each other). I tried to complain to them but got nowhere, so I complained about them to the eBay seller who used them. She replied that she has also had bad experiences and other complaints about them from other customers and was thinking of changing her courier company.

I have a parallel problem with deliveries, it concerns post code databases. Any on line purchases require you to specify the delivery address, but some only ask for the postcode then you are required to select your address from a popup window. The snag is that the adress given is ## The Shrubberies, Provident Street …The Shrubberies is a row of terrace houses which have only pedestrian access. I have had some deliveries made to ## Provident Street, presumably because the carrier thought that “The Shrubberies” was just the house name!

However there is another side to deliveries: I order 2 pairs of shoes from M&S, and being an order over £50 was going to be delivered free. An email confirming the order was received indication that the shoes would be delivered this Wednesday (26th). The following day I had another email to say that one of the pairs of shoes was no longer available and had been cancelled, my account would be credited with the appropriate amount. As the order was now only £20 I anticipated being chaarged for delivery. The parcel was delivered today (the 24th) and there were no delivery charges. A parcel arriving 2 days early can be just as irritating as one delivered late.

Elena says:
10 December 2014

Yodel: Package left in a safe place: “over back gate”
Said back gate is 6ft high, and the package was tossed over onto the concrete patio, in the rain. The box contained a glass chopping board and should have had 2 other items, but the box was ripped open and one item was missing. There were slugs on the box too. I was not happy about this.

The next package from them, however, was delivered by a lovely man who left me a delivery note in the day and then saw I was in in the evening and walked over with his little boy to try and catch me.

It’s all down to the driver, and how much pressure they are put under by their company to deliver to unrealistic timescales.