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Making ‘dodgy deliveries’ a thing of the past

Computer mouse on delivery boxes

With 19,000 supporters for our Dodgy Deliveries campaign, it’s clear people want to see an end to late, missing or damaged deliveries. Here’s DPD on how technology is helping them meet your expectations.

The parcel delivery sector was certainly in the spotlight over Christmas. ‘Peak’, as we call Christmas in the industry, is always our most challenging time of year. That’s why we start planning for it in January! And not every delivery company was able to keep up with demand.

So what will the future of parcel delivery look like? Commentators are often quick to point at new individual solutions as ‘the future’. For example, Click & Collect has recently been hailed as the latest saviour, yet we know most people would rather have a safe delivery to their home address, if at all possible.

But every customer is different and the way they shop online and how they want their delivery fulfilled is individual to them. Therefore, our vision of the future is more one of customer choice – personalised, smart delivery options facilitated by outstanding technology.

New delivery technology

Our drivers already have advanced handheld devices available and use geo-location technology to maintain real time communication with customers via SMS or email. We believe that hooking up these technologies holds the key to even smarter deliveries in future.

This technology has also allowed us to offer retailers a delivery solution which meets all of the asks in Which?’s ‘Stamp Out Dodgy Deliveries’ campaign.

Currently DPD customers are told in advance of their one hour delivery slot and they can tell us at any time on the day of delivery if they aren’t going to be home. They can instruct our driver to take it to a specific neighbour or describe exactly which safe place they would like the parcel to be left in, on their own property. We’ll then take a photograph of where the parcel is and email it to them for confirmation.

Transforming parcel deliveries

It is our view that this kind of technology will continue to transform the parcel delivery sector, putting customers in complete control of their deliveries and able to access a wide range of personalised options.

With this in mind, we’ve just launched a start-up incubator entitled Last Mile Labs to give ten teams the opportunity to work with us and help create the very best delivery experience technology will enable.

Maybe in the future your smartphone will control your delivery preferences – like your favourite parcel shop both near work and home – and even tell us when you are not in, so that we can reschedule your delivery.

Of course, we don’t yet know exactly how the future will look, but one thing is certain; in the future, waiting in all day for a delivery won’t be an option!

Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from the CEO of DPD, Dwain McDonald. All opinions expressed here are Dwain’s own, not necessarily those of Which?


Why is click and collect the saviour? Because most companies insist on delivering during working hours, or make you pay through the nose for a Saturday delivery. Many people with long commutes are out by 8AM and not back before 7PM. The only possibilities are click and collect or take time off work if it’s a big item.

There seems to be no consideration for offering weekend deliveries routinely. Supermarkets can manage it, why not courier companies?


I have commented on previous Conversations on this topic how impressed I have been with the service from DPD. In my experience the real-time logging of the driver’s location and predicted arrival time have been spot-on and have meant I have been able to make better use of my time. If only I could persuade companies from whom I have ordered things to consign with DPD – this is the problem, companies inconsistently use different carriers depending on a whole range of criteria that mean something to them but nothing to us and sometimes the same order gets split between two carriers. I’m not usually interested in paying extra for named-day delivery but I would be prepared to pay a bit more for a delivery by one of the top-performing carriers. In fact if the carier was identified at the point of ordering I would cancel the order if it was going into the hands of certain companies.


I agree, DPD have provided me with brilliant service over the last two years and, because they delivered the vast majority of the goods I ordered from Amazon, I was quite happy to utilise Amazon Prime. Now that Amazon appear to have cast DPD aside locally, I am receiving a vastly inferior service from ‘Amazon Logistics’ and Royal Mail, to the degree that I am actively buying from other distributors rather than Amazon and looking to cancel my Prime membership when it is due for renewal next month.

Tim Dabbs says:
11 April 2015

I have recently had the option of having parcels delivered to a local shop or Post Office, which saves me having to wait in for a whole day for a delivery. Sometimes if I am not in, the parcel is automatically routed to a local shop. I recently ordered from John Lewis online and was able to pick up my parcel from my local Waitrose store which is much easier than going into my local John Lewis to collect it, as it means a journey into a busy town. Unlike other people who have posted about this before, I have never been given a delivery slot and most times do not even know what day a parcel will arrive.

David Alnwick says:
12 April 2015

I recently used Amazon’s collect plus for delivery of a child car seat to a nearby petrol station. The website accepted everything and took my money and confirmed order and delivery date. On day of delivery I got an email simply saying “delivery refused, package returned”. Clearly my seat was too big for the fuel station to handle (it appeared to have no facilities, storing customers packages on the floor behind the till). I received no apology or explanation from Amazon, and eventually got the package delivered to my home. So much for Collect a Plus.


We’ve had good service from DPD up in the wilds of North-east Scotland. But one aspect intrigues me. We have a delivery scheduled for today “between 11:38 and 12:38”. Why is it necessary to quote bounding times to the nearest minute, when the delivery slot is a full hour long? In practice, we’ve found that delivery can often be 10 or 15 minutes outside of the offered slot anyway. Spurious precision is the bane of computerisation!

Stribs says:
14 April 2015

I have always found DPD very good with deliveries, Parcle force are now offering a timed slot however I was offered a timed slot for a delivery today of between 7:33 to 8:32 but the text message advising me was sent at 9:19, one hour and 10 mins after the delivery had been made and the parcle signed for.

Stewart Williams says:
18 April 2015

This company is crap, I paid for Saturday delivery and I never turned up, contacted customer service which was p**s poor and didn’t want to know. I found out that my parcel has been mis-routed to Scotland but it’s been sat in the kinmel bay depot all week so someone is talking shit


Just had an amazing delivery from UPS. Couldn’t fault it………….

We ordered a small rubber car exhaust fitting, max dimensions 2″ x 1″ for 49p including delivery.

It was ordered Friday and turned up the following Monday but…

It has been on a fully tracked journey of 315 miles, been to 2 depots, weight was noted as 6 kg, it came in a box measuring 10″ x 6″ x 6″ complete with padding and arrived by 10am.

The company it was ordered from is only 7 miles away.