/ Shopping

How can you avoid a bad delivery company?

Broken package

Our latest survey reveals the best and worst online shops of 2013. But who actually brings your precious parcel to your door can be a different matter entirely. So how can you avoid the worst?

Savvy customers don’t want to hand their money over to just any old company.

Who we spend our hard-earned cash with is important – most people want to make sure they only use firms with good reputations, offering what they want at a decent price. But in the case of online shopping it can be hard to know who you’re dealing with.

We looked at the biggest online shops in the UK. Our research revealed that they all use more than one delivery firm – but none of them offer customers a choice over which is used.

Delivery problems

With a third of online shopping problems relating to delivery, this seems to be the weak link in the web retail boom. It means customers who have had a bad experience with a particular delivery firm are left pretty powerless if they want to avoid using them again.

Getting the delivery you want

Couriers came bottom of the pile when we compared customer satisfaction with different delivery methods, with City Link faring worst. But how do you avoid them the next time you order something online?

We heard from one fed up customer who resorts to cancelling orders after they’re placed if he’s not happy with the delivery firm picked for him.

That might be a bit extreme, but there aren’t many other options if you want to take a stand.

Complain to the seller

Did you know, however, that the seller is responsible for goods up until they’re delivered? Any damage or breakage en route is the responsibility of the seller. So you shouldn’t be told to take up your complaint with the delivery company.

And if your package is left somewhere without your say-so and then damaged or stolen, you could argue that the seller is in breach of contract and should replace and re-deliver your item.

With Christmas just around the corner, we’re probably on the brink of the biggest online shopping boom ever. But have delivery problems affected your experience of shopping on the web? And would you like to have more control over who brings your parcel to the door?


When I shop online I do like to know who is bringing my parcel. I do check the F&Q’s / delivery page to see if it says. If not I will then leave a Facebook Page post or Tweet to ask if they use Useless Yodel.

If they say no, they use another company I will place the order. If they said yes, they do use Yodel I will make a point of saying I am shopping with another website as I do not trust them with my parcel.

Brian Springthorpe says:
13 June 2017

I have been recently let down by DPD, which also own or are involved with UKMail which is equally as useless.

The first package was supposed to be delivered on a 24 hour turnaround which didn’t happen. I was contacted with information that stated that the package was delayed and I had to contact the seller. I could get in touch with the seller so I tried the courier’s local depot. They stated that the package had been rejected which led me to assume it was damaged. The next day it turned up and wasn’t damaged – so misinformation.

The second package should have been here today according to the notifications received on the previous day. I got another notification this afternoon on the day of quoted delivery to say it was delayed and I wouldn’t get it till tomorrow. Overnight delivery had been paid for but not achieved. I had arranged for someone to be in to sign for it but that was wasted. I can’t do the same tomorrow, so I have had to arrange for it to be placed in an outhouse at my own risk.

When I contacted the courier (DPD), they pretended to be apologetic and were very dismissive. It was extremely difficult to find a contact number for them too.

A pattern seems to be emerging.

From now on, I am going to stipulate that this courier, DPD/UKMail, is not used in any deliveries to my house. Do not use this courier.


I have to agree that Yodel is one of the most unsatisfactory courier services. Curious name as well. At a similar grade in my opinion is Hermes who seem to have a lot of internet shopping delivery contracts and entrust our purchases to some moonlighting couple in an old van who turn up at any hour of the day or night and sling them over the side gate whether we are in or not [recently caught trying to climb over the gate to unbolt it; thwarted by our padlock!].

DPD, DHL, City Link and TNT Express appear about equal: fairly reliable, efficient and systematized, with polite and careful drivers, but they all suffer from poor handling in their hubs and depots where parcels are sent along elevators and into bins leading to a lot of packaging [and sometimes contents] damage. The best carriers, in our experience, are UPS and Parcelforce.

The advent of tracking systems is a good thing but the systems need more work. For example, DPD will let you know down to a very close time-slot when their guy will get to you. They can tell you his name, show you his route, say how many drops he has, and give you the drop number for your consignment. What they won’t tell you is how to speak to someone about the delivery [it’s all telephone key-pad algorithms] and which company it is from [not much help when you’re expecting several deliveries at more or less the same time].

The big problem for recipients is that we are not the delivery companies’ customers so we don’t count for much; we are just destinations. Realising that their consignors remain liable for fulfilment, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that their overall attitude is a tad careless in respect of home delivery parcels on which they might make a bit of money through returns.

With half a dozen vans chasing each other round the streets every day making small deliveries to dispersed addresses it seems fairly obvious that there willl have to be moreconsolidation in the business. Parcelforce is part of Royal Mail, UPS is a vast American corporation, DPD is a branch of the French postal service, DHL is part of the German postal service, and I think TNT Express comes under the Netherlands postal service, so – among the majors – it’s not too difficult to guess which is the weakest link.

NineToTheSky says:
25 October 2013

Apparently their name is short for Your Delivery.


When buying online, the thing that annoys me most is when the delivery charge is kept a big secret until the payment stage or until after you have created a user account with the web site. This is a breach of Regulation 7(1)(a)(iv) of the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and Regulation 6(4)(e) of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. It’s even worse when the delivery charge exceeds the price of the goods!

llandl says:
21 October 2013

Don’t forget also that if the item breaks during delivery or isn’t as described, the seller must pay your return postage and packaging costs, or your return journey cost if you take it to them in person


By the way, in case you can’t read the graphic, in our survey the top delivery problems included items turning up damaged, which was the main gripe, followed by deliveries not turning up, inability to choose a delivery slot and delivery outside the agreed time.

Have you suffered any of these problems?


Probably half our deliveries arrive with some damage to the packaging and sometimes it looks as if the packaging has actually been broken into deliberately as the rupture is not consistent with the biffs and bangs of transit. Sometimes the consignor is the culprit because they haven’t packed the goods securely enough or used appropriately durable materials for the internal protection or outer casing.