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More details on the City Link collapse

By Dan Wilson December 27, 2014 - 12:53 am

city link

The administrators of City Link, EY, have posted a statement on the City Link webiste. Here it is verbatim:

“On 24 December 2014 City Link Limited was placed into Administration and Hunter Kelly, Charles King and Tom Lukic of EY were appointed joint administrators.

The business has ceased to accept new parcels from customers and its depots will remain open for a short period of time to enable customers or intended recipients to collect parcels. Those customers who placed parcels with City Link on Christmas Eve for delivery are urged to go to the depot to retrieve their parcels as soon as possible. Any intended recipients who have been notified of a failed delivery are also urged to go to the depot to collect their parcel as soon as possible. The depots will reopen following the Christmas holiday break on Monday 29 December 2014 to enable parties to collect parcels.

City Link will no longer be able to deliver any further parcels and customers are urged to make alternative arrangements for future deliveries.

The on line system to access parcel tracking and therefore check on the whereabouts of your parcel is still live and should be used to identify if you need to collect your parcel and where it is located. In addition , the normal help line telephone numbers remain live and they will be open on Saturday 27 December and from Monday 29th December.”

This represents a ball-ache for sellers with parcels in the system. The best advice is to contact your buyers as soon as possible and explain. It’s worth asking for consideration. If you can provide them with details of where their purchases are, so much the better. Who knows how long the depots will remain open?

It would be good if eBay was considerate on DSRs on affected parcels. We’ve asked about that.

We’d also be interested in hearing from any sellers regarding their experiences here. Is the online console still effective? Will the depots definitely be open on Monday as promised and are there staff there? Is there any customer support at all?

It’s hard not to feel for the 2700 staff and 1000 or so contractors who heard the news that City Link had gone into administration on Christmas Day. There’s no good day to learn you will likely be made redundant. But it’s very cruel that the news emerged on Christmas day. Apparently the company itself didn’t contact staff individually and some union reps have said they delivered the news. Others obviously just found out on the TV news.

The BBC has put together some voxpops from affected staff that make for uncomfortable reading. This article details the locations affected and how many jobs are located there. HQ in Coventry and depots in Hatfield, Warrington and Heathrow will lay off the most workers. There are 53 City Link depots in all.

It seems that in the increasingly competitive world of couriers, that this is the first casualty of the price war.

  • James
    2 years ago

    I used to work as an Insolvency Practitioner and will briefly explain (in basic terms) why the insolvency was made on 24 December.

    At a guess Better Capital (the private equity group owning City Link) would have created a charge over CL when loaning the £40m for restructuring purposes.

    At some point a few weeks / months ago the decision would have been made to pull the plug and the charge holders (likely to be the PE company and banks with floating/fixed charges) will have appointed Insolvency Practitioners to try and find a buyer of the whole company or assets of the company (and if found do a potential pre-pack Administration).

    If no buyers are found (and this is often done at the same time regardless) the Administrators will start hoarding cash in the company. Christmas being the busiest period would be a good time to collect cash – and it is likely City Link would have delayed payments to most of its unsecured creditors to continue cash hoarding.

    The reason company goes under on 24th is that 25 December is the new rent day and rent is likely to be a massive cost.

    The employees weren’t informed as insolvency would be very difficult if employees are aware it is impending and if employees are aware it means competitors are aware and unsecured creditors are aware. If you knew a company was about to go bust you might not continue working or you might not do business with them, or you might not provide supplies etc.

    After the company goes into Administration the secured charge holders will mop up the majority of remaining cash (after insolvency fees), the employees should be fairly well covered by process of prescribed part and redundancy / outstanding vacation payments through insolvency service. The people shafted the most are the unsecured creditors – but this is normal (if you want protection secure your debt).

    This might seem cruel but it is a necessity for proper functioning of a market. A lender needs to feel secure in lending cash and hence derives this benefit from creating charges. If they weren’t they wouldn’t risk lending cash.

    Insolvency here is the creative destruction of a badly run business. Tied up capital and labour will effectively move to more productive means by not being tied up in a zombie company.

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      As regards any possibility of another courier company buying it, I don’t see that as very likely so it leaves them few options.

      All other carriers except Yodel are now VERY well sorted so I can’t see who can benefit from taking over the CL infrastructure. I expect all assets are leveraged to the hilt (isn’t that what Private Equity firms do first to get their investment back ASAP?) so whats left? A load of debt? Piles of bills? Terrible reputation? Dishonest employees? Probably nothing much.

      No wonder the Union is asking the Government to intervene, there is obviously no one else at the table. And besides, even if there is some investible value, would you want to intergrate a load of staff that may be dishonest into your company that works well and has a great reputation? I think not.

      I doubt anyone will touch it and good riddence! Commerce is a better place without CL.

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

    • 2 years ago

      I suspect that you are wrong about some of the assets. When the ‘For Sale’ sign goes up on a Commercial Property you are buying just that property. Whatever debts the previous company had or indeed its employees are none of your concern. You are just buying the property.

      So it could be that the various properties that are Freehold could find buyers. Leasehold it is of course up to the ultimate owners what they do with them. Then there are the vehicles. If your colours are green and yellow then there should be some bargains to be had on secondhand trucks and vans. But in reality most will be resprayed before they are put up for sale.

      I really cannot see anybody wanting to try to buy the business as a ‘Going Concern’ because the reason why it has gone into administration is that it obviously has not been a ‘Going Concern’ for several years.

      So what about the employees? Well if City Links reputation is as bad as everybody says then it will be hard for its employees to get another job. Even the Honest ones will tend to have been tarred with the same brush. So it could be an extended stay on the ‘Dole’ for many of them. But they really have brought it on themselves.

      A lot has been said about timing of the announcements. Well every month, quarter or year the Management Accounts will be considered by the Directors. They have no doubt set targets in such areas as Turnover and profitability and no doubt cost reduction. When everything they have tried has failed somebody has to say ‘No More’ and this seems to have been Christmas Day. There really is not a Good Day to Announce a Business Failure. But when you are in the brown and smelly up to your nose then you really have to finally admit that you cannot go on.

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      I may be wrong and there could be a few assets but I doubt they will hold much equity and especially not after been sold quick and cheap at auction.

      Unfortunately, in liquidation, the order of payments is Accountancy and Legal fees first, then HMRC, followed by the employees, and then IF there is anything left other creditors who if lucky may get a couple of pence in the pound of what they are owed.

      Assuming the VC did their job right I expect nearly everything to be on lease or similar so I doubt the few assets will leave much if anything for employees and other creditors. I imagine that there probably won’t even be enough to pay HMRC in full, never mind employees and other creditors. Of course, if the veil of Limited Liability is removed and it is demonstrated that the Directors broke Company Law, then they personally would be liable for all debts of the company. But I think that is highly unlikely.

      After all, if the company had liquidity and value as a going concern then why go into Adminstration?

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

  • 2 years ago

    *shrugs*

    People matter. It is cruel. Your technocratic explanation doesn’t excuse that.

    • James
      2 years ago

      It is cruel but a reality and a necessity.

      If employees are aware of what is going on then the Administrator has no way to attempt an asset or company sale. In many pre pack cases a company can be saved (or partially saved) and if employees were aware this would rarely (or never) happen.

      The only unfortunate reality is that the new rent quarter starts on 25 December for many businesses – to avoid this happening on christmas day this needs to change – but as it is ingrained into the market I suspect it won’t be easy.

      This happens every year on christmas day to some companies and will happen every year unless Insolvency law changes or landlords shift old English quarter (rent) days.

    • Mark
      2 years ago

      How much would they have advertised City Link as a going concern before putting it into administration? If they want to limit the flow of information widely publicising the offer to buy the company would have started alarm bells.

    • 2 years ago

      Selling a business is not like selling a House. You do not hang a ‘For Sale’ board on the various buildings that the business uses or put an advert in the Local or National Press with a figure on it. Even if you did advertise it in some Trade Paper with a price on it that does not mean that a possible purchaser will take any notice at all of the price quoted.

      Any potential purchaser will want their own people to ‘Run the Rule’ over the business. They will ask for access to the Books and details of assets etc but the chances are that they already have a considerable file on the business anyway…Why? Well if they are a potential purchaser the chances are they have been looking at the business for months, possibly years.

      So no matter what the Company values any Freehold or Leasehold Property or indeed vehicles etc at any potential purchaser will want to have a good look for themselves. As an example a Bus Company that I know was being checked out by a Competitor as a potential Acquisition. They looked at the Companies Buses and valued the whole fleet as Scrap. Obviously the Operator was not happy with that valuation and it did not come anywhere near the value that they put on their fleet(although looking at their buses I tend towards a Scrap Valuation as being realistic).

      When selling a house the Estate Agent just looks at the prices that similar properties are fetching in the same or similar neighbourhoods. You cannot do this with a Commercial Company because every one is totally different and has to be valued separately. In the case of City Link having made substantial losses for years it must be questionable if anybody could value it as any sort of ‘Going Concern’.

    • Mark
      2 years ago

      I understand that selling a business is a complex process in which potential purchasers need some time and access to the finances to enable them to evaluate the state of the business.

      I would have thought that if a business was up for sale then it would become relatively common knowledge, at least enough that staff and unions would know.

      I would have thought that there is a substantial difference between a hostile takeover (where the business is not offered for sale) and the case of City Link where the owners were happy to sell the company.

    • 2 years ago

      Just as every business is different the sale of every business is different. In the case of City Link it has been said that they ran through all the capital that had been invested. Literally they ran out of money. So it is possible that the decision to immediately close down was based upon that. After all if you have no money left you cannot stay in business on the off chance that somebody can be convinced to buy the business.

      No doubt within City Link there were people who were worried about the future of the business but when they expressed their concern there were people possibly the majority who were of the opinion that their jobs were safe and nothing would happen.

      Can I tell you a story. When I left School I went to work for Rolls-Royce in Derby. In 1971 they were declared Bankrupt. When the announcement was made I was standing next to a long term employee of Rolls-Royce. He burst into tears.

      It turned out that as the company share price declined he had re-mortgaged his house and used the money to buy Rolls-Royce Shares. That was to be his ‘Pension’ and he was not alone. RR at that time had a very high proportion of Worker Shareholders. They did not believe that RR would ever be under threat.

      No doubt within City Link there were many who felt similarly safe but we now know that they were wrong.

      The Unions know and care little about the operation of a business, any business. They are all driven by ideological principles of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

      After all would any of us let any Trade Unionist anywhere near the decision making processes in our own businesses or indeed any businesses that we have worked in during our careers????

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      What: “People matter. It is cruel. Your technocratic explanation doesn’t excuse that”? What a load of pub talk Socialist bullshit. There is nothing cruel about this, CL staff and management are jointly responsible and screwed themselves through a process of negligence and apathty, and now they are suffering the consequences.

      We live in a Capitalist society which benefits us all daily and its only right that the strongest survive and the weakest fail.

      Engage, embrace, profit, and succeed, thats whats it all about.

      But if you don’t like it then go to North Korea and “engage” in a co-operative farm! I hear they need staff and even ex-CL employees might find employent there!

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

    • james
      2 years ago

      when the revolution comes, your hearless capitalist ass will be the first against the wall.

      vive la revolucion.

  • 2 years ago

    I imagine Jon Moulton, head of Better Capital, won’t be losing any sleep over this matter.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/city-link-grinch-who-axed-4879593

    • James
      2 years ago

      That is an awful article.

      The conservative point is terrible politics and low brow headlining. I don’t see how any of it has to do with the Administration.

      Businesses and management have to make hard decisions. Money isn’t free – businesses aren’t a charity.

      Some management are better than others – this is the nature of competition. We’re all involved in it – your website exists to inform a sector full of businesses that have to compete with others. Those with better management skills survive, the rest fail and their employees will lose their jobs.

      This happens every day.

      Welcome to the free market.

    • james
      2 years ago

      whatever the article was, its been removed by legal.

  • afellow
    2 years ago

    Sad to see them go, they were pretty useless overall. Loosing parcels and putting on ‘out of gauge’ charges if you gave a depot too many parcels and they couldnt be bothered. But they took parcels heavier than 30 kgs and over 1.5m long.

    They used to do alot of tyres and other large goods, Other couriers not interested in those goods. Whilst so many couriers can do small parcels, not many can handle larger ones. It means less choice for sellers who deliver larger goods.

  • 2 years ago

    This is sad news, but a reality – we looked at using City Link earlier this year because Interlink who we use now charge a fortune for the odd item over 1m or 30Kg. We have a few items that are less than 10% over this and they won’t budge.

    However, it took many emails and calls to even get a price from City Link and then the price was madness – as much as using an on-line company. The drivers that deliver to us do not give a good representation of the company. I feel like they could have made this company in to a market leader, but sadly for whatever reason just didn’t.

    I feel for the staff and even more so for the owner drivers – when you see companies like Yodel doing well – how could City Link not have kept up.

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      Easy – repack and ship in 2 boxes!!

      UPS, TNT, and ParcelForce all do heavy and large items. Book via Parcel2go and you’ll get very competitive prices.

      BTW: Yodel has the largest driver “Churn” in the industry. Very few stick around for long.

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

    • 2 years ago

      Thanks Steve
      Unfortunately, the items in question are a single item – it is only around 10 – 12 items from our catalogue of 700 but it means selling them isn’t cost effective any more. I did think about the parcel2go option and that is something we are going to look at during this break to have a solution in play for the new year.

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      TNT charge about £35 for 50kg. Or book UPS or whoever at 30kg and simply ship whatever it is – I’ve sometimes knoweningly sent overweight and never had a problem, they don’t seem to actually bother weighing anything!!

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

  • Steve
    2 years ago

    WOW!!! Shippers need to retrieve their parcels from wherever they are, and buyers need to collect from a depot (wherever it is) after paying for home delivery?

    My guess is there is going to be a flood of angry buyers leaving defects for sellers on eBay. What a disgrace.

    Management knew this was about to happen yet still collected parcels, knowing full well it was days away from Administration.

    Like I said previously, They are a victim on their own endemic and internal failures and i’m amazed they lasted so long. Google them and you will be shocked and what you read and how CL have covered it up for so long.

    The only unfortunate thing is some honest employees are now paying the price for the dishonest employees – well maybe the honest employees should have done something instead of turning a blind eye to what they knew was happening around them. I can just picture all those “poor and about to be laid off employees” sitting with their thieving colleagues in the canteen and giggling over their cups of coffee about how they nicked this worth X or that worth Y.

    Maybe now all those “poor and about to be laid off employees” will rethink their ethics and not be suprised at the consequenses of “turning a blind eye to their mates” thieving behaviour and at the same time basically also letting the company fall into decline. Whats worse is Management clearly knew about these issues but choose to do nothing about it.

    Well now they are all in the unemployed boat and probably looking at a career change as from what I’ve heard, CL employees are tainted. Put CL on your CV and you are immediately viewed with suspision so consequently many of the other carriers avoid employing them.

    As the saying goes, you make your bed and then you lie in it……

    Peter, I agree with your comment “Insolvency here is the creative destruction of a badly run business” and IMO CL should have been wound up years ago. They made Yodel look professional and I for one have absolutely no sympathy for anyone at CL.

    I have zero symphaty for CL – Good riddence!!

    Happy New Year!!

    Long live the Revolution!! :)

    PS: I speak from experience. Personally, in one single day, I am £1,400 out of pocket due to their theiving employees. Sack the lot and wind it up!

    Want to know more? Then search Google for:
    City Link drivers can steal one item a day

  • ivqii
    2 years ago

    This is more likely to be rape by a venture capitalist than poor management/injudicious pricing ( although these latter 2 doubtless played some part )

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      I have absolutely no doubt that the Venture Capital company stripped maximum value at the earliest possible stage. A common theme with VC’s buying companies on their last legs is to invest little, mortage/leverage everything to the hilt and extract as much money as possible, and then if it all goes wrong they still make a profit.

      That aside, management must have been aware of issues on the ground, especially poor service and thieving by employees, and yet they choose to do little or nothing. At the same time the “honest” employees must have been aware of what their colleagues were doing and also did nothing.

      As I said yesterday in the other thread, when you work for a service company there is no excuse for ignoring the bad actions of others as all issues impact everyone. Want to keep your job? Do a good job. Simple really..

      In my view all are equally complicit, negligent, and responsible so for that reason I have no sympathty with CL closing or with the mass redundency’s that will surely follow. They brought this upon themselves.

      It is also woth nothing that CL encouraged many employees to be self employed on a sub contractor basis. This is very convenient as it would greatly lower the final cost of winding up the company. Coincidence? I suspect the VC company may have had CL earmarked for destruction from an early stage.

      An intresting question for workers on a sub-contractor basis would be if they are actually eligable under HMRC rules to be classed as self-employed. If found to be actually working full time for CL, with no other weekly source of income, then my understanding is CL are required to tax them under PAYE and also pay NI and if so then CL may find they have a huge lieability. I expect HMRC will be looking into this and if it is found that they should have been taxed under PAYE then it will give the contractors far greater rights under employment law and may also enable them to claim redundancy.

      Regardless, the demise of CL is ultimately a good thing and long overdue. I certainly don’t see the Government intervening and I, like many, have no symphaty.

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

    • peter s
      2 years ago

      Steve you raise an interesting point re City Link and their so called “self employed” drivers, City Link are not the only ones doing this I saw an advert a while back for Parcelforce that was the same thing, you rent your van and get paid per parcel and I suspect they are not the only parcel companies doing it. Technically you are supposed to be sell employed but I looked into it and there is a limit they will only allow you to earn so much, if your earnings exceed what they think you should earn they reclassify your route so reducing your earnings, so are your really self employed?

      I would say not but they are not the only ones doing it. It’s prevalent in lots of industries, there was a big outcry about the BBC staff being told to do this and set up service companies and I know a lot of wagon drivers are self employed this way whist technically they can work for multiple companies in reality if your truck is in the colours of a certain firm, eg. a certain tarmac company I know used to do this, I have no idea if they still do, you are going to be getting the vast majority if not all your work through that company.

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      Back in the day self employed was called P60 and technically you needed to be able to demonstrate at least two sources of income each week but few did.

      Back then many people on P60 only worked for one source. HMRC eventually clamped down as it was costing a fortune in “self assessment” and also Employee NI and Employer NI. Consequently many companies were hit with fines and told to put their workers on PAYE.

      I expect most of the so called City Link self-employed sub-contractors are actually only working for CL so therefore CL should probably be liable for both their PAYE and NI – this would be regardless of whatever untaxed income they have already paid the employee and could be a HUGE overhead – technically it would be back calculated on the basis of whatever income they have already received being net of tax and NI.

      I have no doubt HMRC will be investigating this and probably also looking at the accounts of these so called self-employed contractors. If HMRC can demonstrate that the Directors deliberately broke the rules by knoweningly moving full time staff to a self employed status, whilst also knowing those staff had no other weekly income (kinda hard when you work 60 or 70 hours a week for CL) then the veil of Limited Liability could be removed making the Directors personally liable for all debts of the company.

      I don’t know if this will happen for many reasons but its an interesting hypothosis. The so called “self-employed” employees should also take note of all this as they may actually be covered by Employment Law.

      The fall out from this has not even started….

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

  • 2 years ago

    I doubt if the Local Management even knew that anything was going to happen. The decision would have been made by the Board of Directors and even they might not have known. After all the ultimate owner was a Financial Institution and the decision may very well have been made by them and then given to the Board of Directors of Inter Link at their last Pre-Christmas Board Meeting.

    Few Businesses plan to go into Administration. After all if they try to keep it secret from the employees or indeed competitors they have little or no chance. It has to be an instant decision although those in the know would probably realise that the business cannot continue to pile up losses or lose market share or whatever for ever. Something has to be done and when everything you have tried has failed there really is only one thing left…Administration.

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      Bullshit!! Even a blind man could see this coming. They knew.

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

  • afellow
    2 years ago

    Steve seems to hate city link, and whilst I think the drivers wee on the warehouse and general behind the scenes logistics seemed to terrible. There was such a bad lazy attitude if u gave the driver 10 boxes, next day he would tell you how much the unloaders moaned. This type of poor attitude stems from management no where else. I’ve booked TNT for tomorrow, it will cost more. But I don’t expect to have any problems

    Whilst my local drivers where top class, losses in the system where huge,.we would often be punished by the heathrow with out of gauge charges simply for giving 10 or 15 larger boxes (24 kg) within our contracted weight. Simply because for some reason the staff seemed to think it was out of order to ask them to deal with anything other than packets.

    The company was rotten down to the temps, and this is why it’s failed. Sure the prices were good, but it was messy and clearly the staff hated customers for simply using the service.

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      When you work for a service company there is no excuse for ignoring the bad actions of others as all issues impact everyone. Want to keep your job? Do a good job. Simple really….

      Personally, CL cost me £1,400 in one day by a driver stealing my 3 parcels. Despite reporting the loss within 36 hours it transpired that no answers were given and nor was any action taken. Whats worse is that when initially reporting the loss and speaking for ages to someone called Thomas in CS, who promissed to fully investigate, we finished the call but I didn’t hang up and instead muted my handset and listened. Thomas also didn’t hang up, he simply placed his headset on the desk and I could then hear him telling his office mates, and all of them laughing, when he told them “I was a whinging c**t, how he didn’t care, nothing would happen anyway, and I was wasting my time”. Yes, this really happened. For real. Shi**yLink indeed.

      IMO: Sack the lot and let this be something that others learn from. All employees in any company have a duty of care and responsibility. If you do a bad job, or turn a blind eye to your colleages theiving, don’t be suprised if it all goes wrong and you end up unemployed. CL is case in point.

      Search Google for:
      City Link drivers can steal one item a day

      The second result down is:
      Rant: Initial City Link (London South branch) | Coofer Cat’s Weblog

      And it quotes this Forum:
      http://www.coofercat.com/node/730

      Sadly, after searching the Forum (HUNDREDS of comments across many pages) you won’t find Steve’s comment (clearly it has been removed for some reason – probably legal) but the sheer quantity of negative material is certainly revealing and illustrates why CL is not trusted by many.

      CL is a classic case of no one caring so why should anyone be suprised, or care, that the company has ceased trading? It’s certainly for the best.

      Me? Of course I hate that company. £1,400 in a day? Wouldn’t you?

      Happy New Year!!

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

    • Northumbrian
      2 years ago

      Lets be honest flair initative intergrity or dedication is not a qualification required to be a van driver

    • 2 years ago

      I suspect that Northumbrian is wrong. Any and All Employees of a Company should have a certain amount of Loyalty to the Company and should realise that if they do a bad job or plunder the companies or indeed customers assets it reflects badly on everybody working for the company and indeed the company itself. At the end of the day the customer pays the wages. What the customer pays the company for goods or services is what the employees get in their pay at the end of the week or month. Drive away too many customers and it will not be that long before the company is in trouble.

      I hope that all of us who are regulars on Tamebay know that and indeed try to provide a quality service to our customers. We want our customers to remember that whenever they want to buy something if we are advertising what they want then we will give them a good and quality service. Unfortunately City Link and its employees did not do that.

      A Van Driver does not need to be a genius but he does need to be sensible and honest. He needs to realise that whats in the long term interest of the company is also in his long term interest. Yes he may make a few quid by theft from the company or its customers but that that is definitely not in the long term interest of the company or indeed himself.

    • Northumbrian
      2 years ago

      A good proportion of these drivers are not employed directly by the company plus many are really sub contractors to sub contractors probably paid weekly by cash their loyalty to theirselves and brains probably directed to making ends meet by any way they can

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      But Honesty IS a requirement, and some brains a benefit!!

      I agree with Chris. RMT should buy the company. That would keep them very busy for a long time, teach them a few realities that appear utterly alien to them, and hopefully they will be so busy they won’t have time to propagate their idiological and self-rightous socialist bullshit which allways ends in asking for a handout.

      Government won’t get involved. Why should it? If a company is failing it should close. After all, there are many other couriers and they all manage to make a profit without a £40m injection. Why not CL? Throw good money after bad? No chance.

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

  • Dave from Trumpton
    2 years ago

    http://www.anyvan.com are going to have a whole new glut of drivers.

  • Chris
    2 years ago

    Weren’t they called shi**y link for a reason?

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      Most people just called them shit.

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

    • afellow
      2 years ago

      I have a feeling not many people are going to miss this company. TNT, DX and UPS can easily take over the larger parcel business, as there networks are already geared towards larger heavier parcels. With 40k parcels still in the network. They seemed to have given their customers one final shafting, and the cash for those deliveries is probably paid to management.

  • 2 years ago

    About the only organisation that wants City Link to survive is the RMT Union. So perhaps this is a serious suggestion. Rentokil sold City Link for £1. Let the RMT Union offer £1 for what is left of City Link as a Going Concern. The RMT Union then put up the investment needed and of course the Management(after all they are always telling Industry and the Government about their Management failings).

    So let RMT learn the hard way about thieving drivers and all the rest. My bets is that they will continue to DEMAND that Government does something, although why it should I do not understand.

    So come on RMT Union prove that you are not all bluster and hot air. Prove that you really do know how to run a company, even one as bad as City Link.

  • peter s
    2 years ago

    I only caught part of the interview but 5 live had one of the owner drivers on earlier. He had 3 vans all mainly working for city link and because they hold back 2 months earnings he estimated he was owed £100,000, apparently the finance director left a month ago so he obviously knew what was coming.

    • 2 years ago

      Finance Directors and indeed every Director do occasionally leave a Company for other reasons than it is about to go belly up. However I would guess that he had warned the rest of the Board on numerous occasions that they were in the brown and smelly and sinking further into it.

      In a previous employment I was a junior member of Company Internal Audit. I was sitting in the outer office of my boss about to hand in a report. As I sat there the door to the corridor burst open with a crash. The Finance Director of the Company hurtled through and on into the Company Internal Auditors Office. He had just come from the Final Board Meeting of that Company being held further along the corridor.

      With a crash he smashed both hands down on the desk and said in a very loud voice. Basically that he could not convince the Board that they were in serious trouble although he used considerably flowery language that probably blistered the paintwork.

      I made a point of getting out of there and decided to go back later, much later, to hand in my report. Within a short time the company was declared Bankrupt.

      But I heard that the other Board Members had literally leant over and patted the Financial Director on the head and said such things as ‘There, There, It will never happen’ and ‘Your wrong it can’t be as bad as that’.

      He could not convince them that the money had run out. They had been over spending for years and now the point of no return was well behind them.

      Ever since City Link went into Administration I have wondered if perhaps something similar happened with their Board.

  • john
    2 years ago

    Well it is sad…but…every cloud etc….I need a new Van..And there going to be some cheap ones out there.

    It just the circle of life. Its dog eat dog out there.

    • 2 years ago

      You might be a bit limited on colour scheme but if you are happy with green and yellow then yes I think you could be right there will be a lot of cheap vans on the market…One careful owner…Perhaps???

    • northumbrian
      2 years ago

      most of those vans will be lease hire and will simply be re leased and re liveried

    • 2 years ago

      I would be very surprised if any of the Vans used by City Link are Re-Leased. Far more likely is that they will appear on some dealers forecourt probably resprayed White. Although it is possible that some may be available in City Link Livery if you are quick at a lower price.

      I wonder if northumbrian would be interested in Leasing a Second Hand Van for his business. A van that while he might know has been driven by a City Link Driver he knows little or nothing about how it was driven or treated while in their use. After all the likely difference in Lease Charges for a Second Hand ex-City Link Van are unlikely to be that much cheaper than the Lease Charges on a Brand New Van.

      On the Second Hand Market, and that is where the vast majority of second hand ex-Fleet Vehicles end up it is up to those who buy them for their Plumbing, Building or even Painting and Decorating business how much they will pay for them and how they will maintain them and for how long.

    • peter s
      2 years ago

      Chris T you could say the same about any 2nd hand van though, whether it’s an ex city link or builders van or any firm, unless the owner actually drive it himself, in which case he or she is more likely to look after it and drive it correctly, the chances are if it’s probably done some heavy mileage up and down the country and been driven roughly by an employee who didn’t care as he wasn’t paying the bills on it.

    • 2 years ago

      There is one substantial difference between an ex City Link Van and an ex-Builders Van. When you open the rear doors on an ex-Builders Van usually the back is a mess with the remains of cement, paint, etc that has been spilled in it. An ex-City Link or indeed any other couriers van is likely to be relatively clean.

      However my main point was that few will want to lease a Second Hand Van(especially one that is branded with a failed company colour scheme) when a New Van is likely to be only slightly more expensive to Lease.

      Think back over the years an enormous number of ex-Lease and Company Owned Second Hand Vans have appeared on the Forecourts across the company. Probably the largest number have been ex-Post Office Vans in their distinctive Red Livery. I owned an ex-Post Office Van some 30 or so years ago, and the biggest load of old rubbish it was too.

      But for those in the market for a second hand van there is going to be a lot of ex-City Link. Some maybe quite low mileage having only just joined the fleet while others will be quite high mileage.

      I wonder if all the Self Employed Contractors who owned their own van will be respraying them into the liveries of other Couriers who employ Self Employed Contractors or dumping them after all the losses we are told they suffered. I also wonder how long a Self Employed Contractor tends to keep his van. City Link for their own vehicles probably have them on a 2 year contract hire or similar.

    • Northumbrian
      2 years ago

      AND YOU SPEAK WITH EXPERIENCE Do You?

      We always buy used ,we run mercedes sprinter and a vito
      The sprinter was bought 12 months old with 22k on the clock ,4 years later we have only needed to top up the tyre pressures ,and replace tyres,it is not unknown for sprinter vans to clock up 500k with no effort ,the vito is actually 8 years old
      and is still going strong,
      We would happily buy any used mercedes van with a less than 100k
      As they are built and designed for high milage and heavy use
      Thats why nearly every delivery co, runs them

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      And you won’t need to respray, these days its all “stick on decals” aka a “wrap” which cost very little to apply (much less than paint) and with a hot air blower and a scalpel and some care are easily peeled off, leaving the vans base colour behind (probably white).

      Boardsurfer: I don’t like chips, they all go to the dogs!!!

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

    • 2 years ago

      Thank you northumbrian you just confirmed my point. My point was that few would want top Lease a Secondhand Van but that many will Buy a Secondhand Van. For all your typical bluster you confirmed that you always buy Secondhand which is just what I said.

      I did have a New Mercedes Van many moons ago. I bought it with just a bit of delivery miles on it(11 miles) and when I sold it some 9 years later it had just short of 266,000 miles on it. I will also confirm that getting rid of that van was probably the biggest mistakes that I ever made. The van I replaced it with was total rubbish while the Mercedes apart from the high mileage was going like a dream

      There is an interesting point about Mercedes Vans against a Transit. A Transit overloaded looks overloaded. It almost has a flashing light on the roof saying ‘Look at me I’m Overloaded’ also they tend to wallow. A Mercedes on the other hand does not show that its overloaded. On a couple of occasions I thought that I was possibly a bit heavy(OK well over) and all I noticed was that it did not go up hills quite so well and did not accelerate away from Traffic Lights as well. Apart from that it felt safe and sound. It was one of the troubles with Wholesaling Books and trying to keep a check on what was in the back when going from place to place Loading Here, Unloading part there, Re-loading again somewhere else. You lost track of what was in the Van. But as I don’t Wholesale anymore and have not for many years I am unlikely ever again to have that problem.

    • Northumbrian
      2 years ago

      PILLOCK!

    • 2 years ago

      And a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you too.

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      And with so few people trusting CL to deliver the milage will probably be really low!!

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

    • boardsurfer
      2 years ago

      would you like some salt on your chip?

    • john
      2 years ago

      Most courier vans are dumped on the open market/auction after or just before manufacturers warranty is finished.

      All are serviced during there life as courier vans.

      ex-City link vans are normally just de-lettered then taken to auction green and yellow.

      Most have high mileage and many have been driven booted and overworked.
      In the case of city link you may find some still under warranty with lowish millage.(liquidation)
      Mercs will take a good pounding in comparison to transits. Many of the couriers now use mercs because of there resilience.

    • 2 years ago

      I checked through Vans on ebay. I found 2 obviously ex-City Link. Both were in the green and yellow liverery but one had been stripped of the lettering except for Express Delivery and the other had been decorated as a Bouncy Castle Van over the top of the CL Livery.

      I guess that there were others ex-CL but now white buty I could not immediately identify them. So it would appear as if there is a bit of a market for Green and Yellow Vans but I wonder how many the market could absorb in that livery?

      However as northumbrian admits he buys Second Hand Mercedes my guess would be that he would rather have white ones than CL Green and Yellow ones. So my guess is that the majority will be put back to white either by removing the green and cream livery if it is stuck on or if it is sprayed on by respaying them white.

    • Northumbrian
      2 years ago

      Its people in white coats thats needed here, not vans!

    • 2 years ago

      I agree and if you let us all know where they take you I am sure that a few of us will want to send you food parcels.

    • 2 years ago

      Long before Shrink Wrapped Vans and stick on liveries. In fact back in the 1970’s I worked for a Garage Chain. We had won the contract to supply a large number of sign painted vans.

      For some reason and this long after the event I cannot remember what it was I had to go down to the Workshops. The vans had been supplied or painted into the livery and all that was needed was the sign painter to do his stuff.

      He had a van section of a Mini Van converted into a trailer and he would pick up the drawbar and walk it to the next van to paint. When he had finished he would just pick up the drawbar and walk to the next van.

      It always seemed to me to be a very sensible idea. I walked into the workshops just as he picked up the drawbar and walked from one van to the other. He had everything he needed set out in that trailer and no doubt at the end of the day he just hitched it onto the tow-bar on the back of his car and either went home or onto the next job.

      I wonder in these days when skilled sign painting has been replaced by plastic if either he or a later generation of skilled sign painters are perhaps using the same technique, perhaps even the same cut down mini van.

  • Interesting thoughts
    2 years ago

    Regarding CL vans, these would be white ones but with a green and yellow ‘wrap’ . A plastic skin, relatively easy to remove = white again.

    • 2 years ago

      “Relatively easy to remove….” but only with a heat gun. Good luck to anyone trying to strip a van wrap in the freezing cold in January unless they’ve got a relatively warm garage to give them a head start :-(

    • Gerry007
      2 years ago

      .
      Chris, I know someone who applies this for a living & their buildings are heated to quite high degrees & all work is placed inside the unit at least a day before (to warm the metal up).

  • 2 years ago

    Hi chaps, I didn’t know of the existence of this site but it’s fascinating, the, general, depth of knowledge expressed in this thread is remarkable.

    Anyway to add my 2ps worth I received a copy of an email sent to a seller I had bought an item from on ebay which informed her that my parcel was at the CL Bournemouth depot, it’s not far from me so I went there yesterday but the almost tearful (after all he is losing his job) chap at B’mouth assured me that that information was wrong and that the item was still at the “Hub – Hatfield”

    So I guess that’s lost then.

    It’s bloody typical of PE groups to just grab the money by accepting parcels knowing that they won’t be delivered, it’s theft !

    I’ll try to claim against ebay for non-delivery …

    Best Roger

    • peter s
      2 years ago

      Actually you raise an interesting point there Roger, what happens to all the parcels that are at city link’s hubs and scattered around the country? Are they going to sort them and take them to a local depot with the few remaining staff that are l left, I would doubt it, so if they won’t do that they certainly won’t return them to the original senders. Presumably now they have gone under the senders won’t be able to claim off city link’s insurance, if they had any, so does the administrator contact the senders and tell them they can be collected from xyz depot / hub which could be the opposite end of the country or does the administrator keep them as company assets and sell them off to the highest bidders? Presumably some companies won’t want to travel a long way to collect their parcels or decide it’s not worth the hassle for a small order.

    • Gerry007
      2 years ago

      .
      I can see a good few claims coming out of this collapse….

      First there will be a mass against paypal/credit card co’s for CL failure to deliver, ie: Did not complete contract.
      Second there will be a mass of claims against the ebay/paypal etc, from buyers who claim INR.
      The administrators will want to retain as much money as possible that’s within the Co, so maybe they will honour these contracts and complete the deliveries, at least to buyers localish depots.
      The above bears in mind that Credit card Co can create charge-backs & paypa/the likes can withhold funds, etc, assuming such action can be made against a bankrupt Co that has assets.

      As for selling off the packets to the highest bidder, that would be paramount to thief, I could foresee a mass claim from senders for breach of contract against the administrators & this could amount to many £000’s.

      Hey ho, let alone the feedback problems that sellers/senders are likely to get.

  • 2 years ago

    Probably a fair proportion will walk, especially any which look as if they might have a reasonable value. After all many of the CL Staff who have just lost their jobs will view them as CL Property and thus fair game.

    The vast majority will probably remain within the premises when the gates are locked for the final time. Then no doubt the Liquidators will arrange an Auction of the assets and whatever is left, including parcels, will go into the auction. After all the Post Office auction off the parcels that they cannot deliver(in Belfast I seem to remember).

    So if you do have any valuable parcels still with CL you could try getting on to the Liquidators. But if your parcel is only low value it is probably easier and simpler to write it off.

  • Northumbrian
    2 years ago

    It will be the seller of any percel that is not collected or delivered that suffers loss
    Credit card charge backs are made from the retailers account,
    CL is a ltd company bigger creditors than someone with a lost parcel will get first bite of the cherry,and still not get paid

    • 2 years ago

      Totally agree. However if I had a parcel stuck in CL it would be at most worth perhaps £30. So probably not worth worrying about, just write it of.

      But there could very well be shipments worth many hundreds, possibly thousands of pounds. In these cases the first problem is to find where they are. For that you need to get onto the Liquidators. If they can tell you where they are then possibly you can arrange to get them collected.

      Currently it is likely that most CL premises will be locked up or if they are not they will very soon be locked up. But if there is to be an auction of assets somebody will need access to the premises and it should be possible to arrange with the Liquidators to recover any shipments that are stuck in those premises. But as I said above the shipments have to be worth enough to make it worthwhile and you have to know where they are.

  • Anna
    2 years ago

    Just wanted to respond to the comments about City Link workers being viewed negatively by prospective employers. Not the case, some companies are inviting CL employees to job fairs. They will be trained multi-drop delivery drivers, there will be opportunities for them.

    • Steve
      2 years ago

      Yes, I heard that to.

      Ex CityLink applicants should mark their CV for the attention of: Fagin!

      Long live the Revolution!! :)

      PS: You can ask for “More”.

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