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How reliable is Royal Mail and Correos parcel tracking from UK to Spain?

By Dan Wilson July 18, 2018 - 10:00 am

Tracking a parcel is increasingly something that is not just expected as normal by customers and consumers but also a marketplace requirement whenever you’re selling. Those all important tracking numbers, in particular, are vital in the event of a dispute over whether a package has arrived or not.

And that’s also the case when you’re sending your products overseas to shoppers internationally, although the challenges there can be more considerable. As part of a clear out I’ve been listing some personal items on eBay in the past few weeks and (despite thinking I’d opted purely to offer domestic shipping and switched on the Global Shipping Programme if there was any international interest), I found a buyer in Spain by accident. In the end, a despatch had to be made to that very enthusiastic and friendly buyer in Spain. They wanted tracked and signed for shipping and were happy to pay for that and it was easily sorted via Royal Mail at a surprisingly reasonable price.

Delivery on the small packet was promised between 3 and 5 working days. And late on day number 3 after despatch my buyer asked for a progress report. (Obviously the tracking number had been provided and disclosed to the buyer and eBay.) But the buyer was having bother using it so I did it for him. He wanted to know when he should go into town to his PO Box at the local Correos (post office) to get his goods.

I sent the packet first thing last Tuesday and very quickly it was updated and clear that in less than 18 hours my parcel was on the plane to Spain from Heathrow. But then there was silence. Until the wee small hours on Saturday, all Royal Mail tracking said was that my sale had been passed to a local provider. Come Saturday, when I transferred to the Correos (the Spanish national mail supplier) website, it finally revealed the packet had arrived. The buyer successfully collected the items on Tuesday before my tracking confirmed it had been delivered. Sadly updates in those last few days (and my buyer was becoming anxious) were slow and not very illuminating.

Spain is one of the bigger potential ecommerce markets in Europe and, for example, is one of only five countries in the EU to offer a national Amazon website marketplace site. But clearly the Correos link up with Royal Mail tracking could be improved and that would be a welcome development to enhance trade.

That said, all well’s that ends well and the parcel has arrived in time (do we count the day of despatch when calculating delivery dates?) But moving between websites and entering different codes is rather cumbersome and the system needs improvement. Instant ad daily updates (even at weekends) would be reassuring.

What have your experiences been when it comes to trading with Spain?

  • fusion
    1 year ago

    Terrible experience of sending packages to Spain. When Amazon first launched .es we sold there and postage seemed to be ok but once volume increased we got lots and lots of issue of late deliver (14+ days) and Amazon suspended our account there. Due to the low value items we sold there was no option than sending untracked or courier charged at a very high price.

    5 years later we got our account unsuspended and are now selling on .es however we only use tracked and have to charge £10 on top of each order meaning we get 1-2 orders a week unlike .fr which is 30-40 a day.

    Tracked shipping seems to always be at the longer end of the estimate with shipments not being delivered until at least 7 days after the day of sending with it normally being received in 9-10 days from the UK. However because of the tracked status, this does not seem to be a problem with our metrics/feedback etc.

    We have spoken to Whistl who can almost half sending rates (Tracked) to Spain so may give them a go. However Europe in general does not seem to treat UK post well and we rarely get the advertised delivery time Royal Mail state.

  • 1 year ago

    Very much the same as Fusion, apart from we did not wait to be suspended and put our account on vacation for a fair few months. We had already started charging customers a lot more for shipping and sending everything tracked (8.95 EUR) but our defect rating was too high and the volume of sales low.
    We actually just re-activated last week and we have had an order a day and some quite high value items, 100EUR +. We will see how it goes!
    Currently we use Royal Mail but we are moving to a courier in the next few months to reduce the tracked shipping costs.

    • Fusion
      1 year ago

      What courier are you looking at? I you can get prices less than 8.95 EUR, would be interested in looking at that.

  • kev h
    1 year ago

    it can be slow to spain , particularly to the islands.my record for tacked and signed to the balearics is 29 days.

  • northumbrian
    1 year ago

    royal mail still living in the past,
    we have passed it on, its nowt to do with us now, bollocks ,is so 20th century

  • Mark
    1 year ago

    You want to try Brazil we regularly ship to there and their customs are taking anywhere between 65 days to over 90 the last one and the customer can see nothing all that time.

  • SAM
    1 year ago

    We used to be pretty bad for Spain lot of INR on eBay. Things seem to get a lot better. We did start to have issues again this year. Real issues with the island’s , we had one so called RMG tracked take 17 days.

    We also got hit by some professional ebay scammers ( which to be fair eBay and PayPal sorted)….but we were being targeted by one who kept opening up new accounts so it’s on a ban, just got sick of the guy.

    RMG should be mentioned are hopeless at dealing with international issues, and are no help you can contact the Correos direct however who will be able to give you an update, they have done it for us a few times while RMG sit and drum their lips. Corrects tracking will probably be up to date.

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