Couriers respond to undelivered parcels auctioned on eBay

By Lauren Fruncillo April 7, 2021 - 2:00 pm

According to an article by Charlotte Ikonen Royal Mail and Hermes have responded to claims that undelivered parcels are being auctioned on eBay after some concerns were expressed.

According to Royal Mail these parcels are never directly listed on eBay by Royal Mail themselves, but by third parties hired by certain retailers who would rather not deal with the return of a parcel that a customer no longer wants. Often, when a customer refuses to collect or receive a parcel the management required to have the parcel sent back to the sender can be costly, especially if overseas.

“As a result certain overseas retailers sometimes arrange for third-party service providers based in the UK to manage their returns for them. These retailers will then mark these third-party firms as the return address on any packaging. Once the third-party firms receive the items, they sometimes elect to sell these items by auction on online marketplaces.

“Where we have been made aware of items being sold in this way, we ask these companies to remove any customer details on the sites as well as make no reference to Royal Mail in line with our terms and conditions.”
– Royal Mail Spokesperson

Hermes have similarly responded that they have no say in where returned parcels go. Some overseas retailers have clearance houses in the UK where Hermes collects and returns items too and the third party would then list the items on eBay. Couriers are not legally allowed to open parcels and breach personal data.

eBay’s Chance listings policy

eBay have said that under their Chance listings policy, listings containing parcels with mystery contents would be banned anyway. All sellers must identify the exact contents of the package in the description.

My own take on the situation is the possibility that in the past the third-party companies were opening the undelivered parcels and selling the contents on marketplaces whilst going unnoticed. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that they would try catering to the consumer that likes the mystery and surprise of an unopened package which ended up raising a few eyebrows.

  • Victor
    7 months ago

    One day we might experience the mystery and surprise of receiving the return of an undelivered royal mail package

  • David
    6 months ago

    I got one back from Hermes, it spent 6 weeks in their Hub instead of going to Europe. And even after it was finally returned – for 2 more days it was being tracked as “in the hub”. How? I had it with me. Sometimes I wonder how good the tracking is with some companies. I had to get Paypal involved to get the money for the shipping back, as they had not completed the service i had paid for.

  • Another example of the online Wild Wild West!

  • Martin
    6 months ago

    Also, do not use any variant of: dpd, dpd Local, dpd Local-online, or parcel2Go to send your parcels to Europe – it is now week 10 for my very expensive parcel and it has come back and been stuck at the UK hub for over 5 weeks. Have been indefinately ‘strung-along’ with real fear of no insurance payout.

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