Citizens Advice is warning urgent action is needed across the parcel delivery industry after today publishing their first annual parcel company league table. They say that they have found consistent problems across the sector. It makes for pretty poor reading if you’re expecting your Christmas presents to be delivered this year, with all companies classified as average at best.
The Citizens Advice parcel company league table lists the top five delivery companies by parcel volume, who were measured against four criteria using data from Citizens Advice Consumer Service, consumer polling and social media complaints. The annual parcel company league table compares the top parcel firms against criteria like customer service, problems and accessibility and found that no delivery company received more than three out of five stars overall.
Some of the more incendiary complaints which Citizens Advice want to highlight include:
- One man got in touch after he received confirmation a pair of headphones he ordered had been delivered to Australia, despite him living in and ordering them to his address in Hertfordshire
- Another man reached out after he was forced to repeat his problem to almost 30 different customer service agents when his parcel worth £150 was stolen
- A woman contacted the charity after one driver claimed her son’s £350 birthday present had been delivered, even though her CCTV showed them leaving with it in their hand
Parcel company league table highlights
According to Citizens Advice:
- Hermes and Yodel performed the worst, scoring 1.5 and 1.75 stars respectively. Amazon Logistics scored highest, but with just 2.75 stars overall
- DPD scored lowest when consumers were asked if they’d had a problem with their last delivery. 41% of DPD customers polled by Citizens Advice reported a problem with their last delivery, whereas at the top end 32% of Amazon Logistics customers reported an issue
- When trying to resolve issues, 48% of people polled weren’t able to get the help they wanted. This rose to 56% for Yodel and 43% for Amazon Logistics
Though online sales have increased 56% from pre-pandemic levels, the charity warns parcel problems have exploded during that time. Citizens Advice online advice ‘If something you ordered hasn’t arrived’ has been viewed almost 160,000 times so far this year, a 69% increase on the same period before the pandemic in 2019.
DPD refute the findings saying:
“We don’t recognise the findings from this survey at all and have raised significant concerns about the methodology directly with Citizens Advice. Our own data shows that over 99.5% of all DPD parcels are delivered right first time, which is one of the main reasons we have been voted top in MoneySavingExpert’s annual parcel delivery customer satisfaction poll of over 10,000 recipients, eight years running.”
Exactly what is a parcel problem?
The one thing that we’d have liked more clarity on is exactly what a ‘problem’ is classified as. For some this will be the fact that they decided to order stuff online and then go out for the day and were surprised that their order couldn’t be delivered or was left in what they considered to be an inconvenient neighbour or safe place. Others will be genuine issues such as lost parcels or questionable such as damage which could be as a result of unsuitable packaging or could be considered to be the carrier’s fault.
As ecommerce professionals, the dire league tables probably leave you wondering which carrier you should entrust to deliver your sales?
We suspect that the reality is that just about all carriers offer what might be considered a reasonable level of service and the only way consumers are going to get a service they won’t complain about is if they were willing to pay for purchases to be hand delivered by a liveried footman, at a precise time selected by them, which they could change at a moments notice when something more interesting comes up which is more exciting than waiting in for a parcel.
In the mean time if consumers aren’t willing to pay for this type of service then minor inconveniences like waiting in for a parcel are going to have to be accepted.
Call for regulation and fines
Things can and do go wrong though and Citizens Advices are calling for stricter rules for parcel companies, better complaints processes, and fines from the regulator, Ofcom, if company negligence leads to parcels getting lost or stolen.
“Parcel deliveries became a lockdown lifeline for us all, but the scale of the problems experienced by many of us shows huge cracks in the sector.
Even though Amazon Logistics and Royal Mail top the table there’s still significant room for improvement. And Hermes and Yodel need to improve in leaps and bounds to make sure they’re providing a solid service to their customers.
While this should be a wake up call for firms to strive to deliver a five-star service for consumers, we have serious reservations about how far companies will improve if left to their own devices. Our findings show it’s time for Ofcom to come forward and introduce tougher rules across the board for delivery companies.”
– Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice Consumer Expert Jane Parsons offers her top tips to help combat parcel delivery issues:
- Check delivery information
Before you place an order find out the delivery times, costs and returns policies for the items you want
- If you’re out of the house during delivery
Consider asking a neighbour or friend if it can be delivered to their address if you think it may be a time or date you’re not home. But beware, if you do provide details of a safe space or nominated neighbour and something goes wrong it’s not the seller or courier’s responsibility
- Online trader or online marketplace?
Make sure you know if you are dealing with a trader or a private seller on an online marketplace as dispute processes may vary. If you have an issue with a trader, a dispute can be raised directly with them, but if it’s a private individual it may be easier to go through a marketplace’s dispute process
- Check reviews
It’s always worth taking a careful look at reviews to gain an insight as to how reliable the company is and how well they deal with missing parcel complaints and refunds
- Who to deal with when a parcel goes missing
Your purchase and contract is with the seller. If your parcel goes missing you should speak to them to deal with the problem, not the courier company