Good day folks
Today I am going to look at the problem of mail and parcel deliveries. Like many people in this age of the Internet, I do quite a lot of buying on-line. It is so convenient and easy to sit in front of a screen, search for the product you want and then compare prices. Not only can you find the best priced goods but also the companies that offer good customer service.
When I order a product from the internet, I usually leave a review of the service provided by the seller and the quality of the goods. This is good for all concerned, it filters the good companies from the bad ones and warns people of dangers dealing with certain on-line sellers. I once used to have a retail business myself, in fact I spent 15 years trading on the High St. It must be difficult if not impossible nowadays for High St businesses to compete with the on-line traders and the current trends will probably see the end of many community shops.
Over the last 6 months I have bought a lot of items on-line, Kayaks, wetsuits, amplifiers, music cd’s, computer hardware to name but a few. I am quite familiar with many of the bigger on-line companies and tend to stick with the ones that also have retail units as well. I haven’t in the six months bought something on-line that was not what it seemed. Most of the products have been as described and not advertised wrongly, also the companies have been quite delightful to deal with.
With all new systems of trading there will undoubtedly be some drawbacks, you would probably expect some goods to be damaged in-transit, or delays in despatch. I didn’t experience any problems with any orders from the ordering, purchasing or communication with the seller in my recent dealings. The problems that seemed to be common to my on-line activities were with the delivery companies.
Let me explain just three examples. These examples have made me very wary of the companies that deliver goods, I choose deliveries that offer a system to track them minute by minute wherever possible and I choose now to buy only from companies that have a good tracking system. My first problem came with delivery of hi-fi gear and a missing parcel, this particular delivery was by mail untracked and it never arrived. I contacted the company and another order was despatched, I changed the delivery address from Brent to Twickenham and it arrived without a problem.
The second delivery was for a turntable and amplifier, this was despatched and told 3-5 days delivery/signed for. I was able to track this delivery and even find out to the hour the time of delivery. I waited at the delivery address and heard the letter box open ( the mail box is in a hallway separate from the front door to the flat). I went to the letter box and saw a card stating that no-one home for delivery and parcel left next door.
When I opened the door, a neighbour was signing for a parcel for me, I asked the driver why he hadn’t rung the bell, he said he did but it didn’t work – it works perfectly well and was never used by him. I checked the delivery and I pointed out that there is a parcel missing – he said “no only one box”. I told him to wait while I called his office, he then proceeded to find another box in his van containing an amplifier, he told me he must have overlooked it because of his busy schedule.
The week after I was waiting for a tracked parcel from PC World, delivery by Royal Mail unsigned but racked. I saw that the parcel had arrived at my local sorting office and despatched, Cricklewood at 8:00am. I the noticed at 09:50am that the tracking had changed to parcel delivered to a safe place. I checked in the street and at the front door, there was no parcel and no delivery card. I checked again on-line and I wasn’t mistaken the parcel had been delivered to a safeplace, so I went into the street and saw a mail van with the postman a few doors away.
I asked the mailman, do you have a parcel for me and he said he didn’t, I told him that it was registered as being delivered to my address to a safe-place, this prompted him to say “there is a parcel for the house next to yours” and he took it from his cab, not from the back of the van but from his cab. He then apologised and said “he had read the address wrong”. I took the parcel from him containing an electronic drawing tablet and went back to my house.
I telephoned the Royal Mail delivery Office and told asked the why a parcel had been recorded as being delivered to my address to a safe-place when it hadn’t and it was in the drivers cab neither delivered or left in a safe place. The operator asked my what time I spoke with the driver – it was 10.05am, the parcel was recorded as being delivered at 09:40am. The Royal Mail said they would investigate. I have since received a notification that my enquiry had been reported to the relevant person.
That was 3 weeks ago and I have since heard nothing. So I am in a situation were I no longer trust the delivery firms, it is all well and good ordering on-line but it appears that the final part of the parcels journey can be subject to very dodgy goings on. I suppose the only way to guarantee delivery is to pay top wack delivery charges and get the parcel signed for/recorded, otherwise the light-fingered delivery thieves will be tempted to top up their wages.
This takes me back a few years to when I had a travel business in Paddington and complained to the post-office that tickets and other mail was going missing in transit. They told me that it was nothing to do with them and I should check the senders, I lost quite a lot of money on one occasion, having to buy another ticket for the customer. Later that year a gang of criminals were arrested and charged at Paddington Sorting Office for stealing mail and valuable items. They were all Royal Mail employees, I didn’t get any compensation.
It’s a bad do when you can’t trust the postman.