The problems of parcel delivery

Laura Whitcombe's picture

What do bodily fluids, chocolate, fishing rods, mirrors and guitars have in common? No, not a dodgy camping trip. The answer is Parcel Monkey. More specifically, it’s that they’re all on the delivery company’s restricted items list.

At Moneywise, we’re inundated with complaints about courier services gone wrong and we’re sympathetic to the frustration so many of you feel. It seems there are very few of us who haven’t had to sit around at home waiting for hours on end for a delivery to either turn up late, or not at all.

Some readers have been in touch to tell us that items have gone missing after apparently being ‘left with a neighbour’. Others have found their packages tossed over hedges and into their gardens. Others have been left out in the rain. And only recently the Twittersphere has gone into overdrive following one user’s photo of his ‘sorry we missed you card’ from that informed him his parcel had somehow got stuck on the roof.

While such instances are clear demonstrations of shoddy practice by courier companies delivering items that have been bought online – and so the customer has no say on the courier service being used – most of the complaints Moneywise receives are to do with damage to items shipped by couriers individuals have booked themselves.

Sometimes, damage has evidently been caused by the courier and the proof is usually damage to the package as well as the item. In the majority of cases we are asked to get involved in, damage has been caused to an item containing a glass element – mirrors, TVs and even car headlights.

In most complaints, the reader is struggling to get a refund from a low-cost parcel delivery company – such as Yodel or MyHermes.

While Moneywise always tries to help consumers being treated unfairly by companies, it has become obvious to us that there is confusion about the items parcel delivery companies refuse to carry and what their compensation policies cover.

Parcel Monkey, for example, has 185 items on its restriction list and most fall into the following categories – liquids, items with glass components, fragile goods, perishables and dangerous/illegal goods. has a similar list, featuring 40 items.

Both lists are complicated somewhat by the fact that they outright refuse to carry most of the items but will take others on a ‘no-compensation basis’. And the complications are made worse by the fact that when a customer books delivery online and selects the compensation option – for which they have to pay an additional charge if they need cover for more than around £20 – the automated system doesn’t always realise that the item features on the restricted list.

Roger Sumner-Rivers from explains this is because the computer systems can’t always recognise the variation in item names and descriptions typed in by users. This results in situations arising in which customers book courier services for items they believe the carrier is happy to take and which they have been able to buy compensation cover for only to discover when it gets lost or broken that they are unable to claim compensation.

While this is infuriating for customers affected, the industry says improvements are being developed, but acknowledges the issue remains a “challenge”.

However, all too often it is clear that the customer simply hasn’t read the restricted item list before booking delivery. For example, most complaints are about not being able to claim compensation for damage to TVs and mirrors, which usually feature on the ‘no-compensation’ list. While the customers are usually offered a refund on the delivery charge if these items get damaged, they quite understandably refuse compensation.

So to protect your items from damage and to save falling foul of no-compensation rules, always make sure you read the restricted items lists fully and if you do decide to book delivery regardless, make full use of the packaging guides the parcel companies print on their websites.

Your Comments

As a customer, the issue I have is with delivery. They allow me to track my parcel and provided I ignore the comments and guess it is usually okay. The price is still held by one company who told me delivery would be on tuesday and turned up on Saturday with an apology for being alte! According to their system immediately after delivery, it was still with the company!

A company called Pinlogic have developed an app which allows couriers to send you a once of location request sms to your smartphone. Once you click the link in the text you location is sent directly back to the couriers phone. 
This is ideal because your not always at home waiting and you have things to do. At the same time it gives the courier a chance to still deliver the parcel to you as opposed to dropping it of somewhere randomely or taking it back to the depot for a rescheduled delivery.
Its like a second chance to deliver a parcel if the first attempt has failed.
Ask your courier to use it. It greatly reduces the number of undelivered parcels.

I'd like to tell you about a parcel delivery service I found on eBay that has saved me a lot of time and money on my parcel shipments. I've dealt directly with many parcel delivery services over the years such as TNT, FedEx and so on. Despite the fact I was shipping between 10 and 20 parcels per week and had a business account with these companies, they gave me very little discount off their regular full retail prices. It seems that unless you are shipping hundreds of parcels per week, they just aren't interested in offers door to door parcel delivery services throughout the UK and much of Europe. They deal directly with the large shipping companies so their customers, like me, don't have to. Even better, since they ship such a large volume of parcels every week they are able to obtain substantial discounts which they pass on to their customers. Depending on where you are shipping to, way2savemoney offers several different options for parcel delivery. They also give you a choice of collection dates and delivery times. I found the site really easy to use. Within seconds I can get a quote on my parcel. Should I decide to ship it, it takes just a couple of minutes to schedule a collection. Best of all, if you set up an account you get an additional 5% off your shipping costs, no minimum shipment required. It took me less than five minutes to set up my account. I’ve been using way2savemoney parcel delivery for the last few months and on average I am saving £1 per parcel on shipments within the UK. For my European shipments I usually save between £3 and £5 per parcel. Sometimes more. I’ve found the customer service team at to be very easy to worth with. They are friendly and quick to respond to questions. On the rare occasion something goes wrong with a shipment, they get right on it, contacting the shipper and doing everything they can to rectify the situation. They are determined to provide the best possible customer service and it shows.

Parcel delivery shop is a parcel delivery company in the United Kingdom. It was formed by the 2006 acquisition of the UK domestic business of by Home Delivery Network. The combined business had been known as W2S was rebranded as in May 2010. Parcel delivery shop, we Package delivery or parcel delivery is the delivery of shipping containers, parcels, or high value mail as single shipments. The service is provided by most postal systems, express mail, private package delivery services, and less than truckload shipping carriers.

My problems are with myhermes the parcel couriers the customer services have done nothing but life over and over again they told me my motorcycle sat nav was damaged in the warehouse or depot along with Steel brackets was also damaged but the non parts what you don't need for the sat nav got delivered the sat nav since then has been switched on according to the sat nav company the CEO of myhermes will not even respond to her emails she can only be described as an absolute disgrace my complaint has been for the 16th which for Wednesday of last week and every single day they have said to me you have to wait longer for an investigation to take place to me it's very simple if you've damaged the item then where is the damage parts it's very clear no damage took place it was theft he was taken out of the box and just left in what they wanted to leave in which was non essential parts because if all the items got damaged they should be at very least a report for some fregnant but nothing