Shoddy delivery service really sucks

I do almost all my shopping online. For various reasons – it is cheaper, it is more convenient, there is a larger selection and it is (usually) less stressful.

But lately the the local delivery service has been giving me giant headaches. There are probably larger infrastructural problems in that Sweden has started to privatise many of the previously state-owned companies (the postal service is one of them) and this always means that profit becomes king.

Another problem could be that the postal service was pruned when the explosion of the internet meant that less and less was posted via snail mail. But this never took into account that the explosion of the internet also meant increased numbers of parcels and packages moving globally.

I work mostly in the field – I am in a different place every one or two hours and seldom at my office (which is often unmanned due to all of us at my company working under the same conditions as I do). This means that parcels cannot be delivered to my work.

I am also able to work at home, at my desk by a window overlooking the street. If I calculate that a parcel is due to be delivered by courier (I do this by tracking the parcel on the internet), I can either request that it go to the depot where I will pick it up after work, or arrange to work at home the day it will arrive.

So what do I see? I see it all. Fedex/ups/dhl couriers driving up to my door, sitting outside a few minutes and then driving off, or jumping out to post a ‘not at home’ notice in the foyer of my building and then driving off.

When I phone about it I am told either a) you were not at home (I was) or b)there was a code on the door (there isn’t).

Lately even the normal postal service has been giving me headaches. Three times in the last month I have not received parcel slips to tell me that parcels are waiting for me, and they have been returned to sender. These ones I have been unable to track as they were not posted with tracking numbers. Having phoned the post office, fingers are pointed. The postal service blames the local depot, the depot blames the letter carrier and the letter carriers say they couldn’t get into the building to deliver the slip. Strange however that they can get into the building to deliver everything else…

Even worse is when the parcel is tracked. Because then I can internet-track it arriving, being driven to me and then driving off, so to speak. It goes back to the depot where it sits. I receive no parcel slip, no notification. If I phone, no one knows where it is, despite the fact that the computer shows it is there. Same story – postal service blames the depot, depot blames the letter carrier and the letter carrier says I was not at home, there was a door code, the door was locked. The end result is the same – package returned to sender.

I know I am not alone in this. So why is it happening more and more? Cutbacks on company infrastructure? Bad training of staff? Staff who hate their jobs? Too much pressure on the couriers to reach impossible delivery targets? Bad communications?

Honestly this, together with quality control issues and companies not responding to emails is just the pits. I always vote with my feet and my wallet when this happens. Unfortunately with the postal and courier service, I have no choice.

Would love to hear from anyone who has had similar experiences.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

8 thoughts

  1. I agree, since privatisation, the UK postal and parcel service has degenerated. I have a good relationship with my post lady, who seems to deliver, on foot, increasingly heavier parcels and will use my safe place. On her day off it can be a nightmare,maw the relief postman often doesn’t know the safe place. The parcels service is overstretched, busy and often the staff are discouraged by poor managers. There is an increasing tendency to leave a note, but not even knock.

  2. I haven’t had many bad experiences in getting parcels delivered myself, but the horror stories I’ve read haven’t given me much confidence in the UK’s postal service recent privatisation. Customer service was already deteriorating. Cutting staff doesn’t help with productivity and efficiency, contrary to what upper management in any organisation seem to think.. There are some good people who still have pride in their job but there are also too many numpties.

  3. Ha! For many years we lived in a doorman building and I realized after we moved to a private house that we had made an enormous mistake as far as parcel delivery/retrieval is concerned. At the doorman building, the doorman collected all the parcels, locked them into a closet, and would allow you to sign them out when you came home. They left little slips of paper in your mailbox. It was marvelous! Now, I stalk the delivery people. The building where I own an apartment which I rent out has an ingenious setup for post office deliveries, there are a few large mailboxes with keys. If you are not home, they deliver your parcel into the large box and put the key to that box inside your regular mailbox. Perfect! Sadly does not help with UPS or FedEx parcels, who’s drivers do not have access to the mailroom.

  4. Getting things delivered isn’t much easier down here in New Zealand, either. Two houses ago, I had parcels go missing, and couriers signed my name on signature-required deliveries. Needless to say, I gave the company a piece of my mind when I found out about THAT!

    Last year, I lived on the third floor of an apartment building with a not-much-fun outside staircase, which was clearly visible from the street. Did couriers bother to climb it? Like bleep they did! I wound up having to drive across town to collect most of my parcels myself, even though I’d paid to have them delivered. Absolutely positively stupid.

  5. Guess I’ll never get with it: I still shop in stores and am okay with it so why change. Oh, and I’m kind of a cheapskate so I don’t shop that much anyway.

  6. Some of my experiences….
    – I waited for a parcel (a5 Chameleon)from UK.It was in winter 2012/2013.There was a lot of snow outside,especially on the way to my backyard.The footprints ended 1,5m in front of the small “gate/door”,and the parcel has been thrown upstairs,into the cellar…right over the fence!Lucky me: The ring were ok!!
    – I waited for a Gillio.DHL use to deliver around 9 in the morning,so I waited.Nothing happened.I checked tracking,and tracking said that they tried to deliver,but nobody was at home!!GRRRRR!!!I called DHL…and had to pick it up from the main post office here,which is always very crowded+no paking spots…For a single mom of two kids this is really a PITA!
    But I must say:The guy that usually delivers the DHL-parcels knows a place to deposit them+ALWAYS put a note into my mailbox ;o)

  7. I do not order online very much, but when I do it usually works ok. The worst thing that happened was when I had ordered 50 pounds of dog food which was to be delivered to my door, and of course I get that awful slip that said I wasn’t home – which I was. All day. Both me and my boyfriend were home and both our cars were parked outside our house. *le sigh*. I had to go get that parcel 40km from my home (since I live in the woods).
    At other times when I’ve ordered dog food I’ve acctually had the courier call me and say something like “hi, I have your parcel, which house is it? I’ll be there in five minutes” and they are usually really nice. I think the country postmen are nicer and more service minded than the city ones (thankfully, since you are generally more depended on postal services when you live like I do).

  8. Here are some of my experiences. If I order on the internet parcels despatched on Fridays are often sent by Royal Mail. They should be guaranteed next day delivery but seldom are, sometimes they arrive as late as Tuesday or Wednesday. I have read about people who have had slips through the door saying mail couldn’t be delivered as they were out. People have caught up with the postman as they were not out but the postman doesn’t have the letter or packet, never did. If you ring up to complain it’s often a premium rate number. I once had a parcel delivered to the Post Office because I was out. I went to the Post Office to pick it up but they didn’t have it. It was redelivered to my home three weeks later.

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