Tales of trouble and trauma when dealing with Royal Mail
As well as our stores in the North East England, Scorpio Shoes also has an online store and as such we send a lot of parcels using various couriers. The majority of these deliveries go without a hitch, however recently we have been experiencing problems when sending parcels internationally using Royal Mail International Signed For service. Now we appreciate it has been Christmas and Royal Mail handle millions of postal items without issue, but the experience we have received recently as customers of Royal Mail has been what we can only describe as “ridiculous”.
Initially Royal Mail lost a parcel we had sent to a customer in Germany. The customer contacted us to say he had not received his order and could we trace it for him. We attempted this using the tracking details Royal Mail had provided us with when we shipped it only to discover that the tracking details are only valid for the UK and only show the orders progress up to the point it left the UK. When we enquired with Royal Mail if we could have the parcels progress overseas we were informed that they do not receive these and if we wanted these we would have to use the Airsure service (which is obviously more expensive and will not stop parcels going missing but you will be informed when they do go missing). Now bear in mind we are using an International Signed For service which provides you with a tracking number, so when we asked what the “Signed For” part of that service was we were given the following answer:
“Signed for means that the person who delivers the parcel must get a signature.” That is it. They don’t have to do anything with that signature, they don’t have to provide the person who sent the parcel with it and can simply discard it once its been signed for if they wish? When we questioned whether they feel this was a misleading service and asked why we were provided with tracking details for an international service which is only valid in the UK we were told the service is straight forward and customers got what they paid for.
Our further attempts to locate our missing parcel led to us being told that our parcel was not lost it just could not be located and that we were unable to do anything about it until 30 days had passed. 30 days later and no parcel and no response from Royal Mail despite their claim of getting back in touch. So we call them again, follow the instructions offered by the automated phone service, get put through to a department who cant deal with this, get transferred to a person who can only read the tracking information back to us, get transferred back to another person who said that the parcel is lost and we will have to put in a claim for it. We asked for assistance in filling out the form to be informed that this was not that persons department and we will have to get transferred the claims department. This person who we have given every detail then transfers us to the claims dept. which inform us that we need to speak to the international claims dept. Another transfer and International claims dept say claims can take up to 90 days to process. We fill in the claim form and send it to them.
A few days later we are informed our parcel has been found – yippee. In order to make up for losing our parcel and delaying its delivery to our customer Royal Mail will have the parcel returned to us using a surface mail service and this can take up to 12 weeks. 12 weeks?WTF? After another 10 weeks we contacted Royal Mail (with the now standard operating procedure of providing every bit of information possible and then getting put through to the wrong dept) asking where our missing parcel was to which we are informed they have no details regarding it? When we asked what we could do about it we were told to submit a claim for lost items. When we said we had already done that we were informed that as the parcel was found that claim was no longer valid and would have to submit a new one even though the “found” item was never delivered or returned.
As of yet coming up to 4 months later we have had no reply from Royal Mail despite their assurances of keeping us informed and there is still no sign of the missing parcel.
As we have said, we understand that items will go missing and that is understandable but it is the unaccountability of Royal Mail which is really irritating. Not once have they offered anything which remotely resembles assistance or done anything which we feel has helped resolve this matter. This is not the only parcel Royal Mail have lost recently and the story has been remarkably similar in every instance. Other couriers have lost parcels and we have had the matter resolved in a number of days.
This post is not meant as any kind of demonstration or warning against Royal Mail, it is simply a venting of pent-up frustration from having to deal with them on numerous occasions without any sign of any intelligent reasoning. If you have had any similar dealings we would love to hear about them.(For legal reasons I should say This post does not reflect the feelings of Scorpio Shoes and its staff)