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BLOG | Parcel delivery: Bin it?

11 Mar 2016

 Author - David Moyes, CAS Policy Officer

Have you ever found that a parcel delivery to your home has been left in a strange place, and perhaps lost or damaged as a result?

In Fife we have an array of wheelie bins – four of them each – and while I think they give our streets a kind of colourful barcode of environmental conscientiousness, I know some of my neighbours think otherwise. However no one in Fife would deny that these bins – specifically the grey one, which is for paper and cardboard – provide a vital refuge for parcels that are delivered when the intended recipient is out. My Edinburgh-dwelling colleagues are surprised that any delivery driver would put a parcel in the bin, but in Fife it’s a relief to come in to find a card on the carpet with “grey bin” scrawled beneath some kind of corporate jolliness such as “sorry we missed you!” or “while you were out…”.

Unless, of course, its bin day.

Last year at CAS we helped a local bureau client claim compensation for the loss of a parcel that the delivery driver had placed in a bin on bin day, and ended up at the dump. We were unsure what the regulations actually had to say about this – if a delivery operator is contracted to deliver a parcel, what actually counts as delivering it?

As far as rules go, it’s important to be aware that the situation is different for Royal Mail compared with other delivery operators. Royal Mail postmen and postwomen are not allowed to leave a parcel in a visible on unsecure place. However other delivery operators can define their own rules in their terms and conditions, so if you’ve had issues in the past it’s a good idea to be aware of what the T&C says.

But this issue has two sides to it. On one hand, no one wants their parcels to be stolen or damaged because it was left in an unsecure place. On the other hand we all want our parcels delivered first time, and don’t want to have to collect it from the local delivery office – which, for those who have reduced mobility, can be a real problem.

We’re going to be putting together guidance to help consumers understand their and the operators’ rights and responsibilities, and to make it easier for consumers to get things sorted out when they go wrong. To help us understand how things can go wrong, tell us if you’ve ever had parcels left in weird places, or lost one or found it damaged as a result of where the delivery person left it.

Leave a comment below or email me at david.moyes@cas.org.uk to tell us your stories.

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i have had some strange parcel deliveries from Yodel, one parcel was left in the communal close under a rubber welcome mat. A trip hazard. Another more recently left the calling card propped under a brick that was lying around.

I had a delivery put in my blue bin -on bin day. So of course it vanished

My parcels (before Christmas) were put in our bin which we thought was great instead of having to go to the post office... Problem was, it was bin day so brand new parcels got thrown in the bin without us getting to open them

Hi David,

I have a question that you may have answered (delivery operators can define their own rules) but if you could elaborate and give any advice on redress in your guidance, that would be appreciated.

I had a Hermes/myHermes courier try the porch door and then leave a card wedged in the door frame before driving off.
She did not ring the bell, knock the door or leave the card in the post box.

I rang her and she was abusive so I ended the call and contacted customer relations.

I have spoken to/had contact with 6 different people and had the promise that 3 managers will get involved.

The courier threatened to return the parcel without authorisation and even though I have emails stating it will be delivered to myself, it was returned to the shipper.

The courier delivered to my neighbour this morning and even spoke to a family member. My neighbour popped round with a parcel for me and a message from the courier, that she will not deliver to me and if my neighbour is not prepared to take them in for me then SHE will return them (again without authorisation). Can she legally do this?

It seems that I have no redress when complaining about an employee and their actions and it appears that the Postal Services Act 2000 and Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to name 2 examples do not apply to the company involved.

Because I am the recipient, Hermes/myHermes will not attempt to remedy the problem and refuse to answer my concerns. I do not want to complain about the parcel, so it should not concern the shipper and the agreement between them, I want to complain about an employee, but Hermes/myHermes , hide behind "Please be advised that our contractual agreement is with the shipper and therefore we are limited to information we can discuss with you as a recipient. ".

Apparently I am not alone in these kind of situations, the internet is rife with complaints. Reviews such as Trustpilot give the company a score of 0.6

Why are parcel delivery companies not governed by a code of practice and standards? Is it a shortfall in the law? Is their a campaign to change the current practice?

Any help in your guidance would be appreciated.

Regards

Hi Stuart, the thing here is - Hermes couriers are self-employed, thus are not employees of Hermes. Because of this, the courier has to pay out their own fuel and are on a rate of about 50p per parcel. Hermes can get away with paying them less than the national minimum wage (it's a case of "time is money" as far as the courier is concerned).

Therefore, the more difficult you make it for the courier to deliver their parcel to you under what is already difficult circumstances for them, the more likely it is that they will become increasingly annoyed with you. I can say that having done the job myself in the past.. the best customers make the achievement of successful delivery an easily accomplishable task, with no unnecessary hurdles.. believe me, the courier has enough hurdles to get over in just adhering to Hermes rules and procedures as it is, without the customer adding to those frustrations.

Hi Stuart, this sounds like an unusual situation! If you get in touch with me by email, I'll see if we can shed some light on the right route for you to take.

MyHermes repeatedly failed to collect parcels having paid 30p-40p EACH per parcel costing me in excess of £5...after failed replies I got £1.20 back. They have now lost a parcel I sent 12 days ago and never thought to inform me.

to the person moaning about her courier not delivering.

1) why if you have a porch and you have a parcel coming is your porch door locked?!

2) does your bell work and can you hear a knock through two doors??

3) you only complain with your side of the story

My Hermes couriers only get paid when they deliver the parcel, so there is no point in pulling up to anyone's door and not trying to deliver!!

Too many people complain about couriers non deliveries and it's normally people who order something and have no safe place for the courier to leave it or their bell didn't work or they don't hear the courier knock!!

Hi. I work for Hermes. We're ALL self employed and we are paid per DELIVERED parcel. I get 48p for each delivery, even if that takes me 3 attempts. This causes problems, because we need to deliver 1st time to even come close to the minimum wage. Some of my customers ASK us to leave in recycle bins and most regular couriers know to avoid bin emptying days, but some new/unscrupulous couriers may be less contientous. The biggest issue, which never gets addressed, is the MILLIONS of people who order items to be delivered to their homes, KNOWING they won't be home to receive them and leaving NO SENSIBLE OPTIONS for the person trying to deliver it. WHY would you order something without ensuring a way for the delivery person to complete their job?? Online shopping has taken off in a massive way, but common sens hasn't kept up with this progress. This lack of thought for the 'final mile' of your parcels might bring about an end to free or cheap delivery. Unsafe deliveries cause more complaints and claims against the retailers. There will be a limit to how much they will tolerate these losses without having to recoup some of it. They already pay rock bottom amounts to the delivery companies, so these fees will eventually be passed to the customer. Please think about it.. by all means, place your orders, but if you know you won't be home to receive your parcels, PLEASE leave your poor courier a way to do their job.

Yodel has, on multiple occasions, stolen a front door mat from a neighbouring property to "hide" my parcel under - both times the parcel has been large and "hiding" it under a mat on our front door step would have entirely pointless.

First time, I came home to a delivery card saying my item was under the door mat (we don't have a mat and there was no parcel to be seen). On contacting customer service, the reference on the delivery card that had been left did not match my address so they could not confirm what had happened to my parcel not allow me to lodge a complaint because my delivery card reference did not match my details so no case could be opened.

Luckily, I found out a few days later that my neighbour had taken in the parcel for safe keeping when she'd come to retrieve her door mat.

Second time, my neighbour was home when the driver tried to steal her mat so was able to take in the parcel for us.

Have experienced many other issues with Yodel in the past to the point of boycotting using any company that uses them for deliveries.

Hi - thanks for your stories. I've seen some entertaining photos of parcels 'hidden' under doormats and buckets!

It would be interesting to hear how easy you find it make the kind of choice of delivery operator you're talking about. Seems to me that consumers very often don't know which delivery company will be used by a particular retailer.

From an ex-courier's perspective, the CAS should be aware of the plight of bogus "self employment" contracts that couriers are working to, where although they have all the responsibilities of a self-employed person (paying their own fuel, tax etc), they are working under loads of instructions from the courier company, for around 50p per parcel in circumstances where if the slightest thing goes wrong (car breaks down, they fall ill) they lose their round and livelihood immediately and have no negotiation where pay rises are concerned.

I'm not defending couriers but explaining WHY you see so many parcels ending up thrown over gates and chucked in bins.. these couriers are racing around to earn at least as close to the minimum wage as they can and time is money. This is the reason for that mentality.

As I say, you at the CAS should be aware of this and hopefully doing more to tackle the issue of bogus self-employment contracts that lead to this situation, if you wish to understand what's going on and are attempting to research why.. well, there's your reason.

Thanks for this comment - all the feedback here from current and ex-couriers is really important for us and others to hear. CAS does work on issues around employment conditions - see our Fair Enough report from last year for example.

I think you're right that its useful for consumers to understand the pressures certain delivery drivers will be under. The problem is that, when shopping online, its often not possible for people to choose which delivery company - and so what sort of service - they're happy to use.

I left you a valid, reasoned arguement in favour of couriers that I believe would shed a light on how these problems occur, yet it remains unpublished. Why is this?

Hi Louisa, your comment is approved now. We didn't have anyone approving comments over the weekend or yesterday. Thanks for your input - the couriers' perspective is a really important part of the picture here.

Bought of Ebay before Christmas royal mail said on note in blue bin but no parcel so got on to ebay but couldn't get any where as was delivered put in claim with royal mail still heard nothing ,so im the one that was down £30 how can this be fair ?

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