Plan Insurance Blog

Calls for Tougher Rules on Courier Firms

The Citizens Advice have announced the results of its first ever courier firm delivery league table. The investigation follows a large rise in the amount of complaints that the consumer rights organisation have been receiving about missing packages. In 2021 their online advice centre regarding missing deliveries has experienced a 69% rise in traffic year on year with almost 160,000 times.

The survey follows Citizens Advice revelations in July that than 5 million people had a parcel lost or stolen. The same research found that as many as 20 million people had received a “Sorry you were out” card in the last year, despite being home at the time.

In the survey courier firms were rated on a number of criteria including: customer service, delivery problems as well as accessibility. Examples of Poor Service include:

  • Following the theft of a parcel worth £150 one customer was made to repeat a problem to nearly 30 customer service agents.
  • A woman experienced a driver claiming that delivery of her son’s £350 birthday present had been fulfilled despite her having CCTV footage showing the driver leaving with it.
  • A customer received confirmation that a pair of headphones he had ordered had been delivered to Australia instead of his home in Hertfordshire.

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Poor Customer Satisfaction for Larger Courier Firms

Following the results Citizens Advice said it was “really concerned” about the quality of delivery services. All of the firms included scored below three out of five stars. Citizens Advice have been called for government to instigate stricter regulation. The organisation is urging Ofcom to insist that courier operators improve complaints processes. They also want fines to be issued if parcels are misplaced or subject to theft due to their negligence.

Hermes finished bottom of the courier league table, with an overall score of 1.5. And Yodel are unlikely to be satisfied with a 1.75 rating. In terms of specific issues with delivery, 41% of DPD users declared a problem with their latest delivery. Even Amazon Logistics who top the poll with 2.75 have plenty of room for improvement. Looking at the industry in its entirety 48% of customers reported not being able to gain access to the necessary assistance when faced by an issue.

courier firms rules
Courier League Table

Is Regulation Needed?

Citizens Advice CEO, Dame Clare Moriarty acknowledge the vital role that parcel delivery firms play in modern life and this was even more evident during lockdown. Yet she believes the scale of the issues reported in this survey show “huge cracks in the sector.” She speaks of improvements needing to be made in terms of “leaps and bounds” to ensure a solid service is provided to the industry’s customers.

Dame Moriarty declared that she has, “Serious reservations about how far companies will improve if left to their own devices.” She called for Ofcom to “introduce tougher rules across the board for delivery companies.”

The charity’s director of policy, Matthew Upton previously said: “Failings are baked into the system.” Upton claimed a combination of “overworked drivers, no routes to compensation and a lack of penalties for poor service” result in an absence of meaningful protection for consumers.

A Shot at Redemption

The survey is to be undertaken on an annual basis. So at least the firms can monitor the impact of any new processes they put in place. Those that did respond to the results indicate a willingness to act. Royal Mail issued a statement confirming a commitment to “continuously improving” their services and reinventing the way they deliver “to and from” customers. Yodel said, “We are always striving to better all aspects of our services and welcome consumer feedback. Although these results suggest there are still areas for us to work on, other independent review platforms, such as Trustpilot, show how much our service has improved.” At time of writing the other firms have not provided an official response.

Do you agree with the findings of the Citizens Advice survey? I have to say I was surprised. Like most people these days I am a regular online shopper and haven’t had any delivery issues of late that spring to mind. A quick straw poll in our office also indicated that most people here think the service they receive is relatively impressive and efficient. Is there a possibility that the sheer volume of deliveries the industry undertakes inevitably going to lead to a certain number of errors. When those disgruntled customers are given a platform to air their grievances are they going to overshadow the vast majority of satisfied but silent customers? Perhaps that is the case or are there widespread failings?

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