Courier Connundrums

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So you have sold the item and now you have to get it to the buyer. If you are not lucky enough to live next door then this will either involve the Royal Mail or a courier company.

Let's get the Royal Mail out of the way first. If the item is light, say under1Kg, then it's a no brainer. First Class will usually arrive within a couple of days at most and the package can be Recorded or Insured if needed.

When the item is heavy though it's a much more difficult choice between Parcel Post and a Courier.

Parcel Post usually arrives within a week at most but it is NOT insured and we have had several packages get damaged.

Now to couriers, we have had trouble with couriers, boy have we had trouble!

The thing is some people use the cheapest courier and some use a good courier, they are NOT the same! There are several businesses who will arrange for a courier to visit your home, collect the item and hopefully deliver it at the other end. Try or .

Both these companies and many others offer what looks like a bargain price for deliveries, often a half of what you would pay if you contacted the courier direct.

So how do they do this? The courier businesses book a certain number of "slots" with the courier companies. because the couriers know that they are going to get a regular income they sell the slots cheaply. The trouble is when more people book deliveries than there are slots it all goes pear shaped. The courier companies can't keep up with the demand (and let's face it they are going to get paid anyway). So you sit at home all day waiting for the man in the white van to collect and he doesn't arrive!

You have told your buyer (quite truthfully) that the collection is arranged and the buyer isn't happy! Who can blame them?

So how do you get out of this?

When you buy look carefully at the delivery price. If it seems too cheap to be true then it is probably arranged with an intermediary and you may have to wait for your delivery. Many sellers (including us) try to offer two prices, one cheap which goes via an agent and one full price which we send direct via the couriers themselves. That way it's up to the buyer to decide if the matter is urgent enough, and if it is they have to pay more!

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