Using couriers like Parcel2Go

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As I have just experienced an incredibly stressful and time consuming courier experience, let me share with you some of the things I have just learned.

As a private seller on ebay, using courier intermediaries like Parcel2Go and Shipley can work out cheaper than alternatives like Parcelforce or going direct to the main couriers. I have always been aware that when dealing with sub-contractors things can get messy. But you always think it will never happen to you....

Anyway, to save time in my cupboard clear-out I ebayed loads of stuff at the same time. Most was small (under c.2kg) and went by post, but 5 parcels were big enough for a courier, so I booked CityLink with Parcel2go. They give you PDF files to print off and stick to the parcels, showing the usual stuff, like sender and destination, so everything is clear. I followed the instructions perfectly, and the next day, CityLink arrived and took the parcels away.

Two days later, all hell broke loose. It turned out that the driver had placed CityLink's own labels over mine. BUT... he had mixed them up. Out of five parcels, one reached its destination and the other 4 were completely mixed up. So I went through the proper channels with Parcel2Go's Customer Support live help. Let's just say they never got back to me. So I turned to Twitter, and Tweeted: "Courier disaster: @Parcel2Go sent CityLink who X'd labels on 4 ebay parcels. #ThingsThatGetMePissed" Bingo. I got a real person at Parcel2go with a brain to look at my case within minutes. From the quality control department no less.

It was complicated, and I had to do a lot of explaining and emailing to all concerned, but we got it straight. Except that of the 4 parcels only one was picked up and that was delivered to another wrong address. Then she went silent on me.

After a few more days of prodding, I turned to Twitter again: "Courier Disaster Update: @Parcel2Go sent CityLink who X'd labels on 4 ebay parcels. Now it's happened a second time. #EpicFail" Bingo. I got someone more senior involved. But still nothing happened. Eventually it turned out she was away. I won't bore you further with all the details but it took over 2 weeks, over 110 emails, countless phone calls and another Tweet: "How is it that @Parcel2Go have X'd my parcels and don't reply to emails? My inner calm is approaching meltdown. #Endgame" to get every parcel delivered.

I have so much thanks and admiration for the customers who waited patiently without a harsh word, and had to organise pickups from friends and neighbours because they were away or at work. One of them even had to drive for an hour and a half to pick up his parcel from the depot, to find it was the wrong one. At the time of writing three of them have given me positive feedback, for which I am very grateful. These are really decent people.

What have I learned?
1. Never send more than one parcel on the same van unless there is a very good reason
2. Use social media to get attention. Make noise. Talk to senior people.
3. Don't be afraid to use intermediaries. If you go direct to the couriers, you get the same idiots, but at least Parcel2go has experience of sorting things out with them
4. Bend over backwards for customers. Even if it's not your fault, it's your responsibility.

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