Setting the record straight on courier services

Pricewatch is not suggesting all couriers are doing a bad job all of the time, far from it

  Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock


Pricewatch is not above criticism and we received an email giving out about us last week which we are happy(ish) to share. It came from a reader by the name of Gerard Benett.

He wanted to highlight what he said was “a very disparaging article about the courier services” written by us in this paper a couple of weeks ago. “On reading it, I found it to be very unfair and not matching my own experience and some others who have commented to me about their use of these services.”

The article in question documented the experiences of people who had seen parcels shredded by hungry or bored dogs. High-end technology left unguarded on doorsteps, books dumped in the rain and long-awaited parcels left in wheelie bins by couriers were just some of the horror stories told by people who have seen online orders go awry.

In response, Gerrard says there must have been “millions of deliveries through the combined efforts of the services you mentioned – An Post, DPD, and Fastway, a scattering of a few less than perfect services, some of which seem to be as much the fault of the recipient as the courier, represent a minuscule proportion of all deliveries. Yet, you condemned all and in a way that seemed, to me at least, to be grossly unfair and one-sided”.

‘Great care’

He follows up with two much more positive stories. “On Friday evening, DPD made a delivery to me at 8:55pm. I did not request express delivery nor had the sender paid for same. If it had arrived on Monday, I would have had no complaint. I had been notified by it would be ‘between 8:00pm and 9:00pm’. The driver could not have taken greater care and delivered my package with a smile and great courtesy. When I mentioned the time, he said it was his final delivery but that the weekend wasn’t over, as he would be delivering flowers for much of Sunday.”

Then on the Saturday morning, shortly after 8am “Fastway delivered a package to my wife, leaving it carefully and safely in place that showed great care about it, notwithstanding that there was nothing on the outside to indicate its contents. These are just two instances. Over the past year, and with currently four adults in our home – two of my daughters both work from home – we have received countless packages. Never once has there been a problem, never once have we experienced anything less that courteous, pleasant, and professional service.”

He concludes by saying that he believes “some balance is required. I don’t doubt the accuracy of the experiences you reported but surely you would accept that these are the rare exceptions of an industry that has performed above and beyond over the past year with the enormous growth in courier services. My experiences cannot be dismissed as lucky. And by the way, I live at a ‘non-specific rural address’ so not exactly a 15-minute drive from the delivery depot! Can’t we expect some balance?”

We have absolutely no problem with criticism – well, not much of a problem! – and are pleased our reader and his family have not had any difficulties with delivery companies. For the record, Pricewatch has had no issues with delivery companies either over the last 12 months.

However, over the course of 24 hours on one day last month we did receive close to 1,000 messages across multiple platforms with the vast, vast majority of those messages highlighting problems. The article referred to featured just a tiny handful. While we still believe the concerns of those people who have had problems are worth highlighting, we are not for a second suggesting that delivery companies – and more importantly the people they employ – are all doing a bad job all of the time, far from it.