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Recently I bought a new computer which need to be delivered from the USA along with some peripherals bought in the UK. The kettle also broke the other week and I had to arrange for a replacement.

All 3 deliveries managed to escape getting caught up in the postal strike.

Delivery 1: Computer Peripherals sent via the Home Delivery Network

Tried to deliver twice while I was at work. Gave me the option of arranging a re-delivery, but I would need to be in all day on the day I choose. Alternatively I could collect from their local warehouse.

Not given a lot of choice I decided to collect from their Warehouse in New Cross, just off Old Kent Road. It's not what I'd call local to South Norwood, but I stopped off on the way back from work and collected it.

Delivery 2: Kettle sent via Business Post

I gather that they did actually try to delivery, but very helpfully didn't leave a card, so I only found out when I rang up to chase up the delivery. Again option of re-delivery, but would have to be in all day or collection for local warehouse.

Once again I opted to collect from their local warehouse, which in this case was in Dartford! I went on a Wednesday morning before work, it took me 3 hours! Not sure how that can count as local.

At this point I'm thinking, wouldn't it be nice if companies could just send things via the Royal Mail like they used to. It may be more expensive, but at least when they can't deliver it they hold it in their sorting office for you, which tends to be fairly easy to get to (5 minutes walk from where I'm living at the moment).

But, then this has happened:

Delivery 3 (or non-delivery as the case currently is): Computer sent via USPS, HM Customs and Parcelforce

USPS have a useful tracking thing on their website, which only works as far as customs, but did tell me the item arrived there on 3 September.

After that I didn't hear anything more about it for a while.

Wondering where it's got to I rang the number the Royal Mail give on it's Receiving Goods from Overseas flyer towards the end of last month. They just told me that customs can take a while to inspect goods and to expect the delivery at any time.

I was going to ring the post office again once the strikes were over to chase this up.

However, on Sunday I received an email from the sender saying the item had been return as the customs charges hadn't been paid. How am I meant to have paid the customs charges, if no-one:

a Asks me to pay them
b Tells me how much they are
c Admits they have the parcel and there are charges to pay

The sender now has the item, as well as the money I paid for it and the delivery charges. They are willing to refund me the amount less the delivery charges or redeliver if I pay the charges again. Obviously I'm not happy to pay for a delivery that wasn't even attempted to be made.

Surely just delivering items can't be that hard?

Or is this just a case of cutting out all the service for the recipient to cut the costs for the sender.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dave Holland [org.uk]
16th Oct, 2007 12:25 (UTC)
I'm waiting for an order from amazon.fr which I placed on 21st September and was shipped on 9th October. I won't lose any sleep about it yet. :-)

Our local delivery man is happy to leave stuff in our porch (not visible from the street, has a door) if we're out - which is handy. Tricky if you don't have somewhere suitable, although you could get a secure delivery box: http://www.hippo-box.co.uk/
16th Oct, 2007 13:20 (UTC)

I have to be quick on a Tuesday morning to get the vegbox in before the neighbours discover it and help themselves and they've got a key to the communal bit so it doesn't even end up waiting outside the building. Not sure I'd like to trust anything else there...

Have seen the hippo boxes before. Not sure the landlord would be too keen on me attacking the building with a power drill though and even if they were I'm not sure where I'd put one.
16th Oct, 2007 20:46 (UTC)
Is there not someway to attach the hippoobox to a couple of steel straps that run up over the door and down the inside, much like the temporary coathooks I carry in my suitcase? Thats would be dead handy!
17th Oct, 2007 11:50 (UTC)

Not sure, can't see why you couldn't fix them on yourself though.

Unfortunately, my front door is inside so the delivery driver wouldn't be able to get to it anyway.
16th Oct, 2007 12:49 (UTC)
You've got it in one. Although I will say that Royal Mail are not always perfect, even if they do leave a card giving correct details - when I lived in Birmingham, I had to drive half-way across the city to collect something.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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