We have just lost £40 trying to send goods to the EU (and I'm angry)

Discussion in 'International Business' started by Justin Smith, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    2,018 256
    We have to use a parcels agent for international (or Hermes to places like NI, the IofW or NW Scotland) because we do not spend enough to be able to deal with more than one carrier (plus the RM) directly. In fact when we dealt with TNT (who also ship internationally) it was still cheaper to use ParcelsToGo than TNT despite the fact we were spending about £3K a month with TNT back then. Sometimes it was even cheaper to book the same TNT service through ParcelsToGo than book them direct ! That was quite annoying.....
    ParcelsToGo [sic] are pretty good (they are cheap and I like their monthly invoice statements which list the VAT separately), until something goes wrong. Then it's a nightmare...... But, as I said earlier, it very rarely ever used to go wrong.
     
    Posted: Mar 12, 2021 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
    #61
  2. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    2,018 256
    We have now had the other order back. Apart from the fact the box is knackered (so we'll have to source another one....) the aerial seems OK. Even better news ParcelsToGo answered the "Online Chat" almost straight away (no 40 minute wait this time) I nearly fell off my chair..... They say they will refund us for the non delivery, though, of course, the amount of time we've spent on this is far more than the £20 odd we'll get back.
    What's a bit sad about this is both customers still want the aerials, but we're nor prepared risk having to go through all this again, not for the amount of money we'd be making on the orders.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
    Posted: Mar 17, 2021 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
    #62
  3. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    I think we're both forgetting something though aren't we ?
    Even if it doesn't cost them anything to return the item (and we'll have to agree to disagree on if it does), and we also overlook the fact they'll have to refund us anyway, what about customer service ? DPD have proved they are not bothered about providing a decent service, that's the top and bottom of it. Had they actually been bothered everyone would have been happy, or at least much happier. We would, the parcels agent would, our customer would, and, bearing in mind DPD are having to refund us anyway, ultimately DPD would as well.
     
    Posted: Mar 17, 2021 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
    #63
  4. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! { Moderator }

    34,367 10,201
    A decent service for you perhaps. If you were sending thousands of parcels per day then things would probably be better. A customer (you) using a third party provider to book their services once in a blue moon is right at the bottom of their barrel. They don't care about you and never will.
     
    Posted: Mar 17, 2021 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #64
  5. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    That's what I said, poor customer service !
    The definition of poor customer service is, I'd have thought, not being bothered about giving a good service to your customers. Which is definitely not something we could ever be accused of.
    In this case they'll be refunding me all my money so they have actually lost out in any terms you want to use. Though apparently, it didn't actually cost them anything to send my parcels (to Belgium and Poland and then back again) so perhaps it does not matter so much, apart from the fact they have lost out on about £30 of course.
     
    Posted: Mar 17, 2021 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
    #65
  6. NickGrogan

    NickGrogan UKBF Ace Full Member

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    As you failed to deliver to your customer, isn't that bad service?
     
    Posted: Mar 17, 2021 By: NickGrogan Member since: Nov 15, 2012
    #66
  7. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! { Moderator }

    34,367 10,201
    I disagree. As a business you choose who you want as your customers. DPD don't really want your custom so they put in the level of customer support they felt was appropriate. Maybe if you had dealt directly with them and not through an intermediary your would have got a better support.

    But lets go right back to the beginning. If the correct paperwork had be provided the item would have been delivered. The fault is not with DPD or the delivery driver. It's with whoever prepared the consignment. Which is you. You provided poor customer service.
     
    Posted: Mar 17, 2021 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #67
  8. antropy

    antropy OpenCart Experts Full Member - Verified Business

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    This is when an office punch bag or relaxation room comes in handy;) Alex
     
    Posted: Mar 18, 2021 By: antropy Member since: Aug 2, 2010
    #68
  9. Paul W.

    Paul W. UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    18 7
    Justin, if you are having problems with your current supplier maybe look at an alternative? I work in market research & a couple of years ago (pre-covid and pre-brexit) I did some work for a mid-sized logistics outfit called ILG. They provided a service something like you're talking about which they called their global delivery service. Not sure how it would compare with what you are using but I do know that when speaking with their customers, their customers rated them highly for their customer service. Obviously I have no customer-eye view on how they have coped with Brexit but they might be worth a look.
     
    Posted: Mar 18, 2021 By: Paul W. Member since: Mar 11, 2021
    #69
  10. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    You are incorrect in everything you say :

    1 - By definition DPD do wont the business or they wouldn't give ParcelsToGo a huge discount to get it.

    2- No business, which values its reputation, would be purposely giving bad service to discourage trade, which is what you are effectively saying. What they should be doing, if they genuinely do not want the business, is pricing the product to make it worth there while.

    3 - There was nothing wrong with our paperwork, it was the fault of DPD and possibly ParcelsToGo as well. DPD, and other posters have confirmed this, just send an automated E Mail requesting payment of the tax then send the item back if it is not paid. I would say that is unacceptable and so would most people.

    You are correct in one thing, that we might have got better support from DPD had we dealt directly with them, but we do not send enough with them to make it worthwhile from the cost point of view. That said, in my experience, most companies are so unwilling to actually talk to their customers these days that there is no guarantee we would actually have got the requisite level of service.
     
    Posted: Mar 23, 2021 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
    #70
  11. MikeJ

    MikeJ UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    On a similar subject, my wife bought some boots just before Xmas, which were shipped from The Netherlands. They're too big, and she's now sent them back three times. And each time they've been returned to her because the paperwork wasn't correct.

    We've followed the instructions to the letter. Granted, the first time we attached the invoice to the package in a regular envelope rather than a "Documents Enclosed" one, but other than that I can't see we've done nothing wrong. Each time it appears the invoice has become detached from the package, and they return it to us. It may be a VAT, or possibly a duty issue - they were shipped before Brexit but are being returned after, so I can see that could cause some paperwork problems.
     
    Posted: Mar 23, 2021 By: MikeJ Member since: Jan 15, 2008
    #71
  12. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    We have just had an order from Ireland, and I'm unsure what to do about it.
    On the one hand I'm proud of our products and I want to give a good service (I'm actually less bothered about the mere £8 we'll make on the order), but on the other hand I really don't want all this hassle again. I suspect to Cork it'd go by Hermes all the way to the customer this time so it will probably be OK. Last time it went :
    Us (booked via ParcelsToGo) > Hermes > DPD UK > DPD Holland (despite the fact it was actually going to Belgium ! ) then all the way back again.....
    To a certain extent it may be irrelevant anyway, the total carriage we'll require form the customer will be £15 for a product that only cost £21 ! And that's to Ireland, not India or Malaysia or any of these other countries the Govt are hoping we'll export to. That's why I was always very dubious about these trumpeted "new trade opportunities."
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2021
    Posted: Mar 23, 2021 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
    #72
  13. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Thanks for that Paul.
    The problem is the amount we send abroad, it's only about 2 a month, mainly because it's so expensive. Thus most carriers are not really interested in our business, certainly at a cheap price. Thus the fact we end up using ParcelsToGo (sic).
     
    Posted: Mar 23, 2021 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
    #73
  14. MikeJ

    MikeJ UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    The government isn't interested in people shipping £20 orders to India. They want container loads, where the paperwork is a tiny fraction of the cost of the shipment. Our typical orders are £1-5k, so the paperwork really isn't significant but we do get the occasional £50-£100 order and that's just a nightmare to deal with.
     
    Posted: Mar 23, 2021 By: MikeJ Member since: Jan 15, 2008
    #74
  15. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    I agree large orders generate most money, but I would suspect there are far more smaller orders, particularly in the last 10 to 20 years where Online has made selling so much easier. And all those thousands of small orders add up.
     
    Posted: Mar 29, 2021 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
    #75
  16. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    The customer did pay the surcharge, partly because many of our products are quite specialised, in fact some you literally cannot get anywhere else. We will see if it gets there, I think it will for the reasons mentioned.
     
    Posted: Mar 29, 2021 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
    #76
  17. Paul FilmMaker

    Paul FilmMaker UKBF Regular Free Member

    171 51
    I worked as a clerk in the Anglo-French trade department of a bank before the EU. i.e. Before the treaty of Maastricht was signed. I specialised in industrial machinery being exported from the UK into France and was based in France. My job was to find out what the latest mess was and try to fix it.

    To everyone who thinks all the problems exporting are something to do with a supplier or courrier etc..., they aren't. It's exactly the same things as I dealt with back in 1991. It's French customs. When they have a bad day, which is pretty much every day, they play their favourite game which is '[email protected] over the English.'

    Doesn't matter if the paperwork is perfect, they will deliberately mess things up. Exporters of big, expensive items knew this so assigned a low-level, underpaid idiot like me to sort them out. Poitiers customs was my favourite. 400,000 items and 10 customs officers 'inspecting' things by hand which included breaking them. And 300 miles inland so nowhere near the port where the piece of kit was landed. In fact, the first thing we had to do was find the items which had somehow gone missing in amongst the 400,000 items. E.g. it took 9 months to get a single computer across. One. Not a consignment, but a single computer.

    I remember sending down a really pretty girl like me to Poitiers. After one visit, she refused ever to deal with customs again. They weren't just bad, they were abusive and used to issue threats. Just because they could.

    And customs were the same in other countries. Germany, Italy, Spain. Don't even get me started on Italian customs.

    It was different if there was a political motivation. For example, all the gear for the Channel Tunnel went through with a hand wave. It was automatic.

    The EU gave us the ability to get our goods through customs. Larger exporters will simply stop manufacturing / distributing from the UK and move their operations out to the EU because that's the only way to consistently be able to supply unless there's a political deal in place.

    So sorry, OP, Brexit means you and every, other British exporter will consistently have issues. The only way to export consistently is to set up in the EU, pay taxes in the EU and hire EU staff.
     
    Posted: Mar 30, 2021 By: Paul FilmMaker Member since: Aug 29, 2018
    #77
  18. thetiger2015

    thetiger2015 UKBF Regular Free Member

    489 153
    ..or find a fulfilment warehouse in the EU if you're doing lots of orders?

    Ideally, something operated by a British team, so they understand everything but are EU based for dealing with complexities and difficulties. Not sure if there are many of those open...yet...though.
     
    Posted: Mar 30, 2021 By: thetiger2015 Member since: Aug 29, 2015
    #78
  19. Paul FilmMaker

    Paul FilmMaker UKBF Regular Free Member

    171 51
    A fulfilment centre does nothing.

    The problem is getting the product from the UK to France. That was my job. A low level clerk just trying to sort out higher value goods lost in the system. Bigger businesses will just move to France.
     
    Posted: Mar 30, 2021 By: Paul FilmMaker Member since: Aug 29, 2018
    #79
  20. gpietersz

    gpietersz UKBF Ace Full Member

    1,994 481
    @Paul FilmMaker so your argument is that we should be in the EU because they hate us?

    Not entirely convinced.

    What you say about French customs sounds like dealing with third world customs, except the latter will stop doing it if you bribe them.

    It sounds to me as though the British government needs to take a tougher line and retaliate for unfair treatment - the problem is that the EU nationalists in the UK will then say its all our fault.

    The good news is that the EU was a falling proportion of our trade even before Brexit. If they are determined to choke off trade then it will fall even faster.
     
    Posted: Mar 31, 2021 By: gpietersz Member since: Sep 10, 2019
    #80