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Parcel firms fail to deliver in Citizens Advice's first ever parcel company league table

24 November 2021

Citizens Advice is warning urgent action is needed across the parcel delivery industry after its first annual parcel company league table found consistent problems across the sector.

The league table, which compares top parcel firms against criteria like customer service, problems and accessibility, found that no delivery company received more than three out of five stars overall: 

  • Hermes and Yodel performed the worst, scoring 1.5 and 1.75 stars respectively. Amazon Logistics scored highest, but with just 2.75 stars overall

  • DPD scored lowest when consumers were asked if they’d had a problem with their last delivery. 41% of DPD customers polled by Citizens Advice reported a problem with their last delivery, whereas at the top end 32% of Amazon Logistics customers reported an issue

  • When trying to resolve issues, 48% of people polled weren’t able to get the help they wanted. This rose to 56% for Yodel and 43% for Amazon Logistics

Though online sales have increased 56% from pre-pandemic levels, the charity warns parcel problems have exploded during that time. Citizens Advice online advice ‘If something you ordered hasn't arrived’ has been viewed almost 160,000 times so far this year, a 69% increase on the same period before the pandemic in 2019. 

The scores

The top five delivery companies by parcel volume were measured against four criteria using data from Citizens Advice Consumer Service, consumer polling and social media complaints.

Case studies

  • One man got in touch after he received confirmation a pair of headphones he ordered had been delivered to Australia, despite him living in and ordering them to his address in Hertfordshire

  • Another man reached out after he was forced to repeat his problem to almost 30 different customer service agents when his parcel worth £150 was stolen

  • A woman contacted the charity after one driver claimed her son’s £350 birthday present had been delivered, even though her CCTV showed them leaving with it in their hand

The charity is calling for stricter rules for parcel companies, better complaints processes, and fines from the regulator, Ofcom, if company negligence leads to parcels getting lost or stolen.

Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Parcel deliveries became a lockdown lifeline for us all, but the scale of the problems experienced by many of us shows huge cracks in the sector. 

“Even though Amazon Logistics and Royal Mail top the table there’s still significant room for improvement. And Hermes and Yodel need to improve in leaps and bounds to make sure they’re providing a solid service to their customers. 

“While this should be a wake up call for firms to strive to deliver a five-star service for consumers, we have serious reservations about how far companies will improve if left to their own devices. Our findings show it’s time for Ofcom to come forward and introduce tougher rules across the board for delivery companies.”

Citizens Advice Consumer Expert Jane Parsons gives her top tips to help combat parcel delivery issues:

  1. Check delivery information - Before you place an order find out the delivery times, costs and returns policies for the items you want
  2. If you’re out of the house during delivery - Consider asking a neighbour or friend if it can be delivered  to their address if you think it may be a time or date you’re not home. But beware, if you do provide details of a safe space or nominated neighbour and something goes wrong it’s not the seller or courier’s responsibility
  3. Online trader or online marketplace? - Make sure you know if you are dealing with a trader or a private seller on an online marketplace as dispute processes may vary.  If you have an issue with a trader, a dispute can be raised directly with them, but if it’s a private individual it may be easier to go through a marketplace's dispute process
  4. Check reviews - It’s always worth taking a careful look at reviews to gain an insight as to how reliable the company is and how well they deal with missing parcel complaints and refunds
  5. Who to deal with when a parcel goes missing - Your purchase and contract is with the seller. If your parcel goes missing you should speak to them to deal with the problem, not the courier company

Notes to editors

  1. To create the league table, the five top parcel delivery companies by volume of delivery were measured against four criteria: quality of service, accessibility, customer service and trust. Each rating was out of five stars, and each criteria has been weighted to calculate the overall score. The full league table and methodology can be found on Citizens Advice website.
  2. *Top five companies by volume of delivery. Estimates taken from Apex Insight, UK Parcels Market Insight Report 2020
  3. Online sales figures have been taken from ONS Retail Sales Index internet sales, October 2021.
  4. Figures are taken from Citizens Advice web views of ‘If something you ordered hasn’t arrived’. Views between 1 January 2019 and 31 Oct 2019 totalled 94,117. between 1 January and 31 October 2021 total 159,339. Figures were accessed on 11 November 2021.
  5. Citizens Advice has previously called for regulatory change to the parcel delivery market. See report ‘Sorry we missed you’ July 2021 for more information. We have called for additional changes to the industry in our response to Ofcom’s recent call for inputs.
  6. Citizens Advice includes the national charity; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.
  7. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and post. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
  8. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free, independent support for prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.
  9. Citizens Advice offers Pension Wise services at 500 locations in England and Wales.
  10. Citizens Advice’s services are free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to all regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  11. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  12. For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 to talk in Welsh.
  13. We helped 2.6 million people face to face, by phone, email and webchat in 2017-18. For service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
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