Couriers

Anything to do with Port.
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PhilW
Dow 1980
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Couriers

Post by PhilW » 15:06 Tue 16 Sep 2014

I have two consignments of wine (port) which I wish to send, one within the UK, the other to Germany. After a lot of reading detailed terms and conditions, and ringing several couriers, I am quite frustrated; the UK delivery is solvable, but for a non-commercial customer, sending a single parcel of wine to Germany seems to be a right pain. For example:

- UkMail - will accept wine, but all compensation including damage and loss(!) is not covered (damage I could understand if the risk they wish not to cover is poor packing, but loss?)

- Citilink - will accept wine, but all compensation including damage and loss(!) is not covered

- Hermes - will accept wine, no compensation cover for damage, but covered for loss (hurray!); but UK-only

- Interlink/DPD - will accept wine, and include all usual cover providing using approved packaging (which I am), but only if you are an approved register customer for wine (I am not, and they require you to send ~£1000 of wine per week to become one); they will not accept wine in parcels booked on one-off basis.

- Several of the larger courier firms may accept wine (though I have not been through their T&Cs yet) but appear to ask ~£100 for shipment of the package to Germany when booked direct; this drops to ~£20 when booked via services such as parcels2go, but then the terms with parcels2go forbid wine!

I'm sure people on this forum have encountered and solved this problem before. Any advice/solutions, via PM/email if preferred, would be appreciated.
Last edited by PhilW on 15:15 Tue 16 Sep 2014, edited 1 time in total.

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djewesbury
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Re: Couriers

Post by djewesbury » 15:12 Tue 16 Sep 2014

Yes this is my routine series of hurdles and obstacles when trying to get purchases delivered to me here in Belfast. Yes, it's within the UK, but 'UK only' carriers routinely exclude it. I let my purchases accrue to the point where a whole pallet-load of port arrived last week as this was by far the most economical way to do it. But it doesn't help if you just want to get your hands on that 6-pack that is on offer at a great price at Boozy Bros.

I know that APC offer insurance for wine shipments and I'd like to contact them to see about setting up an account. Perhaps a few of us could share it if it were to prove worthwhile.

Also, don't underestimate the power of really good packaging and ordinary postal services, if you have to. How much to send via ParcelForce, swathed in a sealed bubble-wrapped polystyrene-enclosed carton?
Daniel J.
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djewesbury
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Re: Couriers

Post by djewesbury » 15:13 Tue 16 Sep 2014

Image
The pallet.
Daniel J.
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PhilW
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Re: Couriers

Post by PhilW » 15:31 Tue 16 Sep 2014

djewesbury wrote:I know that APC offer insurance for wine shipments and I'd like to contact them to see about setting up an account. Perhaps a few of us could share it if it were to prove worthwhile.
APC's website says "We have particular expertise in shipping: •Fine wines ...", so I called them; yes, they will carry it, no it would not be insured for damage or loss.
Also, don't underestimate the power of really good packaging and ordinary postal services, if you have to. How much to send via ParcelForce, swathed in a sealed bubble-wrapped polystyrene-enclosed carton?
I've got proper PP6 packaging, so damage risk should be minimal, I just want it insured for loss! About £75 from Parcelforce, but I have at least confirmed that they would deliver it, and it would be insured (for loss, not for damage).

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djewesbury
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Re: Couriers

Post by djewesbury » 17:17 Tue 16 Sep 2014

PhilW wrote:APC's website says "We have particular expertise in shipping: •Fine wines ...", so I called them; yes, they will carry it, no it would not be insured for damage or loss.
:shock: That's a nasty surprise given that they've carried a lot of the port and wine that's been delivered to this house before now...
Is there any separate insurance that can be taken out for these purposes?
What about DHL, since it's going to Germany and they are the national carrier there? (André, yes, I do remember what I previously said about DHL. Thank you for being about to remind me. :D )
Daniel J.
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LGTrotter
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Re: Couriers

Post by LGTrotter » 18:11 Tue 16 Sep 2014

I have to interrupt this worthy debate on insurance to say that the photo Daniel has included has got to be one of the most beautiful things I have seen. I can taste the mix of delight and uncertainty which would have accompanied the delivery and unpacking. And where to put them all? Then cataloging and looking them over. Pallet envy is an ill considered condition but I must discuss this with my therapist. Bravo Daniel!

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djewesbury
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Re: Couriers

Post by djewesbury » 18:14 Tue 16 Sep 2014

Owen, can you imagine the awful feeling, now that they're all catalogued and binned, of knowing that there's no point opening any of it until it's settled for a couple of weeks? All that port, just yards away, and all of it still out of reach. Oh the tantalising torment.
Daniel J.
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LGTrotter
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Re: Couriers

Post by LGTrotter » 18:24 Tue 16 Sep 2014

Yes that is an issue, but I always feel better when I have more port safely stashed and to hand. You can always go and just look, which is a pleasure in itself.

Incidentally, anyone else who has photos of their large port collections etc would be providing me with a gratification of the naughtiest kind.

idj123
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Re: Couriers

Post by idj123 » 20:29 Tue 16 Sep 2014

Phil's comment on APC not providing such cover is indeed surprising as they're certainly used by both Bonhams and Seckfords as Carriers.

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AW77
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Re: Couriers

Post by AW77 » 21:05 Tue 16 Sep 2014

djewesbury wrote:(André, yes, I do remember what I previously said about DHL. Thank you for being about to remind me. :D )
I would not have mentioned it. But I'm glad that you're pragmatic. This reminds me of a Churchill quote (there is a Churchill quote for everything):
"Never stand so hígh upon a principle that you cannot lower it to suit your circumstances." :)
The Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt know thy Port

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AW77
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Re: Couriers

Post by AW77 » 21:13 Tue 16 Sep 2014

LGTrotter wrote:I have to interrupt this worthy debate on insurance to say that the photo Daniel has included has got to be one of the most beautiful things I have seen. I can taste the mix of delight and uncertainty which would have accompanied the delivery and unpacking. And where to put them all? Then cataloging and looking them over. Pallet envy is an ill considered condition but I must discuss this with my therapist. Bravo Daniel!
Owen is right, this is a fine and impressive sight. I wonder what your neighbours thought when they watched the unloading of the pallet from behind their curtains. :)
The Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt know thy Port

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djewesbury
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Re: Couriers

Post by djewesbury » 21:14 Tue 16 Sep 2014

AW77 wrote:
LGTrotter wrote:I have to interrupt this worthy debate on insurance to say that the photo Daniel has included has got to be one of the most beautiful things I have seen. I can taste the mix of delight and uncertainty which would have accompanied the delivery and unpacking. And where to put them all? Then cataloging and looking them over. Pallet envy is an ill considered condition but I must discuss this with my therapist. Bravo Daniel!
Owen is right, this is a fine and impressive sight. I wonder what your neighbours thought when they watched the unloading of the pallet from behind their curtains. :)
What they thought was, "that weird English bloke is planning to drink himself to death".
Daniel J.
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DRT
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Re: Couriers

Post by DRT » 00:12 Wed 17 Sep 2014

PhilW wrote:- Hermes - will accept wine, no compensation cover for damage, but covered for loss (hurray!); but UK-only
Interesting. My inquiries regarding the shipment of telescope parts was met by a refusal to allow any items made from or incorporating glass.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"

Ernest H. Cockburn

PhilW
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Re: Couriers

Post by PhilW » 10:03 Tue 18 Jul 2017

(not wine-specific)
Is it just me, or does there seem to have been a general reduction in quality of the services of many of the couriers over the last year?
Recent issues have included:
- "deliver by noon" - arriving around 4pm (interestingly, the website tracking changed status from "scheduled for on-time delivery" to "scheduled for delivery today" but still in a lovely green colour to tell me everything was all fine... despite the fact that I had to be elsewhere in the afternoon, which was why I had paid the premium for morning delivery).
- "pre-9am delivery" - arriving around 9:40; which in itself wasn't a problem, but I'm so glad I made sure I was at the office at 07:30 in case they delivered early...
- Attempting to deliver at 8pm to a company address clearly at business premises
- A claim to have attempted delivery, which never occured. This was another delivery where I waited at the offices until 9pm for the courier, only for the status to change from "will be with you in 1hr" at 6pm, through "will be with you in 20min" at 8:30pm, to "delivery attempted" at 9pm - it damn well wasn't, I was sitting in my car outside the main door and no delivery vehicle even entered the car park! I guess the driver got tired, marked all remaining parcels as "not home" and went home, or similar; the parcel did arrive the next morning.
- a LOT of parcels seem to arrive far filthier recently
- a lot more damage, particularly holes pierced/punched in the boxes (minor cosmetic damage to a PC, not worth the hassle of replacement; a tough outer box pierced and large scrape along the pelican case containing the sensitive equipment inside)

The first two above were both deliveries from major, higher-price couriers, not lowest-cost services, as they were (ironically) urgent as well as valuable. As a very small business, we don't use couriers much so we don't have SLAs/contracts etc; while at the low end, my impression is that there is a lot more self-employed "man/woman with a van" being used which I can understand, I'm very surprised and disappointed by the service from the higher priced well known couriers (though their tracking systems do seem to have improved massively).

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richmills
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Re: Couriers

Post by richmills » 16:17 Tue 18 Jul 2017

Don't get me started; we're currently trying to get a package delivered by dpd. Yesterday we had a text saying they attempted to deliver but we weren't in with a picture attached of someone else's gate entirely, so my wife phoned up and gave detailed instructions for how to get to us with a note to call our home if the driver had difficulty and we've just had another text saying we weren't in again with an accompanying picture of what looks like someone's finger.

I'd like to say this sort of thing is unusual, but it's pretty par for the course these days.

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DRT
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Re: Couriers

Post by DRT » 21:49 Tue 18 Jul 2017

On the flip side, you can now get reasonably sized parcels from one end of the country to another (or even overseas) for about the price of a pint of beer rather than the £25 or so it would have cost you a few years ago.

Apart from groceries, my wife and I do almost all of our shopping online and our dog has a regular string of couriers to bark at on an almost daily basis. Regular visitors to our address are MyHermes, DPD, DHL, FedEx, Royal mail, ParcelForce, Amazon, Yodel and lots of white vans with no apparent branding.

We very, very rarely have any problems or complaints with the service we receive.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"

Ernest H. Cockburn

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AHB
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Re: Couriers

Post by AHB » 16:39 Thu 20 Jul 2017

I have my own collection of grumbles for delivery / courier services and Phil's story of a phantom attempted delivery is so true - that was a delivery to my wife's work when no-one was at home to accept a delivery at 2pm on a weekday. My wife works in a school.

However, I also take Derek's point. I receive countless parcels and packages every week. The vast majority of them arrive unscathed and on time. I rarely pay for a premium service so I can't comment on the value for money these represent - but I know my company's premium services are "best endeavours" backed by a money-back guarantee of the premium paid if we don't succeed in hitting the enhanced delivery window.

And my advice to Phil would be to open an account with the company you think will be the best fit for your needs. Haggle a (small) discount from their standard rates and then complain bitterly and loudly when they mess up. If it's a half-decent company they will listen to your complaints and make changes to their network or to their service partners (the man in a white van who does the final mile delivery) if they need to. If you don't have an account, you won't show up in their internal quality control stats.

For those who don't know, I work for DHL. I regularly send consignments of wine out of the UK to other parts of the world and I always use DHL Next-Day to do so, partly because I get a staff discount but mostly because the service is excellent. I can see where my consignment is at any time and the feedback I get from the people receiving the deliveries is that the bottles arrive in good condition with little damage to the outers. Only once has a bottle been broken in transit - but that was a bottle of Taylor 1900! Fortunately, because I always pay for the optional insurance I received the funds to buy a replacement bottle of T1900 within a couple of days.
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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