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FedEx - the most spectacularly incompetent carrier of them all !

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thetyreman

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Lucky it wasn't a 1958 les paul standard ! I had a guitar go out by ups and they insisted that they do the packing otherwise they wouldn't be liable for any damage, they still managed to destroy the guitar and when a claim was put in they said it wasn't properly packaged !! Duh!
Cheers
Andrew

next time I would recommend making a custom box for it, use a bike box and industrial bubble wrap, make quite a few packers as well near where the headstock is and around any fragile areas, there is a youtube video from a UK based guitar tech who made a great video about it but I can't find it.
 

D_W

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DHL is the worst here, but they also seem to be trying to get market share, so maybe they'll get better. UPS is just prohibitively expensive for individuals for most things, and the same for fed ex.

EMS for important things (I've shipped a bunch of guitars from japan - and a glom of other things from both japan and the UK) - DHL seems to be used often as it's about the same cost as EMS or maybe it's easier for shippers to use.

The DHL page here in the states appears to update status infrequently (a couple of times a day vs. a couple an hour), their estimated delivery dates are missed often and shown as the delivery date until they pass, and their habit of getting things into the hub and then shipping them the wrong way only to have them returned to the hub and then sent the right way is not infrequent.

When you call customer service or use the web app to submit a question (like estimate of actual delivery date or explanation of "hold" on a package that's already cleared customs and had duties paid), you generally get an answer after the issue is resolved (as in, they create a "ticket" to find an explanation, but they'll wait a while and then replay after the package starts moving).

And the number of boxes with holes in them is greater than anyone else by far - even fed ex ground (who is second here in terms of what must be "box tipping" for fun at the sorting centers).

In fairness, one of the last two guitars I got from japan (EMS is suspended right now due to covid) came on time with no marks on it (the other came with a hole through the box - fortunately nothing broken - and five days late with a response from DHL about the reason for a package hold only after it was delivered).
 

D_W

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Lucky it wasn't a 1958 les paul standard ! I had a guitar go out by ups and they insisted that they do the packing otherwise they wouldn't be liable for any damage, they still managed to destroy the guitar and when a claim was put in they said it wasn't properly packaged !! Duh!
Cheers
Andrew

Shame they'd make that claim to you. They're not that great about paying up on their own overpriced insurance, but I think the packing statements (like the "shipping center do it!" are a courtesy to the franchise shipping points to generate revenue and get you to not print a label through something else for commercial rates).

I use a service in the US that's supposed to be business-based, but they don't care if individuals use it ("shippo", which is probably not much different than any other similar service - except they don't have a monthly fee like the services aimed at residential consumers), and the UPS rates are about 40% of the counter rates.

One of their "associates" stole a guitar of mine at a distribution center. They opened an "investigation". When the 2 week period was over, I asked them when they'd reimburse me as the guitar was likely stolen (it went in the distribution center, and did not go back out in a shipping truck), they said "we didn't start the investigation yet because we wanted to see if the retailer would give you a replacement. In that case, it was also a gibson les paul" I sent them their message that said they were starting the investigation two weeks prior, they ignored it, made me wait another two weeks, and asked if the seller gave me a replacement yet (because they wouldn't honor the loss they caused unless they confirmed that someone else didn't already do something on their behalf (!!) and finally after about five weeks total, I got a refund).

"we're sure it wasn't stolen" was all they would respond. It's just "lost". Guitar boxes area bit big to get lost due to falling off of a belt and ending up under a rug.
 

D_W

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next time I would recommend making a custom box for it, use a bike box and industrial bubble wrap, make quite a few packers as well near where the headstock is and around any fragile areas, there is a youtube video from a UK based guitar tech who made a great video about it but I can't find it.

This is generally a good idea. Otherwise, you're waiting for UPS (in their case) to "send someone to investigate the packaging", and if the buyer takes everything apart (or if you're the buyer) and it doesn't look like it's in situ as received, they'll try to get out of it. In the US, paying for shipping costs with a credit card is a good idea as the credit cards will be a lot harder on the shipper than you can be. You send your pictures before and after to the credit card company (if UPS or any shipper drags their feet at all) and they give you a refund and then go hammer UPS for it or count it as a strike against their merchant account.

One of the japanese proxy shippers sent a guitar touching the top and bottom of the case to me - the guitar broke (a higher spec yamaha les paul copy), and then said that they would not refund their "protective packaging charge" because I didn't buy insurance. I asked for a refund of the packing charge only as they failed to do what they said, and I would eat the rest because the package wasn't insured. They responded they weren't responsible for anything, I forwarded it to mastercard and mastercard forced them to refund the entire cost of the shipping, the upcharge packing fee and the actual auction item - I was only looking for deference on the $25 or so of charges that they added where they didn't do their job, but the chargeback forced by the CC company ended up being $800).
 

Jameshow

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DHL is the worst here, but they also seem to be trying to get market share, so maybe they'll get better. UPS is just prohibitively expensive for individuals for most things, and the same for fed ex.

EMS for important things (I've shipped a bunch of guitars from japan - and a glom of other things from both japan and the UK) - DHL seems to be used often as it's about the same cost as EMS or maybe it's easier for shippers to use.

The DHL page here in the states appears to update status infrequently (a couple of times a day vs. a couple an hour), their estimated delivery dates are missed often and shown as the delivery date until they pass, and their habit of getting things into the hub and then shipping them the wrong way only to have them returned to the hub and then sent the right way is not infrequent.

When you call customer service or use the web app to submit a question (like estimate of actual delivery date or explanation of "hold" on a package that's already cleared customs and had duties paid), you generally get an answer after the issue is resolved (as in, they create a "ticket" to find an explanation, but they'll wait a while and then replay after the package starts moving).

And the number of boxes with holes in them is greater than anyone else by far - even fed ex ground (who is second here in terms of what must be "box tipping" for fun at the sorting centers).

In fairness, one of the last two guitars I got from japan (EMS is suspended right now due to covid) came on time with no marks on it (the other came with a hole through the box - fortunately nothing broken - and five days late with a response from DHL about the reason for a package hold only after it was delivered).
EMS????

Not sure we have them over the pond?

Royal mail / parcel force is our public mail service.
 

D_W

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EMS is "express mail" - it's sort of a well-used term. Japan uses the term as do some other countries. In the US, it's just referred to as USPS Express, and RM may have a service level similar to it just referred to as "express mail".

In japan, you can literally put a guitar in bubble wrap without a case and EMS will deliver it undamaged. When it comes to the US, a box is required (So the proxy types add a box). The virtue of it is two things:
1) it's timely, and with greater care than private services
2) the US customs (Which - not sure what it is now as EMS is suspended - will open, and identify guitars over $900 and then is supposed to assess a tariff to be collected by the USPS) group will generally be reasonable about stuff coming into the country (they won't hold up guitars over tiny bits of restricted wood, etc. And the USPS that they work through has a low rate of follow-through on collecting customs.

When you use something like DHL, they open everything declared with glee to assess tariffs, sometimes incorrectly, and then they charge a separate fee for determining and collecting tariffs - something like $20 per right now - mostly because it takes a specialist about 1 minute to assess the tariff on a guitar and it's easy fees for them.

Folks overseas (I know canada is like this) are probably used to someone collecting fees/carriage charges to assess customs duties, but it's not common in the US as they're usually assessed by customs themselves.

Countries that export a lot generally have reasonable EMS charges, too. About half of DHL or UPS business costs. The US and the UK don't seem to have that, though. What costs $140 unsubsidized from japan (express air for a large guitar) will be $250-$300 through DHL. Plus they give you free forklift holes in the box, which EMS doesn't do.
 

D_W

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(we don't generally get large EMS type items from the UK - even something routine like a jack plane now is $40-$50 - it's gone up a lot in the last several years, as has EMS out of the US. Essentially prohibitive)
 

sometimewoodworker

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I just got a Sheppach oscillating spindle/belt sander OSM600 (16kg) delivered today (Sunday lunchtime) I ordered it on Friday lunchtime so 48 hours with New Year’s Day between.
I was also given a £6.50 discount, free delivery and it’s £100 cheaper than in the UK. ฿6,700
The temperature is a short sleeve and shorts 25C in the workshop with 28.5C bright sunshine outside
It’s nice to live in a developing country.
 

Craig22

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I bought a vinyl record from a shop near Glasgow. It was posted by Hermes on 15th November this year; tracking said that it was indeed dropped off. And there it stuck. After three weeks I contacted the shop and pointed them at the tracking information. They refunded the price without any messing about.

Six weeks after it was shipped, it arrived. Hermes managed a glacial 0.34mph between Glasgow and where I live near Oxford. I could have walked to Glasgow, collected it in person, and walked back three times quicker than Herpes managed.

In fairness, partly because of excellent packaging, Hermes had not damaged it. It just took them an eternity to deliver it.

I of course contacted the shop, and paid for the record a second time.
 

stuart little

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I bought a vinyl record from a shop near Glasgow. It was posted by Hermes on 15th November this year; tracking said that it was indeed dropped off. And there it stuck. After three weeks I contacted the shop and pointed them at the tracking information. They refunded the price without any messing about.

Six weeks after it was shipped, it arrived. Hermes managed a glacial 0.34mph between Glasgow and where I live near Oxford. I could have walked to Glasgow, collected it in person, and walked back three times quicker than Herpes managed.

In fairness, partly because of excellent packaging, Hermes had not damaged it. It just took them an eternity to deliver it.

I of course contacted the shop, and paid for the record a second time.
I reckon that Hermes warehouses have in each one a 'black hole', where some parcels fall into.
 

stuart little

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After my most recent delivery by Hermes, they sent me a 'How Did We Do? ' message. My reply was:- " Get your tracking sorted - because it DOESN'T!"
 

J-G

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I'm currently awaiting a 'Hermes' delivery and - as usual - their e-mail telling me "We've got your..... parcel..." is a vastly bloated missive that tells me nothing since I read e-mail on my PC rather than on any form of 'Apple' device.

Only by looking at the [Raw] text and searching through the rubbish to find a URL with a tracking number and extracting that for a "cut'n'paste" operation can I see anything useful.

I also suspect that they really want everyone to use the "collect from a 'ParcelShop'" option so make a point of fouling up deliveries - ever the cynic!
 
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Sideways

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Touch wood, I've never had a problem with inbound parcels from Hermes because our local delivery guy is a star.
I've sent two parcels out with Hermes that made me sweat. One to a lady who lived on a narrowboat. She warned me and I put extra directions on the shipping as she asked but their delivery guy still dumped her parcel 300 yards away.
The second was to a country road, 2 miles long with only house names, no numbers. I twigged there was an issue when the destination didn't appear in the drop down list after entering the postcode.
Google maps placed the house (a holiday cottage rental place) a mile away from where it really is. I found it after an hour of searching street view and put the extra directions on the package in sharpie.
The package arrived safely but I messaged the seller that his address was unknown to Hermes and wrong in google. I suggested that it would be prudent to warn folks when he bought on ebay. Meh ! He didn't care. Next one I get like that, I'll just refund them.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Google maps placed the house (a holiday cottage rental place) a mile away from where it really is ...

There's little logic in the way post codes are allocated. Our last house was one of six, three semis, in one post code. Our bungalow now is one of fifty nine bungalows and houses in the same post code.
 

stuart little

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Wonders will never cease:- I placed an order with FFX's ebay shop {5p cheaper than direct!) late pm Friday, Saturday I had a message that it was being posted, Sunday morning Royal Mail delivered!! The item was sent RM 24, apparently they were obliged to comply. Is Royal Mail now panicking that they are losing out to S. American rivers etc? I will say my local RM delivery is excellent.
 

Sporky McGuffin

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Good news here - our Hermes guy has been replaced. The new chap delivers things (at all would be an improvement, but he's actually on time!) and rings the doorbell. Quite a transformation.
 

Richard_C

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All of these delivery companies stand or fall on the last link, the person who actually delivers the package. OK, they can all have issues with warehouses, tracking and systems but those are visible and can be corrected, what the courier can never see is how the delivery person behaves. All the couriers compete on price, particularly for the big contracts. Get the costs down.

A lot of the local delivery people are self employed or zero hours employees, not paid very much and often put under huge pressure to meet targets (I hear that Amazon in the US is rolling out tracking software that automatically terminates employment if you don't meet targets - no human intervention needed, no chance to say 'but the expressway was shut by snow' or whatever). Little wonder then that many of them don't really care too much about the customer. Get rid of the parcel, anywhere anyhow, move on to next drop. Our local Hermes deliverer is OK, on time and rings bell, but drives round the local villages like a lunatic and has been known to swear at elderly pedestrians who might hold her up by being on the pavement she wants to park on. But she probably needs the job/money to feed and warm her kids so maybe it's understandable.

We buy on price, then grumble about service. I'm as guilty as anyone else and sometimes feel guilty. We expect packaging and next day delivery to the door for £5. Divide that up, knock off the VAT and warehousing and overnight trunking and teh delivery driver probabaly gets well under £1 per drop, and many run their own vehicles for that. Proper employment laws would help maybe but its hard to see anything improving any time soon. Maybe there is a place in the market for an 'ethical delivery service' - we pay and treat our drivers properly - with a supplemetary charge much like going down the organic aisle in Waitrose. But would enough people pay a bit more for it?

What's the answer?
 
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IanA

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Below are the tracking messages I received from the courier Hermes/Whistl. The order was a pocket diary about the size of an iphone, bought online from Blackwells. After 7 days of creating shipment details/ item processing/ transiting and scanning they seem to have given up and handed the problem on for the Royal Mail to solve. They got it on the 25th and it arrived the next day in a small jiffy bag with what appears to be a second class postage label. Right enough the courier has been active all hours of the night and day with the delivery but never got anywhere with it despite it being in transit for the best part of 5 days. :)

Date / TimeDescriptionDetails
25/01/2022 - 06:10Handed over to Royal Mail
25/01/2022 - 05:15Load Scan / L Scan
25/01/2022 - 04:07In Transit with Whistl
24/01/2022 - 11:16In Transit with Whistl
21/01/2022 - 14:19In Transit with Whistl
20/01/2022 - 21:06Item Processed by Whistl - Weight Captured
20/01/2022 - 21:06Item processed by Whistl - Width Dimension Changed
20/01/2022 - 21:06Item processed by Whistl - Depth Dimension Changed
20/01/2022 - 21:06Item Process by Whistl
19/01/2022 - 10:18Shipment Details Created
 

Richard_C

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