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The story I am about to tell is an old one, but … I think it is worth telling. As you may, or may not know DHL is one of the most reputable courier / delivery companies in the world.
A few words on how the company works. Basically you call the company (DHL’s telephone number is advertised in the yellow pages), and give all the details of what you want to send and the destination to one of DHL’s customer service staff. I have to point out that each time I have called DHL, I have ended up talking to members of customer service who show sings of impatience and lack of desire to help or answer. This may be because I have always called DHL early in the evening when the shift is nearly over.
You agree a time and a place, and one of those working for DHL comes to collect the parcel. DHL staff does come within the agreed time window. One thing here: the person who comes to collect the parcel checks every single thing that you want to mail / send. While there is nothing wrong with that, I really wonder why those couriers want to even read a letter, or a document that you want to include in the parcel. Personally I have found that annoying and the last time something like that happened I had to remind the courier who came around my place, that I thought that it wasn't exactly his business to read what I had written.
Anyway, you pay the money (cash is highly preferred), and the courier gives you a bill with a number (that you have to make sure that you DO NOT lose). The amount of money you pay depends upon the weight of the parcel you want to send and the destination. Another thing here: always ask the courier how many days will it take for the parcel to be delivered. Note that the courier will never tell you EXACTLY how long it will take for the parcel to be delivered. And if you are sending something outside the European Union area or USA / Canada / Australia / NZ, then be prepared to hear that it may take more than 48 (working) hours for the parcel to be delivered.
Also note that DHL does not work / deliver during the weekends. So, what next? Well, after the courier leaves, you just pray that everything will go smoothly. But does it? Well, here we go with a personal story.
Some times ago, I had to send some very very very important documents to one of the non-EU countries (i.e., in Europe but not in the European Union). As such, I chose DHL to do the delivering. This was the first time I was dealing with DHL.
On a Thursday afternoon, I phoned DHL twice and on both occasions the customer service employees I spoke to, re-assured me that the Wednesday of the following week would be the latest date for the delivery of documents (remember, DHL does not work during weekends!!!). Thus, I made the booking.
Around ten o’clock on Friday morning (i.e., the following day) one of the couriers collected the documents from my place. He also assured me that by Wednesday (of the following week) at the very latest, the documents would be delivered. This was according to the officially declared DHL delivery schedule that applied to the country of destination.
As the documents were extremely important and had to be delivered on time, on the same day (i.e., Friday) I contacted again the customer service agent who dealt with my booking and gave her the shipment airwaybill number. I was again assured that DHL would do its very best to deliver the documents on time (i.e., within the declared DHL delivery schedule that applied to the country where the documents were supposed to be delivered).
Seven calendar days after the courier had picked up the documents from my place (and three days after the “promised Wednesday”) the person who was expecting the documents let me know that nothing had been delivered. Almost every day (i.e., on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), the recipient had been in person to the DHL’s office (in the country of destination), but there had been nothing to collect.
Not only nothing had been delivered, but I had to bear the moral and financial consequences of the DHL’s failure to deliver on time / as promised. This simply because in this ocassion DHL had failed to provide the delivery service that was promised to me.
After learning that nothing had been delivered, I got in touch with DHL and I was told that the documents had been sent to Frankfurt (Germany) only a day before (i.e., it had taken DHL six calendar days to send documents from the UK to Germany!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). The customer service agent I spoke to could not tell me what had gone wrong, and why the delivery had not been completed. However, she did tell me that all this was inexcusable, and that there was no reason for such a failure.
The following day, another customer service employee from DHL London, told me that it appeared as if the package had left for the country of destination, but there was no guarantee when it could be delivered to the addressee. The person who called me failed to tell me what the reason was, and why there was such a delay. Again, I was told that all this was inexcusable, and that there was no reason for such a failure.
Thus, to sum it up no one could exactly tell me, - the exact whereabouts of my documents, - why the documents had to be stored for a week, - why the documents had not left the UK when they were supposed to, and - why they could not be delivered to the country of destination as promised.
Certainly, I was very disappointed. In almost 12 calendar days, any plain mail service could have delivered something that DHL had not.
I chose DHL believing that it could really deliver something very fast, anywhere in the world, as widely claimed in many many DHL advertisements I had come across. All I was thinking was that the image this company had built for many many years in a row seemed to be a bit distant from being real.
After several phone calls and a few days later, DHL staff in the country of destination had asked the addressee to go and pick up the documents (at a time when DHL is supposed to do the delivery). As I was very disappointed by this whole story I asked DHL for a full refund of the fee I had paid and for compensation related to the problems that I had to deal with as a result of the documents not being delivered on time … the fee I had paid was all that DHL sent me!!!
I have used DHL on two other occasions (the first bad experience did not shake my confidence in DHL and its service), and … things went smoothly. Parcels / documents were delivered on time (the very next day on one ocassion), indeed. Now to answer the question that I posed in the very beginning of this opinion; does DHL really deliver very fast anywhere in the world? Well, DHL does keep its promise when it comes to parcels / documents sent to EU countries, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. There is absolutely no doubt about that. About other countries; well, it would be very wrong to make generalisations, because much may depend upon the local staff that works for DHL in those countries. Bad weather can be another problem that may cause delays.
So, what are the options here? Well, I have had the same problem with FedEx (due to bad weather I was told), so … if you choose to deal with any of those couriers, then … hopefully nothing will go wrong …
Very good review. I have had parcels delivered by them a couple of times (sent from other locations in the UK) and have never had any problems with them. In fact they have always delivered next working day. Its the same with every company though - they are only as good as the staff who work for them are.
slam19uk 06.12.2002 10:09
great op - I'll be wary of using these after reading this! sam :)