Ashton Service Centre DHL
If you have Googled “Ashton Service Centre” in relation to a hopeless, delayed or missing DHL delivery and landed here, you can be comforted that you are not alone.
I am a regular DHL user through the excellent services of parcel2go.com (through whom you can send parcels with DHL at a fraction of DHL “official” prices). However, this parcel was incoming to me, and not arranged by me. It was a parcel from a store in Aberdeen in Scotland to be delivered to Manchester.
DHL were allegedly two days late in collecting it from Aberdeen, but lets put that down to the bad snow up there and the Christmas rush, added to possibly inaccurate shipping information from the store. After collection, you can see below all goes pretty smoothly for a while in the national DHL system:
Shipment Data Received 21/12/2009 00:00:00 ABERDEEN SERVICE CENTRE
Parcel Picked Up 21/12/2009 09:36:00 ABERDEEN SERVICE CENTRE
Departed Depot 21/12/2009 13:51:00 ABERDEEN SERVICE CENTRE
Arrived At Depot 22/12/2009 01:03:00 MANCHESTER TERMINAL
Pretty cool up to now. Collected at 9-30am in Aberdeen and in the Manchester terminal by 1am the next day. Less than sixteen hours between collection and the Manchester DHL hub. The final hop of a few miles to the delivery address is the easy bit right? Route through a more local hub maybe, in a van and out for delivery. Not rocket science eh?
Not rocket science that is unless the DHL Ashton Service Centre get their hands on it.
Look what happens next:
Arrived At Depot 22/12/2009 05:04:00 ASHTON SERVICE CENTRE
Released to other delivery agent 22/12/2009 05:39:00 ASHTON SERVICE CENTRE
Say what? What “other delivery agent” might that be? I paid for DHL service, not some other unspecified local mouth breather to cruise around with my £350 item in the back of his clapped out old Transit. If I wanted that, I could have used HDNL or the hopeless always-on-strike Post Office.
But lets give “other delivery agent” a chance shall we?
Out for delivery 22/12/2009 08:56:00 ASHTON HOME DELIVERY
OK, before 9am its out on the road. Fair enough. We are only four miles from Ashton so it will be sure to arrive pretty quickly.
Received from other delivery agent 22/12/2009 17:10:00 ASHTON SERVICE CENTRE
“Other delivery agent” gave up did he? 5pm late enough to work? Is the Footie on maybe? What was the stated reason I wonder?
Undelivered – adverse weather 22/12/2009 19:29:02 NULL ASHTON HOME DELIVERY
Consignee Cannot Be Reached 22/12/2009 19:29:01 ASHTON HOME DELIVERY
Well, which is it? Cannot be reached or adverse weather? Perhaps I could not be reached because of adverse weather?
Let’s see: There was some snow, and we do live up an incline, but Ocado managed to deliver groceries, FEDEX managed to deliver a parcel as did the Post Office that day. So its not the snow then; rather laziness, lies and incompetence.
So, another day gone while my parcel languishes somewhere that may or may not be with DHL – the people who were paid to deliver it. Lets hope tomorrow looks up and remain optimistic.
The morning of the 23rd brings this nugget of information:
Released to other delivery agent 23/12/2009 02:34:00 ASHTON SERVICE CENTRE
Yippee! Given back to the mouth breather that couldn’t manage to bring it four miles yesterday? Hope once more shines on the endeavour however:
Out for delivery 23/12/2009 07:24:00 ASHTON HOME DELIVERY
Well, the weather today is the same as yesterday, so can we expect non-delivery again? Let’s not wait all day again to find out. Time to call DHL and find out what exactly the problem is.
That is a feat in itself. I hate “08” telephone numbers because I don’t see why I should pay to call a non geographic number when I can call a proper number for free. The superb saynoto0870.com gives me DHL’s real number: 01332 816960.
After ages on hold as one would expect, I get a load of waffle from someone who clearly has no clue what is going on. I ask for the direct number to the Ashton Service Centre (Google didn’t help me here – they keep it very secret) and I had to really argue to get it; but I got it: 0844 2480528 (Damn 08 numbers again!)
After an age on hold (whilst paying) I eventually got through. Guess what? It was not “out for delivery” at all, it was still there! The tracking screen by now said:
Out for delivery 23/12/2009 07:24:00 ASHTON HOME DELIVERY
It turns out that “out for delivery” must actually mean “sat in a pile we intend to send out when we get around to it” – not quite the same is it?
Could they guarantee it today? No. Its four miles away for gods sake! How many days should it take? I asked them to hold it and I would come over and get it. That worked.
The tracking screen then changed to:
Received from other delivery agent 23/12/2009 09:25:00 ASHTON SERVICE CENTRE
Held – To Be Called For 23/12/2009 09:25:00 ASHTON SERVICE CENTRE
Wow! They received it from “the other agent” in moments! Perhaps they are neighbours or in the same building? I was now going to drive to the “Ashton Service Centre” and/or “other delivery agent” in Ashton.
Except that “Ashton Service Centre” is not in Ashton, it is on Globe Lane Industrial Estate in neighbouring Dukinfield. They told me it is on Outram Road, except it isn’t. It is off Outram Road. When you have driven up and down Outram Road three times and ask directions to DHL, someone will point you down a side street and you will eventually find it.
Ye gods, should a parcel delivery be this labour intensive?
Finally, the matter is concluded:
Delivered 23/12/2009 11:56:01 ASHTON SERVICE CENTRE
Hey guys, slick! Pretend you actually delivered it rather than it had to be collected. That will look better for the stats for head office.
So what have we learned from this? DHL may or may not use outside contractors. I didn’t see any plain/other vans while I was there – only DHL vans. My parcel was actually sitting in a DHL warehouse whilst allegedly “out for delivery” with “other delivery agent” – so we can conclude that much of the online tracking system is designed to be misleading at best and complete fabrication at worst.
Returning to the previous days failed delivery. The entries on the system there were misleading at best and outright lies at worst. This is indicative of an operation at Ashton Service Centre that is somewhere between indifference and incompetence and outright dishonesty.
My advice to others: If you encounter anything you recognise here, or a whiff of unnecessary delay or something not normal with a DHL item that is routed through Ashton Service Centre, assume incompetence and call them immediately on 0844 2480528 and get them to hold it for collection. It may well save you two days waiting. Stories of the incompetence of DHL’s Ashton Service Centre are all over the internet, so this is not at all an isolated incident you have just read. Far from it.
You are welcome to add your experiences with Ashton Service Centre using the comments box below. If you make a complaint to DHL, link them to this article too.