Warning About MyHermes – Delivering To a Nearby Random House is “Delivered”

By | July 10, 2015

If you are selling online and using MyHermes as your delivery service, here is a cautionary tale.

We send perhaps 50 parcels a day with Hermes, they seem to get most of them right. We get a few bouts of stupidity such as stuff delivered to completely different addresses, one customer found one on the road outside his house, the odd one gets damaged and the odd one has been stolen in transit (vanished).

But the numbers of those are quite low. MyHermes are as good as any other budget delivery outfit. What do you want for the price?

Anyway, here is a new one on me. A customer contacted us and said this:

This was delivered to a neighbour at number 15 who I don’t know & despite several attempts I have not been able to get a response when knocking at their door. I could have collected from the depot if they had taken it there. Can you help me resolve this please

After an exchange where we suggested she try a little harder, she replied with this:

Yes but the house is up for sale I don’t even know if anyone actually lives there at the moment. I will try again this weekend but wanted to alert you as soon as possible in case I can’t contact them

So we decided to ask Parcel2Go who is the service provider we use to access MyHermes. More out of curiosity really in case said neighbour of recipient decided to keep the free stuff. Handy to know the position when couriers are delivering stuff to neighbours.

So here is the enlightening exchange with Parcel2Go on behalf of MyHermes.

It seems the courier has delivered it to a neighbour and the intended recipient cannot get it from them. How to proceed?

Oh dear 🙁 what is the reason why they can’t get it from their neighbor?

Nobody ever home it seems, they don’t know them and have no number. But ultimately it has been delivered wrong so driver needs to fix it?

Is the neighbor not within their apartment blocks?

Apparently not, it’s number 15 and I think she is 8

She will need to try and contact them as Hermes can deliver to neighbors if the recipient cannot be reached.

That isn’t really a solution. I cannot tell a customer that. It is our job to deliver to customer, not a random house nearby. The driver needs to retrieve and deliver it.

I’m afraid that Hermes can deliver to a neighbor on the same street if the consignee cannot be reached.

So basically with Hermes, we have to accept the possibility we will be giving it away to a neighbour?

This of course is illegal if the neighbour was to take this as it would be theft by finding.

Well isn’t that jolly?

Of course, as an experienced online seller, I know why Hermes deliver to neighbours, and I am sure the vast majority work out just fine. I have no particular complaint about Hermes or Parcel2Go.

I take stuff in for my neighbours, and they for me.

However, not everyone lives somewhere pleasant. Not everyone has nice neighbours.

Some people will have dishonest neighbours who will gleefully accept the free goods, sign with a squiggle and/or a fake name and deny all knowledge and have your stuff on eBay ten minutes later.

So I decided to delve into the legalities of this a little. More for future reference than anything else.

Here is what Which, the consumer rights outfit says about this:

Where do you stand if the delivery company leaves the item you ordered with a neighbour who then denies having it?

Whether you have any legal rights will depend on the delivery instructions you did or didn’t give at the time of purchase.

If you give instructions for your parcel to be left with a specific neighbour and the parcel is delivered to them, the seller is not responsible if something goes wrong.

If you agree more generally that your parcel can be left with a neighbour without specifying which one, then in practice you’ve said you are happy for anyone in close proximity to your home to accept delivery on your behalf.

Well, that seems fair enough but doesn’t cover our situation. But there is more.

If you’re parcel is left with a neighbour without giving instructions to do so, you can argue that the contract said the goods were to be delivered to the address specified, and that by leaving them at a different address the company is in breach of contract.

If you bought your goods online, you’re covered under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

So, back to us (and you) and MyHermes for future reference.

Your customer by default will not have given permission for their purchase to be left at a random nearby house.

If the courier that you as a seller employ to deliver, leaves the parcel at a random nearby house, and occupants of said random nearby house do not give the parcel to your customer, it looks to me like this is the sellers responsibility.

During the courier booking process, you will have ticked a random box agreeing to some terms and conditions nobody ever reads. I haven’t read them, and I am sure you haven’t. I have no intention of doing so and I bet you haven’t either.

But you can bet your bottom dollar that there is a term in there that absolves them of responsibility for this type of thing.

The Synopsis. 

As I said above, its obvious why couriers need to leave stuff with neighbours. And I have no particular complaint about MyHermes. All couriers sometimes get it wrong, so my thinking is you may as well use a cheap one, as even UPS smash stuff up and lose stuff too nowadays. Parcel2Go are a reasonable outfit to deal with as well. MyHermes are actually much better than they used to be FWIW.

But the take away is this: If you send something that matters, or is expensive, by the bog standard MyHermes service, and the local driver gives it to someone else, and for whatever reason the intended recipient doesn’t get it, you are liable.

If an eBay or Amazon sale, or transacted through Paypal, the tracking will show “delivered” so in the event of chargeback, seller protection should cover you. The platform will cough up to the buyer without debiting you most likely.

On your own site, unless using Nochex that cannot be charged back, you will pay for the loss or theft of the item.

However, as an honest seller, you don’t want your customer jumping through hoops and having to try to do chargebacks do you? That isn’t going to help your reputation at all. Your courier didn’t deliver it, so you have got to make good on that by sending another item by another service to an address the customer nominates where somebody actually will be.

The take away is this: When using MyHermes, KNOW that the driver can leave the item anywhere he likes. With any random neighbour, in a porch, shed, bin or wherever. So do not send anything expensive or that matters with the basic service.

As it goes, this time, our customer eventually got her stuff, so all was well. But it has made me think twice about sending more expensive stuff with Hermes.

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