Friday, 10 February 2012

Getting your own back on delivery companies

I doubt that there is a single person reading this blog, or even anyone of my age in the Western world that hasn't been in this situation. You've ordered something from an online store or an actual shop (how 20th century is that), a shiny new TV, a new fridge or freezer, maybe even a new sofa. The shop has taken your money and promised delivery on a certain date, but they can't specify a time except to say that it will be delivered in business hours. You've argued and pleaded with your boss about getting the day off work even though there are meetings and deadlines to be taken care of, and said manager has eventually folded and let you have the time off as long as you either make back the hours or take the time out of your holiday allowance.

Delivery day comes. It's only 9am but you have already been up for hours excited about your new toy. You've vacuumed the entire house because the bearer of your gifts is bound to judge you on the state of your home. You've made sure that the smell from last nights curry has well and truly gone, courtesy of your favourite brand of air freshener. You've made all the space you need in your living room or kitchen to make it a little easier for the delivery driver to place the item where you want it.

It's midday, This Morning has finished, and the Jeremy Kyle show has just started and your wondering if you should risk making lunch as your item is bound to turn up just as you tuck in to your cheese sandwich. You decide not to risk it.

Three o'clock, and you have started to think about calling the delivery company to find out when your item is going to be there. The kids are going to be home from school in a half hour and you wanted to play with the new toy before they got their hands on it.

Four o'clock and now you're starting to get a little panicked. You want to phone them, but hold off as you know that the driver will be phoning when they arrive and you don't want to miss the call. They're only around the corner, they'll be here soon, surely?

Five to five, and the phone rings. A leap of joy has you racing to the telephone, but the person on the other end doesn't sound like they mean business. In fact, they are only calling to inform you that they wont be able to make it today. If you are available, they can come tomorrow, but if you are not, then it will have to be a later date. You can't possibly take another day off, the meetings you missed today have left you with an extra workload which has written off your entire weekend and Kirsty from accounts has lost the file you gave her with all the customer details.

You've lost a days holiday or a days pay, and for what? Absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Delivery companies take advantage of the fact that you will wait for them to deliver, knowing that you have already paid for the item and need to be in the house when it is delivered. They've already been paid, so it makes no bones with them if they don't deliver on time. Most of them don't even work for the companies from which you bought the item. There's nothing you can do about it, right?

Well, is there?

A well worded complaint will usually see an apology from the delivery company, but they will not reimburse anything for the time lost, and the response they send you will usually be a fairly standard one allowing them to apologise without ever properly reading your complaint.

But how about this. Instead of sending a huge ranty email telling the company how disappointed you are with their service, simply send them an invoice for the time lost. For instance, if you usually work an eight hour day at £30 an hour, send them an invoice for the £240 that you would have earned had you not been at home waiting for them. In the email or letter that you send accompanying the invoice, explain that you feel you should be reimbursed for loss of earnings as your company will not give back your day off. At the bottom of the invoice, include a line about the payment needing to be processed within 28 days of receipt.

Of course, I can't guarantee that it will work. But with enough people,  it may just make the companies more aware of how fed up their customers are and start a change in the industry.

Have you had problems with a delivery recently? Please share your story in the comments section below.

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