I bought a book on eBay last week. It was delivered on Friday, safe and sound, but on the way, I had some bumps, and a bizarre conversation with a customer service assistant that made me wonder quite what was going on. Welcome, once again, to the world of Yodel.
I hadn’t realised the book I ordered (a scholarly tome about the history of Woolwich, south London, in case you were wondering) was going to be such a heavyweight piece of work, prompting my sender to use a courier.
So my heart sank when I found the Yodel ‘sorry you were out…’ card on my doormat. Full-time work and couriers are rarely a good mix, especially ones whose delivery centres are a long way away – and particularly the one which galloped away with the worst delivery firm gong in our poll in January.
But Yodel’s website, as advertised on the card, offered me the chance to get it redelivered to a different address. So I went online, asked for it to be redirected to MSE Towers, got a confirmation email, and left it at that.
So delivery day came, and… nothing happened. Late in the afternoon, I went to Yodel’s website to discover what was going on.
It turned out my parcel had been ‘delivered’ at a mysterious third attempt. Fearing the worst, I had an online chat with one of the customer service team.
It turned out my instruction to deliver to MSE Towers had been ignored, but thankfully my neighbour was in on the third call attempt and had taken my book in.
But why had Yodel ignored my instruction? (I’ve corrected the spelling/grammar errors in the responses.)
Yodel: "How did you change the address?"
Me: "Online. I have the reschedule confirmation."
Yodel: "You cannot change the address online. The email you have received is an automated email that was sent to you. To change the address, you need to contact the company you bought the items from."
Me: "That’s not what the delivery card said. So why do I have an email from you telling me you would deliver it to my work address?"
Yodel: "We can only change addresses for some companies, not all of them. So it depends on the company you have ordered from."
And so on. I pointed out to Yodel that it seemed odd to offer a service which wasn’t actually available.
"If you are not happy with the service, please contact the senders," she responded. It seemed a little unfair to point the finger at my eBay vendor, I thought.
"So you’re blaming your own customer?" I said.
"You are not our customer so that’s why I am referring you to the senders if you have any issues with our service," responded the less-than-helpful agent.
Not a customer, eh? I said I would pass her comments onto my eBay seller, and left it at that.
Thankfully, my parcel wasn’t left in the bin, in a puddle or under a bush (as other victims have reported) but was waiting for me when I got home, but only because I have a considerate neighbour. Many people have clearly had far worse brushes with Yodel in the past.
But my experience shows that a company which has struggled to convince people it has changed its ways still has a long way to go.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or in the forum discussion.
PS. That line about leaving deliveries in puddles? This morning, my colleague MSE Jamie told me how Yodel delivered some wine to his mother recently.
Yodel was told the box should be left in the sheltered front porch of the house. Instead, it decided to leave the wine at the back of the house, to feel the full force of the elements.
His mum returned home to find the box soaking wet. As she picked it up, she spotted the bottom was broken as a result of the rain. Luckily, she was able to stop the bottles falling out before they smashed.