I have sold an item on Ebay for £374.99 and, since the parcel was a super ultrawide 44" monitor, the only company that would accept a 110cm parcel in length with 13.6kg weight was Hermes, so sadly I had to go with them, hoping for the best.
Hermes Postage Cost:
The postage cost was: 9.44
The extra signature proof cost was: £0.90
No extra insurance cost paid because it would only cover up £300, and the item is part of their "prohibited" list (as far as I understand they don't even insure prohibited items, right?), so I would be missing on £74.99 of insurance.
Total Hermes postage as per invoice: £10.34
July 16th 2021: Postage paid for, label created, parcel prepped, collection for next day scheduled.
July 17th 2021: "Your friendly local courier will be calling to collect your parcel today" (Tracking number) & "Hi - we will collect your parcels between 8am - 8pm on Saturday 17th July". No one calls, courier arrives at 8:21PM, collects the parcel and gives me a collection receipt. I ask him "how come it is after the given 8-8PM time slot". He replied "I am from a parcelshop, I am not one of the official Hermes couriers, I had to do some deliveries and after finishing everything had to do your collection. Will go to the depot now to scan and drop your parcel".
July 18th 2021 - 10:06AM: The parcel is finally scanned at the local depot. Tracking states "Your parcel is at our local depot and on its way to you". This is the last update, the package got lost here. So here are 2 interesting things to note, firstly it was never dropped that night to the Depot in London, but the morning next day, after a total of 19h have elapsed. Secondly, it only took them 19h to lose my package. This makes me think that maybe the courier went home with the parcel, unpacked everything and then removed the label and just scanned the label at the warehouse to remove his "footsteps", and therefore, stole the parcel.
July 21st 2021: Buyer grows impatient, asks me where the parcel is, since they haven't received anything. I tell them that sometimes parcels get delivered while the tracking number is not working, and that I will be calling Hermes Customer Assistant, after we wait a few days.
July 23rd 2021: 6 days after the parcel was collected, still no updates on the tracking number. I call customer support, which was a pain to go through, especially their automated systems. I spoke to a man, he tells me that the week prior has been quite busy for the Hermes Network, and all packages got delayed by a few days, so please wait until the 26th of July, if nothing, then create a claim for missing parcel on their websites.
Waited till the 27th of July, with no update. Tried to start an investigation online on their website, but the digital assistant would always say "You've already contacted us for this", which is incorrect. You can see a video demo of the issue here: https://youtu.be/U7PVETKZlyA
Ebay case started by the buyer on the 29th of July for "Item not received".
August 5th 2021: I tried for 2 WEEKS, to use their digital assistant to start an investigation and was not able to do anything. I call Hermes support once again, explain to them the issue with the parcel that's gone missing almost 3 weeks ago, and how I've already called someone and have not been unable to use the digital assitant. They send me an email titled "Shipped chasing parcel" with a lost claim form and an "After an extensive investigation, we have been able to locate the parcel". Now what I find funny, is that I was just speaking to the CS Rep and got the email from them, so the "extensive investigation" bs is just a template, with no actual investigation having been performed. I wonder if this can be used against them. (Here is the recorded call audio: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B5y_cqR3FK2dIeIRFrdAoTscV9i6WaPS/view?usp=sharing )
August 5th 2021 2PM: I complete the lost claim and provide package description, item size/weight, item value, postage value and PDF proof for all of this, as well as item number, which was requested by them. (I have attached Claim Form and transaction proof as PDF)
August 9th 2021: I tell the buyer than in the email from Hermes it states "Please note: should you choose to issue a refund before this claim is finalised then you must do so at your own risk. If the parcel is located it will be delivered to the intended recipient and the claim will be closed", so I am unable to offer them the refund as I am willing to go through a money claim and want to do everything as needed, and to get Ebay to get involved and proceed with a decision (I understand this can affect seller score, so wonder if I can use it against them, as another thing they've damaged). Within an hour or so, they buyer gets refunded.
END OF TIMELINE
Research done on this forum, and arguments for my case:
The service provider shouldn't expect the customer to bear the cost of their own negligence or the criminality of their own employees.
The service provider is required to use reasonable care and skill – and the insurance requirement amounts to contracting out of their duty.
By providing an insurance requirement, it excludes or restricts the courier's liability and is contrary to section 57 of Consumer Rights Act 2015.
Where an item is stolen, not only is it a criminal act but also it is an act of conversion – which is a tort. It is unfair to require the customer to be responsible for the torts of the service providers own employees.
I was given no choice. If I paid £10.20 to insure my item, it would be for £300 + postage, which is £74.99 less that what the value of my item is. And by not paying for insurance, I was given only £20 + postage.
now I have been given 28 days since August 5th for Hermes to respond to my Claim Form for missing parcel.
after reading for about 3h on this forum different Hermes stories, I believe this is the next timeline/schedule of what I need to do:
Wait for Hermes to respond to the claim, they will most probably offer their £20 insurance + postage fees of £10.34.
Send a formal complaint as email, reply stating that I am not happy with their resolution and want the full value of my item+postage fees
Wait for them to reply, they will go with the regular template of "you only paid for £20 insurance". Email them back saying I will send a letter before action and will take them to small courts claim.
Send a letter before action with Royal Mail 1st class signed. Keep proof of postage.
Prepare a draft for particulars of claim.
14 days after the Letter before Action has been sent, on the 15th day, start the Money Claim case.
Proceed with the Money Claim case, if I can press for judgement, I will do it, if not I will have to wait for Hermes' defence, then compile questionnaire and go to mediation.
My questions to you guys:
Should I use the fact that I needed to wait 2 more weeks because their Digital Assistant was not working and the fact they lost my package within 19 hours and it went to the depot the day after, in the letter before auction/formal complaint email or mediation?
Does the fact that I paid £0.90 extra for signature, which of course, has never been "a service provided" (since the item has never been delivered), hold any weight as an argument against them?
Do I accept their £20+postage offer they offer me, and then go through the claim for the rest, or directly refuse with a formal complaint, and then go directly for Letter of Action? (I've read on the forum some people that accepted it so I am confused, that's why the question)
Can I use the arguments provided earlier, when I talk to the mediator?
The email formal complaint without deadlines, should it be sent to the £20 email insurance offer email, or should it be sent as a standalone separate email?
For the County Court.
Many times I have read the following:
"Tell them that the hearing will happen in your local county court as you are an individual and they are a business".
of all, how do I tell them this, and where should I tell them this, in the letter of auction, particulars ?
Second of all, how do I find a County Court that I "local" to me, is there a website that shows all courts based on postcode?
Last question: Is the schedule written earlier for what I need to do correct?
What is the last day that I should consider when calculating the interest? The first day is the day they lost the package correct?
When submitting the money claim, do I add the £50 court fee, or is that already included in the "claim"?
Many thanks to everyone that can help and for the time to read all of this.
Claim Form.pdf eBay Transaction Proof.pdf