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Unfortunately I recently trusted Hermes to deliver a parcel to an Amazon distribution centre with about 28 books in it. I am a bookseller and i sell on Amazon.


Hermes have lost the parcel and I fully expect them to offer me 0 refund or nowhere near what I would receive for selling them.


Where do I stand with claiming compensation for the expected selling price of the books. I probably paid around £100 for them in total but would expect to sell them for around 4 times this.

Any help greatly appreciated.

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Welcome to the forum. If you have started reading around you will understand that we have lots of complaints about Hermes.

Please start off by looking at this link here




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You will need to give us information about dates, value of items, what did you declare in terms of identity of item and also value of item.

Also, there may be difficulty recovering your expected resell value – but we will help as best we can.

Have you made a complaint through them? Did you send your items directly through them or did use some brokers such as Parcel2Go or Packlink?

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The situation is fluid - I've now been told (after a 28 minute wait on the phone)  it was damaged as opposed to lost but that the Coventry depot is currently doing a sweep to find the parcel. Ideally I will get the parcel back and resend with parcel force and forget this whole mess. I booked with Hermes, took out their basic £20 insurance and declared the value to be £200 worth of books. Some of the books I can show purchase for, some I can't aside from shop receipts showing as a book.

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Okay, keep us updated and if you get your books back then let us know about any damage and the possible value of the damage.

You might want to look at the link I posted for you anyway so you can understand how it all works – and this applies to any courier company.

Parcelforce may be more reliable but you need to be aware that they are the beneficiaries of a "Universal Service Agreement" which means that they are required by law to deliver everywhere in the country at a single price – regardless of whether you are talking about the Outer Hebrides or simply somewhere more accessible like a major English city – that the reciprocal is that to an extent, they have a limited liability when they get it wrong.

Hermes is the most complained about company on this forum and in fact if you look on Facebook you will find a Hermes complaints group where there are over 10,000 people and rising very rapidly. If you want something that maybe sounds more reliable then DPD or DHL – and in fact UPS seems scarcely ever to be complained about on this forum – although I'm sure they can get it wrong sometimes.

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Thanks for the offer of the donation – but let's see if we have helped you first.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So Hermes have replied offering me £27. I claimed £200 but their online form didn't work properly so I couldn't add all of the receipts showing every single book's worth. I have requested several times that they resend the form but they haven't. Should I now ask them again to resend the form or begin other proceedings?

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On what basis have they simply offered you £27?

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This is their email


Hi ,
 We are getting in touch about your recent claim.
 We’re happy to tell you that we’ve accepted your claim for £29.92 including the postage cost.

 So we can make the payment, please send us your bank sort code, account number and your name as it appears on your bank account.

 Please don’t give us your long card number as we don’t need this to make your payment.

 Once we’ve got your details we’ll make the payment, this will take around 14 working days



When sent the parcel I valued it at £200 (this was a quick guess based on what I paid for the books)


On the claim form I claimed £169.92

- this was precise and is backed-up with receipts but nowhere near the resale value.


Hermes' website wouldn't let me add more than 1 receipt, I emailed explaining this to them and requesting a new form twice (no reply) 


My best guess is that the £29.92 represents the postage + the basic £20 cover



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I think the question now is – how much trouble are you prepared to make about this?

If you have got evidence that the value of the books was £169 – and particularly if you paid their so-called insurance (absolutely unnecessary in my view) then it seems to me that you are in an extremely strong position to make a claim – in the County Court if necessary – and to sue them for your money – plus the insurance – plus the cost of the courier service.

Presumably you have some kind of email contact address in order to send these bank details. If you feel that you are prepared to begin a small claim then you should start off by reading around very quickly on this website about bringing a small claim in the County Court. Then if you are sure, then you could send Hermes a letter of claim giving them 14 days and then on day 15 issue the claim.

I'm sure you have read around enough Hermes stories here to know that I'm going to say to you that you should not bluff. They will ignore your letter of claim and you should be prepared to issue the papers. However, for this kind of value I would expect they will put their hands up. They can't claim that you don't have any "insurance". They can't claim that the books were on their prohibited items list – so they have nothing left.

If they really want to push you to go to court then there is likely to be a video or telephone hearing and frankly I don't see any arguments that they can raise against you.

Your risk factors of course of the claim fee and the hearing fee if it goes that far. If you lose then you lose all of these plus your books. If you win then you get everything back plus interest.

Read around and let us know what you think

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I don't have an issue going all the way - The only question I would have would be whether I could expect to recover the resale value or whether it would be best to concede this is unlikely. I can prove to some extent the expected resale value but not as readily as the prices originally paid. 

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I think it would be prudent to stick with a realistic objective and that is the hundred and £69 which you you can apparently support by means of evidence. You originally said that you could have sold them for four times – £400 and I think this is certainly unrealistic.

If you had some official evaluation of the books from an independent source then you would have stood a good chance but as the books have gone, I think your fallback is the £169

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I informed Hermes I would give them one last chance to reconsider and received this 

Thank you for contacting Hermes.
First of all, I am sorry that the parcel was lost.
Please be advised we deliver millions of parcel a day and sometimes things go wrong in the system and parcels do go missing. This is why we have a compensation process, to help our customer financially.
When booking your parcel you opted for our standard £20 compensation, meaning that is the maximum amount we can pay along with  postage. I understand that this is not the outcome you had wished for, but we are unable to offer more compensation related to this parcel. As a gesture of goodwill however, I would like to offer £5 on top of the £29.92 originally offered.
 So we can make the payment, please send us your bank sort code, account number and your name as it appears on your bank account.
Please don’t give us your long card number as we don’t need this to make your payment.
 Once we’ve got your details we’ll make the payment, this will take around 14 working days.
 If you have any further question, please let me know.
So - My last question before I proceed is does the fact I chose standard compensation actually limit me to standard compensation? 
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The fact that you actually made a choice as to compensation is a little troubling. If you add simply not opted for compensation then in my view it would be straightforward.

I still think that it's unfair and unenforceable to pay the delivery fee and then to have to insure the courier against their own negligence. You declared the value correctly at £200 and so it seems to me that you should succeed even if it goes to court – but you may have made things just slightly more complicated.


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As far as i can see - there is no option to remove the free compensation. I've been back on their website and been through the process of booking a parcel and there are only 2 options: free compensation as standard or extra compensation with an additional fee. 

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Okay will that makes a difference. If you had no choice then I think that my position is the same – that you pay the delivery fee and its unfair to then expect you to insure against their own negligence.

Otherwise it leaves you without any remedy at all in the event of their negligence. In other words, it is a completely one-sided contract where you take all the risk and they take nothing except the delivery fee. This has to be unfair.

So you can move onto the next step

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I'm sorry but I don't have a lot of time at the moment.

Please will you read around the other Hermes stories – if you haven't done so already. There are some suggested letters of claim in those. We don't have a template for this and I would suggest that you draft your own letter of claim and post it here before you send it.

Also, make sure that you read around the forum about taking a small claim in the County Court and that you know all the steps. You can be certain that you will have to issue the papers. You can be certain that Hermes will ignore your letter of claim and they will only start taking you seriously once you have issue the court papers. This means that if you send the letter of claim giving them 14 days then on the fifteenth day you must issue the papers. Otherwise don't bother. Don't bluff.

Be aware of your risk factors – which are that if you lose, then you won't get your money back and also you would have lost your claim fee – and if they push you to pay an allocation fee – which is quite likely – you will lose this as well.

For the present claim fees and allocation fees, please have a look at the court services website. However you are probably looking at something in the region of about hundred pounds or so all told for a claim of this value.

If you succeed then you will get your money back, plus interest plus your costs.

We do our best to advise you here that you have to realise that the end of the day it is your risk.

As I've already said, it is an extraordinary industry – because they will do it – which requires you to pay delivery fee and then if they don't carry out their side of the contract for some reason rather they don't have to offer any redress to you at all – often on the basis that you didn't ensure them against their own negligence. This is an extraordinary state of affairs. The whole industry does it this way and it seems to be a culture which has been accepted for a long time – maybe 30 or 40 years – so that now consumers think that that's the way it is.

It's really quite surprising that this hasn't been directly addressed in legislation – but it hasn't. Instead you will have to fall back on the unfair terms provisions in the Consumer Rights Act.

Post a draft of the letter of claim and we'll have a look at it later on

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Thanks I appreciate your time

How does this sound?


On FRIDAY 29TH May I used your service to send a parcel under the above reference number.
The parcel did not arrive at the destination and after several exchanges with your customer service staff, I was told that the item was lost.

I was also told that I would not be entitled to full compensation for my items despite having provided you with receipts for these items as I had only opted for the standard £20 compensation. I did not opt for this compensation – as you will know, there is no option to decline this basic cover when scheduling a parcel. Furthermore, it is grossly unfair for a consumer to have to insure against your negligence and contrary to the unfair terms provisions in the Consumer Rights Act.

I'm quite sure that you are fully aware that any term you might have in your contract which relies on customers having insurance against your negligent handling of their items causing them to be lost is an unfair term and is unenforceable.

I notice that you systematically rely on such terms to deprive your customers of the correct compensation and effectively to protect you from the consequences of your negligent handling of your customers’ sent items.

If you force this to a court hearing – you can be certain that I shall be producing evidence from many different sources to show that you systematically lose parcels and decline liability on spurious grounds which are unfair and unenforceable.

The contents of my parcel were worth £160. There was also the cost of the postage which was £9.92. The full amount I am claiming is therefore £169.92. You may email me at ____________ in order to arrange this payment.

If I do not have reimbursement in full within 14 days then I shall issue a claim in the County Court to recover this money from you plus interest and without any further notice.

Yours faithfully



For the benefit of posterity

Most recent response from Hermes following emailed letter of claim (I will be sending hard copy too)


Hi _____,
I'm sorry you are unhappy with the settlement amount presented to you.
As you know we are a self-serve company, however we do everything we can to encourage our customers to check the compensation. We prompt our customers on three separate occasions to check that they are happy with this, and then ask them to confirm they understand and agree to our T&C's.
It is the responsibility of the shipper to select an appropriate amount of cover for their parcel, as this was not done you accepted the risk of not being paid out the full value of the parcel in the event of a claim.
We understand that this is not the outcome you were expecting and apologise for any and all inconveniences caused.
 So we can make the payment of £34.92 as offered, please send us your bank sort code, account number and your name as it appears on your bank account.
Please don’t give us your long card number as we don’t need this to make your payment.
Once we’ve got your details we’ll make the payment, this will take around 14 working days.
If you have any further question,
please let me know.
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  • 3 weeks later...

So, to update, I posted out the letter of claim on the 14th July which has been received and presumably binned by Hermes.


I'm a little concerned after having read a previous thread (linked underneath) which seems to be very similar to mine in the way that the claimant lost based on a Judge's interpretation of the consumer rights act.


Are there any other similar cases/threads which show the claimant has won?

It seems to me that Hermes tend to buckle when they try to defend their prohibited items clause but I can't see any evidence of them conceding when it is based on their contract only providing £20 insurance.


It would be nice to see whether anyone has won a similar case.


Am I correct in assuming that I should issue court papers on the 29th and keep my claim form succinct?



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yes, obviously it is a risk. You had seen our comments that we feel that he was unlucky in his judge and also that the case could have been better argued. However, it will be down to the strength of your arguments and to the judge.

by any standards , it is unfair that you should have to take out insurance to protect a company against their own negligence . 


yes it is best to keep your particulars of claim concise and we would suggest that you post your draft here before you issue the claim



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