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Parcelhero + Hermes = Lost guitar

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New to the forum, joined to ask about this situation I find myself in.


Had a custom acoustic guitar built early this year from a Finnish guitar maker. I then spent the rest of the year paying it off. (3400 eur) It arrived a couple weeks ago, but had the wrong string spacing, so the builder agreed to a return and to build a new guitar with the right spacing.


Arranged a courier with Parcelhero + Hermes. 10 day economy to Finland at a cost of £168 (no rush as the new guitar isn't ready till Nov)


Picked up on the correct day, next 2 days tracking updated, then nothing for about 8 days. I then started to try and contact either company, and quickly found out how difficult that is...


It's now 3 days after the delivery date, and about 5 days since I contacted them to find out why it's stopped moving, I've not really had much from Parcelhero other than "we've spoken to Hermes, we'll get back to you"


On the Parcelhero site, there is absolutely no mention of musical instruments being on their excluded items list, and I took out £3000 worth of cover. My contract should lie with them, correct? I know Hermes don't cover guitars.


Should I also be claiming for the cost of the post itself?


I just wanted to ask how solid of a claim I've got when/if this needs to go to small claims court, as the horror stories I've read over the last few days suggest the claims process is never straightforward etc..


Felt physically sick for the last week too, lol.


Thanks for everyone's time!



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Well big fail for taking so much care on bespeaking  such a beautiful guitar and then putting it into the hands of Hermes.

Yes, your claim would be against ParcelHero. I suppose parcel hero will say that you should have checked the Hermes prohibited items – but even then, if it was properly declared and the value was properly given then it would be extremely unfair for them to escape responsibility for something that they had managed to lose.

You could also claim against Hermes on the basis that you enjoy third-party contractual rights under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

I suggest that you read all of the Hermes threads – or at least quite a few of them so that you understand the situation. Even if you are going to be suing ParcelHero many of the issues are the same.

Have you ever used the County Court before for a small claim? Normally speaking these courier companies put their hands up but here you are suing for over £3000 and I expect that they will go to a hearing.

We will help you all the way.

One thing that occurs to me is that I understand that the Hermes' top value for insurance cover is £300. You say that you insured it for £3000 so that must mean that ParcelHero have their own insurance scheme.

Of course it's outrageous that customers are required to insure these companies against their own breaches of contract and their own negligence. Our own feeling here is that this should not be necessary and in fact the term of the contract which requires that the customers protect the wrongdoer from their own wrongdoings is unfair under the consumer rights act. If that you should have a look at the unfair terms section in the consumer rights act which we carry on this forum

Read the Hermes threads on this forum and you will find all about it.

It's also extremely unfair and we consider unenforceable that they rely on a prohibited items list for lost parcels. If there is something about the item such as its fragility or the fact that its liquid which results in damage then that may well help the courier company. But to say that in some way the nature of the item they are carrying has increased the risk of it being lost is complete nonsense. We think this is an unfair term.

I suggest that you go through the complaints processes with both of these companies. They will knock you back of course. It will be interesting to see what ParcelHero say in the face of the insurance that you have taken out.

Go through their complaints processes. Keep us informed at all times and we would advise you as well we can. If you need to bring a small claim then we will help you and we will help you draft the necessary particulars.


Incidentally, we now have an interesting collection of Hermes images which you can download if you need to begin a small claim.

We are hoping to add to it as we go along.


Also – you may be interested to know that Hermes say that they will not carry items of a value greater than £300!



The final hint – keep your eye open on eBay



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Hi BankFodder!


Thanks for getting back to me so quickly and with so much information.


Yeah, massive fail. Never had to use a courier for anything, and Hermes seem to deliver things around here without any trouble, as I said friendly with my driver... but lesson learned for sure.


Yes the insurance, or whatever they call it "cover" is with Parcelhero, I noted that Hermes didn't cover guitars and only had £300 worth of cover available so that was a no go.


Never been to court etc.


I will keep you updated on how the complaints procedure is progressing, and honestly having the support for the further eventualities has really helped me not feel quite so alone and frustrated, so thank you for that.


If my contract is with Parcelhero then it shouldn't really matter what Hermes terms are, as Parcelhero would be liable?


Nothing will happen over the weekend I'm sure, but fingers crossed for some response come Monday.


Thanks again BankFodder.

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Well ParcelHero will try to pass the buck and they will try to say that in fact that Hermes terms are implied into their arrangement with you. However, the most important thing is that you are completely above board. You declared what it was. You didn't try to reduce the value – and even bought their so-called insurance for the full value. Everything is in your favour.

Don't expect ParcelHero to be very pleased about it and maybe I'm doing them a disservice – but I suspect that they will drag their feet and I would suggest that you don't stand for it. You make your complaint. You want short deadlines. You assert your own timescale and you keep control of it. Don't allow them to pass the buck or to lead you around by the nose.

If you are going to begin the complaints process on Monday then frankly you want to reply by Monday week. Assuming that reply is a negative – then you protest about it and give them another seven days – and then you issue a letter of claim giving them 14 days and then you send them the good news.

That's roughly how it goes.

I'm afraid that in terms of timescales, they will have 28 days from the time that you click off the claim – assuming that they file an acknowledgement of service – and then there will probably be another month or two before a hearing is listed so don't really expect to get this sorted out until January/February.

I think that your chances of winning are excellent. Assuming you win then you will get back your claim fee and your hearing fee. You had better check the County Court website to see what these fees are. I expect that ParcelHero will want to test you by pushing you at each stage to see whether or not you are prepared to outlay on the next stage of the litigation procedure.

I also suspect that they may choose to go to mediation – read what we have to say about mediation. This is where they will try to get you to compromise on your rights in order to save a few quid and to avoid the risk of a judgement against them. Of course you will have to do consider your position and you will have to consider whether you are prepared to accept a smaller amount but give up the risk of losing in court.

If it actually goes to the hearing then there is a possibility that they will put their hands up just before the hearing – especially as you did buy the insurance – but if not then they will go to court. I'm not sure what issue they would focus on by way of a defence – but you would see that once they had responded to your initial claim form with the defence.

And of course I might have it all wrong – and they may simply roll over next week – but don't hold your breath.

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Thanks again for outlining the process, my mind has been racing back and forth between all the possibilities and to see it all written down in plain detail is rather helpful.


I will definitely be forthright and won't be pushed around, and have the funds to go the whole way, have checked my local court for the costs and they are well within reason + I do expect to win.


Time frame seems about what I was considering as the likely length it'd take, so thanks for that.


Because we'll be outside the trading EU trading bloc, my guitar might become quite a bit more expensive after Jan 1st, so will have to take that into consideration.


As you've said, will wait for their response and act accordingly, hey it may even show up... right? :-D





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I'm not sure what the import export rules are, but as you have already bought it – and presumably you've got the purchase receipt – and it has simply been sent abroad for repair, then it shouldn't cost you any more money in duties. Of course this is assuming that you get your one back.

On the other hand, if it's a question of having to buy a new one with your court winnings – which is maybe what you have in mind, then yes it would be more expensive. Maybe we will have to look at the possibility of claiming extra to take that into account.

However you would have to come up with a definite figure and it could be considered as unretreivable consequential loss. But we can have a look.

Have a look around this website for information on how to bring a small claim in the County Court. It's pretty easy but you need to know the steps if you want to be confident about what you are doing.

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Yes, it's a new guitar, the one I was sending back was to be sold to someone else.


Will take a peek at that tomorrow, have to prepare food now.


Thanks again for your time BF, you've honestly been a greater help than you could imagine.

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Hi BankFodder,


Just a quick update:


Parcelhero have been in contact with me each day, they've been trying unsuccessfully to get hold of Hermes, so after a week we've moved to the claims process. The chap who's helped me through it has been good, so I've not had to ask any questions here etc.


I've submitted my claim, and I'll let you know what happens as a result of that.


Wanted to extend a thanks your way once again, the conversation put me at considerable ease.



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Do you mean that you have filed your court claim?


If so please can you post a copy of it here

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It arrived today!


Got to say Parcelhero were really helpful, and even Hermes got their act together a bit towards the end in an attempt to locate the parcel, so I'll have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised with both of these companies. Needless to say I'd use another courier in the future, but would have no issues booking it through parcelhero again.


Absolute relief today.


Thanks for your support BankFodder, was a real help.

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