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Hermes - tampered packages received - do I have a valid legal case ?


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Hello all,

 

It seems to me that there are many people out there who have suffered as a result of thieves working as couriers for Hermes.

 

I have sent 2 packages just before Christmas which were tempered with by the couriers and contents of the package stolen - one customer received one of the 2 items inside the package (only because that item was of no value to the courier - a specific keycase cover) and the other customer received an empty box.  In both cases, it was easy for someone working for Hermes to simply cut open the bottom of the packages and took what he/she wanted before delivering the packages.

 

My question is this - as I did not pay for full insurance, which was to cover accidental damage and loss (yes I was prepared to accept the risk of the package being damaged or lost), so Packlink (bought the Hermes service via Packlink) was only offering the minimum compensation of £25, acknowledging the fact that the box was tempered with before it was delivered.

 

I do not believe that the customers should be asked for pay for additional insurance to the courier company to stop the employees within the courier company from stealing customer packages?  This is like banks asking customers to pay insurance premium to cover events of bank employees stealing customer money from customer bank accounts - simply makes no sense at all.  So in this case, Hermes is telling the customers that it is free to take what it wants from customer packages if customers choose not to pay additional insurance.

 

There seem to be quite a few posts related to packages "lost" by Hermes couriers, and it seems to me that Hermes is not taking any action and allowing thieves to roam freely in its delivery network.

 

Could someone advise whether or not I have a case against Hermes, and who should the small claims be addressed to, the Hermes website does not provide any real contact name or department within the company.

 

While the loss of around £200 from these 2 packages are modest, it really annoys me how the company is handling these cases and I just want to be able to do something about it.  Any help or suggestions would be most appreciated.

 

Thanks. 

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First of all let me say that although I'm quite sure there is some dishonesty going on, I'm also pretty certain that a lot of it is simply very bad management, bad handling, bad systems and then most importantly, an extremely obstructive and defensive attitude when things go wrong.

The real problem is that Hermes seem unwilling to step up to their proper responsibilities – and they tend to spend more money trying to crush a claim then it would cost them simply honouring their obligations towards their customers.

Welcome to the forum – and as you will already have noticed, there are lots of stories involving Hermes and the pattern always seems to be the same – that Hermes declines any responsibility for some reason or other.
Then the customer issues a letter of claim.
Hermes eventually file a packaged defence
the matter goes to mediation
and Hermes try to knock the claimant down a few quid and then eventually settle.

The whole thing seems to be a test of the customer's resolve.
The tests are – is the customer prepared to make trouble?
As the customer prepared to issue a letter of claim?
Is the customer prepared to invest the claim fee in beginning the court action
as the customer prepared to pay the second fee in order to move the claim to a hearing?
As the customer prepared to go to mediation?
Is the customer prepared to reduce their claim at mediation in order to give some satisfaction and also to provide as a deterrent to other would-be claimants.

First of all, please could you explain your story more briefly and in a bullet pointed chronology.
Tell us the value of the item and what it was. Was the value of the item correctly declared? I understand that you didn't by their additional insurance package.

As you will see by reading around the sub- forums here, that our view is that it's absurd and in fact unfair to require the customer to ensure themselves against Hermes own inefficiency or the criminality of their workforce.
You will also see that Hermes will rely on the fact that you don't have a direct contract with them and in fact you should be suing Packlink. If you read around the sub- forums here you will see what we have to say about that in respect of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

Spend some time reading around the sub- forum about the various Hermes claims and you will see how they generally go and the arguments to use.

Please give us a bullet pointed chronology of your own experience.

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Hi BankFodder,

 

Thank you very much for such a prompt response and advice.

 

Chronology of what has happened:

Package 1

  • Dec 13, 2020: 2 items sold on eBay - a BMW key case cover (sold for £35) and a 70mai Car battery jump starter (sold for £47.10 plus £4.95 postage)
  • Dec 14, 2020: Shipping label purchased on eBay via Packlink (no additional insurance purchased) and package containing both items dropped off at Hermes parcel shop
  • Dec 16, 2020: Package delivered to household at 12:44pm
  • Dec 16, 2020: Customer advised jump starter was missing inside the box, and confirmed using his CCTV footage that no one had touched the box since delivery
  • Dec 16, 2020: a number of photos were sent, and clearly showed that someone else had opened the box and resealed it
  • Dec 17, 2020: A claim opened on Packlink for the theft of the missing jump starter
  • Dec 18 - to date: numerous exchange with Packlink. Claim is still on going as Packlink claims no evidence of tempering" and  advised to speak to Hermes, Hermes advised to deal with Packlink

 Package 2

  • Dec 11, 2020: 70mai A800 4K Dash Cam (including rear cam and hardwire kit) sold for £146.00 plus £5.95 for postage
  • Dec 17, 2020: Shipping label purchased on eBay via Packlink and dropped off at Hermes Parcel shop.  This was one of the 3 packages sent with the same contents, but for this order, I reused an Amazon box with a "package contains batteries label" at the bottom of the box.   I did not pay for additional insurance.
  • Dec 18, 2020: Package delivered to household at 11:13am
  • Dec 18, 2020: Customer advised that the box was light for what he had purchased, a number of photos were taken before he opened the box and he cofnirmed that the box received was empty
  • Dec 19, 2020: More photos were sent, including one that clearly showed bottom of package was cut opened and resealed.  The "package contains batteries" label was cut and visible in the photo.
  • Dec 19, 2020: A claim opened on Packlink for the theft of the missing contents inside the package
  • Dec 21, 2020: Packlink advised investigation complete and transferred to claims department
  • Dec 24, 2020:  Packlink advised that it would settle the claim for an amount of £25 plus postage paid.
  • Dec 24, 2020: I decline the offer citing that contents of my package was stolen by Hermes and I wish to lodge a small claims against Packlink.  No response.
  • Dec 31, 2020: Packlink paid the minimum compensation of £25 plus £3.34, despite my explicit reply to decline this offer
  • Dec 31 - to date: numerous email exchanges with Packlink - Packlink has advised to contact Hermes, and Hermes advised me to contact Packlink.

 So, evidence in both cases clearly suggest that both packages were tempered with by Hermes couriers.  I could rule out the Parcel shop as all packages were left behind a counter clearly visible to all customers, it simply was not possible for the parcel shop to temper with customer packages.  So the contents of my package would have been removed after a Hermes courier picked up the packages.

 

I understand that I have not purchased the additional insurance, but I believe the insurance is there to cover accidental damage or loss.  Theft by the courier company itself should be implicit and should not require any additional premiums to be paid.

 

Do I have a case?  I am willing to take it all the way as 1. the total claim amount if £204, while it is modest, it is still significant. and 2. Hermes courier had no right to just take what they wanted with no repercussion.  If Hermes cannot implement a process to provide a basic courier service (ensure package is delivered to customer without being tempered with by its own employee), then maybe it should not be operating as a courier company then.

 

 

 

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If you read around stories on this sub- forum, you wouldn't even be asking whether you have a case – it's obvious that you have a case.

Furthermore, your position that you consider that insurance it is reasonable in case of accidental damage or loss is completely wrong. It's outrageous that you should be required – and it's extraordinary that you should be prepared – to protect Hermes against their own mishandling of your property.

In our view it is unfair term under the consumer rights act and therefore it is unenforceable.

Once again, Packlink and Hermes are playing piggy in the middle – and you are Piggy!

I think you are now at a position where you can send a letter of claim and start suing. You might like to do all in one hit – but you might have more fun if you do them separately.
I would suggest that you do them separately. This will mean that although your risk factor is slightly more because you will have to pay to claim fees et cetera, Hermes risk factor will be similar and when you win – as you surely will, you will be able to deliver them two slaps instead of one – but it's up to you.

I hope you have read around the sub- forum a bit because you will understand that they would try to pass the buck onto Packlink and you should understand your response in respect of this.

Please let us know if you want to deal with this is one claim or two separate claims.

Also, start drafting up a letter of claim but keep it brief. Once again, there are examples on the sub- forum. You will see the letters of claim which have been proposed by people which tend to be long winded and you will see the version which has eventually been recommended and has been used.
 

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Wow, thanks for the education BankFodder, much appreciated.

I never paid for the additional insurance premium, because that premium is quite substantial - I guess that is how Hermes top up their profits, by taking advantages of the consumers (such as my self) ignorance.

 

I like the idea of giving them 2 slaps by filing 2 claims, gives me some entertainment during this lockdown (again).

 

I have tried looked up Hermes website for contact details to send the Letter of Claim to, but have not been able to find one.

 

Could you share with me a link with the details, and the recommended template for the letter of claim?

 

I will get right on it, first letter of claim, then I guess a small claim to follow.

 

Thank you for your help, much appreciated.

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You really think that Hermes website is going to have a link which says "click here for address for letters of claim"?  🤣

 

Draft your own letter of claim and then let us see what you have. I suggest that you begin with the larger claim first.

There is no template for a letter of claim. See the examples in some of the Hermes threads

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I have done a draft below.

 

Any suggestion on what else to include would be most appreciated.

 

 

 

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Well I would say that it was far too detailed.

Presumably they already have the relevant detail in the complaint that you have made to which they have denied any liability

 

Also I wouldn't refer to "my customer". I don't think you should draw any particular attention to the fact that you are operating commercially.

 

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Also, there is no need to lay out the entire timeline of what has happened

You simply need to tell them that you send a parcel with them containing excellent value X and then it appears that the parcel has been interfered with and there is strong evidence that the contents have been stolen.

You have asked the reimbursement and they have declined liability and so you are now letting them know that you are going to sue them in the County Court and without any further notice.

Do you think there's anything more that you need to add?

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What about the below:

 

Also, the claim was made with Packlink because Hermes did not want to speak to me and all the online chat lead to nowhere.

 

I guess they had admitted liability on this one (by paying out £25).

 

Who should I send the letter of claims to ?

 

Screen Shot 2021-01-05 at 17.16.25.png

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Well Packlink as in Spain so you can't see them – will not easily. You sue Hermes.

Haven't you made a formal claim to Hermes? I thought you had made the claim that they had declined responsibility

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Also, please will you not post up an image of your proposed letter. We need it in typed format. We can't amend images

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  • BankFodder changed the title to Hermes - tampered packages received - do I have a valid legal case ?

Thanks word format attached.

 

Also, I need to have a communication with Hermes to confirm that they are not accepting liability for the full amount.

 

I have not been able to send the complain formally to anyone in Hermes yet.  Could you point me in the right direction?

 

 

 

 

 

Letter of Claim v2 - Hermes.docx

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Well in that case I think we are jumping the gun here. You should make a complaint against Hermes and been declined by them.

Do not send a letter of claim until this has happened.

Secondly, I notice that in your letter of claim your are giving them 28 days. Why? Have you seen anyone on this forum giving anybody 28 days for a letter of claim?

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I saw someone giving 14 days and was suggested to 29 days ?

 

so 14 days is the norm?

 

I will first escalate this to Hermes first (but the online chat person did ask me to speak to Packlink).

 

Thanks for the advice

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Please will you post a link to the place on this forum where someone was advised to give 29 days in a letter of claim

As for the advice being given to you by Hermes online chat, what suddenly makes you so trusting that you are prepared to accept their advice?

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 05/01/2021 at 17:49, BankFodder said:

Well in that case I think we are jumping the gun here. You should make a complaint against Hermes and been declined by them.

Do not send a letter of claim until this has happened.

Secondly, I notice that in your letter of claim your are giving them 28 days. Why? Have you seen anyone on this forum giving anybody 28 days for a letter of claim?

Hello, I have now gone through the process of contacting Hermes customer support, and just like the other complaints made by others, Hermes just tried to push responsibility to Packlink and asked me to claim compensation through Packlink.

 

Well, I have already declined the £25 compensation from Packlink as my total loss is £205.

 

I have sent them a letter of claim - to the executive office of Hermes in Leeds.

 

What is my next step please?  Could someone provide some guidance please?

 

Thanks.

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Please will you post up a letter of claim for us to see – in PDF format would be handy.

I'm going to say also that you shouldn't be sending off letters of claim without understanding the process. It's not difficult – but simply to do things step-by-step and not know what the next step is is going to cause you problems.

Also, I've already recommended that you start reading around the sub- forums at the Hermes stories – and am afraid it seems that you haven't done that because otherwise you would know what the next step is.

It's very important that you understand the procedure, the mediation journey, and what issuing a letter of claim means. None of it is difficult and none of it is scary – as long as you know each step. You need to find out for yourself because you will have greater amount of confidence.

Please will you post up your letter of claim.

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Hello, thanks for the prompt response.

 

Here is my letter of claim.

 

I have read through some of the forum posts, but there are many similar incidents and I just want some guidance from the experts on what I should do next.

 

My understanding is that I should give Hermes to agree to my demand of full compensation, which they would not agree anyway, I then need to file a small claim against Hermes and go from there.

 

Just not sure if there is any specific wording and references to any specific consumer laws ...etc that I should be referring.

 

While the amount I have lost is not significant compared with other people in this forum, it really pisses me off that people within Hermes could freely open up customer packages and take what they want and Hermes does not seem interested to find out who these culprits were.

 

Thanks for your help. 

 

 

 

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Sorry, but your PDF file won't open. Maybe it's corrupt. I'm going to remove it and please could you try and load up another one. Make sure you are able to open it yourself first.

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Thank you – in the drafts which you initially posted earlier on in this thread, you didn't refer to the fact that you were selling your items by way of a business.

In this final letter of claim which you have sent off without checking it out with us, you have suddenly announced that you were operating as a business.

The only problem with this is that if Hermes decides to to get funny about it, because you are suing as a business, they have a basis for arguing that any hearing – if there is a face-to-face hearing – should be held at their local court and not yours.

It's unlikely to go to a hearing – and even if it does, it's unlikely to be a face-to-face hearing so even if the case is transferred to the local court, it won't be a problem for you because you won't have to travel.

However, you decided to disclose the fact that you are trading as a business and so you put the situation at risk. We wouldn't have suggested that you lie about it – but we would have suggested that it might have been better not being mentioned.

I strongly suggest that if you decide to take advice here, that you let us go through it with you and so you then don't go off and do it alone.

You've given them 14 days – and on day 15 you should issue the claim. It is extremely unlikely that they will respond to you in a positive way – or at all.

You should spend the next 14 days reading up on this website about the Hermes stories and in particular about bringing a small claim in the County Court. This time, please do read the material. It's important.

Register on the moneyclaim website and start preparing your claim. You will be able to save your work as you go. Prepare a draft particulars of claim and I strongly encourage you to post it up here so that we can have a look and make recommendations – rather than clicking it off on your own.

Keep us updated as to whether or not there is any response from Hermes, but in any event, let us know your progress on the preparation of your claim – having read up on the subject first

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Hello,

 

Thanks for the prompt response, I sell things on eBay, so does that make me a business?

 

Both items were used and I sold them on eBay,  would this make me a business entity?  I refer to the people who purchased my items as customers, not sure how else to refer them.

 

I will spend the next 14 days reading up other cases on this forum, but I will proceed with a small claim against Hermes after 14 days.

 

Thank you for your guidance on this.

 

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If you sell items on eBay as a trade or profession even part-time then it makes you a business or trader.

you will see that this point has come up before on previous hermès threads. We will deal with it when it comes to having a look at your draft particulars of claim

 

 

 

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