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Hermes lost a £350 guitar I sold on eBay

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Hi, this is my first post on this forum, I have been reading some threads relating to Hermes losing parcels and not paying compensation as this has happened to me recently.


I sold a guitar on eBay for £350 and unfortunately decided to use Hermes to deliver the item as it was very large and heavy.  I paid £6.98 for standard delivery and could not take out insurance as musical instruments are on the exclusion list of non compensation items. 


A courier collected the parcel on 26/11/21 and I got a tracking number but after several days the tracking information didn't update beyond stating "collected by courier" which rang alarm bells. 


I contacted Hermes customer service several times by phone and they kept telling me that the package was in a depot in Normanton and it would be delivered shortly.  This didn't happen so I contacted them again and they opened a Support Incident which resulted in me receiving an email stating that despite carrying out an extensive investigation they could not locate the parcel and admitted it was lost. 


They then told me to complete a Lost Claim Form which I submitted on 06/12/21.  I didn't hear anything from them until 31/12/21 when they sent me another email asking me to complete and submit the Lost Claim Form again and I replied to this saying I had already done it.  Then I got a Support Incident update stating this:


"Response By E-mail (Madeline Fox) (31/12/2021 02.49 PM)
Good Afternoon Garry,
Firstly I would like to apologise as I am unsure why you were sent another claims form when you have already completed it.
I have looked into your claim and unfortunately, I am going to have to reject it due to the item being an excluded item. A full list of excluded and prohibited items can be found here;


Due to this, I am unable to process your refund.

Kind Regards,
Maddy Fox
Customer Service Advisor
Hermes Send Claims Department"


Obviously I am not happy about this outcome, they did not even offer to refund the postage fee.  I sent a letter of complaint to their head office a couple of weeks ago but have not had any response.  I have had to issue a full refund to the eBay buyer who was supposed to receive the guitar which was £350.


I am considering taking this matter to the small claims court in order to recover my loss. I want to claim compensation for the value of the item plus the postage fee plus the special guitar shipping box I had to buy (I took care to package the item really well so it wouldn't get damaged). 


I have drafted a Letter of Claim and would be grateful if you could look at it and tell me if there is anything I have missed.  I have contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau who have passed on some information about my case to trading standards and pointed me towards a template for making a complaint but haven't been much help otherwise.  They also said this:


"Your rights and obligations: 

Under common law, when you enter into a contract, both parties are bound by any terms and conditions that have formed part of any pre-contract negotiations.  

We would advise you to thoroughly read these to see what the maximum value you are covered for is. 


If nothing related to your issue is included in the terms and conditions, or, the trader is not following terms included, you may be able to hold the trader in breach of contract.
You may be able to seek redress from the trader for a breach of contract by repudiating the contract; this means bringing the contract to an end and being put back into your precontractual position, which could include money back. 


Alternatively, you may request the trader honour the contract as agreed and seek damages; damages could be for a monetary amount you feel is reasonable to compensate for the breach.
The burden of proof is on yourself as the consumer, therefore you will need to provide evidence if the trader is not complying with the terms and conditions."


Does that mean I have not got a case against Hermes because of the excluded items list which is part of their terms and conditions?  And if I lost the case would I be made to pay their legal fees (because I certainly cannot afford to do that). 


I have never had to do anything like this before so don't have any experience of the legal system apart from what I have read online. Apologies for the long post and thanks in advance for taking the time to read it and I appreciate any advice you can provide.  

Letter of Claim to Hermes.docx

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The letter of claim will do. It's a bit verbose but it does the job.

Send the letter of claim straightaway and during the 14 days, register with the County Court money claim website and start drafting your claim. You can save your work as you go.

Post the particulars that you intend to rely upon here before you add them to your claim and on day 15 send the claim off.

Spend more time on this forum reading up on the Hermes stories because they all seem to go the same way. Looking at a letter of claim it seems a you have already done some reading but you probably need to do more.

The information from Citizens Advice is wrong in several respects. I suppose they are well-intentioned but frankly what they have written here is GCSE level and not a very good level at that.

You will probably find that you're much better being with us and following the advice that we give as long as you're prepared to be assertive about what you do.

Keep us updated

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Thanks I have registered with the money claim website and have started filling in the details, I've also typed up a couple of drafts for the Letter of Claim and the Particulars, I hope I've got the wording right if you don't mind taking a look.



Particulars of Claim Draft.docx Letter of Claim Draft.docx

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On 25/11/21 I paid £6.98 for you to deliver a parcel (Parcel ID: C00HHA0090876050) containing a guitar I sold on an online auction site for £350. 

It was collected by a courier on 26/11/21 and the estimated delivery date was 29/11/21.  After noticing that the tracking information was not being updated, I contacted your customer services department several times, and you admitted to losing the parcel (in a Support Incident email dated 06/12/21).  You then asked me to complete a Lost Claim Form which I submitted that same day (Support Incident Reference: 211203-020353).

On 31/12/2021 I received a Support Incident Update stating that my claim for compensation had been rejected due to the lost item being on your exclusion list (musical instruments) and was not even offered a refund for the postage cost.  

The item was properly declared to you and you were aware from the outset that it was a guitar.
Furthermore, I am quite sure that you are aware that the nature of an item which is placed into your trust has no bearing upon the risk of it being lost. Had the guitar been damaged then you might be able to argue that the fact that it was a guitar in some way created a risk of damage which in some way would not have existed with some other kind of item.

It is highly likely that the guitar has been stolen by somebody employed by you and reports in the media suggest that these acts of theft are not at all uncommon.

The insurance that you offer against your company’s negligence and failure to deliver the service under contract is an unfair term under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and is therefore unenforceable.

I am once again requesting full compensation of the item’s value (£305.20 after eBay refunded my final value fees), as well as the delivery fee (£6.98) and the cost of the packaging (£10.10) which is a total sum of £322.28.  I will also be seeking to claim back any court fees.

If I do not receive a satisfactory response from you within 14 days from the date of this letter, I will issue legal proceedings against you in the county court without any further notice.


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Particulars of Claim:


The claimant used the defendant’s courier service to deliver an item worth £350 to a UK address (Parcel ID: C00HHA0090876050).  The item was lost by the defendant or stolen by an employee of the defendant – either of which is in breach of contract. The defendant refuses to compensate the claimant for financial loss

  The claimant seeks £322.28 being the outstanding sum after auction fees have been refunded by eBay – plus interest pursuant to Section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984.


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That's good I'll make some amendments, I was looking at other people's examples and realised that they were a bit different in that they didn't take out the insurance whereas I wasn't able to insure the guitar due to it being an excluded item.





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  • 2 weeks later...

I sent the Letter of Claim on Wednesday last week so I am ready to send the Particulars on the 1st Feb which will be 14 working days if I don't receive a response and I will start preparing my claim. 


However I got another email from Hermes customer service stating this which is making me feel like I don't have a case as it is in their terms and conditions that the guitar was an excluded item, I have read other stories of people being successful but their cases were different in that the item wasn't excluded but they didn't take out any insurance:


 10.54 AM)
Hi Garry,
Thanks for getting in touch with us about parcel number C00HHA0090876050.
I’m sorry to hear you have encountered an issue with your delivery, I can understand how frustrating this might be for both yourself and your recipient. I can assure you we are 100% committed to ensuring every parcel arrives safely, however each parcel goes through several handling and transportation processes and on rare occasions, this may happen.
I can see from our system that your parcel contained 
music instrument, which is listed as a non-compensation item in our Carry Guide and cannot be claimed for.

As a self-serve company, we do everything possible to encourage customers to check our list of non-compensation and prohibited items and we try to make this easy and transparent so that customers understand from the outset what we can and can’t carry.

If you need anything in the future, please contact your Hermes Customer Service Team and we’ll be happy to help.
Kind regards,
Hermes Customer Services


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I'm going to say now that your comments make me realise that you really haven't done enough reading of the Hermes stories on this sub- forum.

The message you have had from Hermes is not at all unusual. It is to be expected and the fact that it has destabilised you really means that you haven't gone through the stories closely enough.

I suggest that you go back and start doing the reading and you will understand what happens when they send you this message and what the arguments are in response.


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Okay I will spend some more time reading, I've bookmarked a few threads including the one you wrote about the courier industry and I'll search for some more. 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi BankFodder,


I've had an interesting development to my Hermes issue, just as I was about to post an update regarding where I am in the small claims process, I had a message from my eBay buyer and bizarrely the guitar has been delivered 3 months late!  The buyer still wanted the guitar so I gave him a £30 discount off the original £350 due to all the problems and I received the payment today.  Strange how the guitar made a reappearance not long after I issued my claim.  I'm £50 out of pocket for the issue fee, I'm still trying to decide if it is worth the hassle trying to claim this back or if I should just cut my loses and drop the case.  This has made it more complicated in some ways as I no longer need to claim the value of the guitar as originally stated on my claim.  I haven't heard anything from Hermes and the tracking information is the same as before (it doesn't say it has been delivered).  I've attached the documents I have received from the courts whereby Hermes unsurprisingly said they were defending the whole claim and it was signed off by a trainee solicitor:



Imgur: The magic of the Internet



Imgur: The magic of the Internet



Imgur: The magic of the Internet





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Well done on getting the guitar back.

You issue the claim – you have received their defence. Have you received the directions questionnaire yet?

Have they paid you anything as a gesture of goodwill et cetera?

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No I haven't received a penny from Hermes, they wouldn't even refund the postage fee.  And I haven't received the directions questionnaire yet just the documents I posted above.

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I suggest that you write to Hermes. Refer to the claim number and tell them that the item has now been received but that you are proposing to continue with the claim in order to recover your court fee.

However if they are prepared to reimburse you the court fee now then you are prepared to withdraw the claim. Tell them that this will be explained to the mediator or to the court – whatever Hermes chooses – if Hermes will not comply.

Tell them that it is clear that the gross delay was caused by their negligence. That it's a breach of contract and they forced you to issue proceedings and you are not prepared to be out of pocket as a result.

If you are happy to do this then post a draft here

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Thanks for your prompt reply.  Yes I want to recover the court fee as I'm still annoyed by how I have been treated by this company so I will follow your suggestion.  I will draft a letter this weekend and post it up on here before I send it.  Many thanks for all your help and advice.

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