John Walker's Electronic House

Why You Shouldn’t Use Yodel For Parcel Delivery

by on Dec.18, 2012, under Rants

Warning: whinging.

For the longest time I’ve assumed that Citylink are the worst delivery company in Britain. But Yodel are looking like real contenders for the title. While almost all delivery companies are obtuse, unhelpful, and make resolving issues as difficult as possible, none compare to the heavy iron walls that surround Yodel.

I have a delivery due, it was meant to arrive some time last week. On Friday I dared to leave the house for an hour, and of course they attempted to deliver then – clearly not their fault. I received a card through the door (thus immediately giving them an advantage over Citylink, you could argue), which had been filled in to tell me it was the “1st of 3 attempts”. I should turn over the card for more details – this instruction had been hand-ticked twice.

The back of the card was completely unmarked. No offer to reattempt to deliver was ticked, nor was the suggestion that I’d need to collect it from their delivery office. So, er, great.

There was also an option to visit their website to reschedule delivery. I did that, and it offered me Monday – picked it, and waited. Waited in all day yesterday, not leaving the house once so I wouldn’t miss the package, and nothing. No attempt to deliver. I checked their website, and despite the confirmation email I have for the redelivery, there was no mention of it listed, no attempt to move it from their Bristol depot (so an hour away), and just the option to pick another date (presumably equally fruitlessly).

So at this point, I want to speak to someone at Yodel to ensure the redelivery is confirmed. This, it appears, is impossible. And this is why I’m ranting this, rather than just moaning my parcel didn’t arrive. This is the core of what makes Yodel such a dreadful option. There is no way to speak to them.

Their website doesn’t appear to have phone numbers listed anywhere. The number I have on the card only reaches a machine, and only has two options (rearrange delivery, or collect from the depot), with no ability to speak to an operator. If you don’t press an option, amazingly the recorded voice very tersely says “If you don’t choose an option we can’t help you” and then hangs up!

Searching around the internet for numbers for the company, a few suggest they offer customer services. They don’t – they all end up at the same machine. And amazingly, even if I did want to try to rearrange delivery with this robot, it’s not possible, since it requires a parcel number, which hasn’t been filled in on my card!

Okay, so I need to follow the online guidance for what to do if my parcel hasn’t arrived on its delivery day, right? Wrong. Because incredibly, nowhere on Yodel’s site is the idea that this could happen even considered. They so deeply cannot contemplate the idea that they might not achieve delivering a package that they offer no support for when this might not happen.

So my reason for suggesting you shouldn’t use Yodel isn’t because my parcel didn’t arrive – wah wah, John missed a package. It’s because they have gone out of their way to make it impossible to do anything about it. Rescheduling delivery doesn’t do anything, despite their sending an email to confirm the date. Phoning them is not only futile because it requires information you haven’t been given, but also because it’s impossible to actually contact them. And there is no concept that they may fail to honour a delivery, and thus no means to do anything about it. And with all that being the case, they’re clearly not a fit company for the purpose. So I strongly suggest adding them to your Citylink dartboard, and not buying products from companies that use them to deliver.


20 Comments for this entry

  • kateri

    In case I haven’t repeated this enough times: YODEL DROPPED MY NEW PS3 OVER A HEAD-HIGH FENCE.

  • Andrew Rackstraw

    Totally agree with you – they’re awful. I’ve had packages marked as delivered by them which have, in reality, never reached me. When I queried this, they said they’d look into it – and I never heard back. When I chased, same promise, same lack of further response.

    They do actually have a “customer support” line – can’t remember how I eventually found it, but I did – but, amazingly, it’s a premium rate line (10p a minute IIRC). That’s right, they charge you for trying to rectify their cockups.

    It’s also worth noting that Yodel and Home Delivery Network are the same company. No idea why the two names: originally they rebranded to Yodel to shake off HDNL’s bad press, but they still seem to use the latter name too.

  • Spann

    Yodel were tasked with delivering my other half’s new mobile.

    “Next day” delivery meant the card arrived three days after the order. I rang the number (although I remember speaking to a human) to arrange collection from the depot, which I would do next day.

    On arrival next day, I was told that because I didn’t contact the depot directly, there was no way they could have known to hold it back, and that it was my fault – they then gave me a number to call just in case the parcel had been re-delivered while I was at the depot (which it hadn’t; no card left either). I rang the number and asked for it to be held in the depot (the depot I’d just been to).

    The next day, Yodel’s online tracking once again said it was out for delivery, but on ringing them they told me that it was still in the depot.

    I then arrived at the depot later that day, where I was told I was lucky, as the parcel I was collecting had just come off the van again(!) – it’s worth pointing out that on arriving home there was, once again, no attempted delivery card.

    Yodel are BT’s closest competitors for Worst Company in the World.

  • Euan

    Ah reminds me of my Yodel experiences. Here is my latest example.

    My girlfriend had ordered something online from Gap not checking before hand that they didn’t in fact use Yodel (always check for Yodel kids). Expecting it to arrive within a couple of days it sadly didn’t. Unfortunately we were off to London for a few days at that point but were sure whoever would leave a card.

    Upon returning home we found no card had been left with us and at that point checked if it even had been dispatched. At that point it was discovered that Yodel were the courier. Apparently they had tried attempted delivery three times and left cards on each occasion so we had the option of rescheduling delivering or collecting from the depot.

    Basically faced with spending a day in the house waiting for a parcel that experience tells me won’t arrive, I chose the two hour round trip to collect it from their depot on Friday. Thinking I could leave early in the morning collect it and be back with most of my day still to myself. It was Wednesday and I had chosen Friday for the collection day.

    Come Friday morning I get up at 6am which on a day off is horrific to leave the house at 7am and get the parcel. As I’m walking down my street I get a text from Yodel

    “Your parcel will be ready to collect at the depot from 4pm”

    4pm. 9 hours later. I was livid. I had told them well in advance I wanted to collect on Friday. Not on Friday between 4-6pm. Knowing the impossibility of getting someone on the phone I decided to try and engage their social media people for help.

    A quick glance made it look like they were actually helpful and resolving peoples’ issues. I wanted to know why my parcel was not ready for collection. I wanted them to get it there so I could collect it without having to rearrange my afternoon and evening plans.

    No such luck. What I got was an avoidance of any of the hard questions I asked and a “we are looking into” answer to the easy questions. In fact they were still “looking into it” when I collected the parcel at 4pm from the depot.

    The main reason to not use Yodel is the same reason as the shocking service in the first place. The self employed “couriers”. Otherwise known as people with vehicles.

    Yodel would not tell me why my package was not ready for collection at 8am on the Friday morning. The answer of course is because it was still sitting in the original couriers vehicle never actually returned to the depot. That means why Yodel fails to deliver something to you, it is sitting unsecured in some persons car, van or even living room. No wonder stuff goes missing.

  • Simes

    Important to remember that when this happens you should also complain to the company who chose to use Yodel as a courier; unless there’s a large enough volume of complaints, they will keep that business (because it’s cheaper). And Yodel won’t fix the way they do things until it genuinely starts hitting them in the wallet.

    Especially complain to Amazon, because they’ve already given me the “most people seem satisfied” line and I want them to know they’re wrong.

  • Dave

    Yodel once delivered a particularly valuable parcel to me.

    This would have been fine, were it not for:
    a) They didn’t actually deliver it to me. They delivered it to my neighbours.
    b) They didn’t actually deliver to my neighbours. They delivered it to the cleaners who emptying the house for new occupants, and were only there that day, and didn’t speak English.
    c) Yodel told me it had been delivered to my address.
    d) Yodel didn’t leave a calling card to indicate it had been delivered next door.

    Only by noticing that the lights were – unusually – on next door did we think to knock and see if anyone was there. Fortunately a cleaner nervously edged the door open and peered through the gap, and correctly guessed we were there for the box.

    The house was left vacant for weeks after that, so it was a close call…

  • Aquarion

    Yeah, I had a similar problem yesterday with my SO’s christmas present (documented ).

    Apparently if you ask Amazon, they’ll take a complaint about HDNL/Yodel as an official complaint and pass it up the chain.

  • Stephen

    The other thing to remember is that it is actually the retailer you bought stuff from (eg amazon) that is responsible, and you can claim against them for wasted time etc.

    They will presumably reclaim it from the courier company, and as Simes above says, if the volume of complaints (and/or cost to recompense customer) is high enough then they’ll have to change or lose business or more money.

    A useful place to find info about failed delivery, and how to reclaim cash for lost time, is the ever-helpul MoneySavingExpert:

    Every company has it’s bad drivers or culture and FedEx is no exception: I know someone who had their phone number clearly on their box, and not in a difficult-to-find street (maybe unless they’re using Apple maps!?) and yet they had a failed delivery as the driver “couldn’t find the house”.

  • Chris D

    I ordered a £500 DSLR from Amazon a few weeks ago for a Christmas present. Yodel delivered it, but because nobody was in to collect it, they helpfully put it in the bin, with a card pushed through my door with “PACKAGE IN BIN” scrawled on it. I’m sure I don’t need to go into the potential risks of putting a parcel in Jesus h Christ a friggin’ bin of all places. The package survived its bin adventure, but I was appropriately livid when I found it.

  • Jamie

    I ordered the tablet I am currently typing this on via Argos, not knowing it would be delivered via a third party. The delivery wad set for a Saturday as I live alone and work all week and the attempted delivery card came through the door while I was still in bed – certainly wasn’t expecting someone at half eight.

    Called the number on the card, arranged to pick up at the depot since there was no option for another Saturday delivery. I then discovered that their depot was a 5 minute drive from my office. Went there on the Monday, picked up the parcel no problem.

    I admit that this wasnt the service I’d expected after a horrified hour reading reviews online, so it looks like I’m an exception to the rule.

  • kateri

    Yeah, I also recommend bypassing Yodel entirely and complaining to Amazon/whoever directly. This worked pretty well for me, and also tells Amazon people are having issues with Yodel.

  • Greg B

    I’ve complained to Amazon in the past about HDN, and at that time there was no way to select a courier. Now I always select first class delivery over next day delivery to get round it. This has replaced my method of waiting for the randomly selected courier company to return the product until eventually it ended up in the Royal Mail route, where at least I could pick it up from a depot within 15 miles of my house.

    Unfortunately I have still bumped into Yodel a few times and they are utterly useless. They managed to lose the last package they sent me, and didn’t even have a record of it on their system, despite the code I had on the card. I never got the parcel. I do recall finding a phone number some where and enjoying a fruitless ten minute call with a real human being where I learned nothing.

    In summary, they stink!

  • Jo

    Outrageous. I have had similar experience with a card simply marked ‘door’ through my door. Interestingly, if you email them and say you have 10k parcels a year to deliver, they get back to you right away.
    I still don’t have my parcel though, just a card with a reference number that neither the website nor the phone service recognises.

  • TracyTangerine

    Oh no. I’ve had a terrible time with Yodel in the past, similar to what others have mentioned.

    As as I write I am waiting on a Yodel delivery from Banana Republic. Any bets on whether I actually see it today…?

  • Jack

    I quite like the system here in rural Tasmania. Just send the item through the post, they won’t even attempt to take it to you, they just leave it in the local post-office and give you a little card saying ‘your item is ready for collection’.

    No waiting for the parcel to percolate to a hidden collection centre that’s buried behind the train station somewhere inaccessible. The parcel never leaves the local post office, it’s available immediately! Just drop into town (you were going anyway), park right outside the post office, present the slip to the clerk (and there’s always at least 2, Aussie shops always seem overstaffed) and collect!

    I’m much happier with this than queueing for hours at the Royal Mail collection centre in Bath.

  • Martin

    An absolute disgrace of a company!!!
    Full of liars and lots and lots of incompetence.
    Just cancelled a contract with Virgin mobile because after paying for next day delivery last Friday, it still hasn’t arrived 5 days later.
    Wouldn’t surprise if it turned up even after cancelling the phone with Virgin.

  • Kelly p

    I ordered a rug from studio which was being delivered by yodel and a month later still no rug no red card through my door and no attempts of delivery when I put my tracking number and postcode in it says that it doesn’t exist so rang studio up to see If they can track and it seems they get the same so no idea were my package is and paying interest on my studio account as its been on my balance for a month already luckily studio are going to pay this. Would never use yodel again

  • John Wayne

    I was supposed to get my parcel delivered to me last week but of course they decide no to deliver it but wait!, they claim to have delivered it according to their ‘amazingly accurate’ tracker which moves steps (Back or forward) every few hours!. I WILL NEVER SHOP ONLINE AGAIN THANKS TO YODEL, and you wouldn’t blame me because I’ve lost over £200 thanks to them not delivering my items.

  • Lewis

    I bought an RC car off eBay, was delivered by them today, we were out, do they dropped it over a head high gate, onto concrete, even though it was clearly marked a fragile, breaking the RC car rendering it useless and £200 down the drain.

  • Simon

    Have had and am having same problems with two deliveries now. Its the lying that really gets me. On their tracking system it said they tried to deliver yesterday at 9.18 am but no one was in – both me and my wife stayed in all day! We’re still waiting!!!

    There’s got to be a way that we, the public can start a petition to boycott the large companies such as Amazon, Virgin Mobile, Tesco Direct to name but a few, until they stop using Yodel!