Sunday, 26 February 2012

Are delivery charges justifiable?

It's Sunday afternoon and I'm bored. Bored enough to post a blog - a long overdue blog admittedly but I'm still drafting the one I actually want to post. This one will have to do for now.

So - Royal Mail delivery charges. Or rather, the P&P charged by companies who use Royal Mail. I recently considered ordering a couple of things from a lovely local organic household products company. They make green, chemical-free, organic, cruelty-free and very lovely washing up liquid, surface cleaners etc. I've used one of their products before but can't get it where I got the first one so I checked their website. The prices were pretty good - just over £2 for a large bottle of washing up liquid.

Their online ordering system is a little weird. I ticked the two items I wanted and clicked "Purchase". Instead of getting an invoice and a payment screen, I just got a message saying "Your order has been submitted. You will receive an email detailing the full price including delivery charges and information on how to pay". Unusual, I thought, but OK.

48 hours went by and I'd heard nothing so I chased it up via the website. I received a fast reply from the owner, with an invoice attached. The two products I wanted to buy came to £4.95. The delivery charge - a flat £5! Ouch. Admittedly, the email did mention that I could have up to four products delivered all for the same £5 delivery charge but of course that would mean my spending more on products.

I don't think I'm particularly stingy or cheap but paying £5 delivery for an order that came to less than £5 just didn't sit well. Needless to say, I didn't order. Now that's disappointing on two fronts - I'm not getting the products I wanted and the company have lost a sale. I honestly don't know how much Royal Mail actually charge for delivery but even if the company wasn't making a profit on that, I'm still not paying it.

If you add to that the fact that in the last month I've waited 9 and 11 days for two parcels to come via Royal Mail, it's even less appealing. Given that the company is local and ethical etc, I honestly don't think they're trying to rip anyone off with the delivery charges but that just makes it all the more disappointing that I couldn't be persuaded to order with them.

I actually feel sorry for anyone trying to run a company which relies on the postal service - and I use "service" in the loosest possible sense of the word.


  1. I could make many comments about this, especially after spending six years with Correos in Spain. But, just to get the ball rolling, think about the weight of a LARGE bottle of washing up liquid... Oh, and if you had to wait two days for them to send you the postage cost, (which turned out to be a fixed rate!) I don't think any blame for slow delivery would rest with Royal Mail.

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  3. If it weren't for my recent experiences with Royal Mail and their speed (or lack of it), I wouldn't have mentioned it. I object to paying £5 to anyone when I know their service is going to be atrocious.