Lost in the post

Digressing from canals for a minute, I need to vent some steam after a seemingly endless dialog between me, two guys who bought something from me on Ebay, a guy I bought something from on Ebay and the DVLA.

To cut a long story short I sold my old car to someone in Poland. I wanted to retain the number for my new car and although I put this in the advert I found myself apologising day after day that he couldn’t pick the car up until the DVLA had sent the replacement tax, MOT and Log Book.  Apparently the first two normally come within 7 days but the latter can take a further 4 weeks.  Without it the car can’t realistically be sold.  However after 14 days DVLA decided that because my old car was itself an import it had to be referred to Swansea causing even more delay.  Many boring bits later the paperwork all arrived, I had new number plates made, signed all the forms in the right places and waved it goodbye as it went off to Poland.

I looked forward to getting 10 months tax back, so duly wrote to the DVLA as required to do when a car is sold for export, enclosed the right bit of the V5C form and a V15 application for tax refund, together with the licence disk.  Sent first class recorded delivery, just for safety’s sake.

Today 3 weeks later they wrote back saying this had been rejected as I was not the previous keeper of the car, nor had I told them it was sold to someone else.  15 agitated minutes of holding on the phone I was put through to the refunds section who acknowledged that they had received my letter, and had marked the car as exported but they denied receiving a tax refund request, which of course was in the same envelope.  They admitted they must have received it, being as they had written to me to reject it, and so rather than sort it out by phone my only recourse is to write something on the back of the rejection notice and send it back for them to reconsider.

Concurrrently I sold an item on Ebay – I couldn’t believe how excited the purchaser was getting, but it turned out this car amplifier was a long lost match for his current one, and to have two is seemingly so much better.  He texted me to tell me every step of his journey to the post office, the postal order being put in an envelope, stamped and despatched.  And yes it came the very next day, so I called DH a well known parcel carrier and personally handed the well wrapped parcel, all labelled up and paid for, to the collection driver.

I began to think there may be a problem when the tracking number suddenly stopped showing anything sensible.  For the record, when DHL tracking shows “Security Check” in the status it means they have lost it.  Phone call after phone call failed to make it reappear. The standard response of well make sure it is sent out in the morning begins to wear thin after a week has gone by.  My text inbox was almost full with the purchaser getting more and more despondant about where his irreplacable amp had gone, although he was very understanding, although this may be after having made the Ebay faux pas of giving me good feedback before he got the goods!

I refunded him in full, lost 8 pounds commission on the postal order (I thought they were free!!!), £12.99 paid to send the parcel, £2 for packaging bubble wrap and £80 pounds worth of equipment.  I was only covered for £50 loss, and have yet to see anything other than “we are still looking for it” emails. 

It really bugs me that a parcel carrier can lose something so large, so easily, and shrug it off as one of those things that happen.  In fact the agent through whom I booked the service claims they only lose 0.4 per cent of packages.  Looking at the number of parcel carrying vans on the road that sounds like a very large number of items to me!

So I wait with baited breath to see if I get a penny back.

To make it worse I ordered a pot of Captain Tolleys Creeping Crack Cure a couple of weeks ago, again from Ebay but from a very reputable looking marina.  It didn’t come.  I made a fuss after a week and they put it down to computer problems, but the promised replacement hasn’t arrived either.  With my own lost parcel I wasn’t at all surprised when the vendor told me he has lost over 200 pounds worth of stock in the mail last week alone.  Where are all these lost items going!  To his credit he has sent a replacement under recorded delivery, and this should come in the morning.   Its one thing me losing a box in a private sale, but when a mail order business loses so many items this has to be devastating for them.  “Just leave good feedback or no feedback” he asked.  At least I have waited for the product to turn up – and then I shall leave very good feedback, as this supplier is tearing his hair out trying to run a business and is now providing excellent customer service.  I can’t penalise him for the Royal Mail’s shortcomings. 

So hardly a day has gone by in the last three weeks without apologising to or being apologised to by someone with whom the only thing we have in common is Ebay, parcel firms and Royal Mail.  What an incredible waste of time and money.  I am currently at least two hundred and fifty pounds out of pocket through this, let alone the cost of phone calls and stamps.

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