What a dirty lowdown thing to do / to mess him up like that

I fear this post will only be of inter­est to myself.

In it I attempt to cleanse myself of yel­low and red. To exor­cise the demons of the most incom­pe­tent couri­er com­pa­ny it’s been my dis­plea­sure to instruct.

So if watch­ing self-fla­gel­la­tion is not your thing it may pay to close the tab now.

<begin>I see DHL vans. I find myself won­der­ing — some­times mum­bling qui­et­ly to myself as my palms go moist and I get an odd cramp in my left calf — what’s inside. I ask myself will any of it find its way to its intend­ed home. How much of it will end up going around and around in an end­less cir­cle, record­ed — per­haps, very much per­haps — by some cyber track­ing sys­tem which nobody at DHL seems able to make sense of or, worse, cares about. And if any­one asks where their pack­et is will DHL, despite any evi­dence to con­trary and any past com­mu­ni­ca­tion, sim­ply deny its exis­tence.

I’ve been there. All of it. It was like a dodgem ride — going around in cir­cles, for­ev­er dodg­ing blows — but one that it seemed, and may still be, impos­si­ble to get off.

The jour­ney start­ed in ear­ly 2005 in Auck­land. I had been approached by a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the glob­al couri­er, whom I’ll call Jus­tine. She had a nice smile and seemed like she knew her stuff. Lots of fan­cy red and yel­low bits of paper — glossy ones.

Did I want to open an account? Maybe. There was one ser­vice I need­ed. We were about to move to Bali but had huge vol­umes of mail arriv­ing in our PO box in Auck­land. Could DHL emp­ty our mail­box once a month and sent the con­tents up to us?

I’ll check’ said Jus­tine.

Twen­ty-four hours lat­er she rang to say ‘Sure’.

And they did. Smooth­ly. At least until Jus­tine left the job and was shift­ed else­where in the organ­i­sa­tion a year or two lat­er. She had proved to be help­ful and effi­cient. All the things promised on those bits of glossy paper.

Then the first prob­lem: the invoic­es seemed to jump. I began to check the weight and not­ed that the weight on the invoice was often twice the actu­al phys­i­cal weight when it arrived. I ques­tioned it. I was told, very curt­ly, that they were ‘approx­i­mat­ing the weight’. Real­ly? You aren’t accu­rate­ly weigh­ing these things. No — our scales are not accu­rate so we guess. They sent through copies of the weight as doc­u­ment­ed in Auck­land. Our invoic­es were still almost a kilo or so more than the paper­work they pro­vid­ed.

I rang Jus­tine and, despite the fact that she was no longer our point per­son, she looked into it. With­out a word from any­one, a cred­it of close to $400 was applied to our account and the weights dropped. I guess they found some accu­rate scales in the build­ing.

As Brigid point­ed out, most of the DHL billing was done to large com­pa­nies who nev­er ques­tion. We did.

Ben­e­fit of doubt time — it was a mis­take. We moved on.

Jus­tine then left the com­pa­ny.

And the deliv­er­ies stopped.

I rang Auck­land. I spoke to a woman there who told me ‘we don’t do that sort of thing — we nev­er have’.

You’ve done it for us for two years’.

No, I don’t think so’.

I wrote a let­ter. Some­body with a nice voice from Christchurch rang. She was help­ful.

I’m look­ing after the Auck­land cus­tomers who were han­dled by Jade’

Jade? Who’s Jade? And you are in Christchurch?’

She was your account man­ag­er. Jade replaced Helen. And yes, it’s not easy.’

Who’s Helen?’

This woman from Christchurch, who we will call Chris­tine, said she would look into it.

And she did. She rang back in two days and said it was all resolved.

An invoice arrived by email for a mail ship­ment. I checked the track­ing ser­vice online. It said the AWB did not exist. The par­cel nev­er arrived, but a final demand from Syd­ney for the invoice did less than a month lat­er — in the first of the new­ly renewed mail pick­ups, which began a month after the miss­ing one.

I emailed the con­tact address giv­en on the invoice and the final demand. Nobody replied. I emailed again. No response. I called Auck­land. I was giv­en an email address for the accounts man­ag­er in Syd­ney — who we will call Rox­anne. I con­tact­ed her. Pay up she replied. There was no par­cel I said. That’s between you and the account man­ag­er in Auck­land, Rox­anne said. I have no account man­ag­er in Auck­land I believe — I have one in Christchurch. Rox­anne was very rude.

I rang Chris­tine in Christchurch. She said she would check. A cred­it note arrived with­out anoth­er word, a few days lat­er.

The mail resumed and most­ly arrived on time until 2009 when we made the mis­take of mov­ing house.

I had been sent a form email telling me that I had a brand new account man­ag­er — we will call her Sal­ly. She was in Auck­land. I emailed her. She replied quick­ly that she would ensure the new address was entered. I realised I had made an error with the postal code so I emailed her back. A read receipt but no reply was forth­com­ing. I sent the email again. Same. And again. Same.

I was in Auck­land a week lat­er so I called Sal­ly. It went to voice­mail and I left a mes­sage. No response. I called back a week lat­er. Sal­ly resigned yes­ter­day — you have a new account man­ag­er — we will call him Shane. I spoke to Shane and he was pleas­ant and said that it was no prob­lem. The new address was in the sys­tem and it was all go.

I went back to Bali and moved house. I received an email giv­ing me the track­ing num­ber of a mail ship­ment — to the old address.

I emailed Shane. No reply. Again. No reply. I emailed Chris­tine in Christchurch. She con­tact­ed Shane who tele­phoned me.

Why has my mail gone to the old address?’

I have no idea. We don’t col­lect mail. Who is your account man­ag­er?’

You are, you fuck­wit. You did the redi­rect!’

It was­n’t me but I’ll arrange to have this par­cel sent to anoth­er address. There will be a charge.’

It arrived four days lat­er hav­ing toured around Bali in a DHL van for three of those. No invoice — either for the ship­ment or the extra charge — ever arrived.

Next month it was sent to the old address again. I rang DHL’s helpline in NZ after Shane sim­ply refused to reply to repeat­ed emails. The woman said it had been returned to NZ because the address my Auck­land office had put on it was wrong. ‘We don’t have an Auck­land office — DHL addressed it.’ ‘We don’t do that,’ she staunch­ly answered — the ‘you are an idiot’ tone in her voice swamped any idea that she was going to help. I asked to be put through to Shane. Nobody of that name worked there she said.

I emailed Chris­tine in Christchurch and Rox­anne in Syd­ney. Rox­anne replied and said it would not hap­pen again — she was sor­ry and not rude this time. The par­cel arrived a week or so lat­er, rout­ed via Dubai!

The next month the par­cel arrived at our new address.

Then we decid­ed to move again — to Bangkok. Shit.

I emailed Shane, Chris­tine, Rox­anne, and the cus­tomer ser­vice email address on the web­site with the details and the dates. Rox­anne and some­body else called John replied. Shane was no longer with the com­pa­ny. It seemed that per­haps his fuck­wit to help­ful ratio was too low for even DHL’s sus­pect stan­dards.

Rox­anne said it was noth­ing to do with her. She was curt and unhelp­ful this time. Chur…

John said it was done. New address labels had been print­ed and it would all go smooth­ly.

We moved to Bangkok.

The next month the mail went to Bali — back to the old address, not even the more recent new one.

I emailed John. He apol­o­gised. ‘Your office in New Zealand must have mis­ad­dressed it’.

We don’t have an office — you arranged this.’

We don’t do this sort of thing — pick­ing up mail from PO box­es — nev­er have.’

I sent him his email from a month ear­li­er.

I had a call from DHL Bangkok. The par­cel was now here — who was pay­ing for the jour­ney from Bali to Bangkok? It was $100.

I emailed John. The track­ing sys­tem said the par­cel had been sent to Jakar­ta. I rang New Zealand and spoke to a woman at the help desk.

We don’t emp­ty PO Box­es and for­ward mail — nev­er have.’

I yelled at her and she put the phone down.

The par­cel arrived three days lat­er.

I wrote a let­ter of com­plaint to the Gen­er­al Man­ag­er of DHL Express (NZ) Ltd. It was sent by mail and faxed to the head office. No reply was ever received.

The next month the mail was sent to Bali. I watched the online route­ing as it left Sin­ga­pore, went to Jakar­ta, to Bali, to Sin­ga­pore, to Jakar­ta, to Sin­ga­pore, to Auck­land.

I emailed every address I could find at DHL. I re-sent the fax to the Gen­er­al Man­ag­er and to anoth­er fax num­ber, adding to it a for­mal writ­ten can­cel­la­tion of the ser­vice. I also mailed the can­cel­la­tion to Rox­anne and John.

I received an email from anoth­er per­son — a senior man­ag­er of the com­pa­ny — pro­fuse­ly apol­o­gis­ing and say­ing it would not hap­pen again. I respond­ed that it was too late and I want­ed the ser­vice stopped.

He replied that it had been stopped forth­with.

I had anoth­er let­ter of demand from dear Rox­anne. I replied firm­ly, explain­ing that I was not going to pay for non-deliv­ery and rude­ness. She was, by return, even rud­er, say­ing that it was­n’t her prob­lem but mine. By return, I made it her prob­lem and sent an invoice for my time.

She sent cred­its and all went qui­et. We arranged mail clear­ance via a third par­ty. It works well.

In Novem­ber, six months after can­cel­la­tion, out of the blue, a mail par­cel arrived via DHL at our house in Bangkok! In the first week of Decem­ber, I received anoth­er track­ing email. They had more mail but it was not being deliv­ered because I owed mon­ey on the last one …

I sent emails to all the peo­ple I had dealt with before. Not one replied, not even the help­ful woman with the nice voice in Christchurch.

Brigid arrived in Auck­land to clear two con­tain­ers and rang them. She was told they had no record of the AWB num­ber and that, no, they don’t clear mail­box­es. Nev­er have. Can’t help, sor­ry.

I emailed Rox­anne and demand­ed res­o­lu­tion. Her response was that it was­n’t her prob­lem, she knew noth­ing of it and any­way, DHL don’t clear mail­box­es and nev­er have. This was fol­lowed by an email say­ing that the account had been closed at my request months ear­li­er. Then, with­in hours, anoth­er say­ing that they had no record of me clos­ing this account — could I pro­vide proof?

I respond­ed with a threat to take it to the police — why were they uplift­ing mail with­out autho­ri­sa­tion using a key that I had asked to have returned?

Three days lat­er two more parcels — that had been going around DHL nev­er­land for months it seems, with­out noti­fi­ca­tion to any­one — arrived in Bangkok.

Then silence.

Until last week when I received anoth­er email. The mail par­cel they had just cleared from our PO Box was out for deliv­ery — in Auck­land, not Bangkok or Bali. I knew not what to do. I was numbed by it all and just stared blankly at the email.

I con­tact­ed the New Zealand Post Office. They con­firmed that DHL — some­what ran­dom­ly — were still clear­ing the box. Some months they would, oth­er months there was no sign. I put a per­ma­nent ban on these idiots going near the box and had the lock changed.

We will see. In the inter­im, I’m using par­cel post.

Cleansed. </>



Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

March 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm

men­tal note. nev­er ever post any­thing to simon at his ak p.o.box, ever.

buster stig­gs
March 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Fuck me si, thats out­ra­geous. Is t Gods way of teach­ing you tol­er­ance and patience. I just wait­ed 5 months for wages insur­ance, i wont go into detail, but just the usu­al copo­rate run around by the com­pa­ny that employed me and the insur­ance com­pa­ny. Still wait­ing for this months pay­ment after talk­ing to my case man­ag­er 10 days ago, tick­ing all the box­es and being assured i would have it on the due date the 23rd.march. such is life.So whats your home address?

March 29, 2011 at 4:21 am

Oh Simon. You have the stuff of a nov­el­ette or a radio play even. The flush­es of new romance with the love­ly Jus­tine and her glossy bits…then the weight approx­i­ma­tion conspiracy…a ghost in the scale machine…the slop­py attempt to swin­dle filthy lucre via heavy invoicing….then the $400 ‘funds cred­it’ cov­er up…THEN the dis­ap­pear­ance of love­ly Jus­tine and her glossy bits and the appear­ance of dah dah dah… Jade…or Helen….and the strop­py ‘Rox­ie’ ….. well I will say no more. This is a vex­ing sto­ry, as with­out a clear denoue­ment I am not sur­prised in the least you had to get this nasty busi­ness off your chest. You’ve been purged, cleansed and washed anew. Although, um, I hate to say this Simon, but I called DHL today and they don’t emp­ty PO Box­es and for­ward mail. Nev­er have.

zero elliott
March 29, 2011 at 5:53 am

Dear Simon-just read this-even by todays lax stan­dards this is extraordinary‑I have some hair-rais­ing sto­ries about couri­ers too,but your eclipses all-how come every­one else is an idiot and cant do their jobs,but the sec­ond I make a mis­take at my job I’m hauled over the coals for it????Love,Z

Gri­er GG
April 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Ok Simon — I thought mine was bad http://nztoodamnexpensive.tumblr.com/post/4408799984/service-or-a-lack-thereof But you just killed me with that one.

April 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I’m exhaust­ed from read­ing that…

Leave a reply