CHOICE membership

Courier and Delivery Services

It would be a good read to have a satisfaction survey of our courier services. Fastway provides very inconsistent services to Eltham. If I know a vendor uses them I give first preference to vendors that do not. Businesses should be interested in using reliable not just cheap services, but they are usually insulated from the delivery and non-delivery frustrations at the customer end.

I doubt a test is practical but a questionnaire including satisfaction, costs, reliability, reviewer location, and accurate tracking would be useful if there was sufficient response and geographic coverage, especially as AusPost seems to take longer and cost more every year, and many business are migrating to courier services.

There is a related thread

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Thanks @PhilT, I’ll be sure to raise this with our content team.

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I recently bought an exercise bike from FitOnline. Cost of the bike was $578 and delivery from Queensland to Tasmania was $39.95. The company offers a 14-day Money-Back Guarantee. Before the bike arrived I suffered an injury and advised the company I wished to return the bike for a full refund, which was readily agreed to. I contacted Toll Ipec who had delivered the bike to arrange return to an address in NSW. Their quote was $360. When I queried this I was told that this was the rate for a non-business client. Other couriers quoted similar amounts. I contacted FitOnline and asked if they could arrange the return on their business account and deduct the amount from my refund. They replied that this was not something they normally did but would make inquiries. Their quote was $200 which they advised would save me $100! I’m not accusing them of misconduct but under the circumstances their claim of a 14-day Money-Back Guarantee is pretty hollow.

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Hi @HonkersH5, welcome to the community.

This is an issue with an individual requires a service and the economies of scale that larger organisations have to negotiate lower rates for multpile contracted services. The business nogotiated service rates are also likely to be directional as well…from the retailer to customer and not the other way around unless it has been negotiated by the business.

The price quoted hy the couriers seems high compared to the discounted merchant rate.

I wonder if the cost for Tasmania to the mainland is higher as the volume of freight is less and/or shipping is more sporatic. It might mean double handling or use of airfreight over ground/water based shipping.

Have you tried getting quotes from land/water shipping only. Maybe also try Toll as they seem to operate the freighter across Bass Strait. Also see if it is cheaper to drop at the wharf rather than home pickup…if this is a possibly for you.

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I have moved your question, because it is not really about a warranty claim, it is about the asymetrical courier costs to return goods to the retailer.

In your case, there is nothing wrong with the goods, so it is not a warranty claim. As you wish to return it due to having injured yourself, you are reliant (as with change of mind) on their 14-day returns policy. Fitonline money back guarantee says “If for any reason whatsoever you are not satisfied, please return the goods in their original, unmarked condition and packaging within 14 days, and choose either a full refund, or to swap/upgrade to another item (the original delivery charge is not refunded).”

@phb has already made suggestions as to why the charges are so asymetrical.

As I see it, you can attempt to negotiate with Fitonline to try and reduce the freight charge down further from the $200. Or, another option is you can elect to keep the bike and attempt to resell it.

It may be possible for you to advertise and resell for say $100 off the original price. This would be a saving for you of $100 from the $200 courier fee, and a $100 savings for your buyer. Win/Win!

I don’t know if you are aware of them, but we use Gumtree and Facebook MarketPlace to sell the things we don’t want to keep, and it is reasonable sucessful. Perhaps you could have a look quickly and see it it might sell where you are?

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I will hold on to the bike and resell it. The money is of no great importance to me – I simply wanted to draw attention to the asymmetry of the delivery/return courier fees which came as a surprise to me and, I imagine, would to others as well. I do think that FitOnline could include advice that courier return fees on heavy or bulky items are likely to be significantly greater (in this case, five times greater) than the original delivery fee, to bring into sharp perspective their references to “money-back guarantee” and “full refund”.

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Startrack are a Auspost owned delivery business for businesses, if you don’t have an ABN you can’t use their services for getting parcels anywhere. They have pretty cheap rates for businesses but somewhat like in your case if you want to return something to the seller you can’t benefit from that cheap business only service. I think this also catches out some who buy from those infommercials like TVSN, etc who say try for 30 days satisfaction guarantee or the try for 30 days before you buy just pay postage and handling. Then when/if you decide you want to return the product the cost of returning it is astronomical and it then becomes an millstone of either suffer the cost of paying for the now unwanted product or paying a big fee to get it returned. Why can’t consumers get the same rates? (sort of a rhetorical question)

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FWIW the inability of the casual consumer to have similar shipping rates to companies is neither unique to Startrack-Auspost, nor Australia. I buy products from the USA with shipping often under $10 from companies, but if I want to send even the smallest lightest parcel US to AU myself it is $33 and rises to more than $100 Very Quickly.

Our basic charges seem over the top in comparison to business rates and there is no difference in the costs of delivering the service beyond selling us the postage, at least none I can fathom, justifying a small premium, not 10X or more cost. But "it is how it is’, eh.

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There are a multitude of items for sale on eBay for less than $10 including free shipping, often from China.

Presumably the vendors must be only paying around $1 or less for postage.

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I would like to nominate “Sendle”
No communications on a damaged parcel, want original receipt on something that was purchased 20 years ago for insurance. Not happy Jan!

Welcome to the community @MissMuffitt,

I moved your post here because it is more about Sendles processes handling your problem than them necessarily being shonky as I read their web site T&C.

Could you be more specific on what you mean? Did you make a claim that has been ignored?

I presume you made the claim via their dashboard? Their requirements for the photo are a bit strict, and I can imagine difficult to achieve in some circumstances.

How long have they gone missing since you lodged your claim? The show a service level of 7 days response.

Note that although they

Step 5 on their claim system includes (my bolding) ‘you’ll need to include relevant info about the parcel’s contents and proof of its value (like a receipt, invoice or a statutory declaration)

Have they rejected a stat dec? Considering the age, item dependent it could be very valuable, or not valuable at all excepting for sentimental value that is rarely compensated for. You could augment your claim by googling for values of your item, or a similar item and may get lucky to find something easily.

If they have rejected a stat dec I suggest you copy their instructions and their T&C in case they modify them, and read about your sights under the Australian Consumer Law for services and proceed to follow the process to send them a formal letter of complaint.

This Choice report is a good place to begin.

Anything done by email, voice, etc, needs to be kept as evidence should you go to the ACCC/Fair Trading, and note that anything excepting a formal letter of complaint is nothing but what I call ‘idle chit chat’ as regards to your claims. If one goes to the ACCC/Fair Trading prior to sending a formal letter of complaint, they usually advise you to do that and come back if still not resolved, so a letter is advised up front.

For additional advice you can search the forum for ‘letter of complaint’ using the community search, upper right.

Posting a bit more detail about your problem might result in others providing experience or advice, and regardless, if you make progress please add that.

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It may be time Choice updated the following. @BrendanMays

Some interesting observations re Aust Post costs for local delivery of OS origin mail.
There is an assumption International Treaties that apply to mail services do not apply to courier style services, EG DHL, UPS Express etc which may reflect more reliably the true competitive cost of international shipping.

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Thanks @mark_m, I’ll pass on the suggestion

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I ask the question: are some courier companies (maybe in cahoots with some businesses) pocketing the freight money ? and getting the competition unchallenged behemoth Australia Post ( never pass up a Cartier watch even when you are earning a six-figure salary ) to issue calling cards that expose the lie that the couriers have attended one’s residence ? If the courier has attended one’s residence to do a delivery why isn’t the courier not dropping off the calling card? Simple answer: what courier companies pay the ethically challenged Australia Post is a fraction of what it would cost the couriers to deliver the parcel. No problem for me because it’s not going to happen again because I am not desperate and I will not give any more business to where I made the purchase. Thanks very much for nothing and for the fact I have a once-only 30 minute drive to my
“favourite” courier. A good ticking off to the business where I made the purchase is next.

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I have previously noticed the (supposed) attendance/attempt to deliver too - there’s no excuse not to leave a notice in the letterbox or at the front door - except of course, there were NO such actual delivery attempts.
I haven’t noticed this recently though - it’s either text, and an email, telling me there’s a parcel to be collected at the PO, or, a proper delivery to my door, with a knock & signature required, or parcel left on the verandah.

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In our local area since Covid, there is no signature for receipt…just a knock/door bell, parcel dropped and left. Many of these parcels have been signature ones. This is okay as we live in a low crime area.

I asked our lovely parcel delivery couple (husband and wife team), and they said they have been told to avoid face to face contact…and these delivery practices minimise contact. When I have managed to be at the door the same time as an Auspost delivery, still not allowed to sign as it means touching their hand unit.

I haven’t received any registered post (which in the past requires confirmation the addressee has received the letter), but expect if one isn’t home/door answered, it will be a calling card and trip to the local PO to collect.

We the consumers push for lower prices with everything. A lower price for either Auspost or courier means something has to give, and it is usually service.

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Hi @baldie1949

I have moved the posts regarding your Courier service woes into this older topic which has discussed some of these issues. Nothing is as certain as the grab for money.

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Sorry I need to clarify: I didn’t mean that Australia Post was cheaper for deliveries, what I meant was the mistaken idea ( fault on my part ) that couriers are using Australia Post to post these calling cards which I now acknowledge is not true. The mail from the previous day was not cleared and the calling card got mixed up with mail that was delivered the next next day. I apologise. However I have found out since that the courier service in question has a very bad record and has gone to the extent of changing their business name. The moral of the story is to check first with the business one is purchasing from, who their courier is before doing business.Bad couriers are propped up by ethically challenged business. I hope this explains everything.

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Thank you, I should be more careful !

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An App with a suitably size security box and video could be a start but that’s problematic too.

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