Sunday, January 1, 2012

Package Delivery Nightmares

We knew package delivery around Christmas was going to be tricky at best, but we really thought we prepared for the worst.  We ordered all our presents far enough in advance to allow up to 2 weeks for delivery before the big celebrations began.  Nana even ordered her presents from a German website to insure that they got here on time, which they did only she got smacked with some HEFTY fees for the transactions so that really wasn’t so much fun either.  Mamaw payed the über-expensive fees to mail 4 separate packages (one for each of us), 2 of which got sent priority mail to make extra sure they got here on time for the girls.  One arrived fairly speedily, in only about a week and at least 1 ½ weeks before Christmas.  The other package, mailed at the same time and with the same priority billing, arrived exactly 4 days after Christmas.  Nana also mailed us a package about 2 weeks before the holiday, and somewhere between Indiana and Berlin it got shipped to Turkey.  Turkey?  Really?  That’s not even on the way to Berlin!  One Aunt & Uncle, well-intentioned but running a bit behind, mailed their gifts for the girls on Christmas Eve.  That box arrived exactly 5 days after Christmas—a mere 4 business days after they mailed it!  Oh yes, and those 2 packages that Mamaw mailed at the same time as the ones sent priority for the girls, they still haven’t arrived. 

I have also purchased 2 books online for my research.  One of them arrived in our mailbox the day after I purchased it online, which I found completely amazing.  The other one is a bit of a different story… with some explanation required before it will make sense. 

We live in an apartment building.  If the package to be delivered is too large to fit in our mail slot, then the delivery person rings our doorbell.  If we aren’t home when they come, it seems that 2 options are available to them.  First they could ring all the doorbells of our neighbors and hope that one of them will sign for the package, in which case they can leave us a note as to where the package is.  (I have done this for 2 of our neighbors so far, and I now really understand why they were so grateful and why the delivery guy told me that it was “sehr klasse” really classy).  The second option is for the delivery person to leave us a note in our mailbox to come pick up the parcel at the post office.  The post office is always always always crowded and the staff are not always so helpful, AND they always ask you if you want to buy something in that monotone “I have to say it” kind of way like the people at fast food joints trying to upsell you on things.  Last time they asked me if I wanted to save money on my energy bill by switching to this different plan. I digress. 

When the delivery man came with the second book I ordered, I was not home and he left me a note to come pick up the package at the post office.  I went to the post office the very next day, and the woman informed me that she couldn’t find the package and I had to call the customer service line.  Groan, but fine, I’ll do it.  (Note: I really really need this book for the portion of my research I’m doing right now!)  I call the DHL customer service line and make a claim to look for my package with the very nice lady on the other end of the line.  She tells me all the steps that they are going to take to find my package and assures me that the last possible step would be that they’ll send me a letter if they can’t find it within 2 weeks.  When the letter arrived, I was flabbergasted and frankly more than a little annoyed. 

It says:
Es tut uns sehr leid, dass Ihre benachrichtige Sendung in der von Ihnen aufgesuchten Filiale nicht auffindbar war. 
Gemäss unseren Allgemeinen Geschäftsbedingungen werden Sendungen, die innerhalb einer Lagerfrist von 7 Werktagen nicht abgeholt wurden, wieder an den Absender zurück gesandt.  Sollten Sie die Sendung in der Zwischenzeit erhalten haben, betrachten Sie dieses Schreiben bitte als gegenstandslos.  Anderenfalls empfehlen wir Ihnen, mit dem Absender in Kontakt zu treten und von diesem gegebenfalls einen Nachforschungsauftrag einleiten zu lassen. 
Für die Ihnen in diesem Zusammenhang entstandenen Unannehmlichkeiten möchten wir uns ausdrücklich entschuldigen und hoffen, Sie künftig wieder als unseren zufrieden Kunden begrüssen zu dürfen
Mit freundlichen Grüssen,
DHL Kundenservice.

In case you don’t read German, the basics in English:
We’re really sorry that your package wasn’t there when you went to pick it up. 
If packages aren’t picked up within 7 working days, they are returned to the sender.  If you got the package in the meantime, please disregard this message.  Otherwise, we advise you to be in contact with the sender. 
We’re really sorry. 

WHAT?!?!?  I’m really confused.  My delivery dude had the package.  He took it to the post office. The lady couldn’t find it, despite looking all over the place for 15 minutes while one child was screaming her head off in the stroller and the other was trying to figure out how to get out of it and make me crazy.  So, because you couldn’t find it when I was there, you just sent it back to the people who sent it to me?  WHUCK?  This makes no sense to me whatsoever! 

Luckily, the people I bought the book from were very nice.  Within 24 hours of me emailing them about this fiasco, they confirmed that the package had absconded to book vacation (probably somewhere in Turkey with our box from Nana) and asked if I would prefer a refund or a replacement.  I asked for the replacement, but it hasn’t arrived yet.  I sincerely hope someone is home when it does. 

Packages sent to us: 10
Packages received: 6 (Including 1 I did successfully pick up from the post office)
Total Score: 60%= D!!! 

Future post to come: German Customer Service insanity! 
The moral of the story dear readers: Don't send us anything larger than an envelope, unless you enjoy spending too much money for shipping packages that may or may not actually get here.  

1 comment:

  1. Weird. Every time I sent a package to my penpals in Germany, they received it within a week, two at most. With me only paying the minimum shipping fees. (Broke college kids ftw!)
    Maybe I'm a fluke in the system? Or perhaps, more probably, sending to smaller towns rather than a large city as Berlin makes things much easier.
    Love you!!



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