Sunday, October 21, 2012

DHL delivery drama

A fair warning first, this post is a rant, if you are only interested in scanning, you may safely ignore it.

Yes, we have ordered our scanner at, or to be more precise, we tried to order it at I suppose everybody knows, that most of the goods sold on Amazon web sites are actually sold by other providers and Amazon is only a proxy. If you live in Germany and you are buying on, you are probably not interested in such details. But if you live in another country, a small country (like Slovenia) which does not deserve to have a local Amazon site, this is a very important fact. When an item is marked with “Verkauf und Versand durch”, like all the books, films and music are, you know, that it can be delivered to anywhere in Europe. But when it is sold by another company, you do not know if they will deliver it to your home address until the penultimate step of the ordering process.

Our chosen Reflecta scanner was offered by several companies, but as could be expected by Murphy’s laws, the one with the best price did not offer delivery to Slovenia. In fact only one of the companies would allow it, but their price was almost 100 EUR higher. Not something, that would stop us, but even better, if it could be avoided and we did have a solution.

The daughter of one of consortium members was a student in Berlin and had planned to visit home for the weekend. I was trying to order the scanner on Monday, so we had enough time to have it delivered to her address in Berlin and she could easily take it with her on the train. After a fast agreement was reached by consortium members and eternal gratitude was promised to the student girl, I ordered the scanner with different delivery address to her in Berlin and paid with my MasterCard.


I received order confirmation email, which included DHL package tracking number. So we were able to follow our package travelling through Germany and on Thursday morning it’s status changed to something like (I do not remember exact words) “it was picked up in DHL Berlin center and will be delivered to final address”. Our student girl was following the status too, so she was as home the whole day waiting. But the delivery never came. Only in the evening the status changed to (again I do not remember exact words) “unknown delivery address, being returned to the sender”. Of course the delivery address was perfectly valid, during her stay in Berlin she received several packages from home and none was lost. I am only guessing here, but I seriously suspect that the final DHL delivery man could not to distinguish (if he could read German at all) between billing and delivery addresses on the package and was looking for my name on her apartments building.

Now the hell started. DHL has a nice package tracking web site and it is very easy to find contact. But that is all that is easy. During several phone calls the otherwise very friendly helpdesk ladies refused any possibility to send our package from Berlin DHL center to delivery address next day again, because in their system it had status “being returned to the sender”. The student girl even managed to talk to the boss of DHL user helpdesk, who was also very friendly, but also refused to actually do anything. Although DHL helpdesk is there for us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all they can actually do is tell us what we already know, that is the status of our package.

Since this blog is not marked as adult I can’t repeat the words that consortium members used when talking about DHL and their business process practices that evening (a hint, if translated to English a lot of them start with “f”) and following day, when we were able to follow our package travelling through Germany again, only in the opposite direction. I wrote an email to DHL and complained. They replied, that the delivery cost will be recovered and that we can send the package to Berlin again AFTER it is returned to the sender. In other words, they have exactly two possibilities in their delivery process, either a package is delivered or it is returned to the sender, their system supports no way of interrupting this process when running. But our opportunity windows was gone, the student was already with her parents so I replied that I want them to deliver the package to Ljubljana, which they refused. I replied with my last not very friendly (although without any “f” words) email explaining my thoughts about DHL’s delivery process. This helped my ego feel somewhat better, but did not help with delivery of the scanner to Ljubljana at all.

M & M Discount GmbH

It was time to contact the sender and after this, the events started to turn positively. The company that was selling our scanner (for the best price in Germany) is M & M Discount GmbH. My first contact was by phone and after explaining what happened and the person I talked to could actually remember they have sent such a scanner to Berlin the first impression of them was immediately a good one. They have agreed to send the scanner to Ljubljana (using normal Deutsche Post services). Unfortunately we had to wait until it was returned to them by DHL and I had to cancel the order which they confirmed and returned the amount of my payment to my MasterCard account. They even discounted the price some more, so that the total cost (the scanner plus the postage) remained unchanged for delivery to Ljubljana, the same as it was before, when delivery was to Berlin. Well, the distance is also almost the same:)

Thanks to SEPA and e-banking service of my bank I could issue money transfer directly to their bank account and after two weeks the scanner was delivered to Ljubljana. For first impression about the machine and our recommendations about scanning read next posts.

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