Readers' parcel delivery nightmares

Damaged parcel with fragile sticker

Readers sent in hundreds of emails in response to last week's piece about the parcel delivery conundrum.

Here, they share their stories of parcel deliveries gone wrong thanks to the problem of people mostly being at work during the hours that couriers and postmen deliver.

I received a card through the door saying the parcel I had been expecting was in my blue recycling bin in the back laneway. In complete horror I ran through the house, out of the back door, into the lane and opened the bin lid. Sure enough as I had expected the bin had been emptied that morning with all my recycling materials in it and also my parcel. I honestly couldn't believe someone could be so stupid as to put it in a bin in the laneway. The reason it was in the laneway and not my garden was because it was emptying day. After an investigation by the courier and the supplier I received a full refund.

Victoria Graham, Glengormley, Co Antrim

Recycling bins Recycling bins. Not letter-boxes at all, in fact

I ordered some flowers for a friend, and the courier couldn't get past the high gates at the driveway so they threw the flowers - which were in a box - over the wall. She found them a day later soggy and rotten from the rain.

Paul, Nottingham

When I lived in a big city a deliverer simply gave my parcel to a random passerby in the street who said that he was my neighbour and always took delivery of my parcels. Another time I had temporary mail redirection in place for a limited period of three months while I was away. On my return and the end of the redirection period I noticed a complete lack of mail. Soon afterwards friends and family told me that letters they had sent to me had been returned as "undeliverable". It turns out that rather than simply ending the temporary redirection some clever-clogs had decided that I didn't live at the address any more. As a result of this I missed several letters from my landlord and actually had my tenancy terminated.

Anna, UK

My parcel was "delivered to a gate-post". After contacting the seller their records showed that the parcel had been delivered and the delivery company actually admitted that they left the parcel at my gate (which is on a main road). I was inside the house waiting for the delivery. The seller readily sent out another, duplicate order which got through. After receiving the replacement, a gentleman called with my original parcel saying he had found it in a hedge down the road.

Jane O'Mahoney, Launceston, Cornwall

Find out more

Last week Andrew Bomford looked into the thorny issue of how people should receive parcels when most were at work all day.

The parcel conundrum

I work in theatre and we needed a Samurai sword for a production. A friend let us borrow one - an original 1915 antique - and sent it registered post. The Royal Mail website said it had been delivered the next day but it did not turn up until two days later. When it did turn up we heard a knock on the door and when we went to answer the post, a man was getting back into his van and the sword was left on the door step. To this day we do not know who signed for it and we still worry what would have happened if this had fallen into the wrong hands. I returned the sword myself by hand.

Iain Daddy, High Wycombe

My partner was expecting a lovely dress she had ordered online. The postman thought it would be alright to put the parcel in the recycling bin. He left a scribbled note on a junk mail envelope and off he went. By the time we got home and found the note, the bin men had collected the recycling bin. My partner tried to get compensation for the next two months.

Matt, Glasgow

Hedge Not much here that resembles a letter box

On holiday with my grandaughter, Nuala, we went in a craft shop where she painted a model fairy, it had to be fired to seal the glaze and the lady said she would post it afterwards. A week later the postman tried to deliver it. My daughter (Nuala's mother) took her to the post office to collect it.

"Need some ID" said the postie. My daughter offered her driving licence. "No, ID for the name on the parcel, I need a passport or a driving licence."

"But she's my daughter, she's four, she doesn't have ID, I'm her mother - here's my ID."

"No sorry can't have it."

Nuala started crying. After 10 mins of arguing and refusing to move until Nuala got her fairy, my daughter asked to speak to a supervisor, who quickly dealt with the matter.

Sue Wright, Keighley

The furthest I've had to drive to pick up a package is a round trip of 88 miles. Two weeks ago I tracked some items I had bought from Sweden on a journey to Tamworth via Denmark, Germany and Barking, Essex. I wasn't in when the courier tried to deliver so I arranged redelivery the next day. It didn't arrive despite me being at home. When I looked at the tracking system my package was 14km south of Paris. It eventually made it back to the UK and I drove back from work in Cambridgeshire, 70 miles and thence to Tamworth, a round trip of 32 miles.

Angel A, Earl Shilton, UK

I was working in a Royal Mail delivery office when an angry lady came in with a "sorry you were out" card.

"My husband was in all morning and no-one rang the bell or knocked on the door. And now I've had to come in a collect the parcel," she growled.

I apologised and placed a small packet on the counter. Her face broadened into a big smile.

"Oh thank heavens that's come at last" she said.

"What is it? I asked.

"My husband's new hearing aid."

Simon Lindley, Cheadle, Staffordshire

My partner ordered a laptop for me as a Christmas present. I waited expectantly for my surprise but it never came. A few days before Christmas, my friend noticed a small slip of paper on the porch. It read "package in green bin". We went outside to my compost bin, opened the lid, and found the package on top of a mound of sticks, mud and worms. I had my laptop - goodness knows how long it had been in that bin, but at least it hadn't started composting. The next day, another slip appeared on my porch, again instructing me to collect a package from my compost bin. It was another laptop. I had been sent after the first had gone missing. Some days, I stroll over to my compost bin and peer inside, half expecting to find new technological gadgets resting on a pile of rotten leaves and banana skins.

Ally, Scotland

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