Cheap isn’t always best – the perils of cheap parcel delivery

When looking for a parcel delivery service it’s wise to remember that cheapest isn’t always best. Before you accept that cheap delivery quote or make any booking, always remember to run online checks on the company to make sure they’re reputable; there are plenty of forums for customer reviews that will pop up in a search engine if you look.

The terms and conditions of most parcel companies, regardless of price, will have lists of restricted items and limited liability on certain items, and the cheaper the service you use the less compensation you will be entitled to should anything happen to your parcel. If you’re sending anything of value always double check the terms and conditions to ensure that it’s covered or you’ll be liable for any damages.

Free insurance included in the cost of your cheap parcel delivery will generally only cover a limited amount, so if your package is worth more than around £50 invest in additional insurance rather than the discount option. Always check before you accept a quote or your insurance won’t be included.

Don’t be surprised if you have to stay in all day for the company to collect, and that the recipient also has to stay in all day to receive it. If your time, or the recipient’s time, is more precious than paying a little extra for a service that guarantees a pick-up and delivery time then look for a service that will provide you with timescales.

Using a cheap parcel delivery service may involve a third party middleman, resulting in claiming compensation for non-delivery or damaged parcels much more difficult. Should the worst happen, and the middleman goes bust, it may be impossible to claim compensation for courier negligence, as all such claims have to go through the account holder.

Finally, a discount parcel service may have more restrictions on parcel sizes, weights and packing materials. Always make sure you carefully pack the contents as most parcel companies will not accept liability for broken or damaged contents due to insufficient internal packaging. Poor packing can invalidate insurance or compensation claims, so it’s important to ensure you follow the guidelines of the company you’re using.

If a parcel you receive is damaged, always keep the packaging and photograph the evidence to attach to your claim form. Don’t wait to make that claim; strict timescales are in place, so if something’s wrong get in contact immediately.

With some care, and research, cheap delivery services can be an affordable way of sending your parcels, but only if you double check terms, conditions, liabilities and insurance guidelines so you’re not left out of pocket.

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