back to article UK parcel firm Yodel plugs tracking app's random yaps about where on map to snap up strangers' tat

Parcel wrangler Yodel has caulked up a security hole in which random user data leaked to people using its Android app. The glitch was spotted by security researcher Ax Sharma. He contacted us having failed to get any action out of Yodel when he informed the company via Twitter and web chat. The problem is not well timed, with …

  1. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Oopsie

    although it would probably point out that it does not get much credit for delivering several hundreds of thousands of parcels a day successfully.

    Maybe all those compliments were delivered to the wrong address.

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Oopsie

      I've loved Yodel ever since I opened the door on an unsuspecting delivery guy and gently took the "we called but you were out" card from his hand.

      1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

        Re: Oopsie

        I've "loved" them since they were HDNHELL and decided that they just couldn't be bothered to load an item on a van and deliver it, despite it being sent as guaranteed next day delivery and arriving at depot well before the van left. So I drove 55 miles on my birthday no less, getting there more than 45 minutes BEFORE their depot closing time to find them shutting up for the day and about to pull down the shutters, some strong words got my package handed over....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oopsie

      In my area, Yodel are a bit hit and miss. My favourite episodes have included being told my parcel was out for delivery, then it was at the depot, then it went missing and I had to report it to the seller and get them to file a claim with Yodel. Then there was the time that the Yodel delivery guy got taken ill after he'd collected his van full of parcels, and because of their contracting practices, it was "his" parcel in "his" van I didn't get it until 3 days later when he was well again....

      1. tony72

        Re: Oopsie

        I was going to post a rant about Yodel, but I've probably done it before, and I don't want to sound like a broken record. But picture me spitting on the floor at the mere sound of their name.

    3. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Oopsie

      With their tracking you just need to fish over the garden fences and all manner of goodliness from on-line retailers too tight to pay a proper courier to do the job.

      Worst for me was some Ugg Boots - my wife’s poor choice, not me - chucked over the back gate on Monday with no out card. Found after 7 days when putting the bins next out. Completely ruined with days of rain.

      Office Shoes replaces without quibble but says it all.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "we can confirm that it is now resolved"

    But, first you said there was no problem. So all of sudden there was one and it's dealt with ? After you ignored an initial warning ? Isn't that convenient.

    The worst thing about this is that it is something that affects you whether or not you have the app, since it is other people who get to see your details. So, saying "well I'm not going to download that app" is not a solution.

    That is bad. I do hope that it has been effectively dealt with.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "we can confirm that it is now resolved"

      That is bad. I do hope that it has been effectively dealt with.

      Absolutely. Some PR wonk has issued a bland response which acknowledges that something has changed whilst alluding only tangentially to the problem and certainly without admitting any kind of corporate blame for the problem.

      This appears to be what Big Business(tm) considers to be 'effectively dealing with it'.

      But rest assured - they take security seriously.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "we can confirm that it is now resolved"

      If the insecure app was leaking other people's addresses and details of what was being delivered to that address, given that at least some of the people at those addresses could potentially be identified (via the public electoral register, or from the phone book), shouldn't Yodel be having a quick GDPR shout to the ICO to confess their sins?

      I'm sure that Jo Brown of 69 Acacia Avenue would probably not want it publicly known that they had ordered (uhh, insert exotic sex toy here) and that it was to be left in the garden shed if they weren't in...?

      1. AmenFromMars

        Re: "we can confirm that it is now resolved"

        I can't believe you just blurted out my name and address on here, fortunately the Orgasmatron 9000 was still in the shed :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "we can confirm that it is now resolved"

          It's OK, I didn't say which town, so your secret would have been safe ...although I fear you may have just outed yourself...

          1. AmenFromMars

            Re: "we can confirm that it is now resolved"

            The town is on Mars so I think I'm safe, delivery times and costs are horrendous though.

            1. AmenFromMars

              Re: "we can confirm that it is now resolved"

              and I lied, I don't have a shed, it was left in the green bin...why do they do that? Don't they realize the potential issue?

  3. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Credit

    And, of course, it told us, it takes data protection... "very seriously".

    .....UK's least favourite courier company, although it would probably point out that it does not get much credit for delivering several hundreds of thousands .....

    Err. Obviously it takes data protection seriously when it gets found out.

    And delivering parcels is its job. It's what they do. It's a basic thing.

    Who gets credit for only screwing up their job some of the time ( politicians excluded of course)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Credit

      Capita?

      1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

        Re: Credit

        HP's legal department?

  4. Jan 0

    > Yodel garners regular gongs as the UK's least favourite courier company, although it would probably point out that it does not get much credit for delivering several hundreds of thousands of parcels a day successfully. ®

    Do they measure success by counting how many parcels remain in the vans and subtracting that from the original load?

    It would be so nice if all retailers gave us a choice of delivery services.

    1. NonSSL-Login

      Despite so many deliveries a day, they manage to screw mine up every time.

      Used to get told they tried to deliver but I was out so many times when no one had even approached my door but heard that in the last year they introduced something where drivers have to take a photo to prove they were at the property as so many were apparently lying about deliveries.

      Instant dread when I see Yodel as the delivery type after paying. I tend to ask up front that Yodel isn't used when I remember.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "in the last year they introduced something where drivers have to take a photo to prove they were at the property as so many were apparently lying about deliveries."

        The last time they produced a "photo to prove" they'd been at my property the door in question wasn't even the right colour, let alone made of the right material.

        "We left it outside the white door"

        "My door isn't white - nor are the neighbours' doors - and you might want to take a closer look at the photograph because the number on the door in it bears little resemblence to the delivery address"

        Incidentally the local authority tried the same thing on drain cleaning due to fraud - making the contractors photograph each drain as they worked on it - which emphasised how one drain grate looks like another and how easy it is to spoof GPS locations. (the contractors in question tried to assault a few members of the public who walked around filming them in (in)action)

    2. H H

      > It would be so nice if all retailers gave us a choice of delivery services.

      Yeah, like that's going to happen... then their nice, fat margin on freight costs will be in jeopardy. You may think you get it with "free shipping" but the reality is, shipping stuff costs a substantial amount of money. Hence it's added to the price of the product instead.

      Now, let the user choose the delivery service - how much will you pay for your goods?

      Breaking out shipping from the cost of the goods will out how much the retailers actually make on shipping.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "Yeah, like that's going to happen... then their nice, fat margin on freight costs will be in jeopardy."

        Thanks to the laws as they stand, until the delivery is in your warm hands and you've acknowledged it, then the vendor bears all costs of non-delivery

        If Yodel dump it in the green bin and then the item is stolen, that's a non-delivery as far as the law is concerned and the vendor endures a chargeback or sending out again - AT THEIR COST - it doesn't matter if you have CCTV of the delivery/theft either. That's evidence of someone stealing from the vendor, not from you.

        Yodel and others get away with this because YOU ARE NOT THE CUSTOMER - the sender is.

        The only way that things change is if you kick the pain back on the retailer. Long distance selling regulations are quite clear on the issues and theft of parcels isn't the buyer's problem.

        1. H H

          "Thanks to the laws as they stand, until the delivery is in your warm hands and you've acknowledged it, then the vendor bears all costs of non-delivery"

          Unless Yodel has acquired proof of delivery or written consent to dropping stuff off at an unsecure location, they'll get a nice, fat invoice from their customer when that happens. An invoice, mind you, that they will probably forward to the poor sap they in turn subcontracted the job to. In the end, some of that stuff will end up as insurance claims but noone wants to go there unless they *really* have to because that drives the insurance fees up.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    If you want nominations for best/worst parcel wrangler, I nominate Seur in Spain and Portugal.

    They get 1 star on Trustpilot because you can't give zero stars.

    They return to sender anything they don't like or think is too difficult, before they contact you to tell you, you were out when they tried to deliver.

    I have seen them drive past my house several times at the times they were apparently tryingto contact me, etc etc.

    I am sure others here have far worse experiences than me with failed deliveries.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      At least they went to your house.

      I remember waiting for a delivery from Citylink (this is about 15 years ago, so they might not be as shit now), and for three days in a row they claimed to have reached the address but no one was in. The thing was, I was in, and there was only one road through our village, so I knew that they'd not been within a mile of the place.

      IIRC on about the fifth day they delivered half of the packages, and I ended up having to drive down to their warehouse on a Saturday to pick up the last box (they'd lost it, I spotted it as soon as I walked into their warehouse).

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        I have a feeling they were bought out by Yodel some years back... I have memories of them being "less than good" as well...

        edit - a quick google reveals they went into administration and were bought out by "DX Deliveries" in 2016...

      2. LeahroyNake Silver badge

        Omg that brings back memories of when we used them to deliver supplies to customers.

        We have changed to UK Mail and while not perfect are a hell of a lot better than Shittylink ever were!

      3. teebie

        City Link said they delivered my furniture to my neighbour at number 4.

        They were unable to tell me which street number 4 was on.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Trollface

          City Link said they delivered my furniture to my neighbour at number 4.

          And your street number is 581b?

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "They were unable to tell me which street number 4 was on."

          Yup.

          "We delivered to your neighbour at 102"

          "This road doesn't have a 102 - that's the street frontage of a park. Did your driver dump it on the skate ramp?"

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "IIRC on about the fifth day they delivered half of the packages, and I ended up having to drive down to their warehouse on a Saturday to pick up the last box "

        Companies love people like you - you saved them from a chargeback from the sender.

      5. Alan Brown Silver badge

        > (they'd lost it, I spotted it as soon as I walked into their warehouse).

        We had a 8 foot tall server rack delayed for 6 weeks because the courier lost it in their warehouse.

        Funnily enough it was delivered the day after the vendor's insurer billed them for the loss.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Uber think they are innovative. But I think they are just waiting to copy the delivery companies.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    he was told there was "no security problem"

    this is a sad standard these days, UNLESS you get tracking via "social media", or get mainstream media pick up a story, you'll never be listened to, even if you (correctly) predict a meteorite impact on business HQ (in which case you'd probably not try to let them know in the first place ;)

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: he was told there was "no security problem"

      Lets hope there is a big GDPR fine as this was a really nasty data leaking bug.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: he was told there was "no security problem"

        The article hints that the problem could be in the app rather than back end. Therefore if someone chooses not to update the app on their device, e.g. because they want to do mischievious things, then the problem persists. If that's so then it's not a case of "Lets hope there is a big GDPR fine as this was a really nasty data leaking bug.", it's more like "Lets hope there is a hige GDPR fine as this continues to be a really nasty data leaking bug."

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: he was told there was "no security problem"

          If the app is able to reveal data from someone else's session, the fault is de facto in the back end for allowing the data to be sent, possibly implying that they have no proper auth mechanism. It may be in the app as well, but that just illustrates how shit their developers are.

        2. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: he was told there was "no security problem"

          the problem could be in the app rather than back end

          Sorry, if you can see other people's details, it's a problem in the back end. If the app has access to data it shouldn't, anyone can write an app that has access to the same data.

          1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

            Re: he was told there was "no security problem"

            Very poor practice if it was possible for the app to access the wrong accounts, maybe someone accidentally let it connect to the back end with a superuser account or something silly.

            Forcing an app update should be easy enough to hide the problem but who is to know if the back end has been fixed. I'm quite sure any criminals would only be looking for the cream on top and not advertising the fact that they can still get your £1500 (overpriced) phone delivered to some random location or raid your shed while you are at work etc.

            1. EnviableOne Silver badge

              Re: he was told there was "no security problem"

              any decent company would change the server side to error out old versions with a must update error

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: he was told there was "no security problem"

        "Lets hope there is a big GDPR fine"

        That implies competence and political will at the ICO

    2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: he was told there was "no security problem"

      "We attempted to notify you about your software's security bug but no one was there to accept delivery."

  7. iron Silver badge

    > credit for delivering several hundreds of thousands of parcels a day successfully

    So why is it that every time a company uses them to deliver to my address I get a message saying they tried to deliver but no one was in when I know for a fact my partner never left the house all day? Last time they even managed to post a photo of the front door but they definitely didn't press our buzzer. Was it too hard to match the number on the address with the number on the buzzer? Or was two flights of stairs too many?

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Quote:

      Was it too hard to match the number on the address with the number on the buzzer? Or was two flights of stairs too many?

      The reason is very simple.... they give the delivery drivers X number of minutes to do each delivery, if the driver is running late because of traffic or any other reason, its easier to take a picture of the door and falsely claim you tried to deliver, then move onto the next address

      Its not recent, the open university changed from using parcel farce to a.n.other delivery 'service' (thats hopefully gone bust), my OU package was sent... due to be delivered.... I heard the van pull up outside, got a card saying sorry you were'nt in and the van drove off within 15 secs before I'd even managed to get to the front door...... and while parcel farce were shite, at least the depot to get my parcel was within walking distance and not NORTHAMPTON.. as the card said my parcel had gone back to their main depot.

      Still .. you get what you pay for.....

      1. Chronos Silver badge

        I sympathise. However, Parcelforce always try to deliver twice rather than taking the first failure as an excuse to mark it "awaiting collection" and you can book a third conveniently timed attempt (i.e. day of your choice) on line free of charge. Even better, PF will deliver to your local Post Office if the parcel isn't too big (will go through the PO's parcel hatch) if requested or if you're not in and the driver has to go to the PO anyway.

        PF are under Royal Mail rules, i.e. they must get a signature unless the parcel shows driver option to leave safe or a no signature required contract number so, no matter how many times you leave a note on your door saying stick it in the shed, the driver won't do it. The also cannot alter the first attempt address, even if it's patently wrong, as it compromises mail integrity.

        A lot of PF's reputation is because people expect them to act like Yodel, Hermes and such. They won't, and long may that be the case. The only company who beats PF for service and security is DPD and they do this by treating their workers like machines.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          The only company who beats PF for service and security is DPD and they do this by treating their workers like machines.

          I've had real trouble with DPD in the past (principally just not bothering to try to deliver); they seem to have improved in recent years. I think they're the ones who take a picture of the front door they tried to deliver to, so you can see which wrong address it was.

          I have come to the conclusion that DPD stands for "Don't Plan to Deliver", but maybe that is too harsh. Perhaps it should be the pleasingly recursive "DPD Partially Deliver".

          1. EnviableOne Silver badge

            DPD are by far the best of a bad bunch, and if you have the app you can follow the driver to your door. they also give you a pretty acurate window of whe they will get there too.

            they are infinitley better than the alternatives:

            TNT aka Take Nothing Today (apparently my offfice gets assigned to a dead round)

            DHL aka Damaged Hijacked or Lost (loads of packages just dont make it, including an XBOX that reappeared in the depot once a chase was ent)

            UPS aka Undoutably packages stolen (dissapeared all the time)

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "PF are under Royal Mail rules"

          That would be the PF who regularly lose packages, can bend even the best packed servers and are well documented as having managed to have had "lost" parcels show up 400 miles from where they're supposed to be?

          "A lot of PF's reputation is because people expect them to act like Yodel, Hermes and such. "

          According to my CCTV recordings, they're even worse than Yodel/Hermes/etc - at least those couriers usually wait a minimum 15-20 seconds at the door before buggering off.

          1. Chronos Silver badge

            Sounds awful. Let me know which depot serves you and I'll look into it. I will readily admit that mis-sorts do happen and things regularly turn up at our depot which shouldn't, given the automated routing by the lobster in the Coventry hub. We manually re-label these and ensure that the tracking is flawless for the next hop by noon.

            The drivers are employed for the most part which, coupled with the route being covered by a regular driver, is what should separate us from the competition. There's no piecework per attempted delivery and they have to take anything failed out the next day. We deliberately use hand-written customer absent cards because it takes longer to write them out correctly than to wait a minute for the householder to answer the door. They're also supposed to write them out on the doorstep which often results in a successful delivery with the slower resident or a neighbour offering to take the parcel in, something that should be attempted anyway where the tracking label doesn't forbid it. The behaviour you describe is actionable and you would be quite within your rights to message the depot via parcelforce.com to have management correct it.

            In short, if we communicate properly we can make things work correctly to the satisfaction of all parties. We need to know about this sort of thing so we can correct it. Being just another one of the rotten apples isn't what we want to accomplish.

            Disclaimer: I'm just a lowly CSP in a local depot. I have no "clout" but I can and will escalate any issues I'm made aware of via any media to make PF better for our customers.

      2. Muscleguy Silver badge

        I got a 'sorry you were out card' from Parcelfarce, except they had left the party at a post office, not the PF depot (which is a bit over a mile away). The office named does not exist in PF or PO's system.

        I had to ring the number, it's the local name of the PO in question and since it's about 3miles away and I'm not local to that area I didn't know it. Chap on the phone was perplexed why it was taken there when we have a perfectly good PO much more locally (about a mile away down the hill).

        Oh yes, I rang after trying to use the online system to get my parcel redelivered and failing since it was not delivered. I think I got it over 10days after it should have arrived.

        Oh yes, and the distant PO is not reachable from here by direct bus. I would have had to get at least two buses to get there and it's not on a regular route only an occasional one. IOW a bugger of place to get to without a car.

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

          Quote

          IOW a bugger of place to get to without a car.

          Or a boat :)

          <waving from the other side of the water

          1. David Nash Silver badge

            In Other Words, the Isle Of Wight.

        2. Chronos Silver badge

          Yes, PF are trying to address this with PO lists by postcode for the drivers. You can request, via parcelforce.com, to have the package up-lifted to redeliver, hold at depot or hand off to the correct PO free of charge once because of exactly this problem. The advantage of using the on-line system is that it ties in directly with PF's redelivery messaging system, which an administrator in the correct depot will see. Theoretically, the telephone staff should be able to transcribe a call into a redelivery message for you but often these come through without tracking numbers which makes the job ten times more difficult. Use the web site and always include the tracking number.

        3. paulf Silver badge
          WTF?

          Odd quirk between Parcel Force and Royal Mail is they don't always deliver to the same Post Office.

          For us Parcel Force deliver to the local Post Office in the village about 10 minutes walk away.

          Royal Mail deliver to the Post Office in the next village, which is a 90 minute round walk to get to (or 15 minutes each way in the car).

          I suspect RM deliver to the other village because it's where the old (now closed) sorting office was but you'd think they'd do as PF and deliver to the nearest Post Office, rather than the next village on principle!

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "I heard the van pull up outside, got a card saying sorry you were'nt in and the van drove off within 15 secs before I'd even managed to get to the front door......"

        I have CCTV over my front door.

        On several occasions it's recorded deliverers walking up with a card in hand and shoving it through the mailbox without bothering to knock (or shoving the card through _before_ knocking and walking away)

        Royal Mail are just as bad as the couriers.

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          depends on the Mailman

          if ours says its too big for your letterbox, there is no way it will fit, cos he tried...

    2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Years ago, the downstairs neighbors were expecting a package -- some fancy ceramic serving dish thingy that a relative had ordered online as a Christmas gift, as I recall. It was actually recorded as delivered, although the neighbors never received it. They asked if we had signed for it, which we had not. both apartments' front doors were accessible from an unlocked vestibule, so it was possible that someone had seen the delivery placed inside and had sneaked in and grabbed it. The delivery company eventually ate the cost and the seller sent a new dish as a replacement.

      Flash forward about four months. After a long, miserable winter, the spring thaw had finally arrived and I unlocked the door to my apartment's porch, which was over the main entrance, to get some fresh air in... And found, sitting nestled into the last remaining mound of melting snow, a largish cardboard box, looking somewhat the worse for wear. Rather than leave the parcel on the porch or in the unlocked vestibule, the delivery person had TOSSED the box containing a CERAMIC DISH onto the SECOND-FLOOR PORCH, and hadn't noted that minor detail anywhere!!

      They may not ALL be idiots but -- my ghod -- the ones who ARE skew the average all to hell!!

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        >the delivery person had TOSSED the box containing a CERAMIC DISH onto the SECOND-FLOOR PORCH

        So was the dish undamaged and thus usable?

        1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

          Don't know. Didn't hear anything that sounded like broken crockery when I picked it up. I took the box downstairs unopened, knocked and handed it over with an explanation of where I found it, and went back upstairs.

          Just pointing out that the guy shooting hoops on my porch apparently had a far greater faith in people's packing abilities and the structural integrity of cardboard boxes than I do.

  8. Lazlo Woodbine

    I bought a record player online, cost well into four figures, and as soon as I got notification from the retailer that they were using Yodel for delivery my heart sank.

    Then I got a notification from Yodel that the driver had "left it with the receptionist".

    How nice, I wasn't aware that I employed a receptionist at my house.

    When I got home I was amazed to see the record player on my door step with a card stuck in my letter box saying the parcel had been left in a safe place, yes, I had to step over the parcel to get to the card saying the parcel was in a safe place, exposed to the elements on my door step.

    Neither the retailer or Yodel were overly concerned by this SNAFU, so the retailer is getting no more of my business, it's a shame I can't guarantee the same for Yodel as few retailers are willing to own up to which couriers they use...

    btw, I didn't but the expensive record player online without listening to it first, I auditioned several then bout it online because it was about 25% cheaper than anywhere on the high street...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      then bought it online because it was about 25% cheaper than anywhere on the high street...

      And now you know why.

      Plus the next time you want to try before you buy, there might not be any shops there to do it - because if everyone does this they'll all go bust. For stuff where I have to try it in person, I'll buy from the shop so long as they're within reasonable distance of online prices - or will give me a discount to get there. Expecting them to price-match is unfair.

      On the other hand, with no delivery signed for you could have been really evil and complained that no delivery had taken place - and please could you have the record player you'd ordered or your money back.

      Friends of mine did that with a coffee table, because they were so annoyed that it had been left in the carpark outside their flat in the pissing rain. As it was a resin polar bear supporting a glass table on its feet (cheesy but fun) it wasn't damaged in the way a wooden one would have been.

      1. smartse

        >you could have been really evil and complained that no delivery had taken place

        Commit fraud you mean?

    2. ForthIsNotDead
      Unhappy

      25%

      That 25% is what pays for the premises, the heating, electricity, and salary of the people working in the shop that enabled you to audition the thing in person in the first place. Had you bought it from them, they probably would have personally delivered it for you.

      1. Lazlo Woodbine

        Re: 25%

        That 25% was nearly £300, so yeah, way better in my pocket than the shop's

        And I really doubt they'd have brought it round for me, I live nearly 70 miles from the closest shop that had stock, so more than likely they'd have also used Yodel...

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: 25%

          Lazlo Woodbine,

          that's the problem. £300 is way too much difference. I hope you gave the shop a chance to give you a discount though - and get closer to the web price.

          But I think it is a problem that many shops are selling at RRP - when there's enough margin in it for some websites to really discount. And with manufacturers much less in control of pricing than they used to be - that's pretty hard to get away with.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 25%

            Not really. Some online companies sell these things are near margine/get massive discounts due to bulk orders/deliver direct from the manufacture but "fast track".

            Stores don't always have that option (smaller stock as not nationwide online delivery/presence). Plus, the more expensive the kit, the longer the "interaction" and display process. So costs go up for expensive kit, not down.

    3. Frogmaster

      High Street vs Online + Yodel

      Ok, so you nearly paid the real price of buying online. Sure, 25% cheaper, getting the service gratis in your High Street, and then moaning about Yodel. I'm not completely innocent in such matters but acknowledge your choices as listening to it in the High Street may not be possible much longer.

    4. Mystereed

      I found out I had a receptionist too

      Their name is Grey Wheelie Bin.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: I found out I had a receptionist too

        Is Wheelie-Bin not a hyphenated name? It's important to get these things right, dontcherknow. Otherwise your newfound domestic staff might leave in high dudgeon.

        My friend's receptionist is Miss Flower Bed. The Amazon delivery people tend to just fling stuff over the garden gate.

  9. 0laf Silver badge
    Pirate

    Does his mean that someone else could log in and see the absence of any information about my parecel which is what I normally see?

    That is until it is deposited in a random bin somewhere in my postcode, well in the vacinity of my postcode.

    "Vacinity" in the galactic sense.

  10. Nairda

    A moral obligation

    Some years ago I bought an electronic piano. I had gone to a local store many weeks prior to see what was available and to try some out. The staff were amazingly helpful even though I explained that I wouldn't be in a position to make a purchase for a while as the money was coming from an inheritance. They said that's fine and I was welcome to come in any time to have another look around.

    I agree that if you want to try before you buy you have a moral obligation to buy from the store which is exactly what I did and with absolutely no regrets. The delivery guys unpacked and set everything up then one of them proceeded to test it by playing a few pieces to a very high standard, I bet there aren't many delivery people who can do that!

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: A moral obligation

      I suppose the moral question comes into play when you go into a small independent retailer to try something out. The lines are more blurred when it's a faceless chain store.

      I'd have no qualms walking into $high_street_chain or $national_supermarket to check out the quality of an item before buying it online, and many others wouldn't either.

      Admittedly, this has led to the demise of many high-street shops (HMV spring to mind), but if they are unable to offer anything more than the ability to pick up a cd and walk away with it right away, then they are going to lose business to an online alternative who don't have the costs of physical premises to maintain. If they haven't had the business sense to transition to an online-only, or mostly-online business model then they have thrown away the inherent advantage they will have had from brand recognition, and existing warehousing infrastructure. Bad luck.

      1. JimC

        Re:The lines are more blurred when it's a faceless chain store.

        They're not really you know. Its just that if its a faceless chain store you can kid yourself they are. But faceless chain stores are still employing your neighbours and bringing employment into your local area...

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Re:The lines are more blurred when it's a faceless chain store.

          faceless chain stores are still employing your neighbours and bringing employment into your local area

          This is all true, but theie employees don't get paid any more to spend half an hour of their time demonstrating goods to you. They're probably paid badly too, because such companies are all about maximising their profit, and staff wages are seen as a cost.

          I'm more than happy to support local independent shops, of which there are plenty round my way, but I won't give a second's thought to buying something from an online retailer rather than a big supermarket, nad, to give another example, I'm happy to buy a pair of shoes online if I know they'll fit, without going into a chain shoe-shop which will add 20% to the price for the privelige of waiting half an hour to try them on. There was a very good local shoe shop which I used to go into to buy shoes (and buy from online). They managed to give good service and be cheaper than the flashy shops in the city centre and out-of-town shopping centres. The went online-only a while ago, and then stopped having the shoes I wanted to buy in stock, which was a shame. They could have added 10% to their prices and they still would have got my custom, but the brutal fact is that most people just go and look for the cheapest offering.

          edit - I'll just add; they may be "bringing employment into your local area", but they are doing this by undercutting local shops with both the economy of scale (multiple shops with cheaper warehousing), and by paying their employees badly. If they were forced to pay a decent living wage, I'd be surprised if any stayed in business.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: A moral obligation

        Loyal Commenter,

        I bought both my digital cameras (a bridge camera then upgraded to an SLR) on the high street. One from Jessops, one from an independent.

        Even for Jessops though, they spent a long time showing me the different ones I wanted to look at - and I said that I'd found the one I settled on for nearly £200 less online. I didn't expect them to match that price (the cheapest I found wasn't a UK site and didn't look all that trustworthy anyway), but that I'd buy from them if they could get close. I think I ended up paying £30 more than the UK site - which is a reasonable amount for half an hour of playing with a handful of models I was interested in trying.

        I actually spent less time choosing which SLR to go with. At the time all the Canon's below pro level had such small controls that my sausage fingers could barely use them. I'm not sure I even bothered to turn the thing on I found it so uncomfortable to hold.

        1. paulf Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: A moral obligation

          I'll raise you my experience with Jessops. I bought a Canon dSLR in 2008 (I think). Even bought the extras from them (memory card, bag etc) as they'd spent an hour or more letting me try different makes/models then put together a package price for the lot. Total cost was about £1300 including their 3 year extended warranty. I went for their deal after going to get a coffee to think about it (and making sure I wasn't being completely stiffed against the online prices). I even went back to the same store variously to get photos printed.

          Fast forward 3 years and the kit lens failed about a month after the extended warranty ended. It was a known fault with a weak flexible cable inside. I contacted them in the hope they could still help and perhaps offer a reduced price repair as it was so close to the end of my warranty. No. They refused to deal with me unless I first sent it off for their paid for fault finding service (£50) and I was then expected to pay a further £100 to complete the repair or get my faulty lens back, lose the £50 and take my chance complaining to them to get a reduced price repair.

          At first Canon also weren't that interested until I contacted the head of Canon Europe. Very quickly the lens was repaired for free, along with any other faults on my camera, and they, coughs, encouraged Jessops to refund my repair fee. Jessops declined but did give me a £200 gift card instead.

          By the time I bought my next Camera Jessops had gone bust (again) and were under new owners. Regardless I wouldn't have bought from them again anyway after that experience. My next camera (£5000) was bought from a specialist online photographic retailer who were excellent.

          I completely agree with commentards above - if you try before you buy in a high street shop at least give them the chance to compete with the online price and factor in that they've spent time helping with your purchasing decision in a way an online retailer wouldn't. I did it when I bought a new set of speakers in 2001 - the local trader (who let me clutter up their demo room for an hour one Saturday) even delivered them to my house at a time convenient to me for free. The speakers are still serving me well today!

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: A moral obligation

            " I bought a new set of speakers in 2001 - The speakers are still serving me well today!"

            To be fair, barring accident, removal companies or children, speakers less than twenty years old *should* be still serving you well. They are the almost the definition of" durable"!

    2. Electronics'R'Us Bronze badge
      Go

      Re: A moral obligation

      When I moved here (well, took occupation about 10 days before the main move), we suddenly realised that we would need an oven / hob (long story).

      The usual suspects could not do it within a day, so I went to a local (Devon and Cornwall) retailer who had it delivered, installed and operational within 5 hours on a Saturday.

      The overall cost of the appliance was not really any more than $BigRetailer and the service was excellent. I now use them for all my white goods (I know the stuff will be delivered and installed promptly which is easily worth the extra few pounds it costs).

      As to deliveries, local knowledge is essential; post codes are based on a certain number of dwellings and putting my post code into a satnav will place you either about a quarter of a mile west of the house or half a mile east depending on what app you use.

      I was at a customer site one day when the oil delivery chap called me to ask where the house was (and he was fairly local).

      We get stuff delivered by Yodel and haven't really had a problem here (that was not the same when we were in a more built up area).

      1. paulf Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: A moral obligation

        Wollacotts? +1 for them!

    3. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: A moral obligation

      Fully agree. Like to support local reputable stores, did similar try before buy for an electric piano. from independent shop in nearest big city (they delivered it, set it up and and spent a good while checking it was all OK).

      A bit more expensive than online, but helping the shop stay in business and benefit of knowing the piano had been given a thorough check (not just playing it but checking all the outputs from headphones to phono were OK, checked recording what you played to USB was working etc.)

      Big ticket items should have a long life and so a bit extra on initial purchase

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Yodel garners regular gongs as the UK's least favourite courier company"

    That's a strongly contested title.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Yodel garners regular gongs as the UK's least favourite courier company"

      It is like handing out awards for the UK's least favourite sexually transmitted disease.

      I must admit, I first read it as most favourite courier company in the article, and to be honest, both sentences mean much the same thing.

  12. Ancient Geek

    Yodel surpassed themselves a few weeks ago. I was expecting a delivery and watching the tracking data. When I was the next delivery, I was watching from my office window and saw a Transit van drive onto the estate but no knock on the door. It was only when I got an email telling me my parcel had been delivered that I started to worry. A quick check of the outside of the house found nothing and all the neighbours were out. So I set off to scour the adjacent streets and sure enough there was my parcel sitting on the doorstep at the correct house number but in the wrong street. Complained but no response from Yodel.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge
      FAIL

      Yodel are crap in my experience

      I once ordered a new SIM card for urgent next day delivery. I checked the tracking app periodically seeing he was getting closer and closer until it finally said the item had been delivered. Err, no it hadn't. Tried to get in touch with Yodel but that was a non-starter. Half hour later there was a knock on our door from a stranger. Transpired she was someone who lived a mile up the road and was baffled why someone had just pushed a small parcel through her letterbox that was clearly addressed to us.

      While it demonstrates Yodel's incompetence it does at least show that there are some decent folks out there who go the extra mile (literally) to help a random stranger.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do what I did (though not sure if it's Yodel).

      Check the tracker, see the driver is on the way. Stand at my door, as they are driving by to go to a neighbour, open door in front of them, stand their in view of the street.

      As they are delivering to the neighbour go

      "Oh, the app says I'm next"

      To my suprise, the driver looked at huist tablet, and said "oh, I've got some other deliveries first"

      But of cause, they will save a lot of time if they don't spin round the long way to get to me. So they handed over the parcel!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They failed to deliver your parcel ?

    Well, you can go and Yodel for it.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Well, you can go and Yodel for it.

      They don't appear to be listening even if you blast it straight into their ears using an Alphorn.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do the drivers get paid by how many parcels they "attempt" to deliver vs actually delivering? If so, I would start there.

  15. sal II

    They had an app?

    Who the hell uses their app, or their services for that matter. Only an insane person and corporate bean-counters going after the lowest bid would hand Yodel their parcels.

    The odd time when I'm due shipment from an above mentioned company i try to keep my interactions to a minimum, tracking the delivery on their website. Really no point in installing their app.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. THMONSTER

    Trust in delivery firms?

    After applying much wailing an gnashing of teeth on their social media accounts waiting and waiting for the Yodel delivery chimps to actually deign me worthy enough to actually deliver a parcel to me I now would not trust this company to hit the planet if they dropped out of the sky.

    There are bad delivery firms and then there is Yodel class bad delivery firms.

  18. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I have had issued with every couriers from the Royal Mail, Yodel, Hermes,etc but I have to say that by far the worst delivery company I have ever had to deal with is Currys PC Worlds Know How team. It took 12 days and 4 attempts to get a TV delivered which was supposed to be delivered in 2 days from ordering because they kept trying to deliver on different days than I had arranged to be home to wait for it. Even though their customer services promised over the phone 3 times it would be delivered on the date I arranged. And when it eventually arrived the TV had a huge crack down the screen and again it took 2 more failed attempts for them to come and collect it. As apparently I could not even drop it off at a Currys store and have them collect it from there as that was not their policy.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Tried buying a fridge freezer from them. After waiting a couple of weeks got a phone call saying it would be another couple of weeks. So I cancelled the order and placed an order with Appliances Direct who delivered the next day. A month later I got a letter from Curry's "Know How Team" asking if I'd like an extended warranty on the fridge freezer I'd cancelled a month before! More like "Team Clueless".

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      " they kept trying to deliver on different days than I had arranged to be home to wait for it."

      You are legally allowed to bill them for this kind of thing. It usually wakes them up.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yodel in vain

    Yodel - the company which left an expensive delivery in my greenhouse. I have no greenhouse.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a feature not a bug.

    I've seen so many similar "errors" with delivery companies, I can only assume these are all features and not bugs.

  21. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Blaming the wrong company

    Leaving bad reviews for Yodel, etc is of no use whatsoever.

    YOU ARE NOT THE CUSTOMER.

    YOU HAVE NO CONTRACT WITH YODEL/WHOEVER

    YODEL/WHOEVER DO NOT CARE

    Your contract is with the supplier.

    If they choose to use a shitty delivery company, that's between them and the shitty delivery company.

    The poor review MUST go to the company YOU have the contract with - the supplier.

    A few rotten reviews based on shitty couriers will have far more effect on who they choose as courier than any amount of wastes air complaining at Yodel - and any attempt to deflect your complaint _to_ Yodel can be short circuited very quickly by pointing out that distance selling laws put the onus on the SELLER to sort this out, not the receiver (or the courier) - and quickly too.

    Pointing out that a recording of the call will accompany the credit card chargeback complaint usually has an electrifying effect.

    Let THEM sort out the delivery issues. It's their contract, not yours.

    (and letting them know that a GDPR complaint will accompany the use of Yodel will have a similar effect)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Currently awaiting delivery...

    The app says "Your driver is currently making stop Number 66 of 181" and "Stops before you 65" so it's good to know fresh beer supplies will be here in about 3 hours.

    The tracking reports seem to start showing activity around 10a.m. and the email says delivery will be by 9p.m. that implies an 11 hour day (well probably rather more as he has to pick up the day's load first). Around 180 deliveries per van per day means around 16 deliveries per hour (assuming no meal breaks) which seems tight at less than 4 minutes per drop. From watching the app the (suburban) area my driver covers seems quite compact, less than 2km radius, hopefully in more sparsely populated areas daily delivery targets are fewer than 180.

    My experience of Yodel, with at least one delivery/month not ALL beer (there's the wine too...), has been absolutely fine but, being a geriatric, there's usually someone home. It's usually the same driver, seems quite pleasant and waved to me when I was out and about in the area.

    BTW, I tried and failed to invoke the security hole.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Currently awaiting delivery...

      I have obviously had a charmed existence in terms of delivery drivers. Over the last 15-20 years, living in sub-urban, urban, and semi-rural areas, I have had next next to no delivery failures (only one in the last year due to the driver having an RTA before he got to the village, I found out later). I did have what I thought was a delivery failure when I built my last PC - the package containing the mobo, memory, and HDD didn't arrive, so I had to get in touch with the seller for replacements. The parts duly arrived, and I'd been using my new setup for some weeks when I went into the lean-to greenhouse for something. There, tucked very neatly out of sight was the original package.* To be fair to the delivery driver, they really had gone above and beyond the call of duty - to get to the lean-to, they must have climbed over the 6ft back gate (which was locked), dragged the lean-to's door open, moved some garden tools, and then reversed the process. Presumably, that was why they didn't leave a card - they needed a lie down and a strong cup of tea! I still don't know why they didn't leave it with the neighbours who were virtually never out, though!

      All our current regular drivers of all companies are great - personable, friendly, and willing to make a bit of effort to make sure parcels get where they should be.

      *Which I notified the seller of, and returned the items unopened.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Yodel but...

    I once ordered something to be delivered to the shared office building I worked at (not by Yodel this time - think it was DHL). It arrived about 6pm, after the the office reception closed, so I got a "we couldn't deliver your parcel" email. I decided to take advantage of the "redirect to another address" option to have it delivered to my home address the following Saturday.

    My parcel duly turned up at home on the Saturday... along with a surprise extra package that had been sent via the same courier to the other company that shared our office building...

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