Frustrated customers of under-fire delivery firm Evri have resorted to desperate measures to get their parcels as calls grow for an investigation into the company.
Shoppers have been turning up at the company’s warehouses and faking job applications in order to speak to Evri managers after weeks of delays which have meant some customers are yet to receive Christmas presents.
Fed up with the company’s automated chatbot and unable to get through to customer service, one business owner claimed she had to pretend a delivery driver had set her house on fire to get the company to respond.
Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP, raised the issue on Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, asking if Rishi Sunak would order an investigation over Evri’s “poor customer service”.
She asked: “Does the Prime Minister believe that over 40,000 interactions by either social media, email or letter regarding the poor customer service and working conditions at the delivery company Evri warrants an investigation by the relevant Government department?
“His ministers in BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) think not. But I’m sure the Prime Minister would want the general public to believe that he at least is interested enough in this problem to take action.”
Mr Sunak said that ministers “have looked into this issue and are currently considering the matter at hand”, adding: “I would be happy to write to her when we learn more about the situation.”
Evri has apologised to customers across the UK who are still waiting for delayed Christmas deliveries. The firm said staff shortages, Royal Mail strikes and bad weather have contributed to the problems and it is working to sort them out.
The company, formerly known as Hermes, was recently branded the worst-performing parcel firm for the second year running, according to Citizens Advice.
More than two weeks after the last day of Royal Mail strike action, some Evri customers are still waiting for Christmas presents to arrive and have been going to warehouses themselves.
Throughout December and January, furious customers have been sharing details and asking for directions to depots on social media groups set up to discuss complaints about Evri.
One customer said last month that after going to a depot they found one missing parcel but two were lost and they found a “huge backlog” at the warehouse.
Parcels found ‘laying on the floor outside’ warehouse
Another customer from Cornwall said they “went in search for my parcel today at a local depot…only to find over 100 parcels laying on the floor outside”. “I was so disgusted with the way people’s parcels were being thrown on the floor like rubbish,” she added. “My parcel wasn’t there”.
Another turned up at a Manchester depot to find stacks of parcels outside they said were “pissed wet through” adding that they “seemed to have lost one of mine”.
Other customers have gone further in a bid to speak to customer service including Bex Louise, from Llanelli, who said she had “applied for a job with Evri because there’s no way to contact them” over six delays parcels adding: “Waiting for a call back from the courier manager. Oh such is life!”
In Milton Keynes, Sania Shah, 27, struggled to get hold of Evri after two customers demanded refunds for items that hadn’t arrived, leaving her £200 out of pocket. After calling and emailing Evri daily for a month to track down the missing parcels, she used the live chat to say that a courier had set her home alight and attached photos she found online of a house on fire.
The following day she received a call from the company and explained she had needed to take “extreme measures” to get hold of someone. The staff member helped her submit a refund so she would not be left out of pocket.
“I tried to call but it’s so hard to get hold of them, it’s a robot and at the end it says ‘thank you, goodbye, go to our website’. I was emailing and that got me no reply,” she said.
An Evri spokesperson said it was sorry to customers facing ” short, localised delays” and it had delivered 3 million parcels a day in recent weeks.
“Despite incredible efforts from all of our people, our service has not been as good as we would have liked in some areas, and we are committed to redoubling our efforts this year including a focus on recruitment.”
The company advised customers to contact the retailer if parcels hadn’t arrived within 10 days and shoppers should “avoid attempting to enter our depot facilities, as they are not a collection point for parcels and it risks the health and safety of them and our people.
“The security of our parcels and sites is a priority, and we have CCTV in place across all our sites in addition to secured access.”