ECONOMY

Couriers come in for criticism

couriers-come-in-for-criticism

Complaints to consumer protection authorities point to a major increase in the number of people disgruntled with the delays in courier deliveries, a trend recorded on social media since the first lockdown.

Compared to 2019, the Consumer Ombudsman saw complaints about courier companies soar 133%, with almost half of them (45%) concerning delivery delays, according to the watchdog’s data for the year up to December 21. Courier delays had accounted for 27% of complaints the year before.

In absolute figures, the number of complaints filed with the Ombudsman came to 280, against 120 in 2019 and 92 in 2018. Although that seems a rather small number, one should consider that reports to this independent authority need to be fully substantiated, cannot be anonymous, and must come with a copy of the ID of the person filing the complaint. However, the success rate for consumers came to 74%, with only 25.4% of cases ending in favor of the companies.

From November 7 to December 21 the state’s General Directorate for Consumer Protection received 115 complaints regarding delays by courier companies, up by almost 300% from the five months up to the start of the second lockdown on November 7.

Complaints to both the General Directorate and the Ombudsman were forwarded to the National Commission for Telecommunications and Post (EETT), which is the competent authority for monitoring the postal market and the companies active in it.

The soaring online orders, which exceeded 800,000 in the first few weeks of the second lockdown, proved too much for local courier companies. Those players in the market who had not made the necessary investments between the two lockdowns in particular came to an impasse, which translated into delivery delays of more than a month in many cases, as the the courier firms simply did not have the distribution centers to deal with the workload.

As courier services and electronic commerce go hand in hand, reports to the competent authorities about online stores soared too: In 2020 (up to December 21) the Ombudsman received 2,981 complaints about them, up 113.5% from 2019.