The case of the missing blankets
Back in March, one of my best friends excitedly told me she is pregnant with her first child. I know how much she has always wanted to have children, so this was super super exciting, especially as I was one of the first people to know (how do people manage to keep secrets for so long?!). I texted my mum (as she knows this friend well) and soon we were chatting about baby blankets and yarn.
I knew I was going to make her one of Vikki's Pargetry blankets, as I love the design and I've enjoyed making the other two. The other one was this Chevron Baby Blanket and I decided to go with interlocking rainbow colours.
I knitted the blankets, goodness knows how long that took. The blankets were blocked, photographed, wrapped, packaged (thoroughly), I paid for them to be sent via MyHermes and that, dear reader, is the last I ever saw of them.
They are gone.
I dropped off the parcel at my local newsagent on Bank Holiday Monday. On Tuesday the tracking information said it had been received at my local depot, on Wednesday it had been received at B's local depot, and on Thursday morning it was out for delivery. I let B know, and she said she happened to have the day off so would be at home to sign for me.
Around lunchtime, I had a Whatsapp notification saying 'B has sent you a photo'. I thought it would be a photo of her unwrapping the blankets, or of them on her bed.
I was not expecting a photo of three big boxes of garden lights.
B: Why have you sent me garden lights?
Me: I didn't. I sent you one box with two blankets in. Let me call you.
B had signed for the boxes. More boxes than she expected, but the address label was clearly addressed to her, and had the reference of '[mysurname]blanket' so she was expecting it to be a blanket from me. But somehow in transit, my address label has come off my box (it's about an A5 piece of paper) and someone had stuck it directly over the address for the garden lights, Sylvia in Norfolk. I can't show you the photos as there is too much personal info to obscure, but this wasn't an accident (what are the chances of one address label coming off and sticking itself perfectly over the address of another box, which is three times bigger?).
B: So where's your parcel?
Me: I've no idea. Let me give MyHermes a ring.
And here starts my irritation with MyHermes.
I sent them a tweet - friendly, just a 'please get in touch'. Then I joined the webchat, which is an off-shore centre. I'll briefly summarise the transcript.
I explain what's happened to the 'listener'.
Them: So your parcel has arrived? The tracking information says it has.
Me: Yes, the address label and tracking barcode have arrived, but they weren't attached to my parcel.
Them: So Mrs [surname] signed for the wrong parcel?
Me: Yes, as it had the right address on. How do we find out where my parcel is?
Them: But Mrs [surname] signed for it at 13.02. It has arrived.
Me: No, the address label has come away from the parcel. She hasn't received my parcel.
Repeat for a while, going round in circles.
Me: Can a courier come back and collect these garden lights that aren't B's?
Them: She will need to contact the seller.
Me: Why? It's your delivery error.
Them: She signed for the parcel and it is now hers.
Me: But you sent the wrong parcel. Why should she spend her time and money phoning QVC to arrange redelivery?
You've been disconnected due to inactivity.
So because I was waiting for their response, and this took a while, I was timed out.
I sent more tweets and DMs. No reply. Back to webchat (having to fill out another form).
I get through, and explain it all again.
Them: Your parcel has arrived.
Me: No, it hasn't. The address label has, the barcode has, but not the parcel. My parcel now doesn't have an address. How do we find my missing parcel?
Them: But your parcel has arrived. It arrived at 13.02 at [address]. Is the address wrong?
Me: No, the address is right, but the parcel is wrong.
I call the premium rate phone number and get through to the call centre in the UK. A man is actually helpful and agrees it's not B's responsibility to contact QVC. He arranges for a courier to collect the garden lights the following day (which happens).
Me: So where is my parcel?
Man: I don't know. I won't be able to look into it until after 8pm today as there is a chance it may still be delivered.
Me: Okay, I understand. Will someone be in touch later?
Man: Yes. I'm sorry about this.
Me: It's not your fault. Thank you for being helpful.
Friday. No contact. I get angry on Twitter and eventually get a reply. My complaint has been passed to the investigation team, but they don't really understand because tracking says my parcel has arrived. No it hasn't!
Saturday: I get an email. Dear Amy, your parcel was delivered on Thursday at 13.02. Please reply if you dispute this.
I disputed it.
Today, I called the call centre again and spoke to a very helpful man who understood my problem within seconds. He offered to call the depots my parcel should have gone through to see if it is there, as they have to keep unidentified/address-less packages. Why wasn't that done on Thursday?
The depots were shut, he said to phone back after 9.30 and gave me a reference number and local rate phone number.
I phoned back and spoke to another helpful lady. She phoned the depot, and said they couldn't find my parcel. She then said she'd phone back later on when she'd spoken to somewhere else, without keeping me on hold (thank you!).
Parcel not in one depot. Parcel not in another. Yes, it has my surname and return address on, but nothing else really to distinguish it from any other 1kg brown box.
Lady: I'm so sorry, Amy, but I think we're going to have to say it's lost. I'll send you a claims form and fingers crossed it turns up. I'm so sorry about this.
Me: How do I claim for something I can't prove the value of?
Lady: Oh. Yes, it was handmade blankets, wasn't it? Did you sell them, or are they a gift?
Me: A gift. I can prove the value of the yarn used, but that isn't compensation for the actual value of the items that took me hours and hours to make.
Lady: I am so sorry, let me see if I can help further. Can I ring you back?
Lady: Amy, hello. I'm so sorry, but you won't be able to claim for something you can't prove. We can refund the postage but that's about it. I'm sorry.
Me: I understand. But it's not very good, considering MyHermes has lost my parcel and I'm not entitled to any further compensation.
So, in summary, my parcel is somewhere. But no one knows where. The only address on is mine. But since it took four days for the depot to even look for it, so many parcels must have passed through in that time, it could be anywhere.
My blankets are lost. Gone. Hiding. Evading detection.
I'm going to email My Hermes complaining about the rubbish customer service I received at the beginning, and how disappointed I am - it's a company I've used for years and they've been great in the past. A friend on Twitter suggested I look at baby blankets on Etsy to get a comparable value of my blankets - this is a great idea and is going in my email to MyHermes. I want more compensation than just a delivery refund, it won't replace my blankets but it will acknowledge their mistake.
In the mean time, I'm going to make another blanket for B, and perhaps the originals will turn up one day. Who knows.
So, if you're sending items by post ALWAYS put on a return address, write the barcode tracking number on the box (as well as on any printed out paper) and put a return address inside the parcel too.
Whilst I wait for MyHermes to respond to my complaint, I've got a baby blanket to cast on. This one will be delivered by hand, as sadly I cannot trust anything handmade to a courier company again.