Express delivery may well be worth the peace of mind...

CelticTwilightCelticTwilight Member Posts: 29
Sorry this is a rather long comment but I do think it is worth sharing.

Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, I recently placed my first ever online order for homebrew products - with a high street retailer whom I usually visit in person to stock up periodically and the only one I know of near me which stocks such items. I have had my first (virtual) contact with Hermes through this order and it was not a pleasant experience.

For purposes of comparison; I placed my above standard delivery order (retailer in question does not currently offer an express delivery due to the pandemic) 17/04/2020 with a delivery on or before 28/04/2020. The delivery charge was £5.

My parcel was shipped 3pm 24/04/2020 which was a Friday so I reasonably assumed it would be with me after the weekend on the 27th or 28th. I became concerned, however, that whilst tracking this parcel the status at Hermes never changed from 'we're expecting your parcel'. I put this down to a possible glitch but was right to be concerned.

As 8pm on 28/04/2020 came and went and indeed the status of my parcel remained the same with Hermes in that they were still expecting it when it should have already been at my address - I checked with the courier's virtual assistant. This line of enquiry threw up nothing new and actually referred me back to the retailer whom I emailed immediately. At this point I was assuming delays due to the pandemic and sought clarification of the status of my order/delivery. I was given a 72 hour response time from my enquiry - another 3 days.

After 3 days and no further response or change in updates etc I contacted my bank's investigations team with a view to obtaining a refund and passed over all the relevant details. I was told it could take up to 45 working days. I agreed to contact the bank should the delivery turn up in the meantime so that any ongoing action could be cancelled. I am not impatient but this looked like becoming a real drag.

On the morning of 02/05/2020 4 days from my enquiry, I received an email response from customer services of the retailer. I was informed that my delivery charge was being refunded and that the retailer was contacting Hermes and I should expect 24-48 hours for a response. At this point I had almost another week added to the expected date of delivery. I did feel that the retailer was taking the matter fairly seriously but was not happy about these further delays without clarification.

On 04/05/2020 the delivery charge was refunded into my bank and this backed up the little bit of confidence I still had in the retailer. By the end of the working day, however, I had still not heard back regarding my order. As this was again outside the expected response time I checked once more with Hermes website which was still showing no change in the tracking status. I used the virtual assistant again with no further clarification. I then telephoned Hermes which was an automated service and as with the virtual assistant referred me back to the retailer. At no point did it seem possible to be able to speak with a real person at Hermes. I filled out Hermes feedback form only to get to final page where it invited me to leave a review on Trust Pilot and not to be either able to complete that or log off the page!

I then emailed customer service at the retailer with a detailed account of proceedings (or lack of) informing them also that as they had broken their own terms and conditions in failing to keep me informed should there be any problem with my order that: I required them to cancel my order and reimburse the full amount of my order. I made it clear that at that stage I intended to remain a physical customer as and when things got back to some sort of normality but I had no confidence in their online facility owing largely to their choice of courier. I had already before this order decided not to buy any of their wine products due to own brand inferiority and had also become less satisfied over the years as one then another of my favourite beer kits disappeared from their shelves and had made them aware of such.

Following this latest round of communications I looked on the internet not very hopeful but and discovered Home Brew Online which I had never seen before. I noticed that you sell some of the kits which I like so I signed up and set about putting an order together.

That I also noticed Home Brew Online used Hermes immediately convinced me to opt for the express option which turned out to be DPD even considering that I could have had free delivery with Hermes for spending over £65.

Now is the time to compare my experiences. After going through the previous long winded experience - granted it is but one single order each but also that it is the customer's first impression on both counts - my experience with Home Brew Online could not have been more opposite.

I completed and placed my order around 4pm 05/05/2020 with an estimated delivery date 11 or 12/05/2020 (today's date). I received notification of my order being despatched at 2:41pm 06/05/2020. My parcel actually arrived just before 11am 07/05/2020! The DPD driver was very friendly and made sure everything was in order before leaving.

That is 2 days against 3 weeks.

As I wrote, it is only one example but it is a very good one (nicely packed too) and gives me lots of confidence. I hope this helps anybody else who may be thinking buying online is a bit precarious given the current situation nationally.

Finally to finish on another good note on 10/05/2020 the above retailer emailed first with an apology and explanation over the unacceptability that Hermes could not find my parcel and then a second communication to confirm my full refund was being processed and I expect to have that back in the bank shortly. Nothing whatsoever from Hermes directly I might add.

Cheers to Home Brew Online & DPD, truly great service in exceptional circumstances!

Happy new member :)


  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    Hi CelticTwilight, thank you so much for the review and your kind words, we're pleased to hear you managed to get some of your favourite brews and it is great news they arrived quickly and safely. We know some of the couriers including Hermes and Royal Mail are taking longer than usual, due to parcel volumes and staff shortages etc, some areas are affected much more than others, but as a general rule DPD are still managing a 1 to 2 working day service.

    With our estimated delivery times we try to advise with caution so hopefully the vast majority will arrive on or even before the expected date - and yours certainly did arrive in good time which is great.

    We look forward to supplying you in the future, if you do have any issues though please always just drop us a quick email and we will reply as quickly as possible and resolve for you, and we wish you Happy Brewing!
  • BUDFORCEBUDFORCE Member Posts: 275
    Been using Home Brew Online for years, only ever had one issue (which wasnt HBO's fault) where they package obviously got battered around and some powdered cleaner broke and went everywhere in the package, and it was quickly sorted out.

    I don't order as much as I used to as my consumption of home brew beer has reduced quite a bit in recent months/past year, but I do stay loyal.

    Beer League: 1. Young's - American Pale Ale 2. Bulldog Brews - Imperial Red Bad Cat 3. Young's - IPA 4. Young's - American Amber Ale 5. Bulldog Brews - Evil Dog Double IPA
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