As expected Parcel Motel is getting much busier coming up to Christmas. Up until last week, if a parcel was checked in to the Dublin dept by 7PMish I’d expect it in the locker the same evening ready for collection. My last parcel was delayed nothing too long but still was out of the ordinary. Well another one of my parcels was ‘delayed’. I put delayed in inverted commas as by Parcel Motel’s FAQ 24 hours to reach a locker is standard, but compared to the standards I’ve come to expect it was a delay. The parcel was scanned into Dublin depot yesterday at 5.30PM. There was no sign of it last night so I presumed it would be ready until this evening. At 12 this afternoon I received the text that the parcel was ready for collection. While this might be normal, this is the first time that I’ve had a delivery not at 10-11PM to this locker. I presume they are sending out parcels at different times during the day to try and keep all the lockers full.
eir took over Setanta Sports and now offer the eir Sports pack to all eir broadband customers ‘free of charge’. They really push the idea it is completely free, but it was announced around the same time they increased their subscription fees. My broadband only package went up by €5 a month. I used to pay €15 a month for Setanta sports so I came out ahead. There are six channels in their pack – eir sport 1 (formally Setanta Ireland), eir sport 2 (formally Setanata Sports 1), BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport Europe and BT Sport ESPN.
A UK Virtual Address (also known as mail forwarding) is a service whereby you are given an address in the UK to receive parcels to. The company then brings the parcels from the UK to Ireland. It is then left at a collection point or delivered to your door. They charge a small fee between €3.50-€4.50 per parcel. This allows you to take advantage of cheaper postage to the UK or for items that can only be delivered to the UK.
I have outlined all four of the major companies offering UK Virtual Address services to Ireland – Parcel Motel, Parcel Connect, Parcel Wizard and Address Pal. I really don’t think there is a overall best provider, instead there is a best provider based on a individuals needs. I find having to be home for Parcel Wizard off putting but others would prefer it. I currently use Parcel Motel the most and have received over 100 parcels with them. However, if there the delays continue over the coming weeks I might jump ship to Parcel Connect.
One of the downsides of Parcel Motel is that they are locker based – if all the lockers are full your parcel is delayed. Each ‘Motel’ has 80 lockers in total. 40 small, 28 medium and 12 large. There are reports on their blog of overcrowding at lockers and they suggest other nearby locations. My Motel isn’t on the list but I’ve a feeling it is getting towards capacity. I had three parcels delivered to their Belfast Address, one on Thursday evening and two on Friday morning. The parcel delivered to Northern Ireland on the Thursday was scanned into their Dublin dept on Friday at 1PM. The other two parcels were scanned in at 6PM. I expected all three to be ready for collection on Friday evening. However, at 10.30 I received two texts within 5 minutes of each other letting me know that a parcel was ready for collection. I was expecting a third, but it never came.
The last of the main stream UK mail forwarding addresses that I haven’t reviewed is Parcel Connect offered by Fastway. This review is out of date as the last time I used the service was in April 2015.
Parcel Connect allows you to send and return items, as well as receive parcels to various shops offering Payzone services. There are 1017 locations in Ireland which is a lot – far more than Parcel Motel. This post will review just the receiving side of things using their UK Virtual Address. In my experience, once the parcel is received in their Northern Ireland depot it will be ready for collection the next working day at your chosen location. Once it is ready for collection you are sent a 4 digit pin via email to use to collect the parcel.