Parcel Motel allows you to return items to a whole bunch of retailers. Some of these retailers are actually couriers including Royal Mail, Collect+ and Hermes. A lot of online shops in the UK will provide a prepaid label to allow you to return the item free of charge. However, often this label is only valid within the UK. So with Parcel Motel return service, you drop off the parcel at a Parcel Motel, they collect it and bring it up to Northern Ireland where it is handed over to the courier. It is extremely good value starting at €3.50
When using this service you need to put two labels on the parcel. One is a Parcel Motel label which is used to tell Parcel Motel where to drop of the parcel, the second is the prepaid label provided by the retailer. Recently I reviewed returning with Collect+ and Parcel Motel and I found it to be very good. However, Hermes was another story.
M&M provided a prepaid Hermes label to return some clothes that didn’t fit me. I purchased a Hermes Return label with Parcel Motel which cost €3.50. It took 4 working days from dropping it into a Parcel Motel locker to being “delivered” to Hermes.
The Hermes tracking never updated. After about a week I got worried and tried to contact MyHermes who said I would have to contact HermesParcelReturn.co.uk as they deal with the prepaid return labels. MyHermes said they couldn’t see any updates for return parcels. HermesParcelReturn tells you to contact the retailer. I contacted MandM and they say there is nothing they can do because there is no update to the tracking. This is the big issue – because I did not drop the Hermes Label off to a Parcel Shop I never got a receipt from Hermes proving I dropped the parcel off. I had no evidence I dropped the parcel off to Hermes except the Parcel Motel tracking.
I contacted Parcel Motel who at first were very unhelpful stating: “Once we hand over to Hermes our agreement with you is complete, we have fulfilled our service.” I tried to clarify where the parcel was delivered asking “Could you please confirm the parcel was actually dropped off at the Hermes depot.” The reply I received did not answer this very simple question. I was told there was a signature on the tracking page three times – there was not. Eventually another agent actually answered my questions and provided a signature and a photo of the parcels being handed over to Hermes. The parcels were not delivered to the Hermes depot but instead handed over to a Hermes driver who I presume was doing deliveries to Parcel Motel.
Eventually the tracking updated on the Hermes site and the parcels were delivered. The experience really wasn’t the best. What made it so much worse was the first Parcel Motel agent who clearly did not understand how the Hermes return service worked and instead kept saying we delivered it so our responsibility is over. Thankfully the second agent was provided far more details and actually helped.
I would use this service again for low value items but be aware it will be slow and if the parcel goes missing within the Hermes network you are screwed as you’ll never get a Hermes receipt stating you handed over the parcel. I really wish Parcel Motel would set themselves up as a Hermes Parcel Shop in Northern Ireland. Then they could scan the parcels in and get a Hermes receipt. It would make the whole process a lot more legit.