Parcel Motel is still my favourite of the 4 UK virtual address providers. For me they have always been reliable, quick (apart from some small delays over Christmas) and the most convenient. All my parcels this week have been ready for collection the same day as being delivered to Antrim so it appears its back to normal after the Christmas rush.
Parcel Motel offer return service where you can send parcels with companies including Royal Mail, Collect+ and MyHermes. You place the parcel in the locker, Parcel Motel will collect it and then bring it to Belfast before handing it over to the respective company for a reasonable fee. I’ve used Royal Mail via Parcel Motel twice with very different outcomes.
The cost to return a parcel using a prepaid Royal Mail label is €3.50 regardless of the size. The two parcels I sent with Royal Mail through Parcel Motel weren’t actually returns, I was posting items sold on eBay to the buyer. The items were mobile phones containing batteries and the post office wouldn’t accept them. I purchased the Royal Mail label online using their Click & Drop service. After printing the label I attached the Royal Mail label to one side of the packet.
From Parcel Motel account under “Return To a Retailer or use a prepaid label” I selected Royal Mail. After choosing the size, confirming the parcel was under 10KG and confirming the price I was presented with the Parcel Motel label. I love how quick Parcel Motel has made the returning and sending side of things. I attached the Parcel Motel label to the other side of the parcel.
When you get to the locker, select Get Started and then Send a Parcel. The barcode scanner lights up and you can scan the barcode on the Parcel Motel Label. (I have blurred it in the photo above) If you cannot get the barcode to work you can enter in the tracking number beneath the barcode manually. I have highlighted the barcode scanner to use in orange below – some motels have two barcode scanners and I have had to help someone out before at the motel.
Parcel 1: Royal Mail 1st Class Signed For
I purchased the label through Click & Drop service online for a 1st Class Signed For package. I was rushing when ordering the label and during the checkout it says drop off at any Post Office or Post Box so I thought I was golden.
However, after selecting the service a banner is displayed stating it needs to be dropped at a Post Office. Somehow I managed to miss this.
Anyway, I only realised my mistake after I dropped it off to Parcel Motel. I presumed it might be delayed or not signed for when delivered but it would eventually turn up.
The Parcel Motel Tracking went as follows:
Monday 4PM: I stored the Parcel at the Motel
Monday 10PM: Parcel Collected from Motel
Tuesday 6PM: Processed at Parcel Motel depot
Tuesday 7PM: Sent to Northern Ireland
Wednesday 10AM: Delivered to Royal Mail
After that, the parcel disappeared without a trace. I contacted Royal Mail who couldn’t have been any less helpful. They wouldn’t provide the number for the depot or ring the depot on my behalf. I was told I would have to open a claim. So I opened a claim with Royal Mail and they stated the label was never used and they would not do anything further. I didn’t expect to be refunded for the cost of the lost item but expected the postage to be refunded and for Royal Mail to at least pretend to help by ringing the Depot to ask them to have a look around. Royal Mail then just stopped replying completely to the claim and my emails. I opened a claim with PayPal for the cost of the label and Royal Mail kept refusing to refund the cost of the label stating I had used the label, contradicting what they previously said. Eventually PayPal stepped in, found the claim in my favour and refunded the cost of the label.
I also contacted Parcel Motel and they were very helpful and did their best. Eventually I suggested they refunded half the cost of the item to my Parcel Motel account balance as I couldn’t prove it was all their fault. They agreed within an hour and refunded the cost of the label. This was only €23.50 but I was still very impressed and it has bought a lot of loyalty to them.
Parcel 2: Royal Mail 1st Class
This parcel was just 1st Class and not signed for. This was sent at the peak ‘Black Friday Rush’ period.
Thursday 12PM: I stored the Parcel at the Motel
Thursday 9.45PM: Parcel Collected from Motel
Saturday 6.15PM: Processed at Parcel Motel depot
Saturday 7PM: Sent to Northern Ireland
Tuesday 11AM: Delivered to Royal Mail
The parcel was then delivered by Royal Mail to the recipient in England on the Wednesday. Everything worked very smoothly.
I will continue to use Royal Mail via Parcel Motel in the future but will be sticking to non signed for packaged. While I can understand why Royal Mail didn’t really want to look into the issue the complete lack of customer support annoyed me – I wished they just pretended to care. I have always found the Parcel Motel return and send service consistent. Its not the fastest service in the world but still reliable in my experience.