personal finance

My Le Creuset pans are ‘prohibited’ delivery items, says Hermes

I sold two £70 Le Creuset casseroles on eBay and sent them in two packages via Hermes. As I was leaving the drop-off shop, the courier who was collecting all the parcels balanced them on a wall and the whole lot fell on to the street. Both my items arrived severely damaged, although they had been well wrapped. Hermes refuses to compensate me, despite selling me insurance, because it declares they are prohibited items. My letters to the chief executive have been ignored.
LW, Cinderhill, east Sussex

Hermes’s list of prohibited items, ranging from confectionery to seatbelt tensioners, is so long it would be easier to list goods it will willingly carry. Then, once you’ve waded through that, there’s an equally lengthy list of “no-protection” goods that means it won’t pay if they are lost or damaged.

Other couriers flag up a prohibited or restricted item as soon as you identify it in the mandatory box on the web form. Not Hermes. Its online system will accept your order – and your insurance payment – even if you declare the package contains explosives. You’re expected to study lists of nearly 200 objects and materials to work out if you’re covered, and many readers before you have found out that, when their parcel vanishes, they must lump it. Nowhere on these are steel casseroles.

Hermes admitted that its agent had assumed they were ceramic, which is listed in the “no protection” category. It has apologised, paid up and promised that the customer service agent will undergo “additional training”.

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Senior management should be invited along, too. It’s a disgrace that your four letters to head office were ignored and that only the prospect of a headline bestirred the company. Remember: alluringly cheap prices may mean a lower quality service.

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