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Parcel firms face new rules to improve customer service

·3-min read

Parcel firms must improve their services and how they handle complaints after regulator Ofcom revealed that nearly two-thirds of customers have suffered problems with their deliveries.

The watchdog unveiled plans to impose new rules on the sector, requiring companies to treat their customers more fairly, following a damning study.

Ofcom also wants to offer greater protection for disabled customers, who it said are 50% more likely to experience significant problems with parcel deliveries.

A survey of more than 2,000 Britons by Ofcom in January found that 64% of customers had suffered problems with parcel deliveries in the previous three months.

The poll also showed that around a quarter of those questioned found it difficult to make a complaint or contact parcel firms when their delivery went wrong.

Two in five said their complaints were only partially resolved, while almost one in 10 were left with their complaint completely unresolved, the watchdog said.

The proposals come after the parcel-delivery market has grown significantly, especially due to the increase in online shopping amid the pandemic, with Ofcom saying more than 10 million parcels are delivered on average each day in the UK.

Around four billion parcels have been delivered so far in 2021 – more than 50% higher than in 2020.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s networks and communications group director, said: “Parcel deliveries have become increasingly important to our daily lives and customers rightly expect a positive experience.

“We’re planning to strengthen our rules to make sure people are treated fairly by delivery firms.

“If we don’t see significant improvements in customer service, we’ll consider enforcement action or tighten regulations further.”

Ofcom wants to strengthen rules on complaints handling that will ensure parcel firms tell customers who to contact and how to make a complaint, what the process is and how long it will take to resolve, and make sure staff are trained appropriately.

It is also proposing a new requirement for “clear and effective” policies and procedures for the fair treatment of disabled customers.

Ofcom’s consultation on the plans closes on March 3 next year, with final decisions due in the summer.

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