Unfortunately, we aren't bearing any great news in this post. The past two months have been HARD for us and other small businesses, thanks to ongoing shipping issues. We hope to clarify here what is going on for all of you that are affected.
ORDERS PLACED NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2022
We have identified a specific batch of orders dispatched around 29th November to 2nd December where we are seeing the most severe delays. It is our understanding that these parcels were collected just before a strike day - delivered to Heathrow and our regional RM Distribution centre, and left. On the following days after the strike, later parcels then collected on top and were processed first (e.g. last parcels in, first parcels out) and as more strike days occurred, this issue got worse. As it stands, we are assuming that this batch of parcels are still at the Heathrow Mail Centre and other distribution centres in the sacks we loaded them into on the day we dispatched them.
Because they haven't yet been sorted and scanned into the system, for a lot of our international customers their tracking shows 'Sender Preparing' or 'We're expecting it'. Here is an actual example of a parcel that left us on Friday 2nd December, and the tracking page as of Tuesday 17th January.
This is especially frustrating and confusing on your end, because it makes it seem like we haven't dispatched your order when it left us almost straight away, in the days following your 'shipping dispatch' notification. This badly affects the trust we have with our customers, and we can't put across just how maddening it is that this isn't something we can just go in and fix ourselves.
Let it be known that we have chased and chased Royal Mail about this. We have especially pushed them to put out a public announcement that small businesses can point to when trying to explain this complicated situation to their angry customers. As yet, they haven't been willing to help at all.
If you are interested in your own deep dive of this situation, we recommend scrolling through the Royal Mail subreddit. SO many customers and small businesses have been left in the lurch, helpless against chargebacks and PayPal disputes thanks to inaction by Royal Mail. Just as a disclaimer - we don't blame the distribution workers, frontline staff, and/or posties for this. The issue definitely sits with mis-management and a less than adequate contingency plan put in place for strike periods.
ORDERS PLACED JANUARY 2023
These ongoing delays have now FURTHER compounded by the cyber attack issues that began for Royal Mail last week. On Thursday they asked customers to stop dispatching parcels for International customers for the time being, however parcels that have already been dispatched will be affected. As far as we are aware, parcels are not moving from the Heathrow hub, and we have not been given a time frame to expect these issues to be resolved. For now, we are still accepting orders from our International customers but these will be held until we are given the go ahead from Royal Mail to dispatch. We may have to pause shipping if this issue is not resolved in the next week or so.
All we can ask from you is, if at all possible, please PLEASE continue to be patient as you have been already, and wait for your parcel. Royal Mail have told us that they do not consider parcels from the November/December period to be 'lost'.
We are continuing to chase Royal Mail regularly, and are monitoring tracking for a number of shipments our end.