I recently shipped an item to Panama where my wife is on vacation. Not only did DHL fail to deliver on their guarantee to deliver the item on time, the Panama City office refused to deliver the item at all! Below are comments that I submitted to DHL in regards to this incident.
The item was shipped through the U.S. Postal Service using their Global Express Guaranteed service. This service is provided via a contract with DHL.
The item was accepted for shipment on June 27, 2002 at approximately 12 PM. It was guaranteed to be delivered within two business days (July 1, 2002). Using Internet tracking services, I was able to determine that the item arrived in Panama City, Panama on June 29 2002 at 4:24 AM. I notified my wife (the intended recipient) to expect delivery on July 1st.
On the evening of July 1st, I spoke with my wife and she informed me the item was not delivered. I then looked up the telephone number (236-0111) for the Panama City office on the DHL web site. I instructed her to call the office in the morning, and ask them what the status of the shipment was.
On July 2nd at approximately 12:30 PM I again spoke with my wife. She informed me the item had not been delivered. She also said that the telephone number listed for the Panama City office was not valid. Once again, I checked the tracking on-line and discovered the status was Awaiting pick up by recipient as requested with a date and time of July 2, 2002 09:29. I found this unusual since I spoke with my wife three hours after that status was entered, and she had not even spoken with the DHL office.
I called DHL immediately after speaking with my wife to determine what was happening with the shipment. I was informed that my wife had picked up the item at approximately 9:30 AM. I responded that was highly unusual, as I had just spoken with my wife and she hadn’t even spoken with anyone from DHL. The person told me they would put a tracer on the shipment and someone would contact me by 12 PM on July 3rd. I also provided the individual with a different contact telephone number for my wife in Panama. Later that day I once again checked the status on-line. It had been updated at 13:25, again with a status of Awaiting pick up by recipient as requested. I thought maybe they had contacted my wife, and she agreed to pick up the item at their office. Even though I had contracted with DHL for delivery to her home.
I spoke with my wife again on the evening of July 2nd. I asked if she had been contacted by DHL. She stated she had not been.
On July 3rd, I once again checked the status of the shipment on-line. It had been updated once again at 08:23 to Awaiting pick up by recipient as requested. At approximately 10:30 AM I again contacted DHL to determine what was happening with the item. The individual contacted the Panama City office who informed him they could not deliver the item because the address was improper. The individual also gave me a valid telephone number so my wife could call the Panama City office and attempt to arrange delivery. One more item of interest here is although the English language version o f the tracking site shows Awaiting pick up by recipient as requested., the Spanish language version shows Carga en trnsito Desde: Julio 03, 2002 08:23 which loosely tanslates to package in transit: July 03, 2002 08:23. Why the disparity between the two?
I am not sure everything that has transpired in the Panama City office, but can only deduce something is not right from what DHL representatives have told me. Why would they say my wife picked up the shipment on July 2nd at 9:30 AM? Why would they say she requested the item be held for her to pick-up, when she had never even spoke with them?
Was delivery even attempted on July 1st? Since the Panama City office has stated the address was improper, then how would they have even attempted delivery on July 1st? Did they send a driver out of their office to aimlessly wander the city hoping to find the recipient? Or perhaps they had a vague idea of where the address was, and sent a delivery driver out who couldn’t locate the address? Either way, I would think the first thing one would do is contact the recipient and say we don’t know where your address is, can you provide us with directions to get there? Or perhaps they couldn’t reach the recipient, then I would expect they would contact me (the sender) and tell me there was a problem. Instead it appears that one of two things happened. 1) According to the DHL representative I spoke with they inputted the status that my wife had picked up the item. 2) According to the on-line information, they input the status that they were awaiting my wife to pick up the item.
To me it would make sense from a customer service standpoint to contact the customer when a problem is encountered. Instead it appears that their policy is to wait for the customer to make first contact with you and ask if there is a problem.
I would like to make a suggestion. Fed Ex use to have the slogan, when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight. Maybe your slogan should be, if you want to take a chance that it will arrive eventually, why not take a chance on us?
My wife spoke with the DHL office in Panama on July 3rd. They are refusing to deliver the item. They told her that they “do not deliver to residential addresses.”
Please also note that DHL has yet to date initiated contact with my wife, she initiated the contact with her. Again I must ask the question, is it their policy to wait for the customer to make first contact with you and ask if there is a problem? When she asked the individual if they had her updated contact telephone number (a cellular phone), the response was along the lines of, “yes, but we don’t like to call cellular phones.” All I can say is this is truly amazing. Their customer service in Panama leaves a lot to desire.
If it is in fact true that DHL does not deliver to residential addresses in Panama, then I must have been given the wrong contract. Maybe I should have been provided with the contract that is exclusive to Panama.
It is now apparent that the item will not be delivered until July 4th (if even then). This will now be the 5th business day after it was accepted for shipment. I could have gotten quicker service via the U.S. mail.
If I would have been asked up front (or even on July 1st) if they could hold the item for pickup, I would have been willing to accept that. It is now a matter of principle.
I had hoped to resolve this issue in a quick, friendly and simple manner. However it appears this isn’t possible.
And the saga did not end there. A DHL “specialist” who was working the case contacted me on July 3rd and informed me she sent an e-mail to the Panama City office directing them to deliver the item. She also personally spoke with the supervisor in Panama and told him the package needed to be delivered.
I informed my wife of the latest information, and told her to contact the DHL office again on the morning of July 4th. She called them and she told me their attitude had totally changed. She spoke with the same individual who told her they “don’t deliver to residential addresses”, and now the lady apologized and told her that delivery would be arranged that morning, or afternoon at latest. So I figured the call to the supervisor must have worked.
At approximately 2PM on July 4th, I again checked the status on-line. It now showed the package had been signed for by my wife’s nephew. I figured it must have been delivered, and wondered why my wife herself did not sign for it. I called my wife and asked her. She told me it had not been delivered, but DHL contacted her and once again changed their story. They were now again saying they do not deliver to residential addresses. So she agreed to send her nephew to pick up the package. She provided them with his name. Apparently they then put his name in the computer, updating the status to indicate that he had picked the item up. The item was still in the DHL office however.
I then called the DHL U.S. office, and again asked why the item was not being delivered. Of course they looked it up and said it had been signed for and picked up by my wife’s nephew. I said this was not the case, as he had just left to get the item but could not have possibly gotten it yet. They told me they would refer the case back to the “specialist.” I asked if the specialist was working (July 4th holiday). I was told no, but she would call me on Monday. I informed them this was totally unacceptable, and asked to speak with a supervisor.
I spoke with a supervisor (Esther), and she called the Panama City office. She was told that my wife’s nephew did in fact sign for and pick-up the item. The DHL office in Panama was now saying they refused to deliver the item because the address was in a dangerous part of the city, and they do not deliver to addresses there.
I called my wife again, and she informed me that her nephew returned, but they would not release the item to him. I asked her if he had signed anything at the office. He said, yes they made him sign for the package but then wouldn’t give it to him. She also said that someone from DHL had just called and said they would deliver the item that afternoon, or tomorrow. Wow! How many time can they change their story?
My wife decided to go to the DHL office herself and claim the package. When she arrived, she was informed the package wasn’t there as they had sent someone to deliver it. She returned home to find the package there.
In the meantime while all of this was going on, I had contacted the DHL U.S. office again, and told them we needed to do a conference call with the Panama office while my wife was there so they could say in front of her face that her nephew had picked the item up. It didn’t work out well because they would never let me here the portion of the conversation where they supposedly talked with the lady who handed her nephew the package. I did get to hear part of the conversation with the supervisor though.
The supervisor had informed the U.S. DHL representative that my wife was not in the DHL office, even though I told her to wait there until she received my call. He also said my wife had lied to me. According to him she was afraid to tell me that she had accepted going to the office to pick up the item, therefore letting DHL off the hook for delivery. In addition, he stated my wife brought the package back to the DHL office telling them to accept it back and to deliver it to her. This of course to appease me (according to him).
While we were on the conference call, he said what he would do is call my wife on her cellular phone and conference her in also. He told me and the U.S. DHL representative to be quiet while he did this. The U.S. representative told him to first ask her who went to the office to get the package, and then ask if she had returned it to their office. It took probably 10 minutes before he dialed my wife’s cellular phone. I figure during that time they told her something to get her to leave the DHL office. That way they could tell me she wasn’t there. When he called her, he asked the first question but not the second. Of course she responded that her nephew had went to the DHL office to pick up the item, as this was true. He even signed for it. I tried to ask her about this was on the conference call, but she could hear me. I don’t know if that was by design on their part or not.
So one must wonder, if DHL doesn’t deliver to that “dangerous” part of town then why wasn’t that the story from the beginning? Instead it was, the address was incorrect. When the DHL “specialist” called the Panama City office on July 3rd and spoke with the supervisor, why did he not say then that they don’t deliver to that part of town? Instead she gave me the impression the item would be delivered.
It is evident to me that the DHL people assigned to Panama were trying to cover their tracks. They first said the item was picked up by my wife on July 2nd. They then said she agreed to pick it up. They said the address I used was improper. Then it was, “we don’t deliver to that part of town.” They had my wife’s nephew sign for the item so they could have “proof” it was picked up, even though they wouldn’t give it to him. Then with my wife in their office, and knowing I would be calling; they did what they could to get rid of her so she couldn’t hear what was going on. When they did call her and joined her in on the conference call, they asked a loaded question to prove to me she was lying.
If you are shipping anything to Panama, beware of these people. They will resort to lies and deceit to cover their assess!
San Antonio, Texas