“We’ve got your parcel.” These four simple words might seem innocent enough, but when sent from a certain delivery company, they’re enough to strike fear into the boldest of hearts. That’s because these words signal what might be to come: the endless notifications followed by radio silence when you actually need to speak to someone, the will-it-arrive-won’t-it-arrive game, the photos of someone else’s front door… I’m talking, of course, about Evri.

Formally known as Hermes, the delivery company rebranded as Evri in March last year. The company said the move was down to “significant investment and dramatic growth”. In a post on its website, it explained: “You can expect the same premium service, great value and unbeatable convenience.” But many people who’ve used Evri might disagree with that description.

In MoneySavingExpert’s 2023 user poll, Evri was voted the worst parcel delivery firm, with 62% of voters rating its service as “poor” and even before Evri rebranded, the same survey a year prior found that 48% of voters classified it as “poor”, meaning its reputation has actually got worse. Clearly, plenty aren’t thrilled with the service that the majority of us can’t avoid coming into contact with – however, in the interest of fairness, it’s only right we caveat that Evri isn’t the only courier service that customers have an issue with.

Take one quick scroll through TikTok and you’ll find plenty of videos showing drivers from various companies chucking packages outside people’s front doors, as well as lots of silly spoof videos. In the same MoneySavingExpert poll, Yodel was voted the second worst company, with 39% of people rating its service as “poor” (while the most praise went to Amazon Logistics, while Royal Mail and DHL were somewhere in the middle). But with Evri, the frustration seems to be next-level.

Case in point? Earlier this year, a woman was so fed up with Evri, she pretended that one of the company’s couriers had set her house on fire. Sania Shah, who sells custom clothes and dispatches them to customers via Evri, tells me she called and emailed the company every day for a month to try and trace some lost packages, to no avail. In a desperate attempt to speak to a real person, she finally said via the deliver service’s instant chat that a courier had set her house on fire... and sent pictures she found on Google. The next day, she got a call about her case and eventually got her money back, having admitted that a courier didn’t actually indulge in a spot of arson at her expense.

While not everyone has gone to such extreme lengths to get their issues with Evri resolved, complaints about the company are very much everywhere. The issue was even raised in Parliament in January by Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who asked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak whether the government should investigate Evri over its customer service, following 40,000 complaints.

There’s an unofficial Facebook group for complaining about Evri too, which has more than 30,000 members. On Twitter, @EVRi_Delivery exists to retweet people’s gripes and bad experiences. Search “ASOS” and “Evri” on Twitter and you’ll find endless tweets from people waiting for their next-day deliveries from the fashion brand in particular, which haven’t arrived (ASOS declined to comment for this story). One person tweeted: “What’s harder, getting Beyoncé tickets or getting your ASOS parcel from Evri on the Next Day Delivery you paid for?” And, truly, at this point it’s hard to say. Scrolling through all the examples of things going wrong is enough to convince you to never order anything online again.

You can even get caught up in an Evri drama even when the package has nothing to do with you, which is exactly what happened to Caitlin McDonald. She says that Evri tried to deliver a package to her neighbour, and then tried her house, as they were out. McDonald was out for a walk and returned to find the lock to her porch gate broken. “I returned an hour later and they had smashed the lock off the metal gate while dropping the parcel off. It couldn’t have been anyone else as I wasn’t out for long,” she says.

McDonald’s neighbour complained and sent photos of the damage, but Evri said they would only accept CCTV as proof. Now, McDonald says her neighbours are paying for a welder to come and reattach her gate.

After I put out a callout for Evri stories, my inbox is flooded with people who are desperate for help with their situations. One of the messages is from Taylor Ward, who’s been caught up in a complicated web of Evri-related chaos after posting two coats she sold on eBay. The coats were being sent to two separate recipients, but neither of them received them. Instead, they got something else. “The first one said I sent her a book instead,” explains Ward. “She showed me a picture, and I had to say: ‘I’ve never seen that book in my life’.”

Confused, Ward asked the other recipient if she’d received anything weird that she hadn’t ordered. It turned out, she’d been sent three copies of the same book. The books were signed, so one of the recipients contacted the author to see if they could shed any light. He’d sent his books via Evri, but he hadn’t received the coats instead. So where did they go? Ward is convinced that someone at Evri stole the coats and put the labels on the packages of books instead.

It’s tempting to want to heap the blame of Evri’s shocking failures solely on delivery drivers – after all, some of them are the ones who are chucking parcels over walls or leaving them inside your friendly neighbour 'Mr Rubbish Bin' – but it has to be said that these drivers are often under huge pressure, with targets of delivering hundreds of parcels in a day, on zero-hour contracts. Clearly, it’s on the company to make conditions better for drivers and to improve customer service.

Having opened my inbox up to people’s tales of Evri woe, I decide to take things a step further and email Martijn De Lange, Evri’s CEO, after hearing that if you contact him, you will actually get a reply. A few hours later, I do get a response – but it’s not what I was expecting. It’s labelled as a “support incident update” and says: “You recently requested our assistance through the online support pages”, which I did not (classic Evri). Right at the bottom of the email, though, is a PR contact for Evri. I drop them a line.

They look into the coat/book saga and say that “no proof of theft was found”, and also say that the claim has “been paid in full”. I check in with Ward to see if that’s true. Following my email to Evri about her issue, it turns out she has now been offered a full refund. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. But either way, she’s relieved – and I feel like some kind of Evri vigilante.

Given the thousands of complaints about the company, will Evri take things on board and try to make its service less infuriating? Who knows – its PR team stop replying when I ask for further comment for this story. For now, just know that when you get one of those “We’ve got your parcel” emails, at least we’re all in it together.

2023-03-23T13:07:00Z dg43tfdfdgfd