After all, he has hard earned the many bad reviews that can be found online about the parcel service Hermes. A field report.
Just gone, gone and gone into thin air - I've known the bitter experience of a total loss through negligent speculative transactions since I commissioned Hermes, a "parcel service provider". Incidentally, I would like to use the quotation marks here like Axel Springer did with the "GDR" - because "democratic" was a lie.
For four months I tried to be a good customer of the "parcel service". That means I believed the company's promises with delivery within Europe: "Liability up to 500 euros/parcel", "Consignment tracking", "1 to 3 delivery attempts". I had a queasy feeling as soon as the parcel was handed over in the "Hermes Paketshop". Not that I knew it would go away any time soon. I felt uncomfortable after Ercan explained to me in the parcel shop that he would not get more than 50 cents for his contribution to the "service".
Ercan's main job is a tailor, who has a large corner for packages in his small tailoring shop. When I consider that he should remain the only one who took me and my package seriously and really did a service, half a euro wages is pure mockery! Multi-billionaire and Hermes co-owner Michael Otto is either hypocritical or overlooks something when he speaks publicly about "social responsibility".
In my case, it may have had an aggravating effect from the start that the reason for the "parcel service" was unbearable: I wanted to get rid of a shirt that - I'll just say "slim fit" - didn't fit me. It was one of those consumer items that I had bought somewhere at some point or that were given to me and that lie, hang or stand around at home instead of being served, put on or looked at. Should you open a shop or an internet shop for the stuff - in order to possibly argue with the tax office about additional income? Certainly not.
Coincidentally, an acquaintance in France was looking for exactly that: a chic shirt made of fine fabric, close-fitting, striped, dark blue. The fact that my model from the "Mazzarelli" brand came from Italy didn't bother me, and the fact that it was "cucita a mano", i.e. hand-sewn, increased the value. It was new as I had never worn it. The manufacturer charges between 170 and 290 euros for similar models. We agreed on 150 euros plus shipping. With Hermes - the self-appointed messenger of the gods!
Since France does not fall into "Europe Zone I" like Belgium or Italy in the Hermes price and "service" overview, but rather into "Zone II", shipments to our largest neighboring country are slightly more expensive. Despite his pittance, the tailor made time to consult, which I attribute to being a regular customer who hires him to mend pants pockets or ask him (you guessed it!) to remake shirts. If only my fancy shirt had enough fabric for my body measurements - the story would have ended here. Instead, the drama really started when Ercan packed the shirt in a size "XS" package: for a handsome 12.25 euros.
In general, I wonder what's going on with customer service in Germany. Almost exactly 30 years ago, the term "service desert" came up to complain about what the editors of "Duden" describe as "the complete lack of acceptable services". If we used to complain about rude and incompetent sales pitches in stores, in today's world with fewer and fewer stores, I rarely reach anyone at all - unless you want to speak to a real person and don't have 30 minutes to listen to bad music or marketing blabla à la "Know She already?" and queuing arithmetic such as "Your turn is 17th".
Do customers get treated worse and worse because they are always considered dumber? Because more and more is being saved? Or because what is considered artificial intelligence (AI) is used - which understands nothing and twists everything? I don't know it.
What I know: The moment of contact is a huge opportunity for every company. After all, we can become great friends if I get help. When I get in touch with bad experiences, problems and out of necessity. For example, if Hermes' "shipment tracking" indicates for several weeks that my package is in the distribution center in Mönchengladbach - instead of having been handed over at the right doorstep in France after the third friendly attempt. Mon Dieu!
My first telephone contact with the team of the messenger of the gods took me an hour. It took me several attempts to figure out how to - sorry, KI! - dumb voice called "Bo, your service bot" outsmarted: You have to shout "employee" several times and as loud as possible. Then follows the crazy sentence “Ask our team about your program will be happy to help you” – and after what felt like an eternity, a human voice answered. She explained to me that the number of my program - possibly out of sheer boredom in Mönchengladbach - had suddenly changed.
Shortly thereafter I received two emails. One depressed: "We are sorry that we cannot find your program. We are aware of how disappointing this is for you." The other manic: "We very much regret that your shipment has not arrived. Of course that is not possible. We are doing all we can to find it again."
In return for a fully completed loss report, I was promised: "Our Hermes team will process your case as quickly as possible." Said and done. After Hermes had received my message with pictures and my invoice for the buyer, I received the message that the processing could take "a certain amount of time": "Rest assured: we'll take care of it." From this point on, almost three months passed, during which I was repeatedly asked to report the loss. Otherwise nothing happened.
Out of desperation, I started asking for information by email and phone. In order not to let the outrageous waiting times pass unused, I googled "Hermes" and "Criticism" - and kept coming up with the same thing: Reviews with one star. With Trustpilot alone, there are an unimaginable 17,000! With everything that can be criticized about social media, this is an incredibly large and I think relevant number. Here are just a few headlines from the past few weeks:
- "Package was not delivered, loss not processed"
- "1 star is definitely too much"
- "Attention! Goods are sold here and 0 reimbursement"
- "No help in case of loss or damage"
- "Underground, customer hostile, unprofessional"
- "Doubtful company"
- "No more Hermes"
If I were the owner of Hermes, I wouldn't know what would alarm me more: the countless complaints on the internet or the complacency of the management, which explains on myhermes.com, what once again awakened memories of the "GDR": Nobody has the intention to provide poor services. The protests are not justified.
After I finally made a complaint to the management in Hamburg, a human Sophie answered me with the subject "We still lack details": I should submit a bank statement to prove the value of the shirt. "We'll take care of it as soon as all the documents are complete. I promise."
So I should first qualify my claim for reimbursement for my loss. It was apparently the small print for the insurance "up to 500 euros". My invoice for this private sale was not recognized - which of course the buyer in France had not paid because Hermes had not delivered anything. My photos and the reference to the manufacturer's new prices were still enough. Hermes requested "further receipts or correspondence with the recipient showing how the sale of the shirt was initiated." In this way, hurdles are set up that private customers cannot even meet. So the "insurance" of Hermes packages turns out to be bullshit.
Instead, after a "careful examination", I received the fabulous information from the messenger of the gods: "We will reimburse your loss according to the weight." The justification was so grandiose that I could at least laugh about it: "Legal liability is limited to a value of 8.33 units of account/kg of shipment weight. The unit of account mentioned is the Special Drawing Right (SDR) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)."
"We assume a weight of 5 kg in your favor" - for a shirt! At least the messenger of the gods wrote down his infernal bullshit with it. In the end I got 66.44 euros. And the hint: "Next time we'll do it better. I promise." Would I have gotten more for a heavy mail shirt? I emailed Sophie the question but haven't received a reply yet. Just the standard message: "We'll do everything we can to answer your request as quickly as possible."