Factorylux uses DPD for most UK deliveries and their staff - drivers and customer support team - are friendly, helpful and efficient. However, after a customer reported in October last year that a DPD driver had kicked a package down a hallway, we ran into problems with DPD's executive desk and litigation department.
The customer refused to sign for the package and it was returned to us. The package contained four bespoke 'Made For You' lights and, when the (obviously battered) package was opened, three shades were damaged. The shades were replaced and everything shipped back to the customer by UPS the next day.
The cost of the damage was around £350. DPD has had several chances to settle, but the consistent response has been a flat refusal from DPD's executive desk and litigation team. Although the damage - see the images - is consistent with the box having being kicked, DPD 'vehemently' denies the driver kicked the parcel and denies any liability beyond the £100 maximum conveniently set by DPD's own standard terms and conditions.
The claim has been issued and the form and claim information can be seen by clicking on the links below. The condition of the package and contents - kicked or not - show beyond doubt that DPD failed in its contractual duty to exercise reasonable care and skill in handling. And it's likely that the judge will decide DPD's exclusion clause is void as an unfair contract term.
Click to open pdf of claim form against DPD
Click to open pdf of particulars of claim against DPD
The documents and evidence will be added below as the case proceeds. It's not clear how DPD will respond, but we're keen to protect our customers, to recover losses and to try to minimise the chance of things going wrong again.
Update 1 - DPD's Acknowledgment of Service - 23 March 2015
DPD has sent an acknowledgment of service form to the court saying it intends to defend all of the claim. It has not given any reasons for defending the claim yet. It's easy to complete an acknowledgment of service form - just fill in and tick the boxes - and it does not cost anything.
Sending an acknowledgment of service means DPD can delay having to respond properly to the claim. DPD now has another 14 days to respond to the claim.
Sending forms or documents to the court is called 'filing' and sending forms or documents to the other side is called 'serving'. DPD's acknowledgment of service form, acknowledges that it has been served with the claim form.
Click to open pdf of DPD's acknowledgement of service
Update 2 - Settlement negotiations - 2 April 2015
There have been discussions between us and DPD in relation to settling the claim. The negotiations took place on a 'without prejudice' basis, so we can't reveal anything except that it has not been possible to reach agreement. It is, however, likely that we will be able to post the correspondence and information about the discussions after the claim has concluded so you can know why it was not possible to reach agreement.
Update 3 - DPD
defends settles the claim in full - 8 April 2015
DPD has settled the claim in full - £419.72 was claimed and £419.72 has been paid. DPD's defence form states that it disputes the full amount of the claim, but the basis is that it has now paid the full amount claimed. This is less a defence and more an admission.
Click to open pdf of DPD's 'defence'
Click to open pdf of DPD's remittance for £419.72
Now the claim has settled, we can reveal that on 2 April 2015 DPD offered to settle the claim in full but only if we agreed to keep confidential that DPD had settled in full. We rejected this for several reasons, not least since we wanted to give the full story here.
DPD did not want to defend the claim to trial, but it's not clear why: maybe it thought it would lose and its terms and conditions would be judged to be unfair; maybe the costs of defending the claim outweighed the costs of settling; or maybe DPD decided that maintaining its relationship with us was more important than the amount claimed.
Because the claim was settled, there won't be a trial. A judge won't decide what happened and whether DPD's standard condition which imposes a £100 compensation limit for damaged parcels is void as an unfair term. DPD can legitimately maintain its driver did not kick the parcel, that its terms and conditions are reasonable, and that this case has no bearing on any future disputes.
We're going to carry on using DPD because it's currently the best next-day parcel service in the UK. But we're also clear that it's fair to expect DPD to exercise reasonable skill and care in delivering parcels. And when it doesn't, it should bear the full cost of any damage and can't rely on the £100 limit in its terms and conditions.