Why does Amazon persist with Home Delivery Network?

In January this year I posted about the delivery company ‘Home Delivery Network’ (HDNL) and how they’d chucked my parcel over the side gate, which was 6 ft high, into a puddle in the pissing Manchester rain, to be soaked through all day.

The post really touched a nerve as it has now received over 100 comments from people who have also been angered by HDNL’s failure to deliver parcels, their lies, their blatant disregard for property and their driver’s utter stupidity. The post has also received comments from HDNL drivers attempting to defend their actions and their company, yet coming across as total morons (one even tried to spell moron and failed).

Now, to the serious bit. Whenever you order something from Amazon, and let’s face it most of us have, you run the risk of HDNL trying to deliver it. When, oh when, will Amazon drop this utterly useless, incompetent excuse for a delivery company? I’m reluctant to use Amazon anymore, and will always check any website’s delivery terms to see if they use HDNL before ordering.

I urge anyone and everyone to do the same. Do not use any website that uses Home Delivery Network for its deliveries.

This is my plea to Amazon, for your own sake, drop HDNL like a hot coal. They’re costing you orders. They’re costing you money. They’re costing your customers time, they’re harming your reputation. Drop them, drop them now, if you care about your customers.

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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35 thoughts on “Why does Amazon persist with Home Delivery Network?”

  1. How can a no mark,that will be you Mr Dip,sorry Daz tell people to avoid companies who use HDNL???
    The company is the largest independant delivery company in the UK ! I do agree the tossers who run HDNL should be sacked,as they have no idea about transport,BUT this is NOT the drivers fault in the slightest!….I and many others get paid a very good rate for working there,the guys who deliver the parcels to peoples homes earn bloody good money,EG..St Neots depot £1200,Shaw £1400,these figures are bassed on owner drivers just spending around £300 per week,so leaving them with around £900,money for old rope!

  2. If you build it they will come, and sure enough the HDNL drivers come out of the woodwork and prove their dedication to the job, and their undeniable ability with the written word.

    Explains why they can’t read an address written on a parcel in front of them I guess.

    You should use that old rope, fashion yourself a nice noose and swing it over a tree branch.

  3. Oh, he doesn’t need any of that old rope, he seems to be bringing in the big cashpennies… Can’t be performance-related pay, that’s all i’m saying.

  4. I cannot believe i found this blog post that was made just yesterday but i’m glad i did!!!

    I ordered a Playstation 3 one year ago from Empire Direct only to find out after numerous phone calls that cost me the earth that Home Delivery network had lost the parcel… (more like stolen it). I was told that the PS3 was not put into a blank cardboard box and the theiving scumbags at Home Delivery Network decided to pinch it and leave me, the customer without. What a SHODDY company. I called the depo and they admitted that there have been robberies in the past but he was not a customer care line and he could not help me any further. So i proceeded to ask him what the companys customer care phone number was. His answer? ”We dont have one”. After laughing, i said, “no, really, i think i’ll give them a call”. And he replied, “we don’t have one”. I then went on the website which says ‘putting our customers first’ and there really isn’t a customer care phone number, locally or nationally.

    what a DIRE company with no sense of direction and standards.

    well, that was one year ago and wasn’t what brought me to this site.

    What brought me here was the fact i had ordered a TV from Littlewoods. Guess which company they use to deliver their products??

    Same thing again. Called up, this time, i couldn’t even get an answer (from Littlewoods). There is no way of contacting Home Delivery Networks, their depo number has mysteriously disappeared off the face of the earth after i called complaining last time.

    Wonder if my T.V has been stolen also?

    I would love to have a chat face to face with the staff at HDNL and ask them what motivates them to rip of the customer, who has worked their damn ass off to pay for Christmas presents and then finds out they are out of pocket.

    Scumbags. Home Delivery Network is a JOKE and they should change their name to ”(you’ll never recieve your) Home Delivery”.

    The sooner companies like Amazon, Littlewoods, Empire Direct stop using this inadequate company the better, they don’t know their left from right.

  5. Well i have to take back some of the mean comments, my item came today. it was only 1 day late but it arrived! maybe Home Delivery have improved? Or was i lucky? Either way, thanks this time, maybe i was a little hasty thinking my item was nicked again

  6. Whilst I have no intention of defending HDNL as I agree that most of the companies faults are due to bad management. I would like to put a few points over to try and balance up the arguments. AMAZON and other companies HDNL carry for, are NOT totally blameless. The number of times these companies tell customers, when they receive an enquiry about thier parcel, “Oh HDNL have got your parcel” knowing full well they haven’t because they have not even despatched it to HDNL yet. In other words “We can’t be arsed to talk to you, let HDNL get the flak”. but the main culprits are the customers themselves. Amongst just a tiny proportion of the problems faced, not only by HDNL drivers, but the vast majority of all delivery drivers are as follows: CUSTOMERS — We want it delivering yesterday {sic} no excuses,—– I’ve ordered a parcel that needs signing for so I’m going to sod off out all day, the driver will just have to guess when I will be in. —- When I order a parcel lets give the delivery company only half an address and maybe an incorrect postcode, or no postcode at all, or better still, just give them a P.O. box number that only the post office is able to decipher. I could go on but you get the drift. Basically the vast majority of customers understand the drivers problems, but there is the hardcore of selfish b*gg*rs out there who order stuff then defy you to deliver it…. Ex HDNL driver {of many years standing}

  7. Monostatos, you say people order products and bugger off out all day. Have you ever stopped to think that the working man (and woman) cannot be in 24/7 waiting for a parcel.

    In my experience with HDNL, i did not even get a card left to say i had missed their delivery whilst i was out at work and was left thinking HDNL hadn’t even attempted delivery.

    Most companies seem to assume only people who are sat on their arse all day and people on the dole will be at home all day waiting for their parcel – which is not fair on people who have to go out to earn a living.

    You make a fair point otherwise, but it is up to retailers e.g Amazon and HDNL or Citylink etc to get a system going so that it benifits both the customer and yourselves.

  8. The real,underlying reason for this grief is that ALL these courier companies set themselves up for business-to-business deliveries and then shoved themselves into the domestic delivery market.

    Because of this all their systems and working practices are built around the expectation that there will be someone on the premises during working hours. Totally reasonable if you’re delivering to workplaces, totally UN-reasonable if you’re delivering to people’s homes as they are, of course, highly likely to be out at work.

    That’s the basic tension at the bottom of this dire situation. Of course it’s not helped by the usual problems of cutting costs to the bone – angry workforce, vehicles not properly maintained, no maps, no G.P.S. systems no mobile phones. But for all that, as long as a system prevails which is almost guaranteed to fail, by constantly demanding the right to deliver to people who are extremely unlikely to be in, then all the fancy equipment and well paid drivers in the world aren’t going to solve the problem.

    Basically the internet retailers need to form an association, if they haven’t already, as do the couriers. Then they need to really analyse the situation and in doing that they need to listen to the people buying the stuff – are those people really insisting on getting every delivery for a quid less or are they willing to put a bit more money into a better service, for example. Perhaps instead of sticking doggedly to the “we deliver from 8-00 until 5-00” model, derived, as I say, from their origins in business deliveries, they could go for “we deliver from 6-00 until 10-00 P.M” – quiter roads, fewer delays caused by no-one being at home. Just a thought.

    Finally, I am a little bemused that John Lewis want to get into bed with the H.D.N. – I would have thought they would value their reputation more highly. In fact, I’m sure they do – it’s just another demonstration that they aren’t actually hearing their customers, who now have their complaints deflected by professional customer relations peole at J.S. with the result that whilst most customers do, ultimately, get what they want a picture never builds up that can be seen by the people who negotiate contracts with companies like H.D.N. The customer negotiates with the customer relations people, the managers in the delivery department negotiate with the managers of the courier firms. All separate, closed off from any way of acquiring information which they should really be utilising.

  9. Further to my previous comment, I think this is another question the internet retailers and the courier companies should be asking their customers and themselves:-

    “Is it more important that the the period of time from order to arrival at customer’s front door is a short as humanly possible or is it more important that the day on which the package arrives is accurately predicted, even if that means taking longer”.

    It seems to me that they usually presume that quick is best. That presumption, in my belief, comes in part from the “Amazon effect” – i.e. you order something and very shortly afterwards it’s on your doormat. Everyone is pleased. But I think it’s important to remember that most of Amazon’s sales are things which will:-
    a) fit through the average letterbox and
    b )crucially, they don’t require a signature.

    When Amazon started delivering through companies like this during the last postal strike there were howls of complaint from people who normally chose the “standard” – Royal Mail” service for their Amazon goods. Why? Because all the things they would normally find waiting for them in the hall when they got home from work were being taken back to “depots” (usually some “man with van”‘s front room or garage) and, if they were lucky, they’d have to go out and get it or failing that they’d lose track of it totally!

    So the assumption that “fast is best” is associated with the not entirely typical scenario of an Amazon delivery – great for CDs and DVDs, very poor for expensive items that have to be signed for and / or are too big to go through the letterbox. Unfortunately most of that message has been lost and the only bit that remains is “fast and furious is ALWAYS good”.

    So we get things like predictions of a delivery in five days suddenly turning into something arriving the next day. The customer is outraged because he’d arranged to have the day off work in five days time, he’s missed his parcel, he’s used up a day of his annual leave because it’s too late to change it. He complains. The delivery man / internet retailer customer services person / courier head office can’t understand why anyone might ever complain in circumstances like this as they are indoctrinated with the “fast is best” mantra and, in fact, they are downright aggrieved that anyone should complain when, as they see it, they’ve provided a first rate service.

    Just another thought.

  10. I would like If I may to attempt to give a potted history of HDNL. This should give you some insight into how things have come about.
    HDNL came into being in the mid 1970’s. It came about because of the postal strike and threats of more postal strikes. “The Littlewoods Mail Order Catalogue Company” {who used the post} obviously firmly believed they would see tens of thousands of thier agents parcels undelivered, so they decided to set up thier own fleet of delivery vans. The company was originally called, funnily enough, Home Delivery, and it did exactly what it said on the tin, HOME deliveries.
    This worked well, very well, till when in the late 80’s Littlewoods were approached and sold the whole Home Delivery fleet to the American company Federal Express. Federal Express obviously re named the fleet and introduced a business to business side which thankfully was kept seperate from the home delivery side.
    After a few years Littlewoods bought back the now struggling fleet and Federal Express rode off into the sunset {allegedly many millions of pounds worse off} and Littlewoods went back to square one, HOME deliveries.
    Then in the early 90’s Littlewoods thought they would have a crack at this business to business lark. They built up a nationwide fleet, called it Business Express {still seperate from the home delivery side} and they offered a guaranteed next day service that was {in everyone’s opinion} second to none. AND IT WAS. Within weeks of starting up the work was flooding in. Most of the other well established bsness to bsness companies were literally wetting themselves as Business Express was running rings round them. Then {allegedly} the bean counters in Littlewoods took over, and it seems some in Littlewoods management started to get cold feet over Business Express. Within a few weeks they had abolished next day deliveries and were only offering a 48 hour delivery to a select few companies, leaving the vast majority of the next day contracts high and dry, much to the disgust of, not only the contractors, but the people within the company who had worked so hard to build up the client base and the companies reputation. The other bsness to bsness companies must have thought all thier christmases had come at once as they breathed a huge sigh of relief. At the same time {or very soon after} the company merged bsness to bsness and domestic onto one fleet, due to the fact the business side had now vastly reduced. With a few tweeks here and there, plus the company is now in the hands of the Barclay brothers, HDNL is now the company your dealing with today.

    Please don’t be too quick to criticise the genuine hard working HDNL driver for the companies mistakes.
    The rot obviously had set in long ago
    Just thought you might be interested.
    Ex HDNL driver

  11. Dear All,

    Firstly Mr Daz I am liking your work. If I had a strap line, it would be the same as yours.

    I don’t want to point the finger at any particular company in this post really although I do find couriers utterly faceless, inflexible and generally useless for me as a 9-5er. In fact if I went through all the failures from service providers through the Xmas period alone I would probably use up the rest of your hosting space. Hell even my doctor just got my prescription wrong this morning and I now have to go and get it during working hours which involves quantum splicing so half of me stays at work whilst the other sorts out their incompetency. Ditto the guttering man who’s coming back, the washing machine installer who forgot to connect the tube and is coming back…. anyway I said I wouldn’t go on so I won’t.

    The reality is that in this country customer service is appalling. If it’s really annoying you then the US could be the place to go – I’ve seen it – nothing less than the best is acceptable.

    But for those who like the UK generally, my approach is to find some good retailers with good service and/or delivery options and stick with them. If we all did this then they would grow whilst others falter. One such company for the working 9-5 population like me would be boots.com. None of the courrier options appealed I have to say. But one option I liked a lot. All I had to do was choose a Boots store and they will send it there. I just got a text to tell me it has now arrived. Internet prices, free delivery (over a certain amount), and I can pick it up during my usual shopping run on Saturday. Now this is my kind of company.

    Ditto Powergen as a good option I have always found(have I just been lucky?) British Gas often phone me with a great gas deal and quizzically say “ok sir can I ask you why exactly you don’t want cheaper gas?” as if I am some moronic HDNL manager. So I usually reply something along the lines of “Well the thing is mr British Gas man I actually like to be able to speak to my provider if things go wrong. I tend to get through on the phone to Powergen and heck they even call me back if I am on my mobile. You on the other hand I never got through to when you were my provider. So Powergen gas and phone calls and minimal time on my part is actually cheaper than British gas save 5p a year but spend 364 days listening to music on the telephone. And let’s face it whatever provider I have will mysteriously raise their prices before winter”. Click. Line goes dead. Enough said.

    Good luck all and happy new year.

  12. As a courier and an online shopper, i feel that i need to mention here, that there are many courier companies that amazon, john lewis etc use for there home deliveries.

    I feel that everyone on this site has forget to mention these companies that are as much in the worng as any! I have had personal experience of royal mail, business post, dhl and citylink, not using the correct delivery method.

    For example i ordered an xbox 360 from ebay, the rather thoughtful royalmail man left it on my doorstep, even though i had paid extra for a signed for next day service, and i was in all day.

    I feel that MR Daz should bring up other companies rather than just picking on a certain company, as clearly there are many more that are even worse.

  13. i have waited 3 weeks for 2 hoodies from republic who us HDNL as their courier.. they gave u fake signature and still not bothered to refund or anything.. we have just rangthem up and threatened to take legal action

  14. Just ordered a book from Amazon. HDNL claim it’s delivered, but I beg to differ. It’s not with any neighbour and I was in the house when they claim to have dropped the package off (New Cross Depot, London). Glad I saw this website, I shall avoid Amazon like the plague.

  15. I’m now waiting on a late HDNL delivery. However, I see that Amazon offer a guarantee to the effect that if an order is more than 3 days later than the end of the expected delivery window, you can get a full refund (including delivery costs).

    I do applaud Amazon for offering this (although not *too* much, since UK law permits all consumers to get a full refund of an internet purchase within a certain time window after delivery – 7 days I think, as a cooling off period, whether Amazon offer it directly or not)

    I think if everyone who is dissatisfied with an HDNL delivery exercised this option, then Amazon will take note that poor HDNL performance is costing them money and lost orders.

  16. Have been reading all these blogs and if i hadnt already have ordered my product i would defo steer clear of HDNL. But perhaps i am unique because today i had my washing machine delivered by them.
    I ordered my w/machine from Kitchen Science and they said it would be delivered on Mon 2nd Aug. and that del. driver would ring before arriving. What happened?? Well at 7am mon morning i received a phone call from del.driver to say he would be arriving within the hour. At 7.50am there was a knock at the door and guess who it was, yep, it was HDNL. The two blokes put my machine in the garage(were very polite) and said ‘you can see that there are no marks on packaging but if you find anything at all wrong when you unwrap then give us a ring and we will do everything that is humanely possible to rectify, this will give you peace of mind.’ Then he departed and we were both happy. I suppose perhaps i was just lucky maybe. But it maybe that people who have good deliveries dont bother to comment because that is nothing less than wot they’d expected.
    t

  17. A new residential estate of approximately 70 houses has recently (last 9 months) been built close to Llandudno in North Wales. The local HDNL depot is roughly a mile and a half from the new estate. Thats less than 2 minutes drive time.

    The estate has a post code in place and is recognized by Royal Mail. HDNL have failed to deliver three times in the last 3 months even though they are aware of where the estate is! I was told this uppn having to collect a recent parcel. My response was…’can you tell your drivers then please?…

    They blame the failure for delivery down the postcode failing to show up on their satnavs. This is a poor excuse. What did you do before the invention of satnavs? HDNL should stand for Havent Delivered Nothing Lately or Home Delivery Not Likely…THIS COMPANY IS A JOKE…and it will eventually affect the businesses who use them and in time HDNL themselves will pay for the bad management and service.

  18. It’s funny how that one ex HDNL person mentions that it is sometimes down to the fault of the customer going out let me tell you our horrific story, full of lies and proof of everything that HDNL stand for.

    A couple of weeks ago me and my partner ordered a Double Bed Frame from littlewoods who swear as we all know by using HDNL. We received a call monday saying that our bed would be delivered on wednesday between 10-2pm. Due to problems in the past we hadn’t taken this as gospel.

    Now before i continue please let me mention that my mum is disabled and every day at 4 I tend to her needs after my day job and care for her.

    Back to the story… On the wednesday the bed is due to arrive we get a phone call at 11am after waiting in already for an hour, this was from the HDNL driver saying that he was running a couple of hours behind and will be with us between 12 – 4pm. Reluctantly we agreed we would be in.

    We waited and waited and finally at 3.55pm we called the mobile number that was used to talk to us in the first place. The driver had said he attempted to deliver to us an hour ago attempted to give it to number 5 our neighbours but they wouldnt sign for it and took it back.

    Points that were false in this story:
    1/. We are in a Flat and the building next to us (our neighbours) is Number 2??
    2/. The driver had also said he had tried to call us when we didnt answer his knocking on the door – However no missed call was received or message alert to say we had missed a call
    3/. We have no direct front door and a buzzer is needed to be used in order to hear anyone at the door (is he that thick to not have seen this or did he really go to the wrong address, who knows)

    I then called Littlewoods enraged that we wasnt going to be receiving our bed (since my partner had already broken down our old bed frame) Littlewoods fobbed us off onto HDNL to arrange a redelivery and assured us that we could get it delivered the next day.

    I spoke to the child at HDNL who stated that the driver had indeed lied to us as he had run out of legal driving time. Brilliant so he had tried to fobb us off on a story then the girl admits he had lied. However due to no fault of mine i was told i have to wait 3-5 days for someone to call me to arrange another delivery day which will take a further 3-5 days.SO in total 10 days until i get my new bed whilst i’m sleeping on the floor!!

    Not happy, so i have decided to pass the info onto watchdog and i urge anyone and everyone to do the same thing as i am sick to my stomach of the Sh1t that is HDNL

    Thanks

  19. Just to add one more voice. Experience as above – multiple “attempts” to deliver to our admittedly remote location. However actually no-one did try – no cards left no phone calls although they had our number. Amazon then tracked the “reasons” – “Shop closed – couldnt gain access due to locked gates” – we are not a shop and we live in a house in a field – no gates. What is worse though is the inability to speak to anyone at HDNL – my parcel was in Southampton – I was more than willing to go and get it but I couldnt find where to go. There is no way to add delivery instructions to the tracking form. Amazon – get rid of them – every other courier company can find us

  20. I’ve had hundreds of parcels delivered by HDNL over the years and only one went AWOL…so I guess that people only feel motivated to post on the internet when it goes bad. This can give a very wrong and one-sided view of a company and their staff. I’m not defending the bad drivers and the obvious short-falls in some of the staff, but rather just relaying my own experiences.

    Also, MrDaz telling drivers to go and hang themselves for defending their own merits is a bad show. Like I say, the MAJORITY of people get their goods and get them in the allotted time. Why should the good drivers have to put up with your abuse?

  21. Wow, over two years later and Amazon still use these jokers. I now only use Amazon for stuff which comes from Indigo Starfish, they always use Royal Mail. I’ve had many, many deliveries from HDNL, 50% of the time something goes wrong and their customer service people apologise but it seems they do not feed it back to their managers who could do something about it.

  22. Wow, I didn’t realise that so many people were experiencing problems with HDNL. Personally I’ve never had a problem with them, I buy a lot of things from the New Look website (for some reason they hardly ever have some of the things I want in my local store) and they use HDNL. I’m currently waiting on something from there, I usually check the track and trace every day to make sure it’s not gone AWOL, it usually takes a day or two for the first event to come up. Nothing yet though which is unusual, it’s been 2 days since it was dispatched. Guess I’ll just wait.

  23. Daz

    For someone that confesses to run numerous blogging sites you are possibly the biggest tool I have yet to come across. Yes HDNL may be poor in areas but acquiring DHL domestic shows they are ambitious.

    Your parcel being hoiked over the fence and for Amazon to ditch them if Amazon didn’t send parcels out not requiring proof of delivery then this wouldn’t be an issue. Amazon care for customer service and will replace without investigation if the order isn’t received by the customer.

    As for losing money I am pretty sure knowing the market inside out that Yodel as they are now called will not be getting out of it without coughing up as all firms have concession claims against them and I doubt that HDNL would be an exception.

    Also the problem with parcels being left without sigs is that shippers get their parcels out quicker regardless of delivery success and let the delivery firms take the hit when HDNL, Parcel force, DHL, TNT etc leave in what their customers deem as safe places as some customers ring up saying they haven’t received even when they have.

    How can delivery firms get their products to customers with 100% success, if you have the idea then let me know and I’ll be sure to categorise you as a genius and not the tool I suspect you are.

    Also like the fact you slag a delivery firm then advertise down the right hand side of the column with alternative delivery firms. Nice touch with the marketing

  24. @grutton – that’s called contextual advertising dipshit – the more you idiots post on here defending HDNL the more targeted the adverts for their rivals become.

    Hmmm… perhaps I do know what I’m doing after all…

  25. Telling us we shouldn’t blame the drivers in undefensible. It is the drivers who blatantly lie and say they’ve had flat tyres/sick drivers/delivered parcel and left card but no-one was in……………………….ALL BLATANT LIES…………….and it’s the drivers who are telling them.

    My parcel was loaded onto a van yesterday morning……..oh, it was back in the depot by this morning with no reason given. Asda gave me the reason………………..HDNL are LIARS!!!

  26. I am waiting for 4 parcels from VERY with HDNL. Been waiting for a week now. No card left ever, I’ve telephoned every day and each time I’m told it is on the delivery van. The last update to their computer system said ‘customer has moved away’! It is a joke. These are Christmas presents and I need them tomorrow latest. Absolutely useless.

  27. Ordered a 32″ TV for my bedroom and it was to be delivered by HDNL on the date given for delivery I tracked it and it stated on the van (by the way i was in all day) at 3.45pm I tracked it again and it stated delivered….err I think not!!! I had received nothing so I contacted the depot and they said that they would have to speak to the driver and his response when they did was “I cant remember delivering it and I cant remember not delivering it” Seriously!!!!! I think someone has a nice new TV for xmas and it isnt me so that kinda narrows it down.

  28. I can only agree to all thats being said here for the simple fact that I had a disappointing experience with HDNL for a second time in a row. next time i order from amazon i am going to check if its from HDNL and if yes I am not going to submit my order

  29. Ordered a DS game via Amazon Prime, why they insist on using HDNL is just boggling.

    Lazy arse driver decided “no access to property” ; we live in a cul-de-sac. No van came up the street. I can near enough guarantee it was a lazy lie so the scumbag didn’t have to leave his vehicle and actually do the job.

  30. Amazon lost a £300 sale because of them. Ordered a new tv and the driver flat out lied and said that he could not gain access to our road, which was free from obstruction all day and night, and get this; he didn’t state a reason why he couldn’t get into our wide-arse road! We waited in three sodding days and rather than inform me or leave a card I had to keep calling them.

    Now today they leave a parcel at the front door right where someone can steal it.

    If you don’t want a tough job don’t whine after you become the delivery driver! At least you have a damn job. If it were not for us ordering he wouldn’t have one.

    Oh and I like that he’s an anonymous coward. Stand up and say who you are or shut up.

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