Parcel Motel facing huge Christmas backlog as weak sterling fuels demand

120 additional staff and 2,400 extra lockers but Twitter's still furious...

Parcel Motel facing huge Christmas backlog as weak sterling fuels demand

Picture by Niall carson PA Wire/PA Images

Nightline's Parcel Motel, the 'virtual address' service that essentially gives Irish customers access to cheaper UK deals and lower delivery costs, has been increasing in popularity for some time, but the thriving business is now in the middle of a perfect storm where the festive period and a weakened sterling is putting it under massive strain to deliver.

As a Parcel Motel spokesperson tells Newstalk:

"During the busy period in the run up to Christmas we will usually see an increase of 25% in the number of parcels we process on a daily basis. This Christmas was unprecedented, as we are seeing an increase in delivery volumes of over 80% more than this time last year. This has resulted in a backlog for processing parcels, which we are currently addressing."

While they are addressing it, customers are left waiting for their parcels and presents. A scan of Twitter shows many growing impatient, not only with goods not arriving, but but the fact that there has been little in the way of explanation as the company's customer service team deals with an overload of enquiries...

As it happens, that's exactly what they have done, though it clearly has not been sufficient. As per a company statement:

 

"In advance of the Christmas period we expanded both our customer support and operations teams, by over 120 staff, in order to manage the increase in volumes. However, following on from the unexpected surge in parcels we are experiencing, we have expanded our services to also include: processing and delivery operations seven days a week; we have opened 2,400 extra lockers in our busiest areas; and we have also arranged for timed bus deliveries (offering a four-hour window for Parcel Motel members to collect at the most popular collection times) to some of our busiest Parcel Motel locations (where lockers may not have space available as customers have not yet had the opportunity to collect their packages) – alternatively if the customer is not able to collect their parcel during this timeframe we then place the parcel in their Parcel Motel within two working days."

Another unforeseen problem is the fact that approximately 5% of parcels arrive with insufficient information to be checked into a customer account without a manual query intervention.

Parcel Motel says that the "majority" of these cases is a result of the customer or retailer not including their account name or their unique PMID account number. 

The company concluded:

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and we would like to reassure customers that we are actively addressing the issue. Customer satisfaction and providing our members with access to fantastic cost savings is incredibly important to us.

"We would urge our customers to please ensure all relevant information is included on their parcels. In order to keep up with our growing membership base, we have plans to introduce additional locations in 2017 to allow more customers access the bargains on offer from Irish and UK retailers."