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Is DHL the Worst Int’l Shipping Service? I Think So

As an inveterate gadget-lover I am used to buying stuff from overseas sellers and paying to have it shipped. This is often the only way to get rare devices like the Kyobo Mirasol eReader, so I really don't mind the often weeks long shipping delay. China in particular can take up to 3 weeks, so naturally I have had to learn a little patience. But then there are the services which seem to just sit there with a thumb up their ass, and that is when my patience wears thin. To wit, DHL.

I'm now waiting on a package which was shipped via DHL. It's an ereader which I bought from Europe, and since I don't want to embarrass the seller I won't say who sold it to me.

But I will say this. I've been tracking the package, and according to DHL it has spent the past week just sitting in some distribution center somewhere in the US. Why? I don't know. It's just sitting there, gathering dust.

On a related note, DHL's tracking service sucks. I cannot track the shipment I am getting on DHL's international website, DHL's US website, or on any site other than Having multiple websites and systems which do not communicate is a design decision on par with DHL's inability to process a shipment.

What's more, this is not the first time that DHL ignored a package for a week. Earlier this year I bought a different ereader from that same seller, and with that shipment DHL decided to let the package sit in Germany for a week. There was no explanation for that, either.

Some might choose to defend DHL and claim that a week's delay (even unexplained) is not bad. That would be true if not for the fact that DHL is slower than the post office. A package shipped USPS Priority Mail will make it to Germany in 9 days. I know this because I just shipped an ereader to Germany a few weeks back.

And speaking of tracking, I can use the USPS website to track shipments sent to me from Korea, China, and Europe (and probably elsewhere).  So not only is the USPS faster, it also has a better website.

Given that DHL costs more than the post office and takes longer to deliver, I have to wonder why people still use it.

Can someone explain that, please?

About Nate Hoffelder (11123 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

31 Comments on Is DHL the Worst Int’l Shipping Service? I Think So

  1. Almost sounds like OfficeMac which may be regretting offering $40 off a Nook HD on cybermonday as my Nook still hasn’t shipped even though the web site says 4-7 business days if you try and buy one.

  2. The answer is simple. DHL is really the German postal service and they just don’t give a damn.

  3. “… and since I don’t want to embarrass the seller I won’t say who sold it to me.”

    Shucks. I was going to ask you if you plan to test the Bookeen Odyssey HD Frontlight.

    “Earlier this year I bought a different ereader from that same seller, and with that shipment DHL decided to let the package sit in Germany for a week.”

    Ah. Then it’s probaby not the Bookeen.

    So, do you?


  4. I would like to get it but their press people won’t return my emails.

  5. Is your blog the worst thing i’ve ever read? I think so!

  6. they do suck bigtime Why does anyone use DHL FEDEX is so much much better

  7. DHL is the worst service I have ever seen, in fact, HK and China post work better than them, despite the fact that DHL charge exorbitant price.

  8. It is surprising how much better China Post works than DHL, yes.

  9. I agree that DHL really suck I have used them twice and both times they have failed to deliver on time – due to the fact that an employee(s) have a shakedown scam running hoping to con money out of clients who might not know the legislation!

  10. My Dad used to run a small business out of his rural Missouri home, and had occasion to receive shipments from a number of carriers. Out of all of them, DHL was the only one that had perpetual problems finding the house, even after he gave them directions.

  11. That’s right DHL is the Worst courier service. It has been 2 months my DHL mail shipped from USA not arrivred yet. I called the local vendor Dhl Express and I got no any information. They told me that Dhl Express aren’t related to the Dhl Mail. Amazing… not have any ralation! Why Dhl Mail pop up menu still on Dhl Express and all Dhl website? Delete it.
    I have searched for Dhl local vendor contact information and find nothing. Dhl Mail don’t has local vendor. What an unresponsibility courier.
    Now I only waitting for miracles
    India Post is reliable, faster, cheaper and many more.
    Keep away from Dhl.

  12. This is very true. I found that regular mail is faster than DHL. I order games and accessories from China, it takes 2-3 weeks to arrive. DHL in other and takes 3 to 4 weeks. I also experienced the problem when a package just sits in a place for weeks. I often have to call them to wake them.

  13. TNT took the half time for sending a letter from Iran to Canada.
    I think the only reason that people choosing DHL is trusting their beauty advertisements.

  14. I order goods regularly from China and I am finding that DHL take a week or so just to collect packages there lately, with a delivery time totalling about two weeks to the UK.
    I had three letters from DHL today. One was dated 5 days ago demanding payment of an unpaid invoice within 14 days (fair enough), one saying the same invoice had now been sent on to a debt collection agency and must be paid (with additional charges) within 7 days, not at all fair given that both letters arrived in the same post. The third letter advised me of a fairly hefty unpaid VAT invoice on a different account number (which the DHL payments site says is not valid) for one specific invoice number (which the DHL payments site says is invalid). I phoned their customer service, who also kindly told me that my account number and invoice number (taken from their letter) were invalid and assured me that there was nothing to pay. Don’t think I will count my chickens on that one yet. In my experience, DHL used to be fast and generally efficient. They now seem to be doing a good job of being slow and incompetent, in my own humble opinion.

  15. No experience with the countries mentioned, but we regularly use DHL for shipments to and from US/UK/EU to several West African countries – among them some of the poorest of the Third World with almost no infrastructure – and without fail the DHL service is fast and efficient.

    Furthermore, the online tracking shows clearly that, when delays have occurred, they are down to local conditions beyond any reasonable control of the company.

  16. Dont be an ass

  17. good for you.

  18. DHL is terrible. I reside in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and ordered an item through Ebay that ships from neighboring Oman. Logically, you would think an item shipping from Oman to Saudi Arabia would be cheaper than shipping it elsewhere, but the shipper claimed it was actually more expensive. Still, the price is up to the shipper’s preference so you can’t fault DHL for that.

    However, what was “surprising” is how the item actually got delivered (well, sort of delivered). You see, the item arrived from Oman to Riyadh in just 3 days or so. However, in its infinite wisdom DHL shipped the item to another city in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, for “processing”. The item spent around a week there before being shipped back to Riyadh, and then I had to pick it up myself. Thanks DHL ( ?° ?? ?°)

  19. DHL advised that my package will arrived within 12 days. That is total bs. Should have gone with Fedex from the very beginning. The tracking report of DHL is also mediocre at best. No estimated time whatsoever.

  20. DHL is a Bunch of thieves

    Every time they send something to me, I have to pay double, thirst for the company delivering the item, the DHL again when i receive the item. They call it administration fee, DHL is a Bunch of thieves, don’t use them

  21. DHL has not changed!! It still provides CRAP service!! They told me that an urgent parcel could be delivered on Saturday morning to an address in Vienna. I asked for confirmation of this THREE times, and the answer was the same: OF COURSE they could deliver the parcel on Saturday morning, at a cost hike of 50% over the “standard” rate. I agreed to pay this, only to find that they did NOT deliver on Saturday. The parcel was delivered on Monday morning, despite their promises!! When I wrote a complaint to their Chief Executive, the response was inane, useless and “couldn’t care less”. They know about lip service and cheap words, but they do not understand “Customer Service”, “Customer Relations”, or any similar concept!! DO NOT USE DHL!! Let’s hope they go out of business.

  22. DHL left a slip in my postbox claiming they had left my parcel at a neighbor’s when in fact I had specified online (by checking a box) I wanted to have my parcel “picked up at the post office” should I not be in. When I called to inquire about it, they couldn’t tell me which neighbor they had left the parcel with. I checked al three appartments on my floor but to no avail. Then DHL sent me a bill for their service. I called back and explained I still hadn’t received the parcel and DHL couldn’t tell me where my parcel was. The lady on the phone instisted I should check with every single neighbor in the building (yeah right) and pay the bill. I never paid the bill and never found my parcel.

  23. The few times I’ve had items shipped through DHL, the shipping was not only slow as all hell, but the items (a few music CDs) came in with cracked or deeply scratched cases as well. Slow and incompetent.

  24. Help! Stupid delivery lost my shipment from China for heaven’s sake! This was important and fragile glass and it was signed for by some stranger when I left clear delivery instructions for delivery to the business desk where I work and have not had a problem at all with Amazon or other shippers. But no, when it’s really an important delivery they LOSE IT! I am very upset and now looking to get reimbursed. Just starting out in a small business and DHL fixed me good! How can they let some stranger just sign for and take your package?

  25. I found a great price. The best price to ship my package. I had the label made – the seller sent in my email for DHL. Then to deliver to DHL on the other side of town. They wanted me to open the package and dump it on the counter and itemize every thing and pay for it again. I went home to find a better place that picks up DHL shipments – he took it with no problem.

  26. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but in all my years of receiving packages, the only service I’ve found to be below-par is DHL. They’ve always been slower than other services, and TWICE completely FAILED to deliver at all, which has never happened with UPS, USPS or FedEx.

  27. Maybe I am a lucky one, but I have had 4 or 5 things ship DHL Express from China and Amazon Japan and have gotten them from there to my door in Florida in 24 hours and no longer then in 2 days. Guess I am just lucky.

  28. Just got bitten by DHL again. My usual supplier of things in California for some reason switched to DHL from Fedex. My first express shipment from LA to Vancouver took 4 days and an extra $34 over Fedex overnight. Bad, but../

    Now in the process of tracking my second shipment. Shipped at 4 pm from LA. (With Fedex it would have been on my desk at 10am the next morning). At noon the following day it was just scanned as having arrived in Vancouver. Great I thought, it would be here that day or the next. At 6 pm that night it left Vancouver and arrived in Cinncinati the following morning. It sat there for two days and then came back to Vancouver where it sat for another two days prior to getting customs clearance. Finally this morning at 7:40 am it was out for local delivery. I need it by 4 pm today or it is useless. It is now 4 pm and now shows that it has been rescanned for customs clearance. DHL nightmare.

  29. as a private customer, I find DHL very unflexible. last shipment was dropped in a “parcelShop” of another town, “by mistake”. Nothing could be done about it and they just gave me some bad excuse for not bringing it closer.
    It’s the second time this happens and since I now work full time… package went back to sender.

    If you have the choice… don’t use DHL, national post will do a better job!

  30. This article is hilarious. DHL is very much so, the slowest and worst shipping company ever. Thanks for the read!

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