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

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

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Paul6 December, 2012

    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. Scott Alexander7 December, 2012

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

    1. Dave K18 February, 2013

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

      1. Kelly29 September, 2014

        Dont be an ass

  3. LCNR8 December, 2012

    “… 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?


    1. Nate Hoffelder9 December, 2012

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

  4. ann22 April, 2013

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

  5. Sam alex10 October, 2013

    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.

    1. Nate Hoffelder10 October, 2013

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

  6. Jim McCracken17 January, 2014

    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!

  7. Chris Meadows17 January, 2014

    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.

    1. Susnoduaji22 February, 2014

      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.

  8. Alex28 March, 2014

    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.

  9. ehsan22 September, 2014

    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.

  10. Mark24 September, 2014

    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.

  11. Ebook Bargains UK24 September, 2014

    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.

    1. Kelly29 September, 2014

      good for you.

  12. Totally Agree2 December, 2014

    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 ( ?° ?? ?°)

  13. Jeremiah20 February, 2015

    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.

  14. John26 March, 2015

    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

  15. N Hussain2 May, 2015

    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.

  16. Oliver19 May, 2015

    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.

  17. cc28 July, 2015

    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.

  18. ardith19 August, 2015

    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?

  19. Steven1 September, 2015

    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.

  20. Salttram12 September, 2015

    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.

  21. Seneca30 September, 2015

    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.

  22. Robert23 October, 2015

    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.

  23. emeric6 November, 2015

    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!

  24. Josh9796 November, 2015

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

  25. LuhTonyT27 November, 2015

    Yeah DHL suck I had order Xbox360 HDD from eBay seller is in chino CA usa and I been bout an week on express shipping first let me say it sat in Compton CA dhl factory for 2 days befor it arrive to Missouri and the tracking tools seem to only update my shippment once a day then it sat in Missouri for 2 days befor USPS receive it to bring to my house. DHL Express took my shytt a week nd a day that suck for nw on DHL wuld b my last opportunity

  26. Liraz Siri27 January, 2016

    As an experienced customer that has shipped nearly 500 packages in recent years through other services I’d like to report a couple of very bad experiences with DHL. I asked around and did some research online and discovered that my experience with them (which I will describe shortly) was the norm rather than the exception, at least here in Israel.

    I usually use Airmail or USPS Priority to my satisfaction. I have yet to loose a package. They arrive on time and the customs release process is straightforward.

    For the rare occasions when extra documentation is required (original invoice) customs sends a notification in the mail and you can them the extra documentation by fax or email. No extra fees beyond state taxes.

    This is not at all the case with DHL. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that DHL quoted 2-3 days for delivery and modestly lower shipping rate than USPS Priority. I decided to give them a shot.

    Instead of good service at a good price I walked right into a trap.

    First off, regarding the actual delivery time: 2-3 weeks vs 2-3 days quoted. It took 2 weeks for the first package to arrive. I’m still waiting for the second package I sent a day later, which I expect to arrive next week. By then 3 weeks will have passed.

    Then there were the extra hidden fees. It turns out you basically pay DHL to hold your packages hostage. They ended up extorting over 100% of the original shipping quote in compulsory hidden extra fees for:

    – storage fees
    – airport/unloading services
    – compulsory “help” with various bureaucratic forms (health permit) that
    are usually not required
    – fee for paying customs taxes
    – fee for credit on customs taxes
    – etc, etc.

    Oh, and they claimed to be giving me a big discount on all of these goodies because I was a private customer. If this was a business delivery they would extort even higher hidden extra fees.

    I still ended up paying hundreds of dollars extra for slow delivery.

    Of course they won’t be getting any more of my business but I wouldn’t have fallen into this trap in the first place if vendors didn’t allow them to advertise deceptive predatory pricing and bogus delivery estimates on the site in the first place.

  27. midix2 February, 2016

    Yeah, this division between DHL Deutsche Post and DHL Express is really confusing.
    I live in Europe, Latvia. Most of my Amazon orders are delivered by DHL. If I don’t choose “Expedited delivery” during checkout, then my order is delivered by DHL Deutsche Post, which means that the tracking number will be available only in DHL Germany website. Also this means that the package might be delivered by a courier directly to my address or, in case of cheaper packages, it might be passed to our local postal services and then the package will be delivered by a postman.

    The “regular DHL” (Deutsche Post) is slow and my order sometimes just sits in Radefeld, Germany for days without any status updates.

    But if I pick “Expedited delivery”, then DHL Express is pretty good, it takes just 3-4 days to deliver from Germany to Latvia, and the tracking number can be found on their international website with lots of details (whether they are on schedule etc.).

  28. carlo4 February, 2016

    They’re simply a joke of a company, I had a parcel sent to me from my country (as a temporary shipment) and they cleared the item duty as a permanent import without even consult with me, first time I heard from them was by a message telling me that i should pay 250 dollars before to get my parcel, when i did contact them telling that they shouldn’t have cleared it as a permanent import their answer was that anyway they don’t do any temporary import so it will be my interest to contact and pay a custom broker whom would have to take care about they get refund the import duty them do again for me the custom clearance and then get in contact with them and only at that point i will finally get sent what is mine…..

  29. Johnny doe7 February, 2016

    Im waiting for this shipment from USA to Europe and the package has now been for 12 days in Usa.According to the tracking info they have been sending it back and forth inside USA and now its in the first DHL factory as on first day of tracking!
    Feb 6, 2016
    PM CT
    Melrose Park, IL, US Processing Completed at Origin
    PM CT
    Melrose Park, IL, US Manifested for Outbound Transportation
    Feb 5, 2016
    AM LT
    UNITED STATES Processed Sort Facility
    Feb 4, 2016
    AM CT
    Chicago, IL, US Processed Through Sort Facility
    AM CT
    AM LT
    Feb 2, 2016
    AM CT
    Chicago, IL, US Processed Through Sort Facility
    Jan 29, 2016
    PM CT
    Melrose Park, IL, US Processed
    AM CT
    Melrose Park, IL, US Arrival DHL eCommerce Facility
    Jan 28, 2016
    PM GMT
    En route to DHL eCommerce Distribution Center
    PM GMT
    Electronic Notification Received: Your order has been processed and tracking will be updated soon

  30. Tomasz11 February, 2016


    They have delivered the package to neighbour even though my wife was at home. It was so important for me she gets the package – it were flowers for her birthday! They left it at a neighbour and left NO INFORMATION – and it’s not the first time it happened! I even once wrote an official reclamation letter and got apology back for nothing. Bunch of re*ards! Learn to fu*cking read the names on the intercom and RING THE RIGHT APARTMENT and/or LEAVE INFORMATION ABOUT DELIVERY.



    You should hire people who are not lazy and can think.

    Sendungnummer is: 146103462709


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