Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I'm in the process of writing a lengthy post attempting to sum up what it's like to be a postdoc in Beijing. This sounds like a fairly niche market but if my advice is useful to anybody coming out here or thinking about going for a postdoc then I'd be happy.

Anyway, I'm afraid this has to be a rather more negative post than that one will be. The saga which started here, related to my computer continues.

In summary, having sent my laptop from England to China via Parcelforce, it was severely damaged in the post. Parcelforce know this because they've been given a detailed description and photos. I moaned in the original post I wrote about this that Parcelforce say it may take up to 60 days to sort this out. Well, day 84 and I haven't heard anything from them. My father, the sender of the parcel, has attempted to contact them on numerous occasions only to be met with completely ludicrous brick walls. First they said that they needed me to give them details about the state of the package when it left the UK. As the receiver of damaged goods it's pretty hard for me to say what state it was in when it left, but I have the senders word that it was in perfect order prior to its journey here.

Secondly Parcelforce said that they would need to send me a letter for me to answer their questions. When it was put to them that perhaps an e-mail would be quicker, the woman in charge said that she would not be able to send an e-mail without the permission of her boss. In the 21st century, sending an e-mail still seems to give some people problems.

So, we've now made genuine threats to send letters to the appropriate high up places to get them moving and the deadline we gave them (today) has now passed.

The reason I'm writing this post is simply to warn people that if you're going to send anything valuable long distances, DO NOT USE PARCELFORCE. If you do and you are unlucky enough for something to go wrong with the parcel in transit, the likelihood of sorting out the situation in a reasonable time seems small.

So ends the rant.


Anonymous said...

Just buy another laptop

Anonymous said...

I don't know how much the claim is worth but you might consider registering it in the small claims court - or at least investigating the matter and sending them a threatening letter of your intent.
I read on the BBC today that in England and Wales you can file small claims over the internet.
The great thing about small claims is that they are a DIY debt recovery process, designed in procedure to be as user friendly as possible to enable citizens to processes their own legal claims without the expense and uncertainty of retaining professional legal services.

Anonymous said...

The use of the disparaging term "ParcelFarce" to describe or denote ParcelForce is a gross misnomer: they should be known by their proper title "HassleFarce". This is the PC age (in all the worst senses) so please be more careful in future! ;-)

(Regards: Peter Hemsley: a fellow sufferer in the past)

Unknown said...

WG, Offers will be gratefully accepted.


That, I believe, has been one of the threats. What I suspect may be a little difficult is that I'm over here with the damaged laptop. I can send photos and, if they want they can come and take a look but bringing them the evidence is not easy. Will see what comes of it.

Dear Peter, I'm sorry but not surprised that this isn't an isolated incident. HassleFarce sounds about right.

I hope not to have to mention this again!