Delivery via DHL Express is sometimes a big problem in Germany

Please vote for an alternative to DHL Express here:

Original Post:

Why does Fairphone only cooperate with DHL Express in Germany? It sounds fast, but in my cases(!), it is not!
First story: Due to a touchsceen problem, I agreed with the Fairphone service to send the Display back for exchange. The only way was via DHL expess pick up service on working day during working time. But this “service” is not a service when we (me and my wife) are absent for work the whole day (and we won’t bother the neighbours). So I gave my working adress, knowing, that it is not easy to find. But I informed the gate keeper, and also gave my mobile number to call me in case of problems. But nothing happend, and the database later said, that I was not reachable. Now it is important to know, that DHL Express has only a few delivery facilities, with distance of more than 100 km between. They are not connected with the normal DHL network of several bigger or smaller service points in every city (including a so called “Packstation”, an automat to get or leave pakets). So for my luck the (only possible) delivery facility was near my way home, so I could drop the paket there.

Second story: I ordered a new case. I could choose between post NL (probably without tracking), and DHL Express with tracking number. So I choose DHL Express. I got the tracking number, and at the first delivery date, I was absent, as I expected. I got a message card with a web adress to agree a new delivery. I picked the only and last possibility at the Saturday of the following week and got an email confirmation. But to my surprise, I got new message cards of delivery attempts for the next two days. And a few days later, I got a mail from a service guy that there is still a delivery date to agree. I answered by mail, attached the confirmation but tried also the hotline number. They didn’t know about the agreed date but promised to start a delivery at that day, which is today. But nothing happend again. Next call at the hotline, they again didn’t know anything about the agreed delivery. The only possibility is a new trial next Saturday.
If this works, I would have a delivery time of 16 days, 2 days from the Netherlands to Germany, and 14 days from the 30 km distance from the delivery facility in Dortmund to me. I won’t call that express!

So please dear Fairphoner: consider the delivery with the normal DHL! In that case I can redirect it to a “Packstation” or pick it at the next post office. This is not possible with DHL Express! Obviously DHL Express is not suitable for delivery to private customers!


While drawing the short stick somewhen with any given delivery service is very likely considering their circumstances since the privatization of the state postal service … drawing the short stick with any DHL service twice certainly seems like considerable bad luck.

And I didn’t know DHL Express were operating independently from DHL like that, so thanks very much for sharing.
Perhaps this could be a regional thing. Where I live (in the city) Deutsche Post delivers the letters and DHL delivers the parcels, while at my workplace (in the countryside) Deutsche Post delivers everything with no extra DHL delivery cars in sight. Hmmm …

I guess tracking depends on the exact type of shipment. If a shipment type includes tracking, I would assume Deutsche Post as well as DHL are perfectly equipped to adopt the tracking number regardless of which of them takes over a shipment from abroad.

@Douwe Could it be made clear in the shop system whether choosing the NL option includes tracking or not?


@Roland768, you wrote the post I wanted to write some time ago and then somehow forgot about it - thanks for that. I fully agree with your post.

This sentence sums it up:

When something is sent by DHL (not DHL Express) it can be sent to a Packstation or - if it is sent to your home and you are not there - they can deliver the package at a nearby DHL shop or post office. So it is not a big problem to get your package.

But with DHL Express you NEED to be at home when the package is delivered. And I made the same experience as Roland768, that it is pretty difficult to make an agreement about a new delivery date. This doesn’t work well. And when the package cannot be delivered to you at home, you need to drive to the next delivery facility to get the package, which in my case means 2 hours to go there by public transport, then another 2 hours back. And I am living in a big town, not somewhere in the country.

So it would indeed be great if Fairphone would use DHL instead of DHL Express.


can add some bad experiences, too:

I was told DHL would come in the afternoon to pick up broken FP2.
I was being preparing the parcel when DHL express rang at my door (at about 10:30).
I asked him to wait a few minutes, telling him that I was told, they would come later in the day. He replied that his instruction was to pick it up early in the morning


DHL express announced a delivery for “morning”.
at 12:30 I had to leave the house, sticking a post-it to my door bell which said that they should deliver to my letter box (was only a small parcel that would have fit in), and that they could use the signed (!) post-it as a receipt. no chance they’d do that…

and of course the usual stuff: tracking says that I wasn’t at home when I definitely was, but no one rang at my door; one lost parcel (which made me to wait additionally 5 weeks for my new case), etc.

(and in my case the next DHL express office is 107 km away, so no way that I would ever drive there to fetch my delivery)

So yes: the standard DHL could be a better choice.


Yes, letters are here also delivered by Deutsche Post and parcels by DHL, but DHL express is obviously a different (third) thing. They are using different locations, different staff and different methods (I was quite surprised, findig my parcel in the DHL-tracking app, but hours delayed every step). And as several hotline guys said, it is not possible to redirect an “Express” parcel to normal DHL-locations like post offices, “Packstation” or shops with post agency. One person told me, that this could only be done by the sender, so I have to explain to the fairphoners, how a Packstation works…
I think DHL express is good for business parcels, but, as I said, not for private customers.


I also thought this (afternoon), but in my case it was a misunderstanding, as I got a mail from Fairphone, which said “between 12:00 AM and 4:00 PM”.
This sometimes (not everywhere in the world, see Wikipedia link below) in 24 hours system means: “between 00:00 and 16:00 o’clock”. The employee from DHL showed me the instructed pick up time in her system, which indeed was “between 00:00 and 16:00 o’clock”.
So it almost was my fault, that it couldn’t be picked up on the first try.

When was your pick up?
As I asked Fairphone to change this to a time system without the possibility of misunderstandings, which was almost 1 year ago.
I hope your pick up was before my asking, as if not, it would mean that the system at Fairphone still produces this confusing mails (at least for Germans).

[details=Here my text with more information, which I sent to Fairphone (click this to open hided text)]I almost wasn’t here for the pick up, because in the line “PICKUP PLANNED BETWEEN” it says “Aug 30, 2016, 12:00 AM and Aug 30, 2016, 4:00 PM”, which me as a German recognises as “between 12:00 (noon) and 16:00 o’clock”. I never thought that I could be wrong here and that someone maybe would come in the middle of the night between 00:00 and e. g. 7:00 o’clock. I was lucky that the DHL driver came at 11:50 o’clock and kindly waited for me 10 minutes, because someone told her that I will be here soon. She then showed me, that her system says, that the pickup time is instructed between “00:00 and 16:00 o’clock”, which I thought at first must have been a system failure.
Now that I looked up “12:00 AM” on wikipedia ( and found, that it indeed isn’t that clear, what this time means in different countries (e. g. Japan), I hope you can change this to the 24 hours system or at least add “noon” or “midnight”, which is common to avoid confusion.[/details]

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I have checked. That was in the middle of April 2017, so this year. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the mail with the exact pick-up-date, so I can’t tell what was printed there.
12AM (as well as 12PM) should be avoided since it is not well-defined. Also, this meaning would be nonsense anyway. Who would expect DHLexpress pick-up at, let’s say, 1:30 in the night?

one more thing that comes to my mind:

For DHL you can give them a permission for placing parcels at your garage, or next to the front door, when you are not at home. DHL express won’t do this, even if you have given DHL such a permission.

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I am not sure, but I guess DHL Express might be the sensible solution for deliveries across borders and it seems they offer additional services to business customers. Especially the “collect & return” service seems to be limited to DHL Express. At least insofar it shows, that Fairphone aims for a fast and smooth delivery and return system.
My guess from a short look at the homepage is, that DHL does not offer comparable services.

As far as I remember, delivery for postnl in Germany is done by GLS (although my memories might be mixed up). In any case a short internet-search shows, that postnl offers a tracking service for Germany as well:

From my experience I prefer delivery by DHL to other services.
The delivery of my FP2-cover must have happened by DHL-Express as well, as it was not delivered to the “Packstation” but to my home; i.e. to my mailbox, as I was not at home. So, no problems for me; although, tbh, I don’t know, what would have happened, hadn’t the parces fitted into the mailbox.

Don’t know, if this page is new, but it answers almost all questions concerning delivery:

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I can only wholeheartedly second all the frustration others have described here before me based on my own experience with sending/returning DHL Express shipments. I experienced this 3-4 times by now: At the first time, the courier showed up almost 6 hours after the time window previously agreed upon (solely arranged through a phone call with DHL Express, no prior scheduling from Fairphone – it’s always been the Community Fairphone 2 that Fairphone was so gracious to lend to me and which I was returning at Fairphone’s expense – thanks again for the generosity! :slight_smile: ). The second time the courier turned up 1-2 hours before the time window. Most recently, it was 1 hour after the time window. It boils down to house arrest. So I can only say this without exaggeration: In order to successfully send a DHL Express shipment as a private customer, you need to have the whole day off.

However, as much as I would love it if simpler shipping methods would become available, I would assume that there are reasons for Fairphone choosing this. Maybe it has got to do with legal requirements regarding the shipment of “hazardous goods” (like batteries), and while not every spare part or product available from Fairphone might qualify as such (hazardous), Fairphone logistics might simply not be able to differentiate which shipping method is applicable for every individual item to every eligible country.


It could also be DPD, I’m not sure. But for both providers, there are one or two places to pick up in my town, mostly even open at sunday (which is not normal in Germany, my fellows are knowing this (Ladenschlußgesetz :slight_smile:).
And regarding the tracking number: I think that Post NL and also GLS/DPD are offering that service, but it wasn’t mentionend at the ordering page in the fairphone shop. And in Germany there is no tracking for letters, and small parcels, which are sent as a letter (“Großbrief”, “Maxibrief”).

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The list of failings of DHL Express is getting longer. On Saturday, I was asked to give my mobile number, in case of further enquiries. Today I got a call from DHL-Express, someone asked about a parcel for a person, whom I don’t know, but her last name has the same first three letters as mine and the fourth letter was one step before in the alphabet. So obviously the guy at the hotline on Saturday missed the line and put my number to a wrong parcel.


My experience: Fairphone gave me a new cover (good service!). This package was picked up in Eindhoven, moved to DHL Brussels, one day later it arrived at Rotterdam and finally the next day the package (wich was small enough to be send as a letter, because it fits in a standard sized letterbox) was delivered. The only reason for using a company like DHL, was that I had to sign for delivery. So not a big deal, but I think Fairphone can save some money in this process. For small packages sending direct is faster, cheaper and the customer will find the package in their letterbox (most of the time the slot in the front door).

The story goes exactly the same for the Netherlands. It was after calling the help desk an being persistent that it was arranged somehow satifactory, still meaning that I had to be at home for half a day, but at a suitable day…
The best solution within DHL is using the services for private persons, so the numerous pick-up / drop-ff points in shops become available, just like many web shops do… Or another delivery firm with a good network (in Netherlands TPG eg).

Jan Buys

I believe Fairphone assumes DHL Express does what it promises for the hunk of money they take.
Unfortunately they also belong among the ones being totally wrong about this assumption.
But anyway there are global operating alternatives available to choose of.

I think Fairphone cannot be held responsible for any troubles customers face with the unreliable DHL Express (service).
Actually they are trying to offer the best/quickest delivery service they can think of. But they cannot help it only being a way of having good or bad luck at the end.

I usually deny using any (service) sounding like DHL…I rather stick with contenders like Hermes, GLS, UPS, Trans-O-Flex. Also Amazon offers Hermes here in Germany meanwhile
If I want to have troubles to get my fingers on my sending I simply choose DHL…
No matter how I did it (even was registered for the delivery box “Packstation”, nothing helped at last. Lost sending where the service stated someone unknown has faked my signature…delivery box out of service and due to the delay the sending was returned again, delivery box full and my sending was rerouted to another across town or to some tiny little known service point with shorter opening times.

Also quite common meanwhile in my town is delivery to any neighbor in the building so I can run after it looking for Mr. nobody as there is no delivery statement card dropped or no name plate mounted at the door bell or the neighbor is on night shift or on vacation, maybe has moved away again and so on and so forth. I am fed up.

I think any contender can keep up with this quality of service.

I usually address everything to my girlfriend in another town where it works a bit better.

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I can understand your anger, but please don’t mix “DHL” and “DHL express” in this thread. They don’t have much in common, apart from name and color of their cars. :slight_smile:


The intention of my post was to point out, that DHL Express is not a good choice, not to held Fairphone responsible for that. Nevertheless, after knowing this, they should look for a different delivery partner.
Each of us can tell stories about blunders of delivey services, I personally had bad experiences with DPD and UPS.
But this is different: this is not a blunder in the system but made by design: DHL-Express is exclusievely working with courirs for pick up and delivery (and the courirs are obliged to deliver personally (!), not to use letterboxes), and this won’t fit in the daily workflow of private customers. And I think, Fairphone wanted to give best service and achieved the opposite.

My experience with DHL (without express) is quite good. Most of the online deliveries contains a retoure sticker, and I can drop the retoure in every post office, DLH service point (which is to be found in several shops or kiosks) or the Packstation. And the delivery can in the same way adressed or redirected to the same locations. In rare situations the Packstation is fully occupied, then it will be rederected to the post office in my town, so the delivery (or pick up by myself in this case) will be next saturday at the latest.
Hermes is offering a similar service, but no Packstation. As my wife is sometimes sending parcels, I know, that small and heavy parcels are cheaper with Hermes, and big and lightweight parcels are cheaper with DHL :slight_smile:
And yes, both are working with subcontractors with working conditions, I don’t want to be in :frowning:


And furthermore as customers of both companies can state “poor service”. :worried:

That depends. The by far worst service in my area is Hermes, then DHL Express. But we are wandering off the subject I guess…

I haven’t read the whole topic, but how about we gather alternatives to DHL express and then vote on the best one, so we can provide Fairphone with a concrete suggestion?

I’ll make this post a #wiki, please add your suggestions:

  • DHL (not express!!)
  • Hermes
  • DPD
  • GLS
  • UPS
  • FedEx
  • TNT

I’ll also keep this topic closed for 3 days, so this post is more visible. Every time a new suggestion is added to this post the topic will get bumped.

Edit (by @BertG): just an idea for the intended voting. In case there are some people here in this forum, that do have experience with the courier services as (business) senders, it might be a good idea to make it an additional different vote. Delivery service / business service.

Edit (by Roland768): This post is not in the list of wiki. I understand, that it should be possible to vote. And I never before saw such wiki here and learned by accident, how it works (at the wiki-page, there are explanations). And: how to get a reasonable number of votes?

Sorry, the re-open after x-days function obviously didn’t work for this topic. :confused:

So here is the poll:

###Which delivery service for Germany should Fairphone use in the future?
(You can chose up to 3 options)

  • DHL
  • Hermes
  • DPD
  • GLS
  • UPS
  • FedEx
  • TNT
  • Stay with DHL Express

0 voters