Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What is wrong with DHL (and DHL Express)

The last two days my frustration with DHL grew. Let me share with you why. The German Post has acquired DHL and while most of the world thinks of DHL as DHL Express there are two kind of DHL. DHL Express for express delivery and DHL for normal/slow shipping.

DHL Express:

  • It is a very unresponsive company. They have two kind of customer numbers. You need the national number to receive international orders and send national orders and the international one to send international orders. We have asked at least six times to get an international number and it appears that they couldn't care less.
  • I once ordered a DHL Express pickup and paid the driver in cash, for some reason the price was a lot higher than advertised online. The explanation was that the price I paid included VAT. I have used the phone, email, snail mail and fax to ask for an invoice so I can get the VAT refund as a company. To this date I have not received it.
  • One can buy a DHL Express label online, this requires one to pick the country to ship from. The German webpage is lacking the German translation for months and they don't bother to fix it.


  • The good thing about DHL is the concept of pack stations. I can buy shipping coupons online and then use them as I need to ship a package of the class and print the label. I can post the package without queuing at a machine called packstation.
  • DHL allows to upload CSV files for the destination address, one can even embed the coupons but there are various stupid things. It is using Latin1 as encoding. If one attempts to put an address in Chinese funny things will happen. The street name length limit is way too low for various countries (e.g. for the Philippines). The other part is that one can not specify everything one needs to specify for international orders.
  • When ordering a shipping label online one can enter a phone number for the receiver, e.g. if one decides to use the local number (e.g. 022323424) DHL decides to prefix this with 0049 and remove the leading zero. How likely is it that if I ship to the Philippines that the number of the receiver is a German number?
  • Entering Chinese characters as destination address is working but when attempting to print the shipping label one gets empty boxes instead of Chinese characters. They have chosen to use a custom font that doesn't have glyphs outside of latin1.
  • The DHL packstation runs very basic software, it has a touchscreen, barcode scanner and can open doors. In summer one can hear the fan spinning so heavily. What a waste of resources.
  • The software is a joke. One can post several packages and afterwards one can print proofs that the items were posted. This machine asks for each receipt to be printed individually but doesn't indicate which package it belongs. Sure I want you to print receipt 20, and no I really don't want to be asked if you should print _all_ receipts. The other nice thing is that printing can fail because the machine is out of paper and then just exits without giving you any proof.


George Plummer said...

You can use software other than that supplied by DHL. For example StarShipIt Shipping Software integrates with DHL and is much easier to use.

George Plummer said...

You can use software other than that supplied by DHL, such are StarShipIt Shipping Software. There are other options as well and many integrate with accounting or eccomerce systems.

ivirzivir said...

Besides all these negative things about DHL there is an other matter that I experienced 2 times till now. Somehow they have lost my Post just before it arrives to my address. One new bought SmartPhone and lately a New bought Laptop. I think they have the shittiest cargo security system. Someone from DHL can easily grap my post and act like nothing happened. This is the most stupidist system ever. I already wrote a lot of papers to them and filled in a lot of forms but still no results. That is really annoying. I do not care if they pay me back the value of the cargo, they are really bad at what they are doing.

Jey said...

DHL shipment address now only allows 14 characters limit and address of 30-35 characters. It is way too ridiculuous and it caused my package to stuck at the customs or sent to wrong address. This company is getting worse instead of improving their system.