Took forever and STILL screwed up!
USA, NEW JERSEY -- Sent this complaint to the head of DHL customer service and BBB:
I sent my first package through DHL this week. I will not be a repeat customer. My experience was nothing short of disastrous.
I sent a shipment of gifts to a friend in Vietnam, parcel ID . I purchased the service through a third-party reseller, who provided the shipping label and what I thought was a customs form. I entered into the form the contents of the package at a value of USD 43.00. I noticed the form was titled "Commercial Invoice," so when the DHL driver picked up the parcel, I expressed my concern and specified that the package contained only gifts and not a commercial shipment. He assured me that everything would be fine.
When the package arrived in Vietnam, an exception was generated. I sent an email asking the status of the package and received a return call from a courteous English-speaking representative in Ho Chi Minh. She indicated that she needed contact information for the recipient; I gave her the recipient's e-mail address. I indicated that the recipient was not perfectly fluent in Vietnamese and asked if she could communicate with the office in English. The representative assured me that an English speaker would be available.
The recipient forwarded me a copy of the email she had received, which asked her for details regarding the shipment which a gift recipient should not normally be expected to have access to. Still, I assisted her in filling out the form and she replied in English. We specified again that the shipment contained only gifts.
A DHL representative next came to the recipient's address and gave her a copy of the "commercial invoice" which I had provided to DHL. The representative stated that the recipient would need to pay the USD 43.00, the value of the items listed, to obtain the package. It should be noted that $43 is a significant hardship for the recipient due to the exchange rate. I messaged the DHL Vietnam website in English stating that the list was not meant to be an invoice, that the contents were gifts and not a commercial shipment, and that the recipient should not be invoiced.
A family member of the recipient called the Ho Chi Minh office and was told that they has not received her email. It was sent again without reply, another call was made, and the representative indicated that the office could not read the English email. The recipient had her email translated into Vietnamese and resent it in both languages. Finally the Vietnam office confirmed receipt and advised the recipient that the package would take approximately two days to clear.
Seeing that DHL had a policy of charging for packages taking over three days to clear, I contacted the U.S. office. I received a voicemail message back stating that the package had been cleared after all and would probably be sent when it was morning in Vietnam. The driver did deliver, charging the recipient's family the $43 which we had explained repeatedly should never have been invoiced. All told, the package spent twice as long in the Vietnam office as it did in transit, and the entire transaction was plagued with errors, poor communication, and a wrongful charge which represents a needless hardship to the receiver.
I would like the full $43 refunded directly to the recipient as soon as possible. Thank you for your time.