My wife and I sell various items online, one of those being glow sticks to the UK market only, although we’re closing that side of the business down and are currently running out our stock.

We normally ship larger orders by DHL via our local Staples office supplies store, it’s very convenient for us (less than a mile away) and has been very reasonably priced as it’s an official DHL pick up point. On the 21st July, they introduced a new pricing structure which effectively trebled our shipping costs every time we used them

There were all sorts of other inconveniences too, such as *they* had to pack our orders in special cartons.

So we stopped using them.

Our local DHL driver paid us a visit yesterday to explain it’s all been “a bit of a cock-up” as the new prices were only supposed to apply to international deliveries! So he’s advised us to give it another couple of days, and go back and the prices should be back to normal.

We don’t quite think that’s exactly right, however.

We know that this has hit a lot of small businesses like ours, and en masse they have switched to Parcels4Deliveries who use ParcelForce for their deliveries. P4D have recently re-negotiated their charges with them, and are offering an unbeatable deal. We only discovered P4D on the 25th and we were still in the process of checking them out when our DHL driver turned up.

What we think has really happened is that DHL and Staples senior management have decided to put their prices up as more and more people were using them. It was a success story all round until the price hike.

You see, we were shown their marketing material by one of the ladies at Staples, so we know it was fully intended to be for the UK delivery market, not international deliveries as we were told yesterday. She said that she had been on the roll-out course and spoken to DHLs marketing director and that he had insisted it was a good idea even though she told him they would lose business.

We then believe it has all blown up in their face as everyone has moved to P4D, and there’s been a mad scramble to get their customers back!

Probably too late for a lot of their business.

Of course we could be totally wrong on all of this, but I guess we’ll never know the full truth. If I find out any more from Staples, I’ll post it here.