Choosing a service
Which service should I choose?
We work with a range of different courier networks to bring you choice. Depending on the weight, dimensions and destination of your goods we'll show you all the available services across these networks.
You can select the cheapest or fastest service, or simply use your preferred courier from the list and book instantly. Therefore, the courier that you choose is based entirely on your own preferences, budget and requirements. The detail for each service is listed within the quote results, so please consider them carefully before making your selection.
Which courier is best?
P4D only works with reputable courier networks whose services are well established across the industry. Each network, as with any business in any industry, will receive both positive and negative feedback dependent on personal experience. Across all networks the largest majority of shipments go through without a hitch.
We do not promote any courier over another, but different courier networks will have different strengths in different areas - be that a quick delivery to America or the transportation of antiques. If you have an expensive or unusual item contact us for some advice.
What is a parcel Drop Off service?
If you're not able to wait in for a courier collection, you can drop your parcel off at the nearest Drop Off point at a time convenient to you. These are located all across the UK (for domestic UK-UK delivery only) and the courier then delivers your parcel as part of their regular network.
Drop Off points are often open early and late, depending on the location you choose.
How do you get your prices so low?
P4D is a reseller for courier services. We are one of only a few official resellers who hold legitimate accounts with all of the big-brand courier networks.
As an established booking agent for these services we receive very low rates, which is what we pass onto you, our customer. However, unlike other resellers in the courier industry we have a customer support team available over the phone. They manage all customer service requests on your behalf and we also build our own software systems to save you time on logistics.
We don't buy space on a van, nor are we a 'white label' site. We work in close partnership with every courier network we offer services for to bring their global business operations to small-medium sized businesses and individuals.
Is VAT included in the price?
In the quote results we show the cost of the service both including and excluding VAT.
There are no hidden charges.
Can I get a discount?
If you are shipping a large amount of goods in one consignment or frequently ship in high volumes, we may be able to get you a better rate.
As a regular sender, you can sign up for a free business account to import orders from trading sites, use our free returns software, or get help with fulfilment.
If you want to discuss a one-off large shipment, contact our Sales team.
What are the different printer options?
If a printer is not required, this means the courier will bring labels for your parcel and attach them upon collection. You need do nothing more, although we recommend in our labelling advice that you still hand-write the delivery address on the box as well.
If a printer is required, it means you must print the labels we provide you with and attach them to your parcel. If you have no way of doing this, we ask that you choose an alternative service.
Where printing is recommended, it means you don't have to print the labels we provide, but those provided by the courier aren't always as detailed as we would choose, so we recommend you also print and use the label we provide.
Why is the address or postcode not showing?
P4D uses the same address system as Royal Mail, so if the postcode you are trying to use is not found in our system, this means it is incorrect or not yet listed.
Check the postcode with Royal Mail at http://www.royalmail.com/postcode-finder before trying again. If you continue to have problems you can manually type in the address.
Using an incorrect address
If the address you use is proven to be incorrect the courier won't be able to find it at street level and your collection or delivery will fail, so please do all you can to avoid this disruption to your service.
What if I don't have contact details for the sender/receiver?
For international deliveries, imports back to the UK, and all pallet orders the contact number for the receiver is an essential piece of information for the courier, but we suggest you provide contact details for both the collection and delivery address on all orders.
International orders, pallets and imports
Some international couriers will not accept an order without contact details for the receiver or will not arrange the collection if they cannot contact the recipient directly on the day they are due to collect. Our strong advice is to provide the recipient number to avoid any unnecessary delay.
If there is a problem with the goods after the collection has taken place some courier networks (not all) will call customers directly from their depots or Head Office, which is why we advise you to always provide the number for the receiver. If we spot a problem ourselves, it also means we can go directly to the receiver to resolve a problem more quickly.
Lack of information
If for some reason you are not able to obtain details for a sender or receiver, you can use your own contact details instead and all calls and emails will come to you, but if you are not able to resolve the problem or confirm details, this could delay your collection or delivery or cause it to fail altogether, which can result in a surcharge (extra payment).
Why do you need to know what I'm sending?
You can ship almost anything with a courier network, but there is a list of prohibited items. This is not a filter for Customs, but it is helpful to be informed in the case of a problem.
View the full list of prohibited items.
Why does the value have to be provided in Pounds Sterling?
We automatically calculate whether or not your level of insurance covers the value of your goods. If the value is above the level of complementary free cover that we offer, we'll give you the option to add extra cover to make sure the whole shipment is covered against loss or damage.
Since we are a UK-based agent, this is calculated in Pounds Sterling.
What is carbon offsetting?
P4D runs a Green Scheme. We calculate how long your item spends in transit before it reaches its destination and we then offer you the opportunity to carbon offset this with an extra payment, which is usually only a few pence.
All of the pennies you donate at the checkout go towards planting hundreds of new trees.
Am I covered against loss or damage?
We understand that customers want reassurance for their parcels and pallets, which is why we automatically provide free cover up to £25 on every order, with the exception of MyHermes. If you're sending an expensive item or need more cover than this, simply top up the amount with extra cover for a very reasonable cost. Insurance is not provided per parcel or pallet, but for the total value of all the goods on your order.
Register for an account and we'll automatically include cover up to £50 with all your orders on selected services. This excludes P4D Packet economy services, which can only be covered up to £25.
We automatically cover every order for a value up to £25, with the exception of MyHermes and we don't charge you a penny for this. The amount of cover is for the total value of your order, be it one item or more. If your order value is worth more than this and you purchase extra cover, extra cover voids the free cover. For example:
- You have five parcels and each is worth £100, so you want cover up to £500
- You purchase extra cover worth £500 (it costs you £10) and you're covered up to £500
- You are not covered for £525 - that is, free cover worth £25 plus extra cover worth £500
You will not be covered for prohibited items with free or extra cover under any circumstances.
You'll find all the help and advice you need on prohibited items within the list.
Claims for goods that were badly packaged in the first place or mis-labeled by the sender will always be difficult to successfully pursue.
If you under-declare the size or weight of your parcel this voids all insurance cover.
Regardless of where your goods are in the network, insurance against loss or damage is void if the goods are larger of heavier than you have declared them to be. If the goods you send are not suitable for the service you have booked them on to, the courier will detect that they are too heavy or too large (and therefore cost more to ship). They will issue a surcharge that you will be liable for.
How much is extra cover?
If our complementary free insurance isn't enough, you can quickly and easily add extra insurance to your order for cover up to the value of your goods. Extra cover is available for shipments going to the UK, European Union, USA, Canada and a small number of other countries.
Contact us if your insurance level is not automatically calculated for you at the checkout, but is required. This usually means we need to check if the destination point can be covered.
Cost of extra cover up to £1,000
£1 pays for cover up to £50
£2 pays for cover up to £100
£5 pays for cover up to £250
£10 pays for cover up to £500
£15 pays for cover up to £750
£20 pays for cover up to £1,000
Cost of extra cover up to £5,000
Insurance for cover over £1,000 and under £5,000 is underwritten internally and calculated in price brackets. The cost price is incremental at around 2% of the value of your goods. To keep this simple, the cost is automatically calculated for you at the checkout.
If you require insurance beyond this amount, contact our Sales team with details of your shipment.
How much money will I get back?
Whether you ship your order covered by our free insurance or you purchase extra cover, you are only covered up to that level of insurance, eg. up to £50.
It does not mean that in the event of loss or damage to your parcel or pallet that you will receive £50 if your claim is successful. You will receive an amount not exceeding the total value of all the goods that are lost or damaged.
The value is the amount you paid for the goods, not the retail value.
Claim settlements do not include VAT.
What if I'm not the sender?
If you're buying something from an online trading store like eBay or Amazon, but you're arranging your own courier because you know it's cheaper with P4D, this is easily done with our instant booking system, but you need to make sure the sender understands the packaging requirements. We encourage our customers to protect themselves when buying in because no level of insurance will cover a badly packaged item.
As the person organising the courier it is your responsibility to check that your arrangements for insurance are in order. However, for a damage claim to be successful, you must be able to show that your item was well packaged in the first place and protected for the journey. If an item was sent without padding or in an old tatty box, for example, then a claim for damage in transit is unlikely to be considered. Not all sellers on eBay, Amazon or any other trading store are businesses and they may not have used a courier service before, so it is your responsibility to check they understand the packaging requirements for the collection service you book. This is not something we or the courier will take responsibility for.
Before confirming your courier collection with P4D, check the Terms on the trading platform you are using to purchase an item and ask the sender how the item will be packaged. If they are not familiar with the necessary requirements, but are willing to package the item properly, send them the link to our packaging and labelling FAQs, which tell them everything they need to know:
It is important you work in partnership with the seller to make sure your delivery arrives in one piece. We will not become involved in damage disputes of this nature. Where an agreement on packaging or labelling has not been met with either party, we cannot resolve this issue on your behalf. However, where a claim needs to be made for loss or damage we gladly accept evidence from either party (sender or receiver / seller or buyer) to support the claim. Any settlement will be paid to the person who booked and paid for the courier with P4D.
When arranging your own courier, make sure you arrange for the shipping labels to be sent on to the sender in time for collection and that they use them.
Which credit and debit cards do you accept?
You can pay by card with all major credit and debit cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Maestro, and JCB.
The payment gateway for these credit companies is usually provided by Sage Pay. If there is a problem with the Sage Pay system this will be beyond our control, but please notify us so that we can report it and take appropriate action.
Can I use PayPal?
We accept PayPal and you can pay for your order in this way.
If you experience a problem using the PayPal payment gateway, let us know so that we can contact PayPal right away and ask them to resolve the issue.
Do you accept Bitcoin?
Yes, we do accept Bitcoin.
If you need any help using Bitcoin as payment, please contact our customer service team for advice.
What is your Top Up payment feature?
Our handy Top Up payment feature means you can pay as you go. Simply add funds to your Top Up payment account - just enough to cover your order or a float for future orders - then select this payment option at the checkout.
Our Top Up payment feature is free to use with a P4D home or business account. Instead of having to remember card details or process your order through a gateway like PayPal, we'll take the funds straight out of your account and confirm the order.
Do you offer credit facilities?
Credit facilities and payment facilities are available to business customers who ship regularly in high volumes.
What happens once I've placed my order?
At the end of the order process you'll see an order confirmation page, which provides you with an order number (eg. P4D123456) for each booking. You'll then also receive email confirmation with a link back to your order confirmation page.
Printing labels and documents
If you are required to print labels or complete documentation for international shipments, these required documents will be clearly listed on your order confirmation page. We also provide complementary documents, like packing slips, that you can choose whether or not you use.
If ever you need to contact us, it's important to always quote your P4D order number. You can also use this to track your order on our website.
Who do I contact if there's a problem?
It is important that you always contact our Customer Service team directly about your order on 01295 267200 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Their Inbox is monitored late into the evening and at weekends, but other mailboxes are not. We cannot help with orders via Facebook, Twitter or other social networks.
When will my labels be available?
Depending on the courier and the service, either the courier will provide labels upon collection or you will need to print your own labels.
Labels are available to download and print from your order confirmation page. You can re-visit this page at any time by following the link in your order confirmation email.
Day before collection
(Provided by courier)
(Provided by courier)
(Provided by courier)
(Provided by courier)
The courier provides the labels for imports (DHL and TNT).
How do I label my parcel?
Every parcel you ship must have a shipping label attached to it, which is referred to by the courier companies as a waybill. It is essentially an address label, but contains other bar-coded information that the courier company needs to get your parcel quickly to its destination. The destination of your parcel and the courier company you book with will determine whether or not you need to print your own waybill. If shipping internationally you must also attach a Commercial Invoice to your parcel.
It is important to get the labelling process right since your parcel will travel through a complex parcel delivery system, handled mostly by robots. If your labels are incorrect, are obscured or not attached properly to your parcel, there is a greater risk it will get lost in the system. It is vital that you understand how your parcels are handled in transit.
When you book in your parcel for delivery you must double check the delivery address you have entered before confirming the order, making sure there are no typos in the address field and the postcode is correct. It is your responsibility to book this through correctly because the information you provide is used to generate the waybill, which determines where your parcel is delivered to.
At the end of the booking process online you'll see an order confirmation page, which tells you which labels you need to print. Here you'll see whether or not you need to print a waybill. You'll receive an order confirmation email with a link to this same order confirmation page, should you need to re-visit it later on.
Waybills are not always produced immediately: Check your service.
The address you supply for the order confirmation email is where the order confirmation and waybill emails go to. You must forward on the labels to the person who has the parcel if this email does not go directly to them.
Printing and attaching a waybill
If you need to print your own waybill, ideally you will print it on a sticky A5 label (portrait) using a laser printer, although we appreciate many customers will not have this equipment available and there are alternative methods. We recommend laser print because this does not smudge if it gets wet - say the driver collects in the rain, and sticky labels do not come away from the parcel in transit.
If you can't print the digital label on to a sticky label, you can print it on plain A4 paper and then put the label in a clear sticky-backed document envelope and attach this to your parcel. You can buy these 'documents enclosed' envelopes in bulk from any standard stationery shop.
If you cannot use these methods, stick the waybill firmly to the parcel with plenty of tape around the edges of the paper, making sure the paper is secured firmly in place and the ends of the tape are not sticking up.
When sticking waybills to your parcel make sure there are no creases or tears in the sticky label or envelope and that the waybill is not obscured or covered by any other sticker. Remove or cover over old shipping labels is re-using a box. The entire waybill must be visible because it will be scanned by a robot on a conveyor belt and not sorted by a person by hand. If an old label is still visible this may be scanned by mistake and the parcel mis-sorted. You should use the labels we provide to ensure the order and payment is traced back to P4D in case there is a problem.
If you do not need to print a waybill yourself, your parcel still needs this shipping label, but the driver will print and attach it to your parcel upon collection.
Back up procedure
Whether you print your own waybill or the driver provides it for you, we recommend that you still hand-write the delivery address on to your parcel. This is an extra precaution in case there is a problem with the waybill or it becomes detached from your parcel. Hand-write the delivery address on to your parcel using a marker pen, writing clearly and in capital letters. If you are sending a number of parcels, we provide a complimentary packing slip with every order that you can print and attach to your parcels.
What is a waybill?
A waybill is the shipping label that contains details of the delivery address and other bar-coded information that a courier company needs to be able to deliver your parcel to its destination. Waybills are not always immediately available for print: Check your service.
Labelling your parcel correctly
Every parcel must have a waybill attached to it and we have very clear information on the process that you should familiarise yourself with before booking.
What is the packing slip?
We include a complementary packing slip for your receiver, you do not have to use it, but many of our customers find it useful.
We recommend you print and place this slip inside your parcel, not only for courtesy to your receiver, but also because it acts as yet another precaution against your shipment getting lost in the system - even though this is very rare, it is still a recommended step to take as it would help the courier company determine where the parcel is coming from and where it is going to should the worst situation arise.
What time do I have to book by for a collection today?
The cut off time for Same Day Collection (with Next Day delivery) varies between courier networks, but it is usually between 11am and 1pm. Not many couriers offer this facility and more rural parts of the UK will be subject to the earliest cut off times because couriers need more advanced warning of the booking in order to travel there. Therefore, collections from remote areas may need to be booked for the following day. If you live in a remote part of the UK, we advise you call us to check your Same Day collection can go through; we'll check with the courier.
Our system will only display the Same Day Collection service if the cut off time has not yet passed and if it is available, so you'll not be able to book the service when it is not.
If you miss the cut off time you can arrange a Same Day collection and delivery.
Can I have my item collected and delivered on the Same Day?
You can have your item collected and delivered on the same day with a premium service. The sooner you get in touch with us for a quote, the sooner we can get your delivery on its way.
Can I choose a collection window?
Collection times are all day Monday to Friday. However, if you are not able to arrange collection from a different address and can't wait home, you can use a Drop Off service instead. Drop off at a time that suits you.
Can I book a collection in advance?
You can book collection for up to a week in advance of today's date. In your list of quote results you will see an option for Collection Date. Underneath this date is a drop down menu with a list of days for you to choose from.
If you have a large or unusual shipment that needs organising in advance, contact our sales team for a bespoke quote, so that we can get everything in place for you.
What does Business Collection Only mean?
You'll notice that some of the couriers we work with specify "Business Collections Only" on select services, but businesses come in all shapes and sizes. You can book a business collection if your address is:
- The registered address of a company or
- A VAT registered address or
- A location where you pay business rates or
- A place where employees arrive to work or
- A place for which you hold Public Liability Insurance
Rules for international shipments
The definition for international shipments moving outside of the EU is strict. Your goods will pass through Customs and may be stopped for inspection. In these instances your business will need to be identifiable and the nature of the import or export clarified in line with rules set in place by Customs. You'll find all the help you need as a business in our International FAQs section - pay close attention to the Commercial Invoice advice and related information, since this is the paperwork that gets your shipment through.
Rules for UK domestic shipments
The definition for 'business' can be more relaxed for domestic shipments. Essentially, it means that someone will be at the collection address during working hours and available to hand over your collection, since a specific collection time cannot be given. You will also understand how to package and label your parcel correctly to make sure your delivery is ready for transportation through a courier network, and have good knowledge of how the courier system works: How your goods are handled in transit.
If you feel this explanation does not cover your business type and would like to check if you can use a Business Collections Only service, contact us with details of your business and collection address.
When will the courier arrive and what happens if they don't?
Collection can be any time during the day and, unfortunately, we cannot often get information from couriers when they are out en-route or provide an ETA on the day. More detailed information for each service is provided in the Service Information in our quote results at the time of booking, but - in reality - couriers can work earlier than the times stated and often work much later in to the evening up until 7pm, so please don't panic!
Collections are not automatically re-booked. If your parcel or pallet is not collected you must let us know straight away, so that we can investigate the reason for non-collection with the courier. If the courier is found to be at fault, we will re-book for the next day or another day from the same address or from a different one, unless you prefer for the order to be cancelled and refunded. Where a non-collection occurs because of a customer error, there may be a necessary surcharge applied to the order to cover the courier expense.
Most couriers will not take a parcel if there is not somebody at the collection address to hand it to them in person. This is because the wrong parcel may be taken in error, for example. If needs be, arrange to have your parcel collected from a different address.
If something happens en-route to delay the courier, be it a traffic jam, vehicle breakdown, customer issue, or other unforeseeable problem, you might be surprised to learn that the driver often has no way of contacting the customer. This problem exists not only in the courier service industry, but across all industries involved in shipping. Courier networks are working on solutions to this problem.
No courier service is guaranteed.
Which areas are not included in UK Mainland delivery?
UK mainland courier services do not include places not on the main island: the Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Isles of Scilly (including remote areas of Cornwall), Channel Islands - Guernsey and Jersey, Northern Ireland, and the Scottish Highlands. Therefore, when you book a courier service to or from these areas you will need to use the drop down menu to move away from the default of "United Kingdom (Mainland)" and select your location eg. "UK: Isle of Man."
To help you identify non-mainland locations within the UK, here is information about the relevant postcodes:
Guernsey postcards are GY; Jersey is JE.
PO is the Isle of Wight, IM the Isle of Man and some TR postcodes the Isles of Scilly (some TR postcodes are for Cornwall and the mainland).
The restriction includes Northern Ireland and postcodes there are BT.
The areas that perhaps cause the most controversy are the Scottish Highlands. Although they are only marginally separated from the mainland, which is an area of contention itself, PA and PH postcodes are excluded from the mainland, as are IV and HS postcodes, KA and KW, plus ZE. This is simply because these areas take more time to reach. Since they are also not so densely populated, parcel collections or parcel delivery is less frequent and therefore becomes a more expensive journey due to lack of volume.
These UK mainland restrictions are defined by DHL courier services and may differ slightly with other courier companies, like Yodel, TNT and Parcelforce who we also work with. However, the definitions for UK mainland are fairly standard. Unfortunately, it means higher shipping costs to places in Scotland, which is an unpopular reality to many. P4D is not able to influence this cost for our customers, we can only work alongside these restrictions.
The goods news is that parcel delivery within the European Union is just as easy as sending a parcel in the UK. Your delivery won't need to pass through customs or risk being stopped or delayed on its journey.
Can I arrange a time for delivery?
If you need your parcel to arrive by a certain time, say first thing in the morning or before lunch time, you can opt for a timed delivery. These are premium services available across a number of different courier networks.
All of the options available to you will be presented in your quote results, dependent on the size, weight, and destination for your parcel. You can sort quote results by delivery date, just click the arrow at the top of the list.
How can I track my delivery?
To track your parcel or pallet, all you need is your P4D order number:
Tracking does not begin until your item has been collected
Where to find your order number
Your P4D order number (eg P4D123456) will show on the order confirmation page at the end of the booking process. We'll also send an order confirmation email and a link to this same page. If for some reason you can't find your P4D order number contact our Customer Support team on this link with the collection postcode, so they can find your order details.
What happens if my item is not delivered?
Delivery on a standard service is any time between 9.00am-5.30pm and unfortunately we cannot often get information from couriers when they are out en-route. This means we can't offer you an ETA on the day. In reality, couriers often deliver much later in to the evening up until 7pm, so please don't panic!
Thankfully, the majority of deliveries go through without a hitch, but sometimes a delivery fails and this can be for a number of reasons. If you missed a delivery and would like it re-booked, we can arrange this for you. If it is presumed that no attempt for delivery was made to the delivery address, we need to find out why. Let us know straight away and we will contact the relevant courier network on your behalf and get back to you with their response. We will see the problem through to its full conclusion.
Access to the address
Courier services deliver hundreds of thousands of parcels daily and their delivery vans are pretty big. It's important that drivers have clear access to the addresses you've given them for both collection and delivery. They will struggle to get down narrow roads or driveways with no leeway or under low archways, for example. We don't want you to experience any delays on your parcel delivery, so if you think there might be a problem with access, arrange for your parcel to be delivered to another address.
It is not often that parcels go missing altogether and so we do not jump to that immediate conclusion. First, we will contact the courier to find out if there is a reason for the non-delivery, whether this is because they could not deliver for some reason or perhaps tried to deliver, but nobody heard the door. We'll let you know as soon as we have all the facts.
No courier service is guaranteed.
What about weekends and Bank Holidays?
Saturday delivery options are available. They are more expensive than options for week day delivery, so will appear further down in our list of quote results.
The option for a Saturday delivery will not appear in our quote results on Friday afternoons because the cut-off time to book a Saturday delivery has passed. At this point, the only option would be a Same Day collection and delivery for a Friday.
There are no collections on Saturdays.
Sundays and Bank Holidays
Couriers do not collect or deliver on Sundays or Bank Holidays.
What happens to my order if it snows?
We explain the knock on effect of snow on our dedicated snow page.
Is there an age limit for delivery?
In theory, there is an age limit for delivery. No courier company is meant to leave a delivery with a person under the age of 18 years. This is because they do not know the contents of the delivery and, therefore, the driver should ask to see ID from the person receiving the parcel if they are not convinced the person is old enough to accept it.
However, rules on age limits are set by individual courier companies and so policies will change from courier to courier. Businesses delivering products like alcohol will make it a condition of the booking that the recipient must be proven to be over 18 and this can be printed on the label. If this instruction is not printed on the label, enforcement may not automatically be put in place. Ultimate responsibility for checking ID has to lie with the driver under the specific terms of their employment with the courier company.
What is a manifest?
A manifest is a paper receipt. Ordinarily, couriers use digital devices that contain all the information they need to carry out their collections and deliveries each day and these are used to take signatures upon delivery. When a digital device is not available a manifest is used in its place as an alternative.
Couriers try to avoid using manifests because a paper receipt is less effective than a digital scanner where tracking information is required quickly.
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