What can't you send by courier?

Certain goods are prohibited, restricted or unsuitable, which means they cannot be sent by courier or can only be sent under strict terms and conditions. Prohibited goods are not covered for loss or damage regardless of whether extra insurance is purchased at the time of booking. Restricted and unsuitable goods have limited international shipping options and limited insurance cover.

P4D provides the list below for guidance only. We offer services from a number of different couriers and are not an authority on each of their individual shipping Terms. This list exists to prevent transportation of dangerous or hazardous goods and to make sure you understand the Terms of insurance for restricted or unsuitable goods. 

If you have any concerns about goods you want to ship, contact us before you make a booking and we will check with the courier on your behalf. Business users should contact our Sales team if they ship any of these goods in high volumes and want to form a shipping agreement with one of our couriers.

PROHIBITED GOODS
Cannot be shipped by courier under any circumstances
Not covered for loss or damage

It is your responsibility to make sure the items you send are not prohibited. If prohibited goods are stopped at a sorting depot or at the point of attempted entry, the courier company is entitled to return the item to you, destroy it, or dispose of it and also charge back any reasonable associated costs incurred to do so; we will pass this cost onto you as the sender. Attempts to ship dangerous goods can also lead to prosecution by the authorities.

  • Clinical and medical waste.
  • Corrosives eg. Battery acid and drain cleaner.
  • Counterfeit currency or illegal lottery tickets.
  • Dry ice.
  • Electronic cigarettes due to heating element.
  • Explosives like fireworks or war materials cannot be shipped under any circumstances and are not covered for loss or damage.
  • Flammable liquids and solids, including lighters and refills, safety matches, firelighters, nail varnish removers, and paint stripper.
  • Gases eg. Camping gas cylinders and fire extinguishers.
  • Hover boards
  • Human and animal remains (except for ashes).
  • Illegal goods, including country-specific stipulations [check your destination].
  • Live animals, animal parts, skin or furs, and ivory or ivory products.
  • Magnetised materials with a field strength of 0.418A/metre or more.
  • Pornography, including print, film and digital format.
  • Oxidising materials or organic peroxides eg. Hair bleach.
  • Radioactive materials.
  • Tobacco, loose-leaf tobacco products, and pre-rolled cigarettes.
  • Toxic liquids, solids or gases, or infectious substances and pathogens eg. Pesticides, weed killers, and poisons.
  • Used engine oil or other environmental waste.
  • Waste, dirt, or refuse.

RESTRICTED GOODS
International shipping restrictions
Goods may not be insured for loss or damage

Alcohol

  • Alcohol that is more than 24% ABV (Alcohol by Volume) cannot be shipped outside the UK under any circumstances and is not covered for loss or damage.
  • Alcohol that is less than 24% ABV can be shipped overseas, so long as containers are well-cushioned and covered with absorbent material in case they break. Volume cannot exceed 1 litre and no more than two items can be sent in one package.
  • Alcohol that is more than 70% ABV (Alcohol by Volume) cannot be shipped within the UK under any circumstances and is not covered for loss or damage.
  • Alcohol that is less than 70% ABV can be shipped within the UK, so long as containers are well-cushioned and covered with absorbent material in case the container breaks. Volume cannot exceed 1 litre and no more than two items can be sent in one package.

Aerosols

  • Aerosols cannot be shipped outside the UK under any circumstances and are not covered for loss or damage.
  • Aerosols for personal grooming (eg. deodorant, body spray) or medicinal purposes (eg. flea spray) can be shipped within the UK, so long as the valves are protected to avoid inadvertently spraying the contents. Volume cannot exceed 500ml and no more than two items can be sent in one package. Poorly packed goods will not be covered for damage.

Batteries -- Lithium

  • Lithium batteries cannot be shipped when not with or attached to an electronic device and lone batteries will not be covered for loss or damage.
  • Lithium batteries can be shipped when they are inside or with an electronic device, providing there are not more than two lithium batteries in any one package. Batteries must be very well protected and poorly packed batteries will not be covered for damage, nor damage caused to other items. When shipping lithium batteries within the Terms of these restrictions, attach this warning label to the box: View and download label.

Batteries -- Other

  • Car batteries, damaged batteries, used batteries, or any other battery that could be classed as dangerous goods (eg. acid) cannot be shipped under any circumstances and are not covered for loss or damage.
  • New wet, non-spillable batteries cannot be shipped outside the UK under any circumstances and are not covered for loss or damage. They can be shipped within the UK providing there is not more than one battery in any one package, that it is well packaged and protected against short circuit. Poorly packed goods will not be covered for damage.
  • Other batteries, such as new alkaline metal, nickel metal hydride (NiMH), nickel cadmium (NiCd), and zinc-air batteries can be shipped, providing they are unopened and in their original packaging, then well packaged. Poorly packed goods will not be covered for damage.

Bicycles

  • Bikes can be shipped providing they are dismantled and the parts individually packed and protected. Please read our FAQ on bike packaging, as poorly packed goods will not be covered for damage. 

Car Parts

Please also read our packaging FAQs 

  • Tyres and wheels will not be accepted for collection unless they are boxed. If they are not boxed and make their way into the courier network, they are not covered for loss or damage.
  • Car bumpers and bonnets cannot be shipped outside the UK under any circumstances and are not covered for loss or damage.
  • Car bumpers and bonnets can only be shipped with Parcelforce and providing they are within size/weight restrictions and adequately packaged. Goods should be boxed. If they cannot be boxed, they should be measured as though they are in a box to secure accurate measurements. If goods are booked onto a service they are too big or too heavy for, they are not covered for loss or damage and a surcharge may be given for under-declaring goods. Bumpers must be covered in cardboard and then shrink-wrapped, but all goods can be refused for collection if they are not suitably packaged. Poorly packed goods will not be covered for damage.

Christmas crackers

  • Christmas crackers cannot be shipped outside the UK under any circumstances due to explosive elements.

Electronic goods and equipment

Please also read our insurance FAQs

  • TVs and PCs are not covered for damage and similar items will also be very difficult to claim for. Please contact us if you would like advice on shipping a specific item and we will assess on a case by case basis.
  • Screens and digital displays are not covered for damage, only loss.
  • Poorly packed goods will not be covered for damage.
  • If your device contains a lithium battery, check our Lithium Battery listing above for information on shipping and the Terms of insurance.
  • Making a claim against electronic goods or equipment that is found to be defective upon delivery is incredibly difficult. Strong evidence of damage to the external packaging, which may have resulted in damage to the components, is required and must be supported by clear photographic evidence. If damage in transit cannot be proven, a claim will not be settled.
  • We recommend expensive items attractive to thieves are camouflaged to detract attention away from them.
  • If devices contain sensitive or personal data check our Unsuitable Goods list below for:
    Goods of personal value

Engines

Please also read our pallet shipping FAQs

  • Engines, generators and other mechanical parts that have contained oil cannot be shipped outside the UK under any circumstances and are not covered for loss or damage.
  • Engines and other large mechanical parts can be shipped within the UK on a pallet using the Pallet Track service. They cannot be shipped with Palletways under any circumstances.
  • Engines, generators and other mechanical parts must be completely flushed out of all oil and dried. Couriers need access to the dipstick and if any oil is present, collection will be refused and the sender issued a surcharge. If parts containing oil are found in the courier network the sender is liable to pay a substantial surcharge.

Liquids

  • Liquids are not covered for damage, nor damage caused to other items. Many courier networks list all liquids as prohibited and we recommend they are not shipped by courier.
  • Flammable and toxic liquids cannot be shipped under any circumstances, check the Prohibited Goods list above. 
  • Also check Restricted Goods list for:
    Alcohol
    Nail varnish and polish

    Perfumes and aftershave
    and Perishable goods in the Unsuitable Goods list below

Musical instruments

  • Musical instruments must be shipped inside a hard case or they will not be covered for damage.
  • We recommend you add padding around the instrument when inside the case, so that it cannot move in transit.

Nail varnish, polish and gels

  • Nail varnish, polish and gels cannot be shipped outside the UK under any circumstances and are not covered for loss or damage.
  • They can be shipped in the UK providing they are unopened and in their original packaging, then well packaged. Poorly packed goods will not be covered for damage. Volume per item must not exceed 30ml and no more than four items can be sent in any one package.

Perfumes and aftershave

  • Perfumes and aftershaves (including eau de parfum and eau de toilette) cannot be shipped outside the UK under any circumstances and are not covered for loss or damage.
  • They can be shipped in the UK providing they are unopened and in their original packaging, then well packaged. Poorly packed goods will not be covered for damage. Volume per item must not exceed 150ml and no more than four items can be sent in any one package. 

Suitcases

  • Suitcases pass through automated courier systems and are handled by robots, so must be robust enough to withstand the journey. If your suitcase has a soft cover, has a broken zip or is old and worn, there is little protection for the goods inside and an increased risk of damage. We recommend you shrink-wrap vulnerable cases, cover them in bubble wrap, or cover with cardboard. Poorly packed goods will not be covered for damage.
  • If you have a soft case a shipping label can easily fall off in transit, so we recommend you write the delivery address on a piece of paper and tightly wrap clingfilm around this and the top of your case, so that the shipping label can stick to the film.
  • We recommend you take a photo of your case before collection or make a note of the make/model. This will make it easier for the courier to identify your case. Black is the most common colour for suitcases, so we advise you attach a coloured ribbon or tag to the handle.
  • Check our Unsuitable Goods list below for:
    Goods of exceptional monetary value
    Goods of personal value
    Fragile goods

Weapons

  • Weapons eg. Firearms (including imitations) and firearm parts, ammunition, swords and knives cannot be shipped outside the UK under any circumstances and are not covered for loss or damage.
  • Low-powered air weapons like air rifles, air guns and air pistols can be shipped within the UK. However, poorly packed goods will not be covered for damage. 

Works of art

  • Check our Unsuitable Goods list below for:
    Goods of exceptional monetary value
    Goods of personal value
    Fragile goods
  • Works of art that are not fragile or high in value (monetary or personal) can be shipped providing they are well packaged. Please read our FAQs on packaging, as poorly packed goods will not be covered for damage. 

UNSUITABLE GOODS
Cannot be shipped, or shipped at your own risk
Limited or no insurance cover

Fragile goods

  • Fragile goods are unsuitable for shipment through a courier network and are not covered for damage, including ceramics, marble, china, stone, resin, etc.
  • Glass, in part or in full, is not covered for damage.

Furniture and white goods

  • Flat-packed furniture that is boxed can be shipped.
  • Unboxed furniture or other household goods should be moved using a removals service, not a courier, and will not be covered for loss and damage.
  • Couriers cannot ship white goods: fridges, freezers, washing machines, ovens, dishwashers, etc. and they are not covered for loss or damage.

Goods of exceptional monetary value

  • Antiques, precious stones and gems, gold and silver, or other goods of an exceptional value cannot be covered for loss or damage if sent by courier. They are sent entirely at your own risk.

Goods of personal value

  • Unique items like keys, artwork and lottery tickets, or items of sentimental value should not be sent via a courier network. This includes personal effects like clothes and accessories. Such goods cannot be covered for loss and are sent entirely at your own risk.

Money

  • Cash, credit cards and debit cards, personal cheques, travellers cheques and currency, should not be sent via a courier network. They cannot be covered for loss and are sent entirely at your own risk.

Perishable goods

  • Frozen or fresh food and drink, and pharmaceutical products like vaccines should not be sent via a courier network. Perishable goods cannot be covered for damage and are sent entirely at your own risk.

Plants

  • Plants, flowers, seeds, and real Christmas trees should not be sent via a courier network. Plants cannot be covered for damage and are sent entirely at your own risk. 

Unique documents

  • Passports, birth and death certificates, financial documents, or other unique documents and certificates should not be sent via a courier network. They cannot be covered for loss and are sent entirely at your own risk.

Unusual shapes

  • Ladders, canoes, kayaks and such goods that are awkward to transport will not be accepted into the courier network.

P4D can recommend Shiply for specialist shipments where a courier service is unsuitable.