Yodel threatened Twitter with legal action to silence online critics

Home delivery firm Yodel, which handles packages for Amazon, Currys, Boots and O2 among others, has asked Twitter to delete dozens of critical tweets and accounts that it claims are defamatory and “constitute a serious libel”.

Yodel’s lawyers, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, wrote to Twitter on May 9 threatening legal action if the tweets were not removed.

It claims the statements in the tweets are “entirely false” and it includes a list of tweets that it wants removed.

Yodel, formerly known as the Home Delivery Network, has been repeatedly criticised by customers awaiting packages and its reputation has taken a battering online and on TV after it was the subject of a BBC Watchdog programme:

“The company formerly known as HDNL, had a trail of unhappy customers when it featured on Watchdog in 2010. Sixteen months on, new name, new promises – same old problems,” says BBC Watchdog.

The Watchdog programme highlighted numerous customer stories including that of Kim Hobbs who bought presents for her daughter, but Yodel lost the first part of her address leaving her present-less. She didn’t get an apology.

Another story was that of Claire Jolly. She has a seven foot fence and gate and has CCTV footage of the Yodel delivery driver bringing the X-Box 360 she ordered from Amazon – and throwing it over the gate. Yodel did apologise after Claire complained.

The list of tweets that Yodel provided to Twitter typically include those hitting out its failure to deliver on time, lost parcels and advice to others not to use the deliver service. Many are disparaging while others are humorous but don’t strike me as particular libellous.

Yodel appears to be using heavy handed legal tactics in an attempt to silence dozens of online critics – hardly a step that is likely to endear it to customers or a step in the right direction when it comes to customers service.

Some of the tweets Yodel wanted deleted simply call on Yodel to fix its customers service. Others tell of horror stories similar to the one suffered by Claire Jolly.

Many of the tweets still seem to be online while others  appear to have disappeared.

Yodel in its letter also asked that a parody account, @NotYodel, and another Twitter account @HDNL (the name by which Yodel previously went by before rebranding) be removed.

Both accounts are no longer active and appear to have been taken down by Twitter.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges claimed that it has been proven that the existence of these Twitter accounts “”over a substantial period of time, that the existence of these pages serves as a platform for such defamatory statements to be made against our client”.

In a statement Twitter says it doesn’t “comment on actions taken around specific accounts or Tweets” and offered no comment on the Yodel letter.

This latest episode and threat of legal action will do nothing to improve Yodel’s battered image and it only serves to further highlight the well documented issues that some customers have had with Yodel.

It also is another indication that Yodel has no real strategy for dealing with the chorus of online complaints.

While this letter might have silenced a few tweets, a quick search finds plenty more in online forums.

Twitter is the home of people ranting about brands that have let us down. We have all done it. Whether it is complaints about 02 or Virgin Media (me personally). Do they all go demanding for tweets to be removed? No, at least as far as we know.

These are some of the tweets that Yodel wanted removed and which have not been taken down by Twitter.

  • http://www.sixsigma-pr.co.uk Andy M Turner (@andymturner)

    Lawyer-led madness: fix the cause not the symptom. I wondered at first if this could be an attempt to remove false negative posts from an army of ‘ghost’ customers paid by a competitor, but clearly not. This kind of activity is rife in China and I’d imagine will become a significant challenge for marketers closer to home before too long.

  • http://www.adamtudor.com Adam Tudor

    Not surprising really, a leopard can’t change its spots and all that.

  • http://ronsrants.wordpress.com Ron Graves

    I was among those who criticised Yodel, both on Twitter and on my blog, and justifiably.

    On one occasion, a package shown as en route to me via Yodel, from Amazon and long overdue, was handed over to another, unnamed, courier at their Wrexham base who, 2 days later, delivered it back to Yodel at Wrexham – stupidity on a grand scale – where it was for 2 days, I have no idea. Nor do I have any idea why it wasn’t delivered to me (it was only delivered after I’d told Amazon to sort the problem or cancel the order).

    I can prove that delivery shambles too – I kept screencaps of their tracking web page, something I advise everyone to do when dealing with Yodel or any other troublesome courier.

    Interestingly, of late HDNL have been, increasingly, operating under their own name – are they trying to distance themselves from the Yodel shambles?

  • Jason

    Surely everyone has a freedom of speech and if they are angry about any company “letting them down” they are entirely within their right to complain about it.

  • http://ronsrants.wordpress.com Ron Graves

    A question – where the hell has my paragraph spacing gone in my previous comment? Paras are a vital part of the structure of written English, and the spacing should not be so casually ignored.

  • Jon

    Preposterous! Shows complete lack of an understanding of twitter, and I suspect their idea of how to use social media. Why have the handles @YodelOnline @YodelNews and not expect customers to speak up if they’re not performing. They need to take a look at some of the brands using social media as customer services channels. Getting the suits involved has only demonstrated their naivety and lack of strategy (If they even have one!) I’m also surprised that twitter obliged so willingly.

  • http://ronsrants.wordpress.com Ron Graves

    Hmm . . . The second sentence of the third para of that letter says, quite clearly, that criticising Yodel for abysmal service is not allowed.

    Good luck with that – and I’d suggest that if Yodel don’t want to be criticised, they stop pissing people off. It really is that simple.

    It’s not rocket science, guys – anger people through stupidity and incompetence, as in my case, and they’ll complain, and the beauty of the Internet is that inept companies can no longer hide – criticism is immediate and public. As, indeed, I did.

    And if Yodel are feeling petulant about Twitter, I suggest they pay a visit to the extremely anti-Yodel forum at Amazon. It won’t improve their day.

    I feel a blog post coming on! And guess what, Messrs Weil, Gotshal & Manges, the content will be unimpeachable. Have a nice day.

    By the way, the letter goes on to say that everyone is lying about Yodel – libellous, surely?

  • James B

    Really? How ignorant can one firm (or their apparently incompetent law firm) actually be? Not this much I venture. A massive straw-clutch. If someone sends you a liable letter, one doesn’t go and sue Bic and Basildon Bond ergo… I laugh at Yodel!

  • Tinker

    Agree with Ron Graves.
    I recently had a package delivered 3 days late by Yodel /HDNL. When I asked the gold toothed, razor slashed faced driver why, he responded by threatening to beat me up if I complained to his depot.
    Yodel is a worse than a sham, they claim to have “5000” vans but EVERY delivery I have had from them has been completed by a contractor in a hire van – like the lovely guy who threatened me. Their customer line is almost impossible to get on the phone (my average wait time at least 25 mins); their parcel tracking system doesn’t work; and their delivery contractors and call centre staff have to lie to customers to cover the company incompetence.

    I don’t understand why Amazon etc would risk their customer relationships & reputation by using such a low quality service supplier.

  • http://www.peterhandley.com/ Peter Handley

    I’m wondering if some of my tweets might be on that list… I’ve vociferously complained about Yodel, after going through a 3 week spell of being told that my item would be delivered, not receiving it, and poor communication from the retailer and delivery company.

    I wrote a blog about it on my site, and since then its been the most popular page on my website – with clear spikes in traffic when Yodel are having particularly bad issues.

    I think they are going about this all wrong having been on the receiving end of non delivery. Spend the money that they spend on lawyers fixing the problems, admit to them, and show everyone that they are capable of turning it around.

    After all, if they delivered on time more often, they wouldn’t need to deal with these issues.

    I moan about Virgin Media on Twitter too – but they accept responsibility for their problems more often than not, and endeavour to help where they can – its not perfect for everyone, but they at least seem to take things on the chin, so to speak.

  • Joe

    I had Yodel toss a parcel over my gate too, while I was in and they hadn’t even bothered to knock on the door. Amazon are great about fixing the issues Yodel causes but I do not get why they keep using them. It must cost them a fortune in refunded charges and replaced products, not to mention the damage to their reputation.

  • Steve

    I’ve also complained about them and directly to Amazon about them after they have abandoned several packages in the porch of my workplace (which was fully open and staffed with a reception desk behind one further door) including a six hundred pound camera that was supposed to have been signed for and I only received it due to the honesty of a client who brought it to reception for me…

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  • Stevieb0y

    I have had lots of problems with HDNL/Yodel and go out of my way to avoid retailers using them. Awaited a delivery from Amazon for 4 days as they kept saying it was being delivered each day so wasted 4 days annual leave waiting at home as I travel for work.
    Another time I caught the driver breaking into my garage and he refused to give me his name and when I called to complain they hung up on me. Let alone all the other parcels left on the front door step in plain view.
    The fact they have taken this action shows they really aren’t interested in customer complaints/feedback and appears to me they have no intentions of improving their service or image.

  • Sophie

    Another example of a trash, god-awful company not being able to control what is happening and blaming the platform for it. You know what? If you were half decent and did what you were paid to do, it simply wouldn’t happen.

    What *does* shock me is the effort they put into stopping this from happening, rather than looking at themselves and solving their own issues. Putting a plaster on a giant, gaping wound here guys.

    Twitter is a place to vocalise opinions. I personally had to wait in for six days for my parcel (which was meant to be a next day delivery). Every day the Twitter team told me my parcel was on a van. When I got in touch with the company I ordered from, they confirmed it hadn’t been loaded onto a van since the original delivery date.

    Sort yourselves out you fools.

  • Kavey

    I recently hit out at Yodel on twitter after they left a parcel in our wheelie bin. On collection day. Luckily the bin men had already been, but still not acceptable. Luckily, the parcel was not damaged. But following my tweets, it was clear that many friends had experienced similarly poor delivery service from Yodel. The Yodel twitter customer service rep was apologetic, assuring me by DM that this was not acceptable and the driver would be notified, but a) it’s clearly not an exception and b) fat lot of good that will do when it’s never worked in the past.

  • Matt Drew

    I had a parcel go missing at the local Yodel depot. It was never recovered. No apology. I avoid any company that uses them now. An asthmatic ant could deliver things quicker.

  • GinBristol

    I’ve also complained to Amazon about them on various occasions as it always takes over a week for them to deliver and the packages are invariably completely battered and torn. I never thought I’d say it…but I wish Amazon would just stick to Royal Mail!

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  • http://www.artisanmc.co.uk Manchester PR

    You cannot force customers to like you and you cannot use the law like this and come out looking good

    I think Yodel will have to do more than change its name

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  • Ken

    Just ordered a TV from Tesco and they just had to use Yodel.
    Sent out all right, but now the stupid twonks have “lost” my TV!!
    More like stolen!

  • Chris

    I worked for Yodel/HDNL for a short period of time in the collections department and they were an absolute joke. Obviously drivers need to deliver parcels but falsifying signatures, dumping parcels in wheelie bins on bin day, throwing many (!) parcels over hedges.

    Joke of a company!

  • xinrog

    After 10 days of trying to deliver the parcel to my address, (I don’t know how they were trying to deliver as there’s concierge to accept deliveries) now they tell me they don’t have my reference on their system. Now I have asked Argos to refund my money… it was supposed to be 2nd day delivery. Now its been 10 working days without anything!!
    Yodel either needs to pay the delivery guys better or change their business model. Cause this is obviously not working..

  • Richard Thompson

    Recently used Yodel’s 48 hour service to send a package from South Wales to Scotland. It took 10 days just to get from their Llanelli depot to be scanned at their Droitwich one – less than 150 miles. Dreadful service

  • Yodel is awesome, Not!

    I want to sue the kunts – who’s with me!!

  • Anthony

    Yodel is ridiculously bad at what it does, and it clearly has a very poor grip of media law. It seems at least some of the comments it claims are libellous are little more than quite harshly worded fair comment. They may be defamatory, but they’re very much justified. Also, they’re often true, and should it ever go to court, on the balance of probabilities, it seems likely to me that Yodel would lose, based on its extremely poor reputation and the sheer number of complaints its service generates. I’ve had a lot of trouble with it in the past, and I’m currently waiting for a new Virgin Superhub from Yodel. If it doesn’t arrive on time, I’m simply going to cancel the account. Retailers need to wake up and realise the saving they make by using Yodel is being offset by the customers they lose as a result of this delivery company’s poor service.

  • Chris

    I work in online marketing and have just set up an Anti Yodel twitter account @yodelcomplaints following a month long tussle to get my order… End Result – They had lost it and just didn’t want to admit it.

    The idea is to get a bigger following than their account (around 1500) and make retailers aware of what this company are doing to their online propositions. Does this mean I will be taken down too?

    I now see it as a risk to buy online from retailers like Office Shoes, Amazon etc as there is no guarantee you will get your order without a lot of hassle when it doesn’t arrive.

    Yodel’s twitter account is a never ending list of complaints… how can they still be in business???

  • Alexandra Wright

    I think Yodel deserve all the critisism directed at them. They left a sorry I missed you card at the wrong address, then when I used their online service to rearrange delivery it never arrived although I waited in all day. I emailed them numerous time and have NEVER received a reply, they do not answer their phone line despite charging you 10p a minute for the priviledge of hanging on the line, even the customer complaints department do not reply. Finally you cannot find the address of their depots to go and have a face to face. Are they frightened they will have to face their dissatisfied customers. It has put me off ordering from anyone who uses them to delivery.

  • John sharp

    I have ordered 2 laptops online, a second to replace one lost by yodel and the second one is also lost or stolen. 3 months on and still no laptop, surely the companies using this courier are also to blame for staying with them. I have racked up a bill of over £6 telephoning yodel who charge 10 p per minute. I wonder if they do criminal background checks on their staff?

  • Karlie

    YODEL – Thieving self employed drivers that they use.

    I orderd an Ipad from very (costing around £700) it was due Friday AM…it didnt arrive. I spoke to very who advised it was at the Middleton deopt..on arrival (30 miles away) i was then told it was out with the driver..the depot called him..he apparently advised he would be an hour. I waite 2 , called him on his mobile phone number. He advised between 6pm qnd 8pm. 7.30 came and i text him regards parcel. He advised – ITS BEEN DELIVERED.

    To which is hadn’t, he then turned his phone off and hasn’t been heard from since. I have spoken with very who cannot get hold of yodel driver, and for which yodel refuse to take responsibility for.. So in turn I am currently 700 out of pocket due to their incompetant and unreliable or trustworthy staff.

    On arrival at the depot I was one of a handful of people that were omplaining regards their service to say i am annoyed and disgruntled is an understatement!

  • http://permalink kevin oxspring

    YODEL-arranged for parcel to be picked up on 05/09/12 delivery pick up 10/09/12.
    plenty of time to inform me if there was a problem with pick up.
    tried to contact them on 10/09/12 to confirm pick up .
    58mins. on hold no answere.
    tried on 4 more occasions left on hold with them saying my call was inportent & all advisers busy
    i think they just try to drive you to a heart attack because of frustration.
    as expected parcel was not picked up .
    contacted amozan who then arranged for a more reliable courior service to pick up parcel.
    in future i will only buy from dealers not using YODEL

  • Tin

    There is no other way to vent the anger than posting on available sites. No email is going through. No phone call is answered. No way to contact them. Tracking online asked me to rearrange delivery again which actually did not work. If they provide good customer service, these post will not come. These are just repercussions.

  • http://www,tradcookers.com barry charman

    If they had a contact number on their web site they might class as a proper business!however there is no way a customer (and we are unfortunately) can get through to ANY DEPOT – as any phone numbers aren’t published.

  • Andy Blackwell

    I worked for HDNL then Yodel, well it started fine, they used a fab system called quintig, dam good, you could track parcels etc and find addresses and have the route plotted, plus i was paid properly and as an owner driver it was ok. Then the rebrand, the company got rid of quintig, sometimes, well nearly always pay was buggered up, then it was cut so low that i nearly went bust, in fact as an owner driver i had to pull out one day as i had no money to put fuel in as i was doing the same daily mileage, less parcels and REALLY low parcel pack rate, it caused upset at home plus more. I stayed on for a few days as a casual but still am owed money as an owner driver. I’m sorry to say but the company is a shambles, customers on my old route are VERY dissatisfied, they have called me direct to persuade me to go back but i can’t afford it financially or mentally, i was doing nearly 14 hrs a day, i even hit my van in the last week or so where i fell asleep at the wheel. As much as it grinds me to say, and the solicitors for Yodel can threaten me, but i suffered first hand, Yodel you all but bankrupt me, i’m loosing my home, family and you lot say how good you are, i wish i was one of the Berkley family who own the compnay, i can’t even afford my home now or even food, i currently have £40 to my name, am i bitter, yes i bloody well am.

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