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Both accounts are no longer active and appear to have been taken down by Twitter.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