** City Link Failure - New improved parcel rates
At long last we have been able to set up a new parcels contract to replace our arrangements with City Link. It's taken a while to get the new system settled in and the web site re-configured to the new prices. UK mainland customers will now see a welcome reduction in almost all postage rates, in particular for orders of multiple books. There may also be improvements for other areas in due course.
We are still re-drafting the rest of this page. In general for "City Link" read "Parcel Force" which is now the third option for UK Mainland, and may also be used for overseas orders.
Carriage At Cost. We have always charged for packing and delivery at cost - the cost of carriage plus a small sum for the packing box. Our new program calculates this charge from the weight of the order and adds it to your bill. It is quite sophisticated, but may not always be accurate. If you do not like the look of the shipping alternatives offered do not hesitate to abandon your on-line order and enquire by phone or e-mail.
In any event we shall refund any amount which is substantially in excess of the true cost.
Choices At A Glance
Second Class Royal Mail's "expect it when you see it" service. Not insured; not tracked.
First Class Royal Mail "next day" service. Not insured; not tracked.
Orders sent by Royal Mail are at customers' own risk.
Offshore Britain : Northern Ireland, the Isle of Wight and other islands not accessible by road bridge.
As Mainland for Royal Mail; there is no economic courier service to these areas; for orders where only City Link is offered please contact us before placing your order.
Airmail only is offered - surface mail is not significantly cheaper.
Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas
International Economy (the new name for Surface mail): averages about 7 weeks, but can take up to 10 weeks.
Airmail : can be expected within a week.
We recommend airmail for more valuable orders. Orders sent by international economy are at customers' own risk.
Our program will not accept a consignment over 10kg. Naturally we are happy to take the order but it will have to be placed by phone or e-mail, or as two separate orders.
For heavy or valuable consignments please ring or e-mail first and we'll advise on the best service to use.
The weight limit on a parcel of printed papers is 5kg (or 2kg in Canada and Colombia); at present our program will not accept an order which will exceed this weight. If this happens you get a message saying "Your order has exceeded the shipping tables defined by the supplier" - try removing some of the books. The average book weighs about half a kilo, but larger volumes can be well over a kilo. Alternatively e-mail us and we'll advise the most economical method of shipping.
We aim to send out most small orders within 24 hours and larger parcels within 7 days, but if your order coincides with the issue of one of our paper catalogues please allow up to 21 days.
Important note: The customary method of dispatch is by mail direct to the buyer. Any request to mail books to a third party (for example, as a gift or to a shipping agent for onward transmission) will be accepted only on condition that Robert Humm & Co will not be responsible for any loss or damage in any stage of transit, nor will be involved in any investigation into such loss or damage.
Under no circumstances will goods paid for by credit card be mailed to any person other than the card holder.
All orders are sent at buyers' risk unless the appropriate insurance is requested and paid for. Many of the delivery services we use now carry built-in insurance. If in doubt, please ask.
Small items of high value are sent by Special Delivery which we have found to be the most efficient and reliable of all the Royal Mail services. This service cannot be requested on-line - you'll have to phone or e-mail to arrange it.
Orders From France
Every year we send hundreds of books abroad through the post. Even in these times of troubled public services the system still seems to work well. Transit times are longer than we would wish but I don't think we have ever lost a parcel (I hope I am not tempting fate here) to Germany and Japan, while mail for Holland and Denmark often arrives quicker than UK inland post.
Our one black spot is France. In fact every missing foreign parcel in the past three years has been to a French address. Apparently the problem is partly the attitude of the French customs, and partly large-scale postal theft especially in the Paris region. But even when a parcel survives the actual delivery seems erratic. We sent a valuable book to Paris by Swiftair for next day delivery, with all the documentation correctly completed. Six weeks later the package was returned here, and it was obvious that no attempt at all had been made to deliver. It was marked that the recipient had 'gone away' which was nonsense.
Every time one of these French parcels goes astray we go through all the time-consuming form filling required. Royal Mail will say that the package was tracked to the point of export but there is nothing they can do about the vagaries of foreign administrations. Sometimes we get a nominal amount of compensation, sometimes nothing.
An expensive but reliable solution is to use PSL Europe. This is a specialist carrier who deliver our larger or more valuable consignments to the Continent. Their service is a bit slower than airmail, but the goods are fully insured and for big packages - say over 8-10 kilos - it is quite economical. Nevertheless there is a minimum charge of about £16, which is quite an overhead on a £20 or £30 book. But until matters improve the only options for French parcels are PSL or the ordinary post service which must be entirely at the customer's own risk.