You know what a computer virus is right? Something that gets into your computer and causes you some kind of cyber misery! You might be surprised to note that even if you have an anti virus program installed on your computer that they can still sneak in and cause chaos on your computer.
In this post I’ll tell you about a virus which eBay buyers may be more susceptible to than anyone else.
Why? Because ebayers love getting parcels and because curiosity killed the cat!
Action Fraud reported in back in February that those naughty fraudsters are sending out emails which claim there is a parcel waiting for them at their local Royal Mail sorting office.
The scammers are hoping that you’ll be expecting a parcel and let your defences down and open the email. Even if you’re not expecting anything everyone likes to think they’re getting a package and it’s like Christmas or your Birthday if you don’t know what it is!!
The hustlers are preying that curiosity gets the better of you and you open the attachment to learn more. And by doing so you are opening the door to a whole lot of trouble. The email itself isn’t dangerous, it’s the attached virus “Cryptolocker” which if opened and installed encrypts your personal files and holds them to ransom! It demands you pay for their safe release. The rub here however is that it’s a time limited offer, if you don’t cough up the readies before the time expires then the photos of your children that you haven’t backed up are deleted, possibly forever!
So this warning serves to teach two lessons, don’t open suspect emails and back up your important files.
Action Fraud advise:
“If you receive one of these emails, do not click on any links or download any attachments and report it to us.”
Royal Mail advise that unless a customer has actually requested something from them they won’t send emails with attachments so if you get an email like this, either hit the spam button or report it via Action Fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call on 0300 123 2040 or use the online fraud reporting tool.
If you know someone who could benefit from the information here make sure you let them know. I for one am going to make sure my mum knows because I’ve fixed her computer countless times after virus attacks!
As Royal Mail begin to prepare for their price increases at the end of the month. Rival courier company myHermes have just announced that they will be slashing prices on lighter parcels, no doubt in an attempt to claw back some custom from the big RM.
I have been a regular myHermes user since Royal Mail annoyed a lot of people when they moved the goalposts on small packages in 2012. After this it was often more than £2 cheaper to send an item with myHermes, that’s when I jumped on the bandwagon and I’ve been riding it on and off ever since. Royal Mail saw the error of their ways and changed their dimensions for small parcels again in 2013 this saw a lot of my smaller, under 1 kg items go back to the Post Office.
This announcement today however may see me running right back to the parcel shop for the extreme majority of my items here’s why.
cheap, good value, they have extremely competitive prices for sending anything up to 15kg at parcel shops and they can generally blow out of the water anything other than the letter service that Royal Mail offers.
The following table is a comparison of current vs the new prices for dropping off parcels at parcel shops. For courier (pick up) prices add 20p to the price including VAT.
As you can see the prices for 0-1kg and 1-2kg are extremely good in going up against Royal Mail in the price stakes, but as we all know price isn’t everything and sometimes it is worth paying more to get more. So what else do myHermes offer?
Size of parcels
The myHermes network can carry boxes which are up to 120cm long, as long as the following formula is adhered to:
So that is a pretty generous dimension allowance, a parcel which measures 120 cm x 25 cm x 25 cm and weighs less than one kilo will cost only £2.78 to send! Something that size would cost nearly £12 via Parcelforce!
Size guidelines for Royal Mail services are as follows:
- Small Parcel dimensions not to exceed 45cm x 35cm x 8cm OR 35cm x 25cm x 16cm
- Medium Parcel dimensions not to exceed 61cm x 46cm x 46cm
- Large Parcel dimensions not to exceed 150 cm length and 300cm length and girth combined and are only available via Parcelforce rather than Royal Mail.
Tracking and signatures
With myHermes tracking is included with every item sent automatically and it doesn’t cost a penny! If however you want to provide tracking on a Royal Mail item you will have to pay an extra £1.10 for “Signed for” delivery. This option is available to ensure that the item is signed for and not left on a doorstep or in a porch etc.
If you want an item signed for with myHermes it costs an extra £1, so for a fully signed for tracked service myHermes is 10p cheaper.
Insurance up to £50
Every item sent with myHermes gets up to £50 free insurance for loss, damage etc, you can pay for extra depending on the value of the item you are sending but for me £50 is generally enough. In order to get £50 compensation with Royal Mail you need to get signed for delivery which again is £1.10 extra on top of the cost to send the item.
For a long time now eBay have offered Royal Mail and Collect + directly from within eBay meaning you can pay for and print labels without leaving your account.
myHermes have very good eBay integration once you have linked your accounts together, simply log in and go to send an item and all sold and paid for items appear ready for you to buy labels.
A new feature that they are offering is direct integration with the tracking system whereby if you do buy the tracking information is uploaded directly to eBay. They also send your buyer an email to their registered email address telling them that the item has been booked in and a tracking link is there so they can keep tabs on their order.
How useful automatically updating tracking information will be remains to be seen as I have never ever been able to see the tracking option work, neither on the website or from within the app on my phone. Ebay’s tracking system is an absolute joke. I add the tracking details anyway because if a case is ever opened where the buyer claims the item never arrived having tracking details already assigned to the transaction makes things a lot easier.
Speed of delivery
Here is where Royal Mail take the edge as with First Class delivery mail usually gets there the day after it is posted. This is really useful and for some items where a buyer is counting on the speed of delivery I will still use Royal Mail, but for larger items which are more expensive to send at the Post Office I will use myHermes which takes between 3 and 4 days on average depending when I drop my items off.
At my local parcel shop the courier usually comes to collect parcels left in store around 10am, so if I’m any later than that they will be stuck in the store until the next day. As I am lead to believe the parcels then go to a local depot where they may stay until the next day before going on to be sorted and sent to the recipients local depots and distributed from there.
I have been using myHermes for around 2 years now and have a separate account for each of my 3 eBay usernames, I have sent over 250 parcels using their service and I don’t want to tempt fate but have yet to have a problem with either non delivery, late delivery or broken items. I am amazed at this because there are a lot of negative reviews for the service online, but I have had nothing but good experience.
Royal Mail on the other hand have been more unreliable. This may simply be because I have sent over three times as many parcels with them, but I have had items broken, lost, delayed, returned and delivered to the wrong addresses. I put up with this however because they have a fairly decent customer services team who can generally sort things out when things do go wrong. Unlike some other courier services I have used in the past!
Given some of the items I have sold recently I will do a comparison on what it would cost to send each item with both Royal Mail and myHermes to see how much I could have saved by going with one over the other. Assuming time is not of the essence and no added extras such as signed for delivery are needed.
Item: Small Purple Jumper
Size: A4 Cardboard Envelope
Weight: Less than 500g
Royal Mail Second Class: £1.48
Weight: Less than 700g
Royal Mail Second Class: £2.80
Item: Sewing Machines
Size: 70 cm x 50 cm x 40 cm
Weight: 12 kg
Royal Mail Second Class: NA
(I actually used Yodel for this as next day delivery was required)
Item: Gamecube and game
Size: 50 x 30 x 30 ish
Royal Mail Second Class: £13.75
Taking everything mentioned above into account I think that using one service exclusively over the other is a mistake, you need to shop around to find the best deals and know which companies can save you the most money whilst still providing a great service for your buyers. With that in mind I will continue to use Royal Mail when it makes sense to do so but now myHermes are a very compelling option indeed!
And then of course there are the oversize parcels which are too big for either of these networks. Currently Parcel 2 Go gets the nod for this, they also offer myHermes as a delivery option and it is the same price so it can be worth running all of your parcel quotes through them just in case.
myHermes have just announced that they are responding to Royal Mails price increases with new prices of their own. They however have made the decision to slash their prices on lighter items to make them just about the most competitive company on price in the marketplace right now.
There’s a full breakdown to come but for now you can see that the change in price structure will really please your wallet and if George Osborne’s budget announcement has you heading for the hills this will surely be good news.
Introduction of the 0-1kg parcel band
This used to be an option on the myHermes website but at the last batch of changes was swallowed up into a 0-2kg weight band. It used to cost a total of £3.90 for this service.
This is being split in two with the lighter parcels up to 1kg costing only £2.78 including VAT. Compared to what will be £3.20 at the Post Office this is a nice saving on lighter parcels.
The 1-2kg weight band will reduce from the £3.90 to £3.78 which will be a lot cheaper than Royal Mail.
The heavier package weight bands are increasing in price on a par with Royal Mails increases but myHermes will still be cheaper!
Here’s a breakdown of the new and old pricing structure and look out for a deep dive on what this means for us eBay sellers going into the Spring selling season.
It’s that time of the year again. Royal Mail are putting their prices up. Rumors have been circulating since January that the increases were coming and in line with tradition Royal Mail had their pricing page access controlled from an early stage.
Sneaky beaky types like me who tried to view the pricing page before 1st March 2014 will have first been prompted to log in or register on the Royal Mail website and then saw the access denied message.
Finally come the last day of February the page became viewable to the general public and the new prices were announced and quite frankly they aren’t quite as bad as I was predicting.
The edited highlights being:
First Class Stamps rising from 60p to 62p
Second Class Stamps rising from 50p to 53p
First Class Small Parcel rising from £3.00 to £3.20
First Class Medium Parcel staying put at £5.65 which is is good news, but in my experience anything that won’t send as a small parcel gets sent with myHermes anyway for £3.90!
Check out all of the new prices on the Royal Mail website.
Prices go up on 31st March and whatever you sell, if you use Royal Mail you should account for these changes before then, lest you find yourself out of pocket unnecessarily.
Do you plan on stocking up on first class and large letter stamps, do you plan on ditching Royal Mail in favour of myHermes or Collect+? You can bet that there will be staff from both of the latter sat around a conference room table come Monday morning discussing possible price changes. Expect them to follow suit soon or at least announce like heroes that prices will be staying the same, because they care about your bank balance!
When you’ve sold an item on eBay and it’s worth more than £20, it’s sensible if you are using Royal Mail that you use Signed for or Special Delivery based on the value, weight, size and contents of the item you will be sending.
Once you have dropped your item off at the Post Office, if you’re anything like me you will hit the mark as shipped button on the eBay Mobile app. You may then enter the tracking information so the buyer can see where their item is along the Royal Mail timeline.
I’ve never seen this work to be honest, not from the eBay app anyway! I have pasted the code into the Royal Mail website and it does give some information on the parcel’s progress, but very little i.e. they tell you if the parcel has been delivered or not.
When reading Tamebay a few months ago I noticed that a reader had found a way to get more detailed tracking information using a special link. You can customise the link with your specific tracking number and paste the link to your buyer so all they have to do is click a link in an eBay message or email and bobs your uncle.
The link is as follows:
http://www.royalmail.com/trackdetails?trackNumber=[INSERT TRACKING NUMBER]
Copy and paste it into your web browser and of course replace [INSERT TRACKING NUMBER] with your tracking number. You can then paste the full link to your buyers in eBay messaging or send to their Paypal email address.
This detailed tracking link gives you much more information that is useful when your checking up on your items.
It even works on International tracked items.
I hope you found this as useful as I did!