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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71158
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello I booked DHL to courier my parcel overnight to Atlanta.

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I booked DHL to courier my parcel overnight to Atlanta. I've just started a Company which sells boxer shorts and we had the opportunity to possibly have them worn by Ryan Gosling (subject to Director approval) in a scene in his new film he's currently shooting in Atlanta. Ryan requested these shorts, which is why I had to get them to Atlanta quickly as it was an opportunity not to be missed.
The parcel was collected on time, the correct paperwork was all in place, but due to an oversight by DHL the parcel arrived two full days late. Too late for our shorts to be worn by Ryan Gosling as the particular scene they were required for had by that time been shot.
DHL have accepted the responsibility for the late arrival of the parcel, but we have missed out on the PR opportunity of a lifetime and subsequent sales due to their mistake. Do I have a case here to sue them for what they've cost us? Thanks for your advice, Fiona

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Did you advise DHL of the ramifications of the delivery being late?
Alex Watts :

Hello Fiona my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

For now please let me know whether this was insured?

The loss that you have potentially suffered here is called consequential loss or sometimes pure economic loss. It can be recoverable provided the loss is “within the contemplation of the parties”.

What that means is that if you told DHL that it was imperative this parcel got to a particular place by a particular date otherwise you would suffer huge losses, then it is recoverable.

However if you did not tell them that, then they couldn’t have known about the potential loss and it is not recoverable.

Even if it is recoverable because they were aware of the potential problem, there is another problem and that is that even if you had told them how important this was and it was still not delivered on time, you are going to have to prove what you have lost. That is not going to be easy and you are certainly going to need advice from a forensic accountant. It is almost impossible to quantify how much this PR opportunity is worth and therefore that is extremely problematical. It is valuing the claim which would be virtually impossible

This is a guaranteed service then it would appear that they are in breach of contract and in breach of the provision of the Supply of Goods and Services Act for failing to carry out the contracted job with reasonable care and skill and within the contracted timescale.

I’m sorry this is bad news for you.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71158
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I just spoke to DHL and asked them if I'd made clear how important the delivery time of this parcel was (as you suggested in your answer) whether it would have made a difference. Their Claims Department said, it would not have made a difference, the fact the parcel had a timed delivery elevated its importance.

Have I misunderstood your answer? You suggested it's irrecoverable because I didn't clarify the importance of the parcel to DHL.

They also clarified that they never 'guarantee' delivery - have I no leg to stand on?


If you had expressed the importance of this by telling them that (for example) if it doesn’t arrive by such and such a time date it’s going to cost them £10,000 or more in consequential losses, they may have offered extra insurance or declined to carry it.

Your understanding is correct. Your loss is not recoverable because you didn’t express the importance of it. That is of course notwithstanding the fact that it would be extremely difficult to put a value on the loss