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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 78215
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I posted a parcel via an app called Mule who sub contract

Customer Question

Hello I posted a parcel via an app called Mule who sub contract this out to a range of couriers, my parcel was sent via DPD as I selected this on their app. Mule manage the payments and then sub contract this out.Additionally i purchased parcel protection for loss or damage, however I didn’t realise what I was sending (a laptop) was covered for loss only and not damage as written in their t and cs.I paid £29.00 all in all to send the parcel and have this protection. The parcel arrived damaged and beyond economical repair, it was packaged really well and must’ve been some drop or bump to damage the laptop.I have asked for the value of the laptop to be paid in compensation £465.00. Mule have offered me £50.00 as a gesture of goodwill but are refusing to pay out the full amount and refusing to accept liability.Where do I stand with this? I am thinking of starting the small claims court proceedings with this.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: United Kingdom
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Spoken to Mule directly and outlined my intentions to start the small claims process, also lodged a complaint with DPD directly.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I don’t think so.
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.
Hello, I’m Ben, a solicitor, and it’s my pleasure to assist you. I may ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

On what basis will you be pursuing them if damage was specifically excluded? 

I also wanted to make you aware that this is not always an instant service, due to various legal engagements I could have and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your query and will get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Regardless of the protection purchased, there surely is a contract that exists that the item goes from destination x to destination z and arrives without damage. For instance in their terms it says the packaging must be adequate to sustain expected conditions such as rain and being picked up and dropped off / sorted by couriers. It also states that reasonable care should be taken with the parcel.Obviously the laptop has been damaged due to a lack of care and attention.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
2.3 Mule shall deliver the Customer Goods in accordance with an Order in the manner set out in the Order.
2.4 Mule shall provide the Services with reasonable skill and care.These are the terms in mules T&Cs. I believe I would have a more robust case against the courier directly? I don’t know how Mule subcontracting this out affects my rights. The payments were managed by mule and I did pay for the insurance despite me being unaware that laptops were only covered for loss. However I have been back over this and it is in their t and cs so not sure what bearing this has on things.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

Were there any exclusions of liability for damage?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
This is under the limitation of liability heading.8. Limitation of Liability8.1 Nothing in this Agreement shall limit or exclude the liability of Mule for
8.1.1 Death or personal injury caused by Mule in carrying out the Services;
8.1.2 Fraud of Mule
8.1.3 Wilful misconduct.
8.2 Without prejudice to Clause 8.1, Mule’s liability for non-delivered, lost, stolen or damaged Customer Goods in any Order is limited and capped to the refund (if any) that the Customer is entitled to under Clause 7
8.3 Without prejudice to the foregoing, Mule’s liability shall be limited to £750 for non-delivered, loss, damage or theft of Customer Goods for each Order.
8.4 Nothing in this provision shall be deemed to affect the Customer’s rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 or other consumer protection legislation.However there is further notes under the parcel protection which notes7.6 The Customer shall not be entitled to any refund where the Customer Good is a Prohibited Good and
7.6.1 Where the refund relates to damage, the Customer Good is listed as an “Item Protected for Loss Only”; orHowever technically I am not seeking a refund I am seeking compensation for the items value so this is poorly written on their part.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

ok but the item was in that list of prohibited items?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Not prohibited, but insured for loss only yes. However I would also argue this information is a little bit hidden as it’s in a rather long list…
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
File attached (41MLS24)
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Also above it states if the item is a prohibited item AND only insured for loss only.It doesn’t say OR, is this something that could be argued in a court of law? I must say their terms aren’t the most robust.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

Ok thanks. In many ways, you are trying to grab on to very small and meaningless formalities which will unlikely swing the whole thing in your favour, even if it goes to court. Some specific words could have been drafted better but what a court would look at is what the general intention of the contract was and the terms in question.

Whilst a parcel is in the courier’s possession, they have legal responsibility over it and owe the sender, who paid for their services, a duty of care. However, as they are providing a service under contract, the customer will be bound by the terms and conditions which were accepted when the service was initially taken out. Such terms will likely cover the position with liability in the event the parcel is either lost or damaged.

Often, couriers limit their liability to a specific amount, regardless of the value of the item. They basically state that if the customer is prepared to use their services, they are agreeing to the courier only having liability up to that amount. If the customer is not happy with that basic level of cover, they simply do not have to use that specific courier. There is, however, often the option for the customer to purchase extra cover for additional protection. This is like getting insurance, up to a specific amount, or for specific eventualities, which provides extra cover for the items. For example, it can increase the amount that is covered and also cover more specialist items, which would ordinarily be excluded.

If the customer did not purchase such extra protection, or it did not provide the necessary cover, the courier will still only be liable up to the minimum amount they cover under their terms and conditions of use. That would be the case even if they were in some way at fault for the loss or damage. That is because they would have contractually excluded their liability and the customer accepted that exclusion by agreeing to their terms and using their services. Had extra insurance been purchased, the limits of their liability would have increased up to that amount and the goods would have been protected better that under their basic cover.

There is nothing stopping you from trying to take this further, hoping that they will potentially better their current offer, but if they defend it fully and it goes to court, do not expect to have an automatically strong case as there are still plenty of factors that would go in their favour.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Thanks Ben, is there anything the court would consider around the fact that I did indeed purchase the parcel protection at a cost of £465.00, disclose the item was a laptop and was completely unaware this was excluded for damages and only insured for loss only. As this was the case….I always try to protect myself fully when I would have liability for anything and feel a bit swindled by this even though I guess the information was readily available.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
A cost of £29.00**, with the item cost disclosed at £465.00 which is what the buyer bought the laptop for.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Or is that too circumstantial and unlikely to be considered.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

Hello again and thank you for your further queries, which I will be more than happy to answer. In these circumstances they will likely say you should be refunded for the insurance, rather than make them cover you under a policy which never would have covered you in the first place. They cannot check every insurance cover that is purchased and whether it is for something which they would cover – that is precisely what the terms and conditions are there for

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Ok, so the most solid foundation for claim would be weather they took reasonable skill and care with the service.As I have images of how well the laptop was packaged and it’s condition before sale was well documented in the sale pictures on eBay.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
In your professional opinion is this case potentially worthwhile taking forward? I understand it’s up to the judge on the day.Or would you say the current offer from Mule of £50 + a refund of £20 for the parcel protection insurance, is likely to be the best possible outcome given the liabilities given.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

I would say that the risks of giving it a go are not that high. The court fees are not high and you also don’t need a lawyer. Yes, you may end up being further out of pocket but that won’t be by a large amount so it could be a risk worth taking, if you are prepared to do it

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Thanks Ben, Yes I’ve researched it’s a £50 small claims court fee. I’ve done this process before for a parking ticket and won without representation. But I believe this case could well be resolved at mediation stage before the actual court hearing.I’ve sent them a letter before action with a date of next Friday. So will see how if they are willing to negotiate and if not I will start the claim.Thanks for your help with this. Hopefully I’m able to resolve it directly without the need but wanted to know where I stood. Also just to clarify I should be taking Mule to court. As they subcontracted to DPD so DPD handled the actual delivery.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

That would be the aim of a potential claim – to try and squeeze them into a bit of a corner so they consider settling rather than having to fight it but it does mean going through the motions of claiming and ‘playing the game’ until you get the desired outcome, hopefully.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

I trust that everything has now been dealt with to your satisfaction and your original question has been resolved. If you have any further queries about it, please do not hesitate to get back to me on here. In the meantime, I wish you all the best.