I've always liked DHL. They've always been great when it comes to delivering stuff in a hurry to odd places all over the world, even when being shot at. When I needed a domestic courier for overnight packages, I went with DHL because I was already using them for import and export shipping, and because I could get really good prices on prepaid shippers through Costco.
Lately, though, I'm having second thoughts. For quite a while I used their overnight services with no major problems - the worst was a rural delivery that got lost for a few days. When they moved the cutoff time for shipments from 4:45 to 3:45 it was tolerable, if annoying. But several weeks ago, I discovered that two days after dropping off a couple of urgent packages at the local depot well before the cutoff, they hadn't even been removed from the drop box in front of the depot!
Apparently something like half of their drivers just walked off the job. After pleading with the woman at the desk for about 10 minutes, I finally got her to give the packages back, since they weren't going to make it out that night and one of them absolutely had to be delivered the next day. I had to carry that one over to UPS myself and pay about $50 for UPS Red next-day shipping. Fortunately UPS has a much later cutoff time.
I never got my money back on the wasted prepaid shippers. They've never made good on any delivery guarantee, for that matter. I've filed a couple of claims and never got a thing out of it.
The worst was last week when I got a call from a customer who'd ordered a part to be delivered to their hotel room while they were briefly in the country on business. It hadn't shown up on time, and when I called DHL to inquire about it, I was told that since it was outside of a major metropolitan area they couldn't provide next-day service. Ok, I thought, two days should still be plenty. Nope - turns out that they don't even try, they just hand it over to the post office. Estimated delivery time on this 'overnight' package? Eight days! For under $5 I could have handed it to the post office myself and had it there in two days.
Turns out DHL is scaling back their US operations. I'm sorry to lose what was, for a while, a very attractive shipping option. I shipped a lot of stuff crammed into reasonably priced flat-rate mailers. Guess I'll have to work on some UPS or FedEx options.
I think it's worth mentioning that the USPS does an awesome job about 99.6% of the time. Even after all of the rate increases, you can still get a 1 lb package coast to coast in about two days for around $5, even to remote rural addresses. I've shipped thousands of pacakges by first class and priority mail, and they've lost or seriously delayed maybe half a dozen. The local clerks deserve some credit, too. Mario, Dave, Esther, Lynn - you guys are great. Edgar - you're new, so I'll cut you some slack.