TONY HETHERINGTON: The courier, a missing phone… and a flock of flying pigs

TONY HETHERINGTON: The courier, a missing phone… and a flock of flying pigs

Tony Hetherington is the Financial Mail on Sunday’s top researcher, taking on readers’ corners, uncovering the truth that lies behind closed doors and delivering victories for those left out of pocket. Below you can read how you can contact him.

I sent a cell phone to my cousin in Norfolk via Evri courier service.

Two days later he received an email from Evri stating that the package was damaged beyond repair and could not be delivered.

I spoke to Evri and asked to deliver the damaged phone, which was in the original manufacturer’s packaging, or send a photo of it.

That didn’t happen either. The company then sent me a claim form asking for an image of the damaged package, which was exactly what I requested.


Curious story: A.0. writes about his response from Evri about a damaged package

You were right to ask Evri for proof, such as a photo showing the damaged phone, or even to return the phone itself, which was worth £175.

Evri’s response was to tell you, ‘The contents of your package are damaged to such an extent that we cannot return it to you. The packages undergo various handling and transportation processes, and on rare occasions this may happen.”

You complained, and this time Evri replied, “We are so sorry that despite extensive research we were unable to locate your package.”

This in itself was strange. If Evri couldn’t even find your package, how did it know that the package and its contents were damaged beyond repair? It was at this point that you contacted me, and I pressed Evri for better answers. The company – which was called Hermes until it changed its name following increasing customer complaints – then told you: ‘Unfortunately, due to the elapsed time, we are unable to conduct investigations as items and data are not kept within our network during this period. time.’

What a load of nonsense!

Evri knew within 48 hours that something was seriously wrong. At first it said the phone was damaged beyond repair. Then he said he couldn’t find it.

And finally it shrugged its shoulders and blamed it on the passage of time. Evri provided me with a statement apologizing for the inconvenience caused to you, adding that it included guidelines on packaging and financial coverage for customers sending high-value items. Fair enough, but this almost suggested that your packaging was to blame.

So I pressed Evri again. How long are articles and data kept? What is the deadline for an investigation? And most importantly, provide a photo of the phone that is damaged beyond repair.

Evri eventually admitted that I couldn’t get a photo of the phone because when the packaging was damaged, the contents had become loose and were missing.

So the package was torn open and the phone just fell out and then disappeared. It was never damaged beyond repair. It simply disappeared. According to the statement, this one had me looking out the window for flying pigs, which seemed just as likely.

The one thing Evri did get right was that he decided that even though the company insisted you shipped the phone at your own risk, he would send you £175 ‘as a gesture of goodwill’. You accepted this and donated it to a charity that cares for very sick children and provides respite and end-of-life care. Well done.

If you believe you have been a victim of financial misconduct, please write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 9 Derry Street, London W8 5HY or email Due to the large number of questions, personal answers cannot be given. Only send copies of original documents. Unfortunately, these cannot be returned.

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Complaints: Ben Revell

Complaints: Ben Revell

Like the third installment in a subpar zombie film franchise, Winebuyers is back from the dead.

Of course, it is only the website with that name that is really back. The two companies that have gone bankrupt, causing major losses to suppliers and customers, can no longer be saved.

In June I warned not to pay a cent to wine buyers because the wine industry was on the verge of collapse.

There were court orders against it for debt, and people who had prepaid for cases of wine had received nothing.

Worse, this was an action repeat of Winebuyers’ first appearance. It had already collapsed in 2021, owing more than £1.5 million on top of the more than half a million pounds raised by crowdfunding investors.

How can all this happen? Well, first there was Winebuyers Limited, which flopped in 2021.

Then the website of that name was taken over by Winebuyers Group Limited, which I warned about in June. It collapsed in July. The man behind both companies was Ben Revell, 34, from Harlow in Essex.

Since then, the administrators of the bankrupt Winebuyers Group have put the company’s few assets up for sale, including its website and name. They received an offer of £100,000, paid in instalments, from Ophidian Corporation, an offshore company based in the Seychelles.

The administrators rejected this because transferring customer data to a foreign company would violate data protection rules.

So Elysian Ventures Limited, a new British company, was born and it now owns the Winebuyers website and everything that goes with it. Who owns Elysian? Ophidian does. And who owns Ophidian? You guessed it – Ben Revell, 34, from Harlow in Essex!

The administrators justified the sale, saying it saved remaining staff. Who were the other employees? I bet you’re ahead of me: Ben Revell, and no one else. So the website lives on and still enjoys the favorable media attention from years ago, without mentioning unpaid bills and undelivered wine. And the same complaints are already starting to appear. Beware of the zombie.