DHL Overcharges You $750, Doesn't Refund It Because They "Forgot About It"

When Sue wrote in about DHL and said that she “wouldn’t use their company again on a dare,” she was dead on. If you think receiving packages with DHL is bad, just wait until you try shipping.

I needed to send a package to Zagreb, Croatia last month and the only accepted shipping method was DHL. I knew that my package would only be 1lb, but I didn’t know what the box size would be. Luckily, DHL USA’s site doesn’t require dimensions for a rate quote. I was quoted $120.77 for International 2Day on the rate quote estimator and again when I created the shipment online. I shipped my package and went on my way.

However, next week I checked my Chase credit card balance (on 10/18) and saw that they had charged me $873.68!

Yes, that’s an extra 623%! I immediately got on the phone with a DHL Customer Rep named Brenda who told me that the weight of the package had been input as 47lbs! Thankfully, she was eager to help me and put in a request for a refund. She said that it would be two business weeks. So, I waited for a bit, and called to get updates; each time I called, though, I was told that it hadn’t processed.

After two weeks, I called in (on 11/2) and was told that the refund was rejected. When I asked why, the CSR said that I had been sent a letter explaining the rejection (a letter which I mysteriously haven’t received to this day). She first told me that she couldn’t find out why but more pressing revealed that the original CSR, Brenda, forgot to include the waybill number. I’ve only shipping this one package with DHL, so there shouldn’t be a discrepancy about which package it was – God forbid they do any digging! She told me that she could reprocess the refund; at this point, I asked to speak to a manager. I was then transferred to an escalation specialist, Melanie S.

Don’t worry, this is where it gets good-

Melanie S. completely empathized with me and told me that she would escalate the refund and, though the normal process takes 10 business days, it should happen faster. She also gave me a confirmation number (110200521) and promised a callback. After a full week of waiting for a callback, I decided to jump back in to see if any progress had been made. Melanie said that she didn’t have a personal number, but I could call back and ask for her. When I called on 11/8, I was escalated to Jackie, who told me that Melanie had left for the day. She told me that there was nothing she could do about the matter, especially since she didn’t want to “step on Melanie’s toes.” She promised to email Melanie and leave a sticky note on her desk. She gave me confirmation number 110810715.

The next day, Friday 11/9, I called in at 4:20PM and my call was received by CSR Jerome, who, quite rudely, wouldn’t even let me finish my sentences before putting me on hold. I was escalated to Jae, who put me in contact with Melanie. Melanie apologized and said that she had received both messages but had been very busy. When I inquired about the refund, she apologized and said that she had received an email from the back office stating that they had, and I quote, “forgotten about it.” I almost lost it at this point, but I remembered that staying calm was essential to actually getting what you want. At this point, I asked to speak to her manager.

I was then transferred to Jessica Holder, who again, completely empathized with me and apologized. She said that she would personally handle the situation and that she would expedite the process. When asked for a timeframe, she expected to have a check express mailed out to me by Wednesday of next week. She gave me her personal line – 281 406 2851 and promised me a call back.

Today, Monday 11/12, I received a voicemail from Jessica at 10:13 AM. Needless to say, I was impressed that I had actually received a callback this promptly. The voicemail said that she would have a check out to me at the end of the day. However, the amount refunded would only be $549.96. Because I hadn’t entered the box’s dimensions on the shipping page (which aren’t required for a rate estimate or shipping a package), the total for a 1lb 12″x12″x12″ box should have been $323.70. I told her this was absolutely unacceptable and I would not be paying an extra $200 over what I had been quoted online – twice. After I realized that I was getting nowhere with her and asked if she was the last ladder on the escalation rung. Surprisingly, she said that she would transfer me to her manager.

After a few minutes on hold, Jessica came back on and told me that her supervisor, Cynthia Johnson, had just gone to walk some clients downstairs and would be right back. Jessica said that Cynthia would call me right back, but I got her direct line – 281 406 2924. The phone call had ended around 11AM. More than four hours later, I had received no callback and repeated calls to Cynthia and Jessica went unanswered. The transaction originally went on my Chase Freedom credit card and I decided that I needed to see what Chase could do for me if DHL never pulled through.

I called Chase’s Credit Card support line (from and was transferred to Account Specialist Derek. After verifying my information, Derek asked what the problem was. I told him that I had been overcharged by DHL and needed to see what recourse I had. I gave him the amount of the charge and the amount that it should have been; he asked to put me on hold and I obliged. After a minute or two, Derek came back on the line and said that he had refunded the difference, $750.98, and it should be credited to my account in 48 hours or less!

I wasn’t even asking for a refund yet, I just wanted to know what I could do! I thanked Derek for his help and great customer service and checked my phone timer – less than six minutes! DHL couldn’t resolve a six minute problem in three and a half weeks! I checked my Chase account and found a refund for the $750.98 less than 12 hours after I spoke to Derek.

I’d like to thank Chase customer support (I know that they don’t have the best rep in some situations these days) and want to say shame on DHL. The service there was horrendous, actually getting worse as I worked my way up the ladder. I would never use their service again, not even on a dare. And, of course, thanks to the Consumerist Team for making average consumers like us aware of all the options we have.

Matt G.

(Photo: Maulleigh)