Customers see red after courier service Roadbull fails to deliver goods

Mr Alwin Liang, founder of local start-up Roadbull Technologies, said that delivery delays were due to "unforeseen circumstances like the weather or vehicle conditions", which he would try his best to resolve.
Mr Alwin Liang, founder of local start-up Roadbull Technologies, said that delivery delays were due to "unforeseen circumstances like the weather or vehicle conditions", which he would try his best to resolve.PHOTO: ROADBULL TECHNOLOGIES

SINGAPORE - Customers of shopping bonanza Singles' Day have seen their joy turn to rage, as courier services such as Roadbull and Ninja Van failed to deliver their products on time.

Investment analyst Francois Chang, for instance, told The Straits Times that he ordered a board game from Taobao on Nov 11, and was supposed to receive it on Dec 7 from delivery service Roadbull.

He said he gave instructions for staff to call him at home before the delivery came, and took leave from work to wait for the order. However, his game did not arrive.

The delivery was rescheduled for Dec 11, and Mr Chang took another day of leave, only to have his parcel not materialise again.

Mr Chang, 27, contacted Roadbull and it told him that his parcel was in the warehouse. So on Wednesday (Dec 13), he took one more day of leave to go down to Roadbull's warehouse and asked for it.

He said he had to wait while they searched for it. After one hour, he left because he had another appointment.

Mr Chang said: "I understand this is the peak season and deliveries can be slow, but you can't make an appointment and not show up. That's why I'm so angry. The money I spent for the taxi to and from the warehouse is actually more than the cost of the item I'm waiting for."

He still has not received his game.

Business owners have also seen losses due to delayed or missing deliveries.

Mr Kenneth Chin, 24, who runs a gift supplying firm, was supposed to deliver electrical items worth more than $800 to his customer on Wednesday.

He ordered these goods directly from factories in China on Nov 22, and on Monday, received only one of his parcels.

He made around 40 calls to several Roadbull numbers. When he went to Roadbull's warehouse the next day, he was told that his other parcel could not be found.

"I'm very fed up," said Mr Chin.

He had to get some of his workers in China to buy the missing products and fly to Singapore with them. "My company has lost time, my customer's trust, my sales revenue," he said.

A check on Roadbull's Facebook page showed around 20 users complaining about delayed deliveries. The Straits Times has seen a WhatsApp chat group formed by frustrated customers.

A university student who wanted to be known only as Mr Poon showed ST a screenshot of an e-mail from Roadbull's customer service, saying that the firm's phone lines were down and that it could be reached only by e-mail.

Mr Poon, 24, who ordered clothes and stationery, said it was "ridiculous" that the company would say that, adding that he found its hotline number only from other users. Roadbull does not list its phone number on its website.

When approached, Roadbull's chief executive Alwin Liang said that Singles' Day resulted in an "astronomical" number of products flooding into Singapore, "creating an industry-wide bottleneck and also affecting my operational capacity".

He said that delivery delays were due to "unforeseen circumstances like the weather or vehicle conditions", which he would try his best to resolve.

When asked about the phone lines which were down, Mr Liang said: "Maybe customer care phrased it wrongly, because our lines are all occupied."

He said that the firm increased its driver capacity by about 30 per cent in the past week alone, and that it has started Sunday deliveries too.

"We're not making any excuses. We're working round the clock and doing all we can to get the things delivered."

Roadbull is not the only courier service facing delivery woes. It was previously reported that logistics firm Ninja Van has struggled with Singles' Day deliveries, with many frustrated customers complaining online about their delayed goods.

Country manager of Ninja Van Singapore Ho Junxiong said: “Ninja Van has experienced a surge in the volume of deliveries during this festive period. Our current volume for November this year was more than twice the amount in November 2016.”

He added that the firm received 70 per cent more parcels daily compared with non-peak periods.

Mr Ho said that to prepare for this, they added four sorting facilities and increased their fleet by more than 30 per cent, adding that they had cleared their Singles’ Day backlog by the end of November.