Customers’ returned Royal Mail and Hermes parcels are being flogged on eBay

People have discovered that hundreds of ‘missing’ Royal Mail and Hermes parcels are being sold on eBay – and customers aren’t happy.

Listings spotted on the auction website show bundles of undelivered packages being sold for hundreds of pounds by mystery sellers.

A listing with bids going up to £56 is described as “10x bundle of lost returned mail (Royal Mail / Hermes – original packaging)”.

And, snaps of the items inside reveal LED lights, hair extensions and reading glasses.

Some listing claim addressee info has been removed “where possible”, but others show it clearly.

Shoppers are concerned that their data is compromised due to receipts inside the bags.

Snaps of the listings have been shared on Facebook and some social media users are questioning who the sellers are.

One person said: “Somebody needs to see if the sellers work for Hermes."

Another asked: “Are there any police on here to report these sellers?"

Kris Ford, who works for a consumer support group, said: "[The listings are] frightening to see. The fact people's personal information can be passed over like this without any real thought is disgusting.

"The likes of the sellers and Hermes and Royal Mail should make sure those sorts of details are removed from the parcels before they're handed to any third party."

Jane Dawson, from Dagenham, added: "It's really worrying. If these items really are undelivered how do you know people's details and invoices aren't in there as well.

"People aren't consenting to have their data shared outside of the delivery service and whoever is selling them items on eBay aren't part of the delivery service."

But, Royal Mail and Hermes have explained how sellers can get their hands on parcels which are meant to be returned to the sender.

Apparently, when some sellers don’t want to handle admin or shipping fees, third-party firms can be nominated to sell on the items.

Hermes stated that it’s illegal for them to redact personal data from the parcels before sending them to the third-party.

So it’s those firms who then control whether customer emails are removed or not.

A Hermes spokesperson said: "Some overseas retailers have a representative (clearance house) in the UK and this where Hermes collects and returns items too.

"Hermes has no role in deciding what then happens to these returned items – they belong to the retailer – and the retailer or their representative decides on the next course of action.

"Hermes is not involved and would not legally be able to open these parcels and remove any personal data."

A Royal Mail spokesperson told the Daily Star: “These are not items that are in course of transmission by post and would not have reached eBay via Royal Mail.

“When Royal Mail attempts to deliver items to customers and the items are undeliverable, we return these items to the Delivery Office.

“In some cases, the receiving customers do not want to collect these items which can often be of low value.

“When items are undeliverable, our policy is to return such items to the sender or retailer.”

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It continued: “Certain retailers, sometimes based overseas, may not want to deal with the administrative burden of managing the returns and associated shipping costs.

“As a result certain overseas retailers sometimes arrange for third-party service providers based in the UK to manage their returns for them.

“These retailers will then mark these third-party firms as the return address on any packaging.

“Once the third-party firms receive the items, they sometimes elect to sell these items by auction on online marketplaces.

“Where we have been made aware of items being sold in this way, we ask these companies to remove any customer details on the sites as well as make no reference to Royal Mail in line with our terms and conditions.”

The Daily Star approached eBay for comment.

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