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Hundreds of 'lost' Royal Mail and Hermes parcels are being flogged on eBay, it has been revealed.
Dozens of listings found on the auctioning site reveal bundles of undelivered customer parcels being sold for hundreds of pounds by mystery sellers.
One listing - with bids up to £56 - is described as '10x bundle of lost returned mail (Royal Mail / Hermes - original packaging)' accompanied by an image of the items inside - including reading glasses, LED lights and hair extensions.
In some cases, sellers claim customer data has been removed 'where possible' while others admit they haven't even opened the mail.
Some images show where the seller has scribbled black pen across addresses or torn off the labels, but others appear to still have labels, while some addresses are clearly visible on several.
It's causing increasing concern that online shoppers could have their personal information compromised, with worries over whether the parcels could still contain receipts.
Images of the listings have since appeared on Facebook, baffling shoppers who were quick to question who the anonymous sellers could be.
One user said: "Somebody needs to see if the sellers work for Hermes." While another added: "Are there any police on here to report these sellers?"
It comes after comedian Joe Lycett filmed undelivered items being sold by Hermes at auction houses - with personal details still on some of the parcels.
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."
Delivery giants Royal Mail and Hermes have since explained how it's possible for third-party companies can get their hands on parcels that are supposed to be returned to the sender.
When an item can't be delivered but the sender doesn't wish to handle admin or shipping fees, it's believed they nominate firms to sell the item on their behalf.
Hermes claims it's illegal for them to redact personal data before sending it on to the third-party, leaving it entirely in the mystery companies' hands to remove receipts and other information.
Meanwhile, Royal Mail insists they 'advise' the firms to remove consumer details and any reference to themselves - despite the listing images show their logo.
In response to the listings, 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 added: "Where we have been made aware of items being sold in this way, in line with our terms and conditions, we also ask these companies to remove any customer details on the sites as well as make no reference to Royal Mail and to black out our branding.
"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 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.
"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.
"Where we have been made aware of items being sold in this way, we ask for these companies concerned to make no reference to Royal Mail on the sites and to black out our branding as can be seen in some of these images."
Ebay and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) declined to comment.
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media
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