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Avianca Express UK - Avoid Them At All Costs

Sometimes you just need to use a logistics service. You need to get items from A to B. There's many companies out there but if you have a Colombia connection then Avianca Express UK looks to be the service to use. I fall into the perfect category of people that needs to ship between the the UK and Colombia. I have businesses and family in both countries. So why not use the promise of Avianca Express UK?

I have had dealings with Avianca in the past. Click here to read what I had to say on that occasion.

36 Kennington Rd, Bishop's, London SE1 7BL, United Kingdom - Main Number: +44 2037437199 (Don't bother with the English option and the might not even get routed to the actual office) - WhatsApp: +44 7307 727510 (manned by Laura Vega, nice lady, but totally inept at understanding simple messages, even in perfect Spanish) - Avianca Express UK works under the company name ANDINO EXPRESS UK LTD (Company number 0896163) by Jose Maria NAVARRO GARCIA - Facebook Page (unresponsive and with wrong business information) - Website (more wrong information and a sleuth of different phone numbers that don't work). Here's My Google Guide review for this business, please give my review a thumbs up 👍 to help spread awareness.

Issues at every turn

The issue starts from the very beginning, it's communication. Sadly this issue carried on throughout, from beginning to end. They rely entirely on WhatsApp. Not reading simple messages. In all cases, questions need to be asked multiple times and even then, totally irrelevant answers would come back. The communication via a WhatsApp chat with a customer is highly unprofessional and is conducted in an immature manner. One word replies, missing punctuation, not indicating what is being replied to... It is just a compete headache. Further, the person you chat with, is not even at the office. In my case, chat operator, Laura Vega relied entirely on a stroppy Johana in the Kennington Road office. To which she was void of any urgency or motivation. We'll talk more about this later.

Booking the collection

This is where the real issues started. To be fair the initial contact problems above should have been a massive flashing warning light. But in this case, like many, you have little options if you want to bridge the gap between the UK and Colombia.

We had to go through three separate and highly frustrating collection attempts. I was lead to believe that this office had it's own collection vehicle. Something they should come clean with from the start. In total it took three weeks to arrange a collection. On every occasion a person had to wait the whole day (9am-6pm) with zero communication. An important point here, you are only sent the terms and conditions of this service after you have booked collection and not beforehand. For the first collection, at 7:30pm, I had to get back on the WhatsApp chat to be told (a lie) that their delivery van broke down earlier that day. It was now in the garage for repair and they might be back out to collect all the way up to 9:30 at night. They never came. Turns out this story was a lie because they don't have their own van, they use Parcel Force collection and merely forgot or didn't bother to book it.

The following day, I had to contact them to arrange another collection. Eventually Parcel Force came and just there and then, on the door, package in had, there was confusion. Avianca Express UK instructed the sender only to label the package with the ultimate sender to receipted addresses. That means London address to Bogotá. The pickup failed! The only address meant to be on the package after all was their Kennington Road office! Never told this simple instruction. Something so simply was only corrected upon contacting our lovely Laura at Avianca on WhatsApp again. Inept, basic fail without even an apology or acknowledgement of their mistake. This theme of avoiding blame runs throughout the whole saga.

Third time lucky, but waited a whole day again. The package is in their hands now.

It's in their hands now

Two days follow collection, I receive a 'computer says no' message on WhatsApp! At this point I should tell anyone reading, the contents of the package. It was a shoebox of sealed personal correspondence. Basically accumulated mail. Avianca knew what this was in advance very clearly. Anyway the message I got back was that they had found something that cannot be sent. Low and behold, I get a photo of the package open, which is fine, but with my personal letters being opened! Simple letters in envelopes. Personal, private and confidential correspondence. The picture even showed some nicely polished nails (Johana's no doubt) holding a debit card with all it's details to bare. A photo taken via her own personal device. Sent to Laura and then forwarded to me with the message, "credit cards are not allowed". Apparently they changed the rules to include debit cards and not just credit cards, thus ensued a week of unclarity, mess and general ineptness again.

Initially they thought they had caught one. Someone trying to break the rules and have contraband goods shipped via their logistics 'service'. Explained to them it was a debit card and they only needed to see it indicated on the card, the same card they had photographed. Then they changed their terms there and then verbally (by a whatsapp voice message, surprisingly) to include 'credit cards and debit cards'. Asking them for actual terms and conditions from Avianca and not just something they type up on whatsapp message and forward to customers only after arranging collections. Laura then said she had it in a document that was before her. When asked for the document, I was told they would WhatsApp it over to me. She then said she would ask a person higher up - that person apparently corroborated her decision but failed to then provide that person's contact details. They just make up rules to suit them and conveniently avoid responsibility. The icing on the cake was that even if she provided a terms document or a higher up person stating debit cards are permitted, it would then still not be possible as she (Laura) had already said "no"! To this day, I have no document stating terms and conditions nor the contact details of her higher up corroborating person.

They wanted to proceed with the remainder of the package but I was not happy to just discard the card especially when it was allowed in their initial terms. So, I asked if they could at least post it via Royal Mail to me in Colombia. Royal Mail having no restriction on the sending of any bank card. The answer was, "no". I offered to pay everything and even their time to walk the 200m / 3mins to an actual Post Office just around the corner. "no, we can't do that Señor," came the reply over and over again...

The card was not much of a deal for me. But I did care that correspondence was being opened and photographed. I understand that they need to check what is being sent but not to open letters, read confidential information and take photos of it with their personal phones. I doubt they have any privacy agreements or training on how to handle customers private and confidential information.
I have had dealings with Avianca in the past. Click here to read what I had to say on that occasion.

The resolve..

At no point did Avianca Express UK propose a solution. It was left entirely up to me to suggest something that was to their liking. They were so inept that they couldn't take the time to walk around the corner and post the offending item to me and at my own expense.

I had to beg a private courier company to make the trip to their Avianca's Kennington Office to collect the item for me at a huge expense.

Before that could happen, we had one more farce to endure. I needed a photo of the package as it was. I needed it in part for my own piece of mind and for the courier collecting it. Here we saw their greatest ineptness. Between Laura and Johana a photo could not be arranged. Laura would request that Johana, in their Kennington Road office, to send over an up to date image. Instead these two repeatedly sent me the same old photo of how they first received the package. They intentionally pretended that they couldn't understand what I was asking for (in English and Perfect Spanish), "A photo showing the package as it presently was". They lied, and at one point I had called the Avianca office on Kennington Road only to have Johana hang up the phone, after me only introducing myself. A funny little point is that Johana was so inept as to not even being able to measure the package's dimensions. -Why not? -They do not have a ruler in the office! A logistics company does not have a ruler and thus cannot measure a mere package. Sounds funny, but it was needed for the courier company to quote for their collection service. Avianca was intent on acting as malicious as possible in resolving this. On the second occasion, I called and got connected with Laura, she pretended on this occasion to not speak English. When speaking to her in Spanish she couldn't talk and only said we should communicate on WhatsApp.

In the end, once my package was in safe hands, I sent over a sarcastic message. It made the connection between the great customer service found in Colombia to now being offered in the UK with Avianca Express UK. To which Laura replied, "at your service".

In conclusion; Avianca Express UK is a terrible company to place items of any importance in their care. They are a gang of unprofessional and totally inept Avianca agents. I do not know how they obtained the franchise as they seem to be your regular Elephant & Castle Colombians running a family owned tienda. They lack basic business and customer service standards. Screw things up from the start and make simple issues worse. They make no effort to resolve issues of their own making. I highly recommend that you avoid them at all costs. If you really must go with this terribly bad logistics option, use them only for junk. Things like care packages consisting of nothing more than chocolate or tea, although they would probably open them and taste it before sending on to you. God forbid you try to send a mobile phone with them. Do not send anything of value or importance through them. Instead, avoid avoid avoid and use something like ParcelHero, Parcel2Go or just plain old Royal Mail.

Small Update

After the costly collection I had to arrange in order to retrieve my property due to them changing their terms after they took possession of my items, I sent over a compensation claim. A claim to which I received the above smerky audio response about this very review. If you don't understand spanish Laura basically threatens me with lawyers and a stint in prison for letting you all know how terrible Avianca Express UK's service is. I also managed to get a supposed supervisor's contact, Leidy Johana Hurtado ( at the very same Kennington Road office! 😅 I am supposed to complain to the same office that I am making the complaint about! Still waiting for Leidy to contact me and resolve this. I will keep you all updated here. Until then I am taking this to trading standards and even the police for their opening and handling of my private correspondence.

Let us know what experiences you've had on Avianca Express UK in the comments below.

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