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Why are some delivery costs so high?

Why are some delivery costs so high?

If you’re only seeing high delivery costs available for your order, it means that one or more of the fabrics on your order can’t be folded into a Royal Mail-friendly sized package. In these cases we need to wrap the fabric around a 150 cm long tube.

What fabrics can’t be folded?

Fabrics generally fall under one of 3 categories here at Fabric Online: foldable, semi-foldable, and non-foldable.

1. Foldable fabrics

Fortunately, most of our fabrics are classed as ‘foldable’, which means that most customers are provided with relatively affordable carriage options. There are limits though. We can only fold these types of fabrics up to 10 metres, and above that point we need to put the fabric onto a roll.

We’re always working to increase this limit (it used to be only 4 metres!), but there will always be a maximum.

So, even for foldable fabrics, if you were to order over 10 metres you would likely see more expensive carriage costs (unless your qualifies for free delivery!).

2. Semi-foldable fabrics

How can a fabric be semi-foldable? It’s a fair question, but here we’re looking at fabrics that are inherently quite bulky. Fleece, for example, is a very thick fabric, and even relatively small cut of 5 metres can result in a pretty large parcel. Fabrics we class as ‘semi-foldable’, therefore, can only be folded up to 5 metres.

3. Non-foldable fabrics

The last type of fabric are those that we’ve classed as non-foldable. Full stop. We just never fold them.

Usually this has less to do with the thickness of the fabric, and more to do with making sure that it gets delivered in good condition. Some fabrics don’t take well being folded–especially in the hands of couriers, with god knows how many tonnes of other parcels sat on top of them.

Velvet fabrics for example can actually be quite delicate. Folding a velvet fabric can permanently disturb the pile, leading to tiger marks or creases that will never iron out. There are some velvet fabrics on our website that we can fold–Lustre Velvet for example. Usually these aren’t true woven velvet fabrics, but rather a knitted velour.

Equally, when we fold a faux leather fabric it usually isn’t possible to remove the fold creases.

Okay, but why does it cost so much?

Unfortunately there are very few couriers willing to carry a parcel that’s 150 cm on its longest side. Those that are willing to carry them normally impose large ‘oversize’ surcharges on those parcels, or force those parcels onto a more expensive service.

For example, if we wanted to send a 150 cm roll of fabric via. Parcelforce, they would charge an eye-watering £34.95 for the service.

When quizzed, couriers normally blame this on the fact that larger parcels can’t go onto the standard conveyor belts in depots and hubs. The parcels have to be manually carried from point A to point B. We’d argue that the labour involved in that doesn’t cover the extraordinary costs, but the fact of the matter is that most couriers don’t actually want to see these kinds of parcels. They take up too much room and too much time to transport.

We currently use DX Express to send these parcels, and can offer large parcel delivery for a relatively low (compared with other couriers) price of around £16.90.

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1 Our customer support team are best able to assist by email. Calls to our customer service line may be charged up to 13p per minute plus your network's standard access charge.

2 If you have already placed an order with us, please refer to your order confirmation email or delivery paperwork for the best contact details, which includes a non-premium rate support number for after-sales enquiries.

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