One of Britain’s biggest parcel firms has been caught doing what infuriated customers have long suspected – falsely claiming that a courier had attempted a delivery.

MyHermes customer Dennis Rice had sent two phones to a repair shop in London and staff there were adamant that no courier came.

But when Mr Rice checked his myHermes account it showed a “failed attempt” at 7.35pm – when the shop was still open.

Speaking to MyHermes the next day, Mr Rice was told the same story again: “The courier attempted to deliver this parcel yesterday at 19.35 but was unable to deliver as the customer was not available.”

But he subsequently received an email stating the driver had been off work sick – so could never have attempted the delivery.

The parcel eventually arrived three days later.

Mr Rice, a 51-year-old television producer, sued for compensation.

Read more: Ex-Hermes courier says she suffered the ‘life from hell’ while working for the firm

“They stated attempts were made to deliver the parcel,” he told Slough county court, Berkshire.

“This is simply not true and came as a result of the courier entering false tracking information.”

But in rejecting the compensation claim, the district judge ruled: “Bad customer service is not grounds for proving negligence.”

Despite losing, Mr Rice has no regrets: “I took it to court because I wanted to expose how customers get duped.

“They still haven’t taken down the false tracking information from my account. I now understand why people get so fed up when they wait in all day and then courier firms claim they knocked and no one was at home.”

Before the hearing Hermes wrote to Mr Rice accepting that he had suffered “a poor customer experience” and offered £150 plus Mr Rice’s delivery fee as settlement.

In a statement MyHermes said that is has apologised to Mr Rice for the “tracking error”, adding: “We do accept that our communication was inconsistent and not to our usual standard”.

MyHermes is owned by Hermes Parcelnet Limited. According to its latest accounts it made an annual profit after tax of almost £27million.