Christmas delivery rights for lost, missing or broken parcels explained
Millions of people will be placing last minute Christmas orders this week as the final countdown to December 25 gets underway.
However, with the busy spell comes lost, broken, and often missing post, which could leave you out of pocket and without a present for a loved one.
According to consumer group Which? six in 10 people who shopped online last Christmas experienced a problem with a delivery – with parcels thrown over fences, taken to the tip by binmen and even getting chewed on by the dog.
Some found that deliveries were left in the trash pile (7%), thrown over a fence (4%) or even vanished after being left with a neighbour who later denied having received the parcel (2%).
The number of people ditching the high street for online has risen significantly in the past few years, with nine in 10 (90%) now buying at least one item online.
A further half will be ordering five items or more, so it’s more important than ever that deliveries arrive as expected.
Which? said last year one in 10 people had a parcel left outside their door without giving prior consent, leaving packages at the mercy of the elements and at risk of theft.
One shopper revealed that after a parcel was thrown over the fence, their "dog found it and was running around with it. Luckily he was spotted and the item removed before he buried it!".
One in 10 also reported that the delivery person left a note saying that no one was in, when this was not the case.
When asked to explain specific delivery problems, one person described how "delivery drivers often leave items in bins. I even had a laptop left in there once” and another commented that their delivery had been “left with a neighbour that I don’t get on with so was awkward when I had to collect it".
Three in 10 received a delivery earlier than expected. While this could be seen as beneficial or good customer service, it could also cause chaos for those planning to be at home to receive deliveries on their expected arrival dates.
Alex Neill, at Which? said: "Problems with our deliveries really can be a nightmare before Christmas, causing added stress at a busy time of year.
"If you face a delivery issue, remember that you have rights and should contact the retailer as soon as possible to have your problem solved."
Your Christmas delivery rights
When you shop online, you are protected by consumer laws – whether your purchase goes wrong or not.
Firstly, you have a legal right to a 14 day cooling off period, during which time you can return the item without reason if you change your mind.
The Consumer Contracts Regulations give you online cancellation rights, too. If your delivery has taken more than 30 days then you can legally cancel the contract and get a refund, regardless of whether the item was bought online or in store. This is especially important if your items arrives after Christmas.
Most stores will have cancellation policies in their small print, so check them or give the retailer a call to find out – bear in mind this will most likely depend on whether it’s been dispatched or not.
The Consumer Rights Act protects your right to return a faulty good. If the item is defective the retailer must give you a full refund. You’ll have to escalate this through their customer services team.
If your order fails to turn up, you should first complain to the retailer who should put the situation right. If they fail to get your order delivered within a reasonable timeframe – usually within 30 days of ordering – you’re entitled to a full refund. Here’s what to do in the case of a missing parcel .
Marketplace protections on eBay and Facebook are available to you in addition to your rights – these have buyer protection rules in place to protect you should the sale all go wrong.
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