As the summer sales season gets underway, Citizens Advice Esher & District warns that over a third of online shoppers are having their goods arrive late, damaged or in some cases lost altogether.

Other common issues include parcels being left in unsecure locations such as bins, and unnecessary failed deliveries – where people waited at home for a parcel only to receive a note saying they’d missed it.

One woman who came to Citizens Advice for help was on holiday when her parcel was left in a bin. When she returned the bin had been emptied and the parcel was gone. When she tried to complain to the retailer she was told it was not their responsibility.

A new report published by the charity, based on a survey of over 2,000 online shoppers has found that:

  • 38% of people have received parcels late – including more than one in ten who paid for premium delivery service
  • more than 1 in 10 have received damaged items or have had a parcel go missing
  • over a quarter have had a parcel left in an unsecure location
  • 28% were at home but had a note left saying the parcel couldn’t be delivered.

Citizens Advice’s consumer service helps people with around 2,600 parcel delivery issues each year. In 2016 over 23,000 people visited the charity’s website seeking help for parcel problems.

“Online shopping should be quick and convenient but delivery problems create unwanted hassle,” Linda Wheatley, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Esher & District said.

“Waiting at home for an item that doesn’t arrive is frustrating and time consuming. Retailers are responsible for getting the parcel to the customer and making this clearer to customers at the checkout could help them sort out problems quicker if deliveries go astray.”

WHAT TO DO IF…

…your parcel doesn’t arrive when you expected it to

Contact the retailer to find out where it is. The retailer is responsible for getting orders delivered to you, not the parcel company. If you didn’t agree a specific delivery date it should arrive within 30 days of when you ordered it. You can cancel the order and get a full refund if it doesn’t arrive after 30 days.

…your parcel is damaged

It is the retailer’s responsibility to make sure items arrive in good condition. Contact them about the damage and they will either offer to send you a new item or refund you.

…someone was waiting in for the parcel but a note said it couldn’t be delivered

Contact the parcel firm to arrange a redelivery or you can cancel the order if it’s been less than 14 days since you bought it and get a refund. Although legally you’re not entitled to compensation in this situation it’s worth complaining to the delivery firm and retailer – they will value your feedback and may offer you a goodwill gesture.

…your parcel was left in an unsecure location

If you get a note saying your parcel has been left in a certain location but it isn’t there the retailer should replace it or give you your money back. If you receive the item but aren’t happy with where it was left, complain to both the retailer and delivery firm. Although not legally obliged, they may offer you some sort of compensation as a goodwill gesture.

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