Online shopping: what to do when a company fails to deliver your package 

With recent prominent high street closures and with others struggling, the impact of the rising popularity of online shopping is clear. This year it is expected that online sales will make up 18% of all sales in the UK, an increase from 14.4% in 2015. And with new innovations, such as Amazon Drones, increasing the existing appeal of convenience and quick delivery that online shopping promises, this pattern is only likely to continue.

However, online shopping is not all plain sailing. Parcels arriving late, damaged or getting lost altogether are sadly common problems. But would you know what to do if it happened to you? Here at Budget Insurance, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you know what to do if you run into a problem with your parcel.

Know your rights

When something goes wrong with your delivery, it is crucial that you know your rights so that you can get the solution you are entitled to. According to Citizens Advice, 45% of consumers are not confident when it comes to knowing their rights about shopping online. Are you one of them?

Whether your parcel has been delivered late, damaged or not at all, it’s helpful to remember that your contract is with the retailer – not the courier. The law is on your side as the consumer, so knowing your rights will help you stand your ground if something goes wrong. Here are some tips to remember the next time your parcel delivery goes wrong:

What to do if it arrives late

If you’ve had a parcel arrive late in the past year, you’re not alone. Citizens Advice estimate that almost 170 million orders in the UK arrive later than expected each year, yet over half of consumers don’t take action when they run into an issue. So, what should you do if your parcel arrives late?

  • Check with the courier – even though your contract is with the retailer, the courier is your first port of call for a late parcel. They can check the whereabouts of your parcel and give you more information if you need to escalate the issue.
  • Claim a refund – thanks to the Consumer Contract Regulations 2013, you can get a refund for a late delivery in 3 situations: if your order arrives later than the specified date; if it is delivered more than 30 days after ordering; or if you paid for next day/specified day delivery.
  • Be persistent – getting a solution, such as a refund, can be a lengthy process. If you are persistent and confident in your knowledge of your consumer rights, you’ll get a solution to your issue.

What to do if it is lost

Before you take any action for a lost parcel, it is worth getting confirmation from the courier that this is the case, as it may just be late. If not, you can then contact the retailer. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the retailer is responsible for the parcel until you come into physical possession of it, so you can contact them for a refund or replacement delivery.

What to do if it arrives damaged

Your parcel has arrived on time – woo! – but upon closer inspection, it’s damaged… what should you do? There are a few things to consider when working out the next course of action for a damaged parcel:

  • Signing for the parcel – when you sign for a delivery, this confirms that the delivery took place and is not an acceptance of the condition of the goods. This doesn’t mean you have signed your rights away – you should have the right to take action.
  • Timing of damage – determining who is responsible for the damaged parcel depends on when the damage took place. Even if the damage was the courier’s fault, the retailer is responsible for the condition of the parcel until it is delivered to you. However, if the parcel was delivered to a neighbour or left in a safe place, and this is when the damage took place, the retailer is not responsible and you don’t have a right of action against them.

Once you’ve determined that the retailer is responsible for the damage, you should take photos of the damaged goods and send them with your claim to the retailer. This will back up your claim for a refund or replacement item. When arranging to return the goods, bear in mind that the seller should pay for them to be returned as per the Consumer Rights Act.

Tips for shopping online

Running into issues with your delivery isn’t fun, so there are some things you can do beforehand to help you avoid these issues further down the line.

Read the reviews

You may already do this when you buy something online, but reading the reviews can tell you a lot about not only the product itself, but the ordering and delivery process also. But remember to take reviews with a pinch of salt and be wary of fake reviews, as these may skew the overall product rating.

Look at the returns policy

It may not seem like the most fun thing to do, but reading the retailer’s returns policy will help you when you order goods online. The returns policy will tell you the company’s policy for late deliveries and returns, but remember: the retailer should always bear the costs of returning faulty goods, even if their returns policy says otherwise.

Double check delivery details

When you get your order confirmation email with details of your delivery – check, check and check them again. It’s crucial you know what date your goods should be delivered on, so that you know when you can take action if it is delivered late. If you live rurally, be wary of delivery dates as some retailers may not take this into consideration.

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