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Your rights if a Christmas delivery is broken or lost

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

With only one week to go until Christmas day, millions of people will be going online to order last-minute gifts. But they could be left out of pocket thanks to delivery issues.

Research by consumer group Which? found six in 10 people experienced a problem with a delivery last Christmas with parcels thrown over fences, taken to the tip by binmen and even getting chewed on by the dog.

The popularity of online Christmas shopping has soared, with 90% of people buying at least one item over the internet and 51% buying five items or more.

However, Which? found that as many as one in four (24%) faced failed deliveries last year, with at least one delivery not arriving.

One shopper told the consumer groups 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 of those surveyed said 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”.

Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services 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 delivery rights

When you shop online, you are protected under consumer law.

The Consumer Contracts Regulations give you online cancellation rights. You can cancel your order from the moment you place it to 14 days from the day you receive your goods.

The Consumer Rights Act protects your right to return a faulty good. You have 30 days to claim a refund from the day you take ownership of the goods.

Marketplace protections on eBay and Facebook are available to you in addition to your rights.

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.