Christmas deliveries: Hits, misses and consumer rights tips

Kalila Sangster
·4-min read
Boxes and packages next to front door during holiday christmas season, with Christmas lights and wreaths
More than one in 10 consumers did not receive their delivery in time for Christmas last year, according to Which? Photo: Getty

Over two-thirds (69%) of Brits had problems with Christmas deliveries last year, according to a new survey from consumer group Which?.

Almost a quarter (23%) of online Christmas shoppers said at least one delivery did not arrive at all, according to the survey of more than 2,000 UK shoppers.

More than one in 10 (11%) consumers did not receive their delivery in time for Christmas while almost a fifth (18%) said their order arrived late.

Brits also experienced issues including receiving the wrong product, parcels containing fragile and valuable items being damaged after being thrown over fences, and packages being left outside in bad weather.

One shopper’s clothes delivery was left in a food waste bin and another’s was left out in the rain and “chewed by foxes,” Which? said.

Customers also complained of problems with deliveries that needed to be signed for. One respondent said a laptop they ordered never arrived but the delivery company claimed it had been signed for the month before.

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One shopper said that their signature had been forged to suggest that they had personally accepted the parcel, when in fact it had been left on their doorstep.

Which? found that UPS (UPS) was rated the worst courier for keeping customers satisfied in key categories, in a separate survey of more than 13,000 Brits taken between between March and August this year.

With online shopping skyrocketing during the coronavirus pandemic, firms were rated in categories including social distancing measures by drivers, length of time between ordering and delivery, delivery time slots, communication, and the locations where parcels were left.

Around one in four UPS customers said they were unhappy with the delivery slots offered and how the company communicated with customers, and one in 10 said they were not pleased with where the delivery driver left their order.

UPS told Which? it delivers an average of 20 million parcels a day and prides itself on reliability and service quality. It takes damage to goods very seriously and regrets any inconvenience caused. It said it does not comment on third-party research.

Amazon (AMZN) was rated the best courier for the length of time between ordering and delivery with nine in 10 people (92%) satisfied with the speed of delivery of their items.

READ MORE: Average UK household Christmas spend set to drop by over £100

Amazon also tied in first place with DPD for communication with customers, with the highest proportion of satisfied customers in this category.

DPD was also rated top for delivery slots, with 82% of online shoppers happy with the slots offered. Royal Mail (RMG.L) had the most satisfied customers for where deliveries were left, with 93% happy with where the driver left their most recent delivery.

All delivery firms in the survey performed well on maintaining social distancing guidelines, according to Which?

Which? top consumer rights tips for delivery issues

1. If your order is late, missing or has turned up damaged, take your complaint to the retailer you purchased the item from even if you think the problem is due to poor service from the courier — because your contract is with the retailer.

2. If you paid extra for special delivery but still didn’t receive your order on time then you can claim back the extra cost as the service was not delivered.

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3. Be aware if you give permission for your items to be left in a specified safe place or received by a nominated neighbour and something goes wrong, you will still be considered to have received the delivery.

4. If your order arrives damaged or faulty, you have a right to refuse it and get a refund, repair or replacement. Understand your next steps if your goods arrive damaged in the post.

5. Your delivery should be made without undue delay and within 30 days from the point of purchase unless you and the retailer agree otherwise. This is stipulated by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

6. You can also cancel, within 14 days of receipt of goods, an order for most items bought at a distance — for example, online, over the phone or a mail order catalogue.

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