Dodgy deliveries

3 min read
July 11, 2017

11/07/17 Know your rights when it comes to poor delivery service

When you enter into an agreement with a retailer, your contract is with them, not with any third party they use during the process of carrying out the transaction. So if items you order are not delivered, are damaged or faulty, are delivered or left in an unauthorised place or another delivery-related problem occurs, it is generally the responsibility of the retailer to sort out the problem.

Because the retailer has engaged the services of a delivery company, your options are usually quite limited if you try to make a complaint in your own right (this is usually limited to finding out where the item is). This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a complaint though – particularly if you’re really angry! 

Retailers are usually able to track deliveries through their contracted delivery services. So if there’s a dispute over delivery they should be able to pin down where the driver was around the time of the delivery, who signed for the item, or where it was left. Remember the onus is on them to prove that you received the item, not the other way around. You’re entitled to ask for proof of delivery if you’re being charged for an item you haven’t received.

You are entitled to expect your goods to be delivered on the agreed date that you were given when your order was placed. If no date was given or agreed, the trader must get your purchases to you within 30 days of the order being placed. If this does not happen, you are entitled to a full refund, as stated in the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (formerly the Distance Selling Regulations applied). If you paid a supplement for a specified time or date of delivery, it is reasonable to ask for this back. 

These rules just cover the basic rights, not a range of scenarios that might occur. So though there isn’t a specific rule that covers goods left with a neighbour without permission, the rules do cover the ‘delivery’. So if you’ve not received the goods directly or given instructions for them to be delivered elsewhere, you can pursue a complaint.

Virtually everyone I speak to has a story to tell about a rubbish delivery service – and delivery disasters are one of the leading sources of complaint to us at Resolver. It’s clear that the delivery services industry has a huge amount of work to do to win round frustrated consumers fed up with missing, damaged or disappearing orders.

That’s why it’s vitally important for retailers to keep a close eye on the businesses they contract delivery services too. And if you are struggling to get started, we’ll help you make a complaint at Resolver.


In one case, we saw, a woman had been told that her delivery of clothes had been confirmed as being delivered to a ‘safe place’ on her property, despite the fact that she’d not specified one. After much complaining, the delivery company stated that the item had been placed ‘on the other side of the fence of her property’. She pointed out that this meant the item could have been stolen, so the retailer eventually coughed up. Two months later she found the parcel. The delivery driver had thrown it so hard it had landed on top of her garage. She had to knock it off the room with a broom through an upstairs window. Needleless to say, the goods were ruined.

A surprising number of people have found that items have been ‘delivered’ to bins. Which have then been emptied. Some delivery companies have stated that the bins were outside of the property but not official ‘wheelie bins’ and they were used because they kept the items dry and out of sight. However, for some council workers, a bin is a bin – and the goods have found themselves in the local tip before the customer realised.

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