Your rights if your parcel doesn’t turn up on time


General Finance

You know how it is – a parcel is due to be delivered but you’ve no idea when it will turn up, you’ve just been told ‘between 9am and 5pm’. It means you have to stay in the house all day – and then your parcel never gets delivered anyway!

Even worse is if you’ve paid extra for one-day delivery because you need something delivered urgently and then it turns up two or three days later. If this happens to you, will you be entitled to any compensation from the delivery company? Let’s take a look at what your rights are if you have a delayed parcel.

Contact the company

When you have a parcel delivered late or that never turns up at all, your first port of call should be the company you ordered it from. It’s worth calling the company and speaking to them – often, they’ll have a policy that you won’t have to pay delivery costs if your parcel was late. They might also be willing to offer you some other kind of compensation if you’ve incurred any extra costs because of the delay, like if you had to buy a replacement to cover the package that didn’t turn up in time.

However, this all depends on the individual company’s policies so you’re not guaranteed to get any money back. The best way to go about it is to speak to the company and explain how the delay has put you out – if you’re polite, they might be more willing to help you out.

Stayed home from work

If you’ve taken the day off work because you were expecting a delivery and it doesn’t turn up, you’ll be especially put out as you’ll have wasted a day’s holiday to do this, with no parcel to show for it. In this case, you could be entitled to claim compensation for loss of earnings.

You won’t actually be able to claim for the day you originally booked off for the delivery, as you’d already planned to take this day off. To qualify for loss of earnings, you’d have to take a second day off work to be in for when the parcel finally does turn up, and it’s this second day you’d be able to claim for.

Same day delivery

Paying extra for one-day or even same-day delivery is something that most of us would generally try to avoid but there can be times when it’s the only option – your child only lets you know last-minute about something they need for school or it’s a colleague’s birthday in a couple of days and you’d forgotten about it until now. When you’ve paid £5 to make sure you get your parcel urgently, you probably won’t be best pleased if it doesn’t turn up until days later.

In this situation, the Consumer Contracts Regulations entitle you to a refund of the delivery fee you paid. While this might not be much of a consolation if you had to go out and buy something else or do without because your parcel turned up late, it at least means you won’t have to pay for its delivery.

It’s important to make sure you ordered in time to qualify for the one-day or same-day delivery – for example, if you have to order by 5pm to get your parcel the next day but you actually put the transaction through at 5.15pm. This could mean the company you ordered from hasn’t actually done anything wrong and they don’t have to refund you.

How to claim

To claim for any late parcels, it’s a good idea to get in touch with the company first again. Some companies have a standard policy for compensation for late deliveries and you should be able to find details of this on the website or by ringing the company in question.

Most companies will usually be fairly forthcoming and pay out compensation quite quickly. However, if you don’t hear back from them, you should write a formal letter to the company, detailing your case for compensation. If you still don’t get a response, you can take the company to the small claims court. This can be difficult and take time, so make sure you’ve exhausted every other possibility before you resort to this.

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