Your rights if your parcel is damaged or doesn't turn up


General Finance

There’s no doubt about it, online shopping can be incredibly convenient. However, one downside is that you don’t instantly have the goods with you at the end of the purchase. You have to wait for them to arrive. Although, with the likes of same-day delivery, you might not have a very long wait on your hands.

But what happens if goods that you order don’t turn up or are damaged when they do? What are your rights in a situation like this? We’ve got all the information you need right here.

Late or missing package

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, any goods that you order should be delivered within 30 days unless you agreed otherwise on an earlier date. To get a refund for these goods, you’ll need to get in touch with the retailer. However, if you are concerned about the whereabouts of the parcel, you can contact the courier.

You should be able to find a customer service helpline or even track the parcel online to see where the delivery’s got up to. But, you’ll only be able to do this if you know which courier is delivering your item.

If the parcel is going to arrive later than when you need it for, you can ask for a refund if you ordered online or over the phone. This is assuming that it was due to be delivered on time when you originally ordered it. You have the right to cancel an order within 14 calendar days in exchange for a full refund. If you paid for a more expensive delivery option, then you’ll only get a refund for the least expensive delivery method, and you may have to pay return delivery costs to send the parcel back.

If your parcel doesn’t arrive after 30 days and the courier’s told you that it’s lost in transit, your next step should be to get in contact with the retailer. This is because it’s the retailer that you have a contract with, not the courier. As the item not turning up breaches the retailer’s contract with you, your consumer rights then come into effect. So, you can ask to receive a full refund or for the item to be delivered again.

If you hear no response from the company, write a formal letter to them detailing your case for compensation. If they still don’t respond to this, you can take the company to the small claims court. This should only ever be considered as a last resort as it can be a lengthy process. You can read more about your rights if your parcel doesn’t arrive.

Damaged item

If the item that you ordered arrives damaged, you should get in contact with the seller as soon as possible. They are responsible for the condition of items when you receive them.

If your item is damaged, put this in writing, ideally in an email. Take photos of the damage so that you have a record of the issues and how you received the goods. You should also act quickly to prove that the item was not damaged after it was delivered. Doing so will protect your rights, particularly to highlight that you are within the 30-day timeframe.

The seller may ask you to return the item as part of a refund. If they do this, you should get the company to confirm that any further damage caused in transit won’t be held against you. The cost of sending the goods back should be covered by the company as well. Under the Consumer Rights Act, the seller must pay for you to return goods that have been damaged or are faulty.

Alternatively, if the retailer has a store near you, you could suggest taking the goods back there as long as the staff members in the store know to expect you.

Section 75

Unable to claim a refund through the retailer? Then you could be covered by your credit card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. For this to apply, you would have had to pay for all or a portion of the goods on your credit card. The order purchased would also need to be worth at least £100. However, if you paid £60 on your credit card, and a further £150 another way, you would still be covered. You cannot use Section 75 if you didn’t buy directly from the trader, for instance, using eBay.

Essentially, Section 75 means that your credit card provider is jointly responsible for anything that goes wrong with a purchase that you make. This covers goods that didn’t arrive or were faulty when they did. This is particularly useful for retailers or traders that have gone bust. You can make a claim by contacting your credit card provider, and it’s best to ask in writing.

Jonathon Sabinsky, Head of Communications, at thinkmoney says “In the run-up to Christmas, more of us are turning to online shopping to buy our loved ones the perfect Christmas present. So when it arrives broken or doesn't arrive at all, it can be disheartening.”

“By knowing your rights for a damaged or missing parcel it can be a little silver lining to the bad luck you’ve endured."

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