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If you’ve been waiting too long for a delivery, can you cancel it?

Published 29 May 2016 by

There are a number of occasions where you might want to order something for delivery on a set date. You may have a loved one’s birthday coming up or need furniture for a move-in date.

Whatever the occasion, it can be frustrating to wait longer than you expect for an order to arrive – especially if it doesn’t arrive by the day you need it to. To make sure you’re aware of your rights, we’re going to take you through what you can do when faced with a late delivery.

Delivery period

You will usually be given an estimated delivery date or time period when you order something. Check your order details to see what this is.

Under the Consumer Rights Act, the default period for delivery is 30 days. This applies to both online and in-store. This period is the maximum amount of time you should wait if you were given no delivery date. If the retailer doesn’t deliver within the time frame agreed or by this 30-day period, you have the right to cancel your order and receive a full refund.

This applies whether the goods were due for delivery on a set date or not. For example, you might need a photo album ordered for a family member’s birthday to arrive on time, whereas an album for your personal collection is under no time constraint.

Goods bought online

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, you have the right to cancel an online order as soon as you place it or from 14 days after you receive it.

As part of these regulations, you should get a refund within 14 days of the retailer receiving the goods or you giving evidence that you’ve returned them. For example, a proof of postage from the Post Office should count for this.

Once you cancel the order, the seller has 30 days to give you a refund. You might not receive the full amount if the goods are not in the condition they should be when they arrive back.

Time is of the essence

If you ordered in-store for a home delivery – for furniture or heavy equipment – you won’t receive cover from the Consumer Contracts Regulations. To get additional rights, try to get the company to agree to a delivery deadline marked ‘time is of the essence’.

Make it clear that you need the goods by a certain date, or for a service to start or finish by a set date. If the retailer does not deliver by then, you’ll be legally entitled to cancel your order and demand a refund for a deposit or the cancellation of any credit agreements. Alternatively, you could continue with the order but for a lower price.

The seller might not agree but it’s worth a shot, as without this a company is only obliged to deliver within a ‘reasonable’ period. You can try to add ‘time is of the essence’ after you’ve ordered but the retailer might be more likely to refuse.