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We all know what the shops are like at this time of year. And if you can't face the hordes of people and large queues, there is another option – do all of your Christmas shopping online. You can do this from the convenience of your own home and get your hands on just as many bargains.

But what happens if your Christmas delivery doesn't arrive in time for the big day? According to Citizens Advice, online shoppers will typically spend two and a half hours sorting a delivery problem this Christmas. To make sure you're not short changed, we take you through what to do if your Christmas delivery fails to arrive.

Not arrived 

The retailer is responsible for your parcel until you get it. So no matter whether the late delivery is the fault of the retailer or the delivery company, you'll need to complain to the company you bought the goods from.

Call the retailer up and speak to them. Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, you're entitled to a refund of the delivery fee you paid if it arrives later than expected. You might also be able to get some kind of compensation if you incurred any extra costs because of the delay. For example, you might have to run out and buy a replacement gift on Christmas morning to cover the delayed gift not turning up.  

While there's no guarantee that you'll get any compensation, there's more of a chance if you can explain how the delay affected you. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, you have a right to cancel your order and receive a full refund if you still haven't received your package after 30 days.

Before you call, just make sure to check that you ordered in enough time to qualify for the delivery option you chose. If not, the company you ordered from might not have done anything wrong and won't need to refund you.

What if my post is lost?

If you're sending a gift through the post this Christmas, make sure to keep the receipt so that you can make a claim if anything goes wrong.

Your post might arrive later than you expect if you sent it over a public holiday or as a result of bad weather. You can claim compensation for the delay if the package arrives 3 or more working days after it's due or 24 hours for Special Delivery, 1pm service.

After 10 working days, you can claim compensation for loss if it doesn't turn up.

Can I cancel my order after it arrives?

Having second thoughts about a gift after Christmas? Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, you can cancel an order and request a refund up to 30 days after the goods arrive. The retailer must process these refunds without any delay.

At this time of year, many online and high street retailers offer extended returns policies no matter when you purchased them – so make sure to check these beforehand. It's worth remembering that certain stores won't allow for any returns during the after-Christmas sales period so check this before you head in store on Boxing Day.

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