Your rights if your parcel is damaged or doesn't turn up
Published 3 April 2016
We look into what your rights are if a parcel that you ordered doesn’t turn up or is damaged when it does.
There’s no doubt about it, online shopping can be incredibly convenient. You can now make a purchase in a matter of minutes that would otherwise have taken you a good couple of hours if you’d gone down to the high street instead. 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 rise 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? Let’s find out.
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, but if you’re more concerned over the whereabouts of the parcel then you should contact the courier first.
You should be able to find a customer service helpline or even be able to 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 too late for what you need it for, you can ask for a refund if you ordered online or over the phone – assuming when you originally ordered it, it was due to be delivered on time. Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 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.
After 30 days if your parcel doesn’t arrive and the courier’s told you that it’s lost in transit then 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.
If the item that you ordered arrives damaged, then you should get in contact with the seller as soon as possible. Put this in writing to help prove that you’re within the 30-day timeframe for a refund and that the damage wasn’t caused by you after the item was delivered. You might want to consider including photos as proof of the damage.
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. Alternatively, if the retailer has a store near you then you could suggest taking the goods back there, as long as the staff members in the store know to expect you.
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 item purchased would also need to be worth at least £100.
What this means is that by law your credit provider and the retailer are equally 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. For more information on Section 75 and how you can make a claim, click here.