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Can they deliver? Unwrapping the truth about dodgy deliveries

A damaged letter

Ever wondered what goes on with your mail between the sender and you? What exactly happened to the letter you should have received a fortnight ago? Why did that parcel marked ‘fragile’ arrive in bits?

If you are nodding your head sadly, read on… The truth could be more shocking than you think.

In last night’s Dispatches programme on Channel 4, Which? reviewed secret footage filmed in a UK Mail depot in Bournemouth. The footage showed some workers displaying scant regard for your precious parcels, with packages falling off the conveyor belt, being kicked around and dropped.

The programme also followed private postal company TNT, where post delivered on bikes was shown to be poorly secured and often delayed.

Across the online shopping industry, problems with deliveries cost businesses an estimated £851m a year. With secret footage like this, you can see where some of this money may be being frittered away.

Pass the parcel – who’s responsible?

Last night’s programme reflects our findings. When we asked more than 2,000 people about their experiences of online deliveries in November last year, more than six in 10 people told us they had experienced problems. See more in our delivery rights video:

But if you’ve experienced problems with damaged goods, who is responsible? The Sale of Goods Act states that the seller is responsible for goods up until they are delivered to you. Any damage or breakages that occur en route are the responsibility of the seller. You should never be left out of pocket for damages. So don’t let companies worm out of it by asking you to take your problem up with the delivery company!

Knowing what to say when you want to make a complaint can be puzzling though – what phrases should you use to inspire action? We have a template letter to request damaged goods be replaced – you can send the letter by email or download it to print off and post.

Were you shocked by the footage on last night’s Dispatches? Have you ever tried to solve the mystery of a missing parcel or a lost letter? What did the sender say when you raised your concerns?


I ordered an AFK Cottage Arbour from Garden Mall online. It arrived promptly but when we opened it one of the panels was split. I sent photographs and asked for a replacement and then got a text message from Interlink Express saying the item would be delivered the next day. I asked them to deliver to my neighbour instead as we were going to be out. My poor neighbours waited in all day and nothing was delivered. I contacted Interlink Express and this is what they said:
“Thanks for your email. Sorry to hear haven’t received your parcel as of yet, I have phoned the depot to make them aware of this, and after looking at the tracking there has been no further scans on your parcel since Monday which would suggest your parcel may have been lost in our network. This doesn’t mean its completely lost as we can conduct an investigation and launch a parcel search and it may crop up somewhere, so the best thing for you to do would be to get in contact with your sender so you can make them aware of this and they can instigate the search. So if you do need to do anything today, I wouldn’t wait around for the parcel as the chances of it coming today are very slim. Really sorry for any inconvenience. ”
I then sent this e-mail to the contact details of the sender by e-mail and have heard nothing since . I have asked for an update but heard nothing.
Any help would be much appreciated as we would like to be able to use our arbour before the Summer is over. It was ordered on August 9th and dispatched on the 10th and we are still awaiting a part, which Interlink Express have lost!!

Garden Mail are responsible for fulfilling your order and replacing any damaged parts. Interlink Express have been good in responding to you well but their customer is Garden Mail and not you. Garden Mail have a contract with Interlink Express who have not performed satisfactorily. I think you should request urgent re-consignment of the replacement panel. If the original missing part turns up eventually then Interlink Express should return it to Garden Mail.