/ Shopping

Ever had a delivery just not turn up?

Last Christmas we found that one in four people in our survey had a parcel fail to arrive. Do you know who to contact if something goes wrong?

Ordering something quickly online with next day delivery is often an easy solution if you’re stuck for a last-minute gift.

But if that delivery still hasn’t shown up after the big day (despite paying for express postage), do you know who to contact?

It might seem like the most logical answer is to go straight to the courier as they’re the ones handling the package, but your contract is with the retailer, so they’re the ones you need to complain to.

Read more: three in five online shoppers deliveries don’t go to plan

Lots of fails but no complaints

In our survey, we found almost three in five shoppers (58%) who had a delivery over the Christmas period experienced a problem, with at least one delivery not going as planned.

A shocking one in 10 (11%) had a parcel left outside their door without giving prior consent.

One person told us a parcel was tossed over the fence where their dog found it.

‘Luckily he was spotted and the item removed before he buried it!’

Another person said: ‘I had ordered a Christmas present for my child. I was advised that I would get it by Christmas but it arrived after Christmas, in January.’

But despite so many issues, only 55% made a complaint. And while three in 10 people correctly contacted the retailer if they did make a complaint, 13% got in touch with the courier.

Who did you contact about your delivery issue?

To brush up on your rights if your delivery doesn’t arrive on time or at all, read our guide here.

Have you had a bad experience with a delivery? And did you bother to make a complaint and what happened as a result? Did you know who to make the complaint to?


Thats good information Which ? has provided , dont waste your time contacting the delivery company ,their contract is with the retailer not you.
Yes I have had several items replaced ,one due to damage and another didn’t arrive .
I found you had to be insistent as some will try to be obstructive , persevere its your money that’s at stake.
This is the age of “contract deliveries ” by self employed contractors who, as I have posted about Amazon , are on tight schedules.
When buying a product by phone (I dont buy through the web ) I am insistent that I am told the delivery companies name otherwise its end of call.


I have had two problems with deliveries recently, but neither to do with a complete failure to deliver or lateness of delivery: they were both cases of premature delivery. In both cases I had ordered [and paid for] nominated day delivery so as to make sure someone would be at home when the goods were delivered.

In the first case, some artificial plants in ceramic vases or bowls from M&S, part of the order was delivered the day before the due date when we were out at the time of delivery. We found the two large boxes had been thrown over a six-foot high gate at the side of the house and the contents smashed to pieces. They had been well-protected inside the boxes but the impact had destroyed the ceramic bowls and damaged the plants. Both boxes were clearly marked on all sides with ‘Fragile’ tape. M&S promptly ordered replacements and did not want any return of the remains. By the time of the replacement delivery one of the items had been cancelled although the price has remained charged so that is an ongoing issue all caused by an incompetent delivery process [UK Mail].

The second case was a book ordered from Amazon where I had the option to choose the delivery day. I chose today as I knew I would be at home all day. This delivery date was confirmed in at least two notifications from Amazon. Yesterday morning an e-mail arrived to say that the book would be delivered that day. With a morning appointment in Norwich I realised that our plans were likely to have to be disrupted if we were to avoid the parcel being left next to the wheelie bins.. We took a chance and went out, curtailed our perambulations of the city centre, and rushed home by one o’clock. Luckily we were in by the time [2:30 pm] that the delivery driver appeared. I immediately noticed on the label attached to the box that the prescribed delivery date [28/12/18] was clearly marked.

Why can’t carriers pay attention to the nominated delivery dates? Why does Amazon consider it is doing us a favour by delivering prematurely? How much are consumers generally paying in higher prices or substandard service for the things that go wrong with deliveries? And what about the cost of the generous returns policies that fierce competition has forced on retailers?


The only recent problem with with Birco, which sells discounted Philips lighting products. My emails about non-delivery were ignored, but before I took action the order arrived.

I prefer to support shops where possible and that avoids delivery problems.


Thats the first time I have heard of the name Birco, looking at its website it looks like an e-commerce company set up by Philips or contracted out to,as you say Wavechange , deal in discounted goods in the lighting field. Its registered as a “shipping company “.
Its got one Polish majority shareholder, its a “one man business run” company
Whoooo!!! just looked up Birco and its torn to pieces on TP due to bad/non delivery
quote -avoid this company (in capitals ) and thats a mild post compared to many
My blockers dont like it not because of Philips but because of shopify.com —
no wonder the company exists to track you in every way possible some heavy duty tracking no wonder the Birco website was in text and accessing shopify – well even worse , it didn’t say “dangerous ” but unless you need to I dont advise anybody accessing direct unless they have heavy duty blockers it isn’t just minor cookies or even “persistent ” cookies it tracks you over the web with major stuff.

Patrick Taylor says:
29 December 2018

The company that operates Birco Electrical as a trading name is owned by two British Directors who are also the only shareholders.

“Birco Distribution Ltd T/a Birco Electrical” .Duncan you must be more careful when researching.


Birco AT Philips electrical is run by one man as I posted Patrick , I have already checked it Patrick .

Patrick Taylor says:
29 December 2018

Duncan – wavechange did not give any detail beyond Birco and buying Philips so I suggest you consider this:

“Birco Lighting
Official Suppliers of Philips Lighting in the UK and Europe. Over 500,000 satisfied customers. Part of the Birco Distribution Ltd Group – Find out what else we do BIRCO DISTRIBUTION”

Please provide a link to this other site of yours. It may be a matter of impersonation.


I recall looking up the Birco company when after I had chased up my missing delivery and nothing happened. I had paid by debit card and that I might have a go at using chargeback to recover my money: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-do-i-use-chargeback. Before I got round to doing this, the goods arrived.


I have lived in several different areas of the country over the years, and each area has its problems. I buy a lot of things from Amazon and I am a Prime member. When I was in North Yorkshire, the main problem was Yodel, with whom I presume Amazon had their local contract. Non delivery probably affected 3 in 5 of my deliveries and it was always Yodel. I now live in Plymouth and the problem here is Hermes, to date I don’t think that they have managed to deliver a single parcel.

Amazon are good as far as refunds and re-sending items is concerned. The items never turn up, and a lot of them don’t get returned to Amazon, so where they go is a complete mystery. Murphy’s law clearly states that Next Day Delivery works unless you really do need Next Day!!! Amazon have extended my Prime membership so many times that I have had almost a free year’s membership!

That however is hardly the point, during a particulary bad patch this autumn the failure rate was 100% not just for me but my wife also. I actually wound up by my products elsewhere for more money, but at least they turned up.

The problem with huge companies like Amazon is that the failure rate for deliveries is so small in comparison with the number of items sent out every day that there is no real incentive to sort the problems out.

I know that the drivers don’t have to do the job they do, but in converstions with them the thing that I have come to realise is, that for many of them, the amount they are paid for each delivery doesn’t even cover the cost of the fuel in rural areas, as many of them are effectively self employed and have to provide not only the fuel but the transport as well.

I frequently try to buy the things I need locally from real shops, but so often they don’t have what I want and the delivery times quoted sometimes run into weeks.


The two companies quoted by you Peter have a long term “bad reputation ” in the UK although both say they have “cleaned up their act ” ,obviously still not using the latest washing up detergent from your post .
Yes Amazon is so big now in many countries it even dictates government policy.
It certainly can do things that would get you and me appearing before a court .
That is the state of E-commerce in the UK which,as you know , is closing down small businesses and even larger ones throughout the country.
If you have read my post on Amazon ,your right, the delivery drivers are nearly on a “serf level ” as regards their contracts but that is the state of service industry UK where jobs of any real meaning have disappeared replaced with “jobs ” that are nearly slave conditions.
As most of those jobs are used by young men , if they didn’t do them they would have problems with any unemployment “benefits ” by the W&P meaning living on the streets and “dumpster diving ” .
RE-industrialize the UK !

Justin says:
1 January 2019

I recently ordered a mobile phone. The package failed to arrive, and when I contacted the courier (Yodel) who promised to investigate. Next day I received an email stating that the parcel had been delivered a few days previously. Yodel updated their website stating parcel delivered, however no parcel was received. Following numerous emails and webchat discussions Yodel confirmed that the parcel had not been delivered and put this in writing, however the seller refuses to do anything / refund the purchase price since Yodel reported it delivered initially. Yodel refuses to do anything as I am not their customer. Now £140 out of pocket with neither the seller nor the courier willing to do anything. Hoping that PayPal dispute process will resolve this..


As you have found Justin (and myself also ) all those delivery companies only deal with the business that pays them, but will (in some cases ) check into it .


But its also in the company you bought it from,s court as well- Amazon I know has as procedure for this Ebay as well.