/ Shopping

Did you have an online order vanish last year?

Package delivery

As online shopping becomes ever more popular it would seem we have a growing problem with package deliveries. 3.6 million of us had a package go astray last year. Did this happen to you?

How well do you remember 1995? Robson and Jerome were riding high in the charts with their timeless cover of Unchained Melody, Toy Story was the king of the box office and a couple of little known companies called Ebay and Amazon kicked off their online sales businesses.

Fast forward to today where 9 in 10 of us have internet access: online sales now account for more than 12% of all retail sales in the UK and Amazon alone made £6.3bn of sales in the UK last year.

But all of these orders need to be delivered somewhere.

£250m online orders missing

According to research carried out by Opinium for the insurer Direct Line, over the past year more than £250m worth of online shopping has either gone missing or not been delivered.

And it’s estimated that around 3.6 million of us had packages we’d ordered online go missing last year – worth an average £69 per package.

Is there cause for concern that as much as £250m worth of online shopping could have just vanished in 2015?

Or is it a price we’re willing to pay so we’re able order whatever we want, whenever we want safe from the loving embrace of our sofas?

And, importantly, where the hell is this £250m worth of online shopping?

Your delivery rights

Fortunately, if your order does go missing you have fairly comprehensive legal protection.

Did you know that the retailer is responsible for the safe delivery of your order? Not the courier company and certainly not you. So don’t get fobbed off!

This means that if any order fails to turn up the retailer is in breach of contract, and you’re perfectly within your rights to demand a full refund, or the dispatch of a replacement item.

The Consumer Rights Act also introduced a default delivery period of 30 days during which the retailer needs to deliver, unless a longer period has been agreed. Failure to do so constitutes a breach of contract.

Over to you

Are you one of the possible 3.6 million people who’ve had a delivery go astray? Or maybe it’s cropped up in a rather unexpected place – a wheelie bin, behind the car, or underneath the garden gnome perhaps?


Has an Asda order vanish into the ether recently. Odd – since they deliver to us every week and, although we do live in a somewhat remote area, we’re not residents of the Caymans. Curiously, however, it seems one of the many IKEA subcontracted delivery agents can’t find us, either, preferring to dump essential components of our newly fitted kitchen in a farm yard some mile and a half away. In fact, although their kitchens are decent quality, the IKEA model of delivery and installation through subcontracting at every stage is seriously flawed.

I ordered a Panasonic G6 digital camera from amazon UK which never arrived. I also missed out on the Panasonic cashback promotion which was on when I bought it.

Despite sending amazon several messages, I have still not been refunded (or received the item) and lost £450. Eventually giving up on ever getting the camera from amazon I ordered a Panasonic G7 from Mather’s (so much time had passed, that the model had been replaced), again during a Panasonic cashback promotion. This also never arrived and I am out by £400.

So £850 has effectively been stolen from me and I have no camera. It’s all very well saying “Did you know that the retailer is responsible for the safe delivery of your order?

This means that if any order fails to turn up the retailer is in breach of contract, and you’re perfectly within your rights to demand a full refund, or the dispatch of a replacement item.”

But what about when they simply ignore your messages and/or refuse to refund you or replace the item?

Can anyone from Which? help me as I don’t know what else to do and cannot afford to lose £850.

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If you paid by credit card, there is the option of making claims against the credit card company. This might be your best chance of recovering your money at least. See –

Hopefully the credit card companies will give Amazon a smacking if this is a common occurrence. If Amazon can no longer accept payment by card this could seriously damage their business.

It seems absolutely ridiculous if there is no feedback path to delivery companies whose employees throw valuable products just anywhere. They need to dismiss these employees so that their service can be as it should be.

That would be my hope John. I think with the increasing number of distance-selling companies letting customers down and then ignoring them, and with trading standards being so useless, people should now assert their S.75 rights under the Consumer Credit Act more proactively. If banks are constantly having to deal with aggrieved customers they should quickly take action against such companies and withdraw or constrain their merchant status. The problem is the credit card issuers probably just deduct any recoveries from merchants’ accounts before remitting the nett amounts due so are not financially troubled by commercial defaults.

James Fox says:
17 January 2017

Avoid parcel2go ltd nightmare company, paid for next day delivery, took 20 days to delivery. Every time you try and leave a review, they get it removed, even though I have proof. Having to take legal action against them now, already gone to my bank, and starting court case.

I have just taken a delivery from Lakeland sent by Hermes and had an interesting chat with the driver.

He said that the drivers are given a pound for big items and 50 Pence for small packets. If a journey has a long drive to a particular address, from a cluster of other drops, they will mark it “Delay due to address access”. It will only get delivered when they have several homes within a small area.

He also said that the drivers have no way of contacting the company except through a congested telephone call centre.

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I totally agree. Good companies compromise their customer satisfaction scores by putting the last bit of their operation, the part the customer is eagerly waiting for, in the hands of cheese-parers and skinflints. This is why John Lewis, who used to dispatch via several different carriers, has now put all [or nearly all] of its deliveries with DPD. It found its reputation was suffering due to unreliability and slipshod service. It wouldn’t surprise me if the John Lewis contract was behind, and effectively paid for, the investment by DPD in their best-in-class tracking system.

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We had a further delivery via Hermes on Friday 28 July 2017. It was posted on the tracking web site that it was out for delivery from the local depot on Thursday, but it didn’t get here until Friday. It was a wet day, and they had put a plastic bag with “Hermes” printed on it over the parcel to keep it dry. Interestingly, there was another parcel for my wife from Lakeland delivered at the same time, similarly protected.

There is another delivery company called DX. It is used by B&Q to deliver garden sheds from their central depot. We ordered a shed from B&Q and eventually had to cancel it after several weeks of frustration. DX delivered two floors (rather than one floor and one walls+roof pallet) and not the rest of it. We await collection of the floors, having bought another shed from Garden Buildings Direct. They delivered all the parts on the stated day with no trouble. They have their own distribution department and vehicles. So it can be done, but it cost £50 more. But DX should be aware that cheap is expensive if it is useless.

DX has appalling reviews on Trustpilot and is amazes me that a company such as B&Q uses them. The only thing I can think of is that DX provide a better service in areas of high population concentration.