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How often do you have delivery problems with online shopping?

online shopping delivery

According to a recent survey of more than 2,000 online shoppers, 69% of them have suffered some form of problem with their delivery in the past year.

The survey, carried out by Citizen’s Advice, found that more than half of people don’t take any action, such as complaining or asking for a refund, if their parcel is late. It also showed that half of consumers aren’t clear that retailers are responsible for ensuring that their goods reach customers, as Which? Conversation commenter Sue reported:

‘Just had a call from a complete stranger to say he has picked part of an order due to be delivered today up from the middle of the road containing my name address and phone number and goodness knows what else. Who is responsible for this? I’m not happy my details were all over a public highway for anyone to pick up.’

Tesco tech glitch

On Tuesday last week, Tesco had to cancel thousands of customers’ home deliveries following an IT issue that affected some Grocery Home Shopping orders. According to a Tesco spokesperson, up to 10% of customers could have been affected.

Whether your order is a day late or doesn’t show up at all, not receiving your online order of groceries in time can be a bit of a pain if you don’t live nearby a supermarket or local grocery store. Add in a full-time job and hungry children, and you’ve got quite the perfect storm on your hands.

What are your online shopping rights?

Under the Consumer Rights Act, which came into force on 1 October 2015, goods should be delivered within 30 days unless a different time period is agreed.

In the case of online groceries, there would usually be a specific date and time allocated.

If your planned grocery delivery is late in getting to you and you need to get your goods, you should get in touch with the retailer to make a complaint.

If you told the supplier when ordering the goods that delivery by a date or timeframe was essential or you can show that it should have been clear or obvious to the trader it was essential, then you don’t need to give a further opportunity to deliver.

Do you order your groceries online? Do you regularly experience delays or cancellations with online orders? Has your experience with online orders gotten better or worse recently?


I hardly ever get delivery issues with delivery companies these days. I do still however get issues with Royal Fail delivering me other peoples post from about 2 miles away. Hopefully my last , of a long line , of very unsubtle emails to the CEO of Royal Fail , may have resulted in a proper fix. Although not the fix I’ve been suggesting for several years now.

I’ve had no problems with online orders, except 3 Christmases ago when I ordered a curtain pole from Dunelm and it turned out to be too long for their carrier. I collected it and then a few days later the original turned up; Dunelm did not want it returned. I’m not complaining – must be in the 31%. 🙂

We’ve never had a problem with on-line grocery orders. They have always turned up on time within the booked time slots.

The article doesn’t say whether Tesco e-mailed customers who were waiting for their deliveries. That would be helpful because many customers could drive there, cancel the on-line order, and buy the essentials.

I have a problem with Amazon deliveries. They just don’t seem to be able to keep to their delivery forecast. Last week I ordered two things that I couldn’t get locally and delivery was predicted for 3-4 July, which was fine. Except they turned up on Saturday 1 July when we were out and were taken to a house across the road. Not a big problem perhaps but I don’t like inconveniencing neighbours and prefer to have deliveries at the time stated. The trouble is that Amazon think they are doing us a favour.

I spoke too soon. Today we had a Waitrose delivery and there was an abnormal number of substitutions. They were understandable and sensible replacements but not what we wanted. The substitutions were all for mainstream stock items, not exotic and seasonal products. We don’t want to stop substitutions because then we would have to go out and get something elsewhere, but it is disappointing that the stock levels in the superstore that operates our delivery service are not sufficient to meet the demand, even though they have had five clear days in which to ensure they can do so. It is necessary to order well in advance so as to get a convenient delivery slot; I was hoping they would use that time to make sure they could supply what we ordered.

Waitrose did send an e-mail about an hour before the delivery slot listing the substitutions but by that time it was too late to ask for alternative replacements. At least they do not charge the higher price if the substitution is more expensive than the item ordered and they charge the lower price if the converse is the case. The only substitution that we thought could have been more acceptable was in respect of freshly-squeezed fruit juice where we ordered 2×1 litre cartons of each of two types of juice. They could not supply the pineapple or tropical juice ordered and substituted juices from concentrate; is that a reasonable substitution? I would have thought it should have been possible to supply freshly squeezed juice but from other fruit – even four litres of orange juice would have been better.

Apart from that, and the van driver losing his way, turning up late, and having a dodgy hand-held computer that would not take my signature, it was perfect. The driver didn’t seem to understand that sat-navs work on postcodes, not individual door numbers, and that a postcode can contain a number of individual addresses. He thought the marker on the screen pinpointed the precise house. I explained that you still have to look for the house number but he said they do not run consecutively so I also had to explain about odds and evens! He was smartly presented though, although not looking comfortable in the Waitrose uniform collar and tie.

I had forgotten about our recent Waitrose experience [see above] so this is just to bring the story to a conclusion.

After the delivery there was an on-line follow-up questionnaire, which I suspect is routine and not targetted, and I gave low scores for certain aspects of the service identifying key concerns. That was followed by an email from the central customer care team asking for more information which I fulsomely supplied. In response I received an explanation of the company’s order-picking approach, which I challenged because it was not intelligent enough, and information on how there had been words of advice and support given to management and personnel at the store where the deliveries come from. In summary, my points were recognised, I felt that excuses rather than reasons were given [but that is a commercial culture], managerial action had occurred, there was an expression of apology and a promise of better service in future, and a £5 discount voucher has been tendered [the order totalled £86.44 so that was under 6%]. Some of the responses were ‘templated’ across two communications but overall we are generally satisfied with Waitrose’s response and are taking no further action.

I notice that archaic word “gotten” creeping into some Which? Conversations. It died out in England three hundred years ago but was continued in America for no particular reason. It is a British English word but its use today is an Americanism. The word “got” will do in most cases [except “ill-gotten gains” which is traditional]. If people don’t like the bluntness of “got” the sentence can be rephrased as in “Has your experience with online orders become better or worse recently?”

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Yes, it turns up in country music and romantic ballads because it has a sentimental old-time ring about it. Sometimes it is used to fit the metre. I prefer up-to-date language.

I was taught that “got” was a redundant word in many usages and better not used. For example in the intro “and you’ve got quite the perfect storm”

Indeed, but many writers still use it for effect. It’s a bit like the weather presenters who insist on saying things such as ‘the temperatures will be dropping down…’ I wait patiently in the hope of seeing something that drops up.

“The only begotten son.” “And Noah begat Shem, Ham and Japheth”.
I beget. You beget. He/she begets. They have begotten.
Then they began to beget and there was no end to their begetting. It was a case of the begetter and the begot.

To actually remain on topic On two occasions I received goods that the supplier knew were faulty and sent them anyway. Sending them back was a nuisance, but a local convenience store served as a collection depot. Having to be in for a delivery is also a nuisance when ordering on line. On one occasion a parcel was left round the back without notification. As it was undamaged I didn’t complain. It is the weak link in the on line chain, but one can specify a collection point in some cases and collect parcels when it suits. Actual delivery times are usually quicker than promised and packaging is usually very good.

Tesco is the only grocery delivery I have had a problem with.

I had a delivery booked between 8pm and 9pm. Around 9pm the driver called to say he was running late, no problem I told him.

Midnight, I was calling Tesco to find out where the delivery was. Most of the numbers don’t answer that time of night but I found one that answered on Saynoto0870 of all places. Apparently drivers are only insured to deliver until a certain time (I think it is 11pm), so my delivery had gone back to the depot. The driver did not bother to let me know, and I could not go to bed thinking it was still going to turn up.

To add insult to injury, Tesco had already taken payment and the following day issued a refund with “Please be advised this will take 3-5 working days to reach your account”.

Yodel tried delivering a parcel from an online retailer and left a card with a mobile number to phone. I phoned it and told them to deliver next day in the afternoon as I’d be out in the morning. Well, of course they tried to deliver in the morning as they didn’t do time slots, I was told. (What, not even a.m./p.m.? ) They then tried delivery following day, again at time I told them I’d be out! I went online as required by their card they left only to find that as it is a green card (not another colour) I can’t do online. Left message on delivery lady’s phone in hopes she’ll re-deliver this Wednesday. I’ll have to stay in which I don’t want to do. The alternative is to travel about 10miles to collect it from depot!! Fingers crossed it arrives. So no, I’m not happy at all. PS I hate ‘gotten’ and don’t get me on ‘leverage’ when mis-pronounced………..!

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There’s a big Yodel depot around 17 miles from us and they do have Yodel Vans. although I don’t know if their drivers are self-employed. But you’re right: it is without doubt the worst of the delivery services out there in my experience.

The delivery drivers’ terms and conditions do not prevent the companies from offering a.m. and p.m. delivery slots. The root of the problem is with the consignors – the companies people buy from – who look for the lowest delivery price and therefore employ the cheapest carriers. The cheapest carriers are bound to sweat their workers but I read today that a review into employment conditions in the so-called gig economy might propose that some of the present exploitative practices are outlawed. Ideally, customers should be offered a choice of delivery company or only buy from outlets that offer bespoke time slots [at a surcharge]. It is a fact that delivery quality and service standards are in the price and the consumer does have a wide choice.

I agree with Ian. Yodel and Hermes are the worst carriers in my experience but unfortunately we are not their customers; the on-line traders need to raise their game. They know that if they told us who would be delivering our orders many of us would cancel them and look elsewhere.

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I regularly use Sainsburys for home deliveries and rarely have any issues with their service although my sister does use Tesco and says they can be a bit more hit and miss. Sainsburys, however, deliver within the specified time slot, drivers are really friendly and if there are any problems with the time frame then they contact me beforehand to advise. Their customer service support centre is extremely quick and efficient if I do have to ring to grumble about anything but this is very rare. My annual delivery pass also allows me to pay in advance for deliveries so I save a fortune. By my own admission, I’m fairly high maintenance and not easy to please but Sainsburys do a very good job.

I wasn’t sure where to put this – never used Which Conversation before – but wondered if Which might be interested in my recent problems with Asda Home Delivery?

Had an Asda (food) delivery due on 19/7 – £51- but it didn’t come. Nobody contacted me so had to ring and rearrange. This happened 5 times and nobody came or rang me on any occasion!

I kept having to ring the store to ask them to come (and book a new slot) – but 5 times they let me down – no delivery or phone call.

Eventually they came but left half my order behind. Only that driver was any help and sent a colleague with more items that evening. But things still missing which I had to get refunded.

I was messed around SO much! Wrote to head office but only got a few emails back offering me £5 off my next order then £10. They have raised it to £20 but that means I still have to pay out to reach their min order value. And will it arrive if I order? Totally disgusted.

Wondered if you were interested? I have the letter I wrote them (with plenty of humour!) and their emails. It has been the bane of my life for a month now! But they don’t seem to care or value customers.

Welcome to the convos Estelle,

That is pretty awful customer service.

I think Asda fulfil orders from their stores meaning they might not have the items you ordered. My last order was missing 28 items which is not a lot of use if you have an occasion planned.

Did you have a late delivery? I posted above about a Tesco delivery that didn’t turn up because the driver was too late.

If you log in to post, you will be able to find future replies easily.

Welcome Estelle

I had a similar problem with a bulky item collection by the local council. When it failed the first time, I asked what had happened but was not given an answer and despite my request to contact me about a suitable date, one was arranged. That failed and I had to speak to various people before I learned that there was a computer error and although I had received text reminders of the collections, no-one had been told to come to my house. I must have made 20 calls and filled a page with the names of people I had spoken to, the dates and times.

Whether it’s a company, council or other organisation, they should investigate complaints carefully and make sure that action is taken to avoid problems in the future.

You’re not alone, Estelle. A similar thing happened to us some time ago. That time they blamed it on the customer service team. Does the £20 voucher have an expiry date?

I wrote to the store manager of Asda , Harpurhey when my son who had moved to Central Manchester decided to do his large moving in shop there . At 8pm no manned tills were open and we had to put a £132 shop through self scan plus my large shop too . Frustrated we use delivery service . A bottle of spirits had a near impossible to open security tag on it and some of the replacement items were laughable . I actually hand wrote the letter to the manager so he didn’t think it was a wind up . We still await reply a year on .

Asda have an appalling record for customer service in any case . I suppose one more unhappy customer more or less is no problem

We have just had a good result from Royal Mail. 🙂

We had to return a purchase that did not reach its destination. The amount was under £10, but with receipt of postage, they have given us a full refund with a cheque.

After some of the stories here, I was expecting a few stamps for part of the value at best.

I needed a large number of postage stamps so ordered them from the Post Office. They were delivered by UPS.

I expect that was a cheaper option. You could have had them post-haste but that would cost more.

I wonder if Frank at the Post Office would run them through his machine.

Annoyingly, all postage stamps available by the sheet nowadays are peel-off adhesive ones which I find take much longer to affix to a large number of envelopes. With the lick-&-stick type you could get up quite a rhythm with a perforated strip and a fan of envelopes [sounds like a nightclub act!].

At last, intended delivery notifications from Holland & Barrett. RESULT !!! 🙂

I have complained to H&B several times that the only email they send you after ordering is to tell you your parcel has been delivered. Really pointless.

Today, I got 2 emails telling me my parcel would be delivered today.

Packaging? Hmmm…

I ordered 18 cartons that come from the manufacturer in packs of 6. Every carton came individually wrapped in bubble wrap. 😖

Morning all – would be most grateful to get input into a current issue – I am in France and luckily have few problems with delivery – despite being in the “sticks”. In a nutshell I’ve recently ordered a very expensive cooker hood from a Belgium on line re-seller – on their mail advising of delivery the company added a P.S. – saying that we MUST inspect the interior of the carton on arrival.

The delivery driver refused this point blank – saying he was paid to deliver to the gate and no more but advised of a form of words which would cover any problem. The cooker hood was, further more, found to be damaged on opening – with no damage to the outer carton or polystyrene liner. The re-seller is washing their hands of the matter- as we did not comply to their instructions, and telling me to contact the delivery company – from whom I await a reply.

However if in reality the delivery driver won’t allow the customer to comply with the re-seller’s instructions – what are you meant to do???

We were rather obliged to take the product as we needed it urgently for our kitchen product and had already waited from Oct 21 to Nov 10. The manufacturer is also not interested.

We don’t wish to send the hood back – the damage is not visible but this is not really the point!!

I assume that the consumer rights act ie Europe wide??

Any comments v welcome.

This case is nearly two years old and there is no point in dealing with it now, but why cannot Which? pick up these questions and answer them?

Those of us who volunteer to try to give consumer advice here are not experts in everything, and not necessarily ‘on duty’ when the questions arrive, but Which? is a normal weekday operation with continuous cover. If Which? is going to pose questions about delivery problems, what is the point if it is not going to handle them? After three days of no response from a ‘volunteer’ it should take the question in-house and deal with it. If that is not possible, please make it clear that Which? Conversation is not a consumer complaints service.

Which? has called for all this evidence. It would be interesting to know, eventually, what use has been made of it.

I ordered my grocery shop it was delivered, but not to me I have to wait 48hrs while they investigate…£87 is alot of money to me, not happy with the lack of communication or customer service…I dont even know what my rights are.

You have contracted the company to deliver your order to your door and possibly within a set timeframe. You are entitled to proper fulfilment of that.

Obviously things can go wrong but it should not take 48 hours or more for the company to deliver exactly what you ordered, or at least the essentials. That you did not receive your order is a matter of fact that does not require an investigation holding up fulfilment of your order; the company can do that at their leisure.

Without knowing the company concerned it is impossible to comment on any other possible rights you might have under the contract. There has been a breach of contract and you should be offered some redress for the inconvenience and hassle of getting it sorted out. A bouquet of flowers is a common offering but you might prefer something more useful or edible or a partial refund or vouchers off a future order.

I happened to us many years ago with Asda. Like many large companies, they have an effective swerve diversion system built into the customer contact numbers, so that calling the advertised number gets you through to the Philippines where a delightful person will carefully read of the acceptable options from their prepared list. Pleasant as it is to chat to a non-English speaker in the middle of the(ir) night it rarely solves the problem the way the customer wants it to be solved.

So I instead persuaded them to let slip the actual local number of the delivery depot who sent the order out again by return and removed any charge.

Persistence pays off but you are in the right, Sally, as they have breached the contract by failing to deliver.

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When lockdown occurred, we; I’m 84 and my wife 75 self isolated as requested. Attempts to register for online delivery were fruitless. We contacted a local CRG, who for the next 3 weeks did our weekly supermarket shop. During this time I managed to register with Tesco and Morrison’s. Tesco were first to offer a click and collect slot, followed by a Morrison’s home delivery. Tesco then offered home delivery, which became an eight day gap before another slot could be obtained. Eventually Sainsbury registered us and subsequently offered a home delivery slot. Of course what you can’t see, are the hours and hours of time spent looking at the same message; “unavailable. Try another day” over and over again. It was soul destroying, frustrating, annoying and just about every other negative emotion. At the time of writing, Tesco are probably the best; Morrison’s are good but our experience indicates your larder has to be almost empty, because when offered a slot it is within the next 24/36 hours. Sainsbury have offered slots but don’t have your item, which is then substituted or just not delivered. Finally there is ASDA. In spite of many attempts to do so, they have still not let us register.
We realise there are many worse off than us, but wish there was somewhere on the various websites where we could register our age and level of vulnerability. We say this because we have neighbours half our age; not self isolating like us; who have had regular home deliveries throughout the lockdown period. What is their secret?

I was in the same position back in mid-March when I decided to avoid visiting shops because I have respiratory problems and have had enough hospital admissions when I was younger. Starting off with Ocado, for which I had free delivery vouchers, I registered with the supermarkets that deliver in this area and could get no slots for delivery or click & collect. My first successes were achieved by taking a laptop to bed and checking in the middle of the night. 🙂 It has progressively become much easier, but it will depend on where you live.

You might find this site useful to check several supermarkets at a time, but it only covers deliveries, not click & collect: https://shoppingslot.co.uk

Sainsburys gave me a priority slot for delivery because of age (87) every week from the start of lockdown and have kept me supplied with everything I usually have except eggs.(I was already ordering online for delivery regularly for years before lockdown – might have made a difference) Plenty of delivery slots now and more products becoming available. They always provided toilet rolls! Also used Amazon Fresh because I love duck eggs and they have kept me well supplied with those. Made up to the minimum delivery charge with extra fresh fruit and vegetbles. Longer wait for slots but not requesting priority. My local chemist delivers all my medication anyway. Very helpful delivery drivers from all three.

Received this email from Tesco four hours before delivery. “We are extremely sorry to let you know that due to store issues, we have unfortunately had to cancel your order that’s due today. You have not been charged for your order.”
Nothing more. No advice about placing another order. No indication whether it’s related to the big match this evening!?

Peter – It could be due to staff self-isolating, but they should have given the reason to help people understand the situation. I hope you can get a convenient slot quickly.

Yes I had the same issue that day and the exact same responce was definetly due the match as a few days later the driver said they have 16 drivers off sick

Tesco been late for delivery 5 times in a row and 4 of them times they never either delivered just kept saying wait an hour then another to be told its 23:00 we can’t deliver now please reorder, the food is essential and travel cannot be done due to disability yet I had to wait 5 days for the money to go back into the account so can’t even reorder they are terrible i this area and they seem to not be fixing this reoccurring issue.

Mark – You might be better served by a different supermarket. Most areas are covered by at least two.

Or Ocado. Quality has gone down hill since they parted company with Waitrose, but I don’t think they have ever missed a weekly delivery in 2 years. Their own range products are quite good and prices are similar to Tesco for lots of items. Never had a problem with refunds either. Money credited within 24 hours.