/ Shopping

Complain for change: don’t put up with dodgy deliveries

Delivery being put in bin

Parcels left on doorsteps in the rain, dumped in recycle bins and even thrown over fences are among the delivery problems that people have told us about. Are you clued up on your delivery rights?

We asked more than 2,000 people about their experiences of online deliveries in the last year. More than 60% experienced problems.

Apart from parcels that were found soggy, smelling of rubbish and lying battered in front of fences, 40% of people just didn’t have their item delivered when specified. This is even more problematic when it comes to Christmas. Nearly one in ten said their gifts failed to arrive in time for the big day. This was despite nine in ten placing their orders on or before the Christmas delivery cut-off date. Our video shares more delivery woes:

Your rights for dodgy deliveries

So who’s responsible for bad delivery practices? The buck stops with the retailer. This may sound a little harsh, after all it’s the delivery courier who delivers the parcel. But when you buy something online, your contract is with the retailer, not the courier.

It’s the retailer who chooses the courier company – you don’t get a choice. Therefore, if the courier messes up, the retailer is the one who needs to sort it out.

And yet our survey found that people’s knowledge of their delivery rights is patchy. Seven in ten knew sellers must replace damaged goods even if they’ve been delivered and signed for. But only four in ten knew that if a parcel is left without your permission with a neighbour and the neighbour doesn’t have it, you can ask the retailer to resend it at no extra cost to you. So it’s definitely worth being clued up on your delivery rights.

Have you had any delivery nightmares? What unusual places have you found your parcel? And what kind of response have you had from a retailer when you’ve encountered a problem?


Has anyone else noticed a severe deterioration in the delivery of “!st class” mail by Royal Mail? At the end of February I ordered two items on Amazon Prime (next day delivery). One took two days, the other three days.Two more items due today have not turned up either. My Radio Times now regularly arrives late.Amazon have confirmed dispatch and have extended my Prime subscription to compensate for the shoddy service I’m getting from Royal Mail.

John says:
18 March 2013

Hi Souxie

Not had as many bad experiences as you, but recognize what you are saying.

“I think online retailers should be open about the courier they use and, if possible, give the customer a choice.” Totally agree


Rob Davis says:
24 June 2013

Twice now I’ve had signed-for parcels which (1) never arrived and (2) arrived empty. In both cases my signature had been forged on the Track and Trace system, and marked as delivered at a time when nobody was at home to sign for them. In the first case I had no reply to two written complaints to Royal Mail – although the sender did pursue a claim against them and replaced the goods. In the second case a few days ago, the sender tried to get me to pursue a claim. I have just put them right on the point.

Sean says:
3 January 2014

According to delivery company I signed for and had parcel delivered to me, neither of which happened, where do I stand with the forged signature, never mind the missing parcel…

I made a purchase from John Lewis and asked for it to be delivered, which they agreed to do using the same system as for online purchases. They couldn’t give me a definite delivery date but thought it might be Monday or Tuesday. On Sunday I returned home from a day out, and found a card saying Hermes had attempted to deliver the item. It said they would try again on Monday. I waited in all day Monday, it never turned up, no card through the door, nothing. Tuesday morning I phoned John Lewis, they checked and told me that my item was on the vehicle for delivery that day. Again, I stayed in but it didn’t turn up – no card, no sign of them. That evening I phoned J Lewis again, said I couldn’t stay home another day, so could I collect the item from the shop instead? Next morning they rang to say they had the item I wanted in store and I could collect it, which I did. The following day Hermes actually arrived to make the delivery! My opinion – John Lewis 10/10, Hermes 0/10.

D.C-Tottenham north London says:
4 October 2014

I ordered a tv from very.co, at the end of August,it was purchased on a buy now pay within 12 months.They gave me a delivery date of 14 days which was ok,a day before delivery i received a text saying that cant deliver till the Thursday,ok,then on Thursday another text saying it won’t come until the Friday.I called Very and asked whats going on,they said that i should receive Friday.On Friday no delivery called again and the lady said it the tv was with Yodel at their Enfield depot and should be delivered on Saturday but if it doesn’t show up by the following Wednesday I should call back.I went to work Saturday but alerted my 23year old son and also my parents that my tv should be delivered.At work i received a text from Yodel stating that my parcel was on the van and out for delivery,i was very pleased,this was around 9-10am.Around 13.55 i checked the tracking at yodel again and it stated that my parcel had been delivered at 13.33 and signed for,i called my son and asked him if the television was there and to my shock he said No,i then told him to get mum and ask her,he asked her and she said no one has knocked the door and made no delivery.I immediately got on phone to Very and told the the situation,they took my details and stated that the tv had been signed for at my address,I refuted that and said i would contact Yodel.On Saturdays Yodel closes at 13.00.I then phoned Very.co again and they said they would be speaking to Yodel and they would contact me shortly.I actioned all of this within 1 hour of Yodel claiming to have made a delivery at my address.On monday morning i contacted Yodel and they took my telephone number and said they would be interviewing the driver and they would contact me.Up till now 14 days have passed and no contact from Yodel.In the meantime ihave received a letter from a Elizabeth Lofthouse stating that she has looked into this matter for me and she can confirm that my tv has been delivered safetly and a signature has been received from the driver???.They have asked me to send official documents showing my signature,i have sent them copies of the passports of all my family that was at home on that day.This is blatant theft/fraud and we are prepared to take this to the highest level.I will keep you all updated.DC

Stacey says:
15 October 2014

Hi, I placed an order online and tracked my delivery and it said left in a safe place. However before I had left, I had put a note by my Buzzer which is clear that said ‘please leave delivery for flat E, with neighbour in the basement’.. The neighbour was home and they did not leave with her. I have for 3 weeks emailed the company concerned, who have said the courier said it was signed for by Ker. No-one lives at my address by this name. They also said the courier has made several attempts to contact me by leaving cards, not the case. I have today received an email saying it was signed for and courier says it was delivered, so therefor it was. That I should now contact the police, or my card issuer? Please can you let me know if this is the case, to say I am annoyed is understatement.

Stacey, don’t waste your time with the delivery company, your contract is with the company you made the purchase with. Take it up with them quoting as much of the correspondence with the delivery company , re incorrect signature accepted for delivery etc, The company you purchased it from should send you a replacement and they will need to take it up with the delivery company. Good luck

Craig Mcgee says:
16 October 2014

Weirdly enough I’ve had a really good experience with Yodel, maybe it’s just my depot is a good one I’m not sure, but here’s the story.
I ordered a wireless router from maplin, who sent it by yodel, being the deffinition of impatience, I wanted that router asap! So when I tracked it and found it was at the chessington service centre, but the expected delivery date was by Friday, I called customer services to find out if it was infact going to be delivered yesterday, or Friday. I asked them to put me through to the chessington depot, but they wouldn’t and asked what the enquiry was, so I told them, and they said that it wwould be delivered by Friday. Not bad, but not overly helpful as I was trying to get a definitive answer as to if this was just what their tracking info said or if the depot would in fact deliver it Friday. So I asked them if I could just go in and collect the parcel, they said not until there had been a delivery attempt first. All looking bad for mr. Impatient who wants his wireless router now! So, I hunted out the number for head office on ceoemail.com which is a wonderful site by the way and would recommend it for anyone who needs to make a complaint. It lists all the numbers for chief executives, head offices etc, and their email addresses and social media for the companies. so I found a number for head office, and called it. I got a very nice lady who was more than happy to give me the phone number for the chessington depot. Things are looking up! So, called the depot, and spoke to another really nice and helpful lady, who I won’t name for fear of getting her in to trouble as I don’t know what official Yodel policy is, but she went and checked in the warehouse for me, and told me that yes, infact the delivery would be made on Friday, but I could come in and collect before the delivery date if I so desired! I asked what ID they would accept and explained that I am totally blind so no driving license obviously, [that would be rather dangerous!] and as I don’t go abroad, no passport. I asked if they would accept a disabled badge, and a buss pass both issued by the council, and the answer was a yes! So time to go to the depot with my befriender. Most of the reviews I’d found online regarding Yodel were absolutely awful, and I was of course very apprehensive: Will something go wrong? Will they say that there’d been a mistake, that I couldn’t collect, that I had to wait for delivery, that my ID was not sufficient, that the parcel wasn’t even there? oh no! So, we went to the depot, which is about 10 minutes away from my flat, and went to the counter. My befriender explained that we’d come to get a parcel, and low and behold, after signing some paperwork, the parcel was handed over!
So, after all this rambling of mine, the result is one collected wireless router, which is now working wonderfully, and which will in fact be transmitting this information!

Laurent says:
28 October 2014

I bought (and fully paid) a sofa and matching footstool from County Furniture Stores on 31-Jan-2014. As at 28-Oct-2014 – 9 months later! – they still haven’t delivered me the footstool. I chase them by phone and email countless times. They never gave me a date by which it would be delivered and now ceased to respond to my emails. I will likely have to litigate to get my money back.

I am certainly never going to buy from them again

[This comment has been edited to align with our community guidelines. Thanks, mods]

hi has anyone had there parcel thrown from the car, i saw a lady yodel driver throw 2 parcels from the back of her car when i told her i had seen what she did and that i hoped my item (which said handle with care on the box) still worked she said she didnt drop it and it would still work.
The next day the so called lady came again she gave me one parcel and then said i dint drop your parcel yesterday i said no you threw it out in the end i said we are not going to agree to which she agreed when i asked for the second parcel she said i was not having it and drove off with it. when i complained to yodel they said she said she couldnt get a answer from my property funny as i had already signed for one. 2 days later and she is still saying no answer at the house , i had just had another driver from the same company here and i signed his , she lied again saying no answer and has now sent the parcel back and i have to have it delivered another day with another driver because i told her i had seen her throw my parcels she said i was abusive to her . i have since set up cctv to record and can prove she didnt come to my house the day she said . is it illegal for her to withold my parcel .

James says:
15 December 2014

Hi there,
I ordered a some clothes from Uniqlo two weeks back and they were being delivered by Hermes. I wasn’t in when they tried to deliver but no card was left. On their website it says that it was left with a neighbour. I checked the neighbours either side of me but neither had signed for it. When I got in touch with Uniqlo they said it had been signed by a neighbour 3 doors down. When I eventually was in same time as this flat there was nobody by the name they said living there and nobody there had signed for the package.

I contacted Uniqlo again last night and I’m awaiting a reply. How can I proceed at this stage? What are my rights?

Hi there,

I ordered a parcel from Very, who is using Yodel as their courier company. Couple of months ago, mid October I received a “sorry I missed you” parcel note, saying that my parcel has been delivered to my downstairs neighbour. Having to previously deal with my “drug-loving neighbours” before, I knew what to expect. Of course,they said, they never received the parcel. I specifically stated: “If no one is at home, please take the parcel back to depot and arrange to reschedule” – I have done this many times before.
I phoned the courier and the retailer to make them aware of missing parcel (I don’t want to use big words here, lets just say the parcel was …..missing, rather than stolen). I have been told that the parcel was signed for at 74A, when I asked about the surname, it was completely different from my surname. I only asked two question: can you access my account and read special information, what to do if no one is home? Does the surname signed for the parcel sounds anything like my surname? No more questions!

It took me over a month to get refund from Very ( I had to make another complain, because they won’t refund me….the delivery charges – oh irony).

This time, I found two Yodel cards on the staircase addressed to my flat with note: ” I called regarding the query about the parcel i left with 74y for 74z. No contact number, no nothing. This morning, another card.

My question is: Do I have to put up with an angry delivery driver who clearly cant post a card through my letterbox, instead just let them fly around my staircase. He did not leave any details and how to contact him; and as far as I am concerned this case is closed for me – I got the full refund.

Please advise what to do.


Scott says:
30 December 2014

I bought an item on eBay which I have not received. The seller’s tracking number from UKMail shows it was delivered and signed for by someone whose name I don’t recognise, so it wasn’t delivered to my address, nor, as far as I can tell, to any of my neighbours’. Who has responsibility for what?
1. Given that the signature does not provide evidence that it was received by me, is either the seller or the deliverer responsible? If so, which?
2. If it was delivered to another address, is the deliverer obliged to record the address to which it was delivered, and inform me?
3. Or is it my tough luck- if the delivery company says it was delivered, then it was?

craig mcgee says:
30 December 2014

Hello Scott, if you paid through paypal you should be covered, file a claim through their resolution centre, and hopefully they will settle it in your favor and refund the money to you. maybe email the seller first maybe they are a genuine good seller and will help you resolve the matter with the courier. if not, then try the pp route and if its not settled in your favor you can threaten pp with the financial ombudsman, as you have a wright to complain to them as they are regulated by them. hope this helps

Scott says:
30 December 2014

Hi Craig. Thanks for your contribution. eBay has resolved the case in favour of the seller as there is a signature for delivery at my address. If I try raising a dispute with Paypal I’m told I can’t as the case has been resolved by eBay. After contacting UKMail I have received an email saying the case is closed as their details show the parcel has been delivered. It’s quite Kafka-esque.

craig mcgee says:
30 December 2014

hmm, that does sound nightmarish actually! What i’d do is email paypal, and threaten to take the case to the fos, the fos may not be able to resolve it, given that UK mail have said they delivered it to your address, which they clearly haven’t. another option if you havent done so before is to take a which 1 pound trial and use their legal advice service. There also must be a uk mail complaints procedure, and maybe they have an independent ombudsman

[This comment has been edited – please do not post personal contact details. Thanks, mods]

Scott says:
19 April 2015

I tried the UK Mail complaints procedure. The initial response was positive, but communication stopped after a few days without providing me with the details they said they would.The company doesn’t appear to belong to to the POSTRS Postal Redress Service or to any similar organisation so, in the end, as my Paypal account is linked to my credit card account, I used a Which? template letter and had my money refunded to my credit card using the chargeback procedure. A ridiculous amount of time and effort for what, in this case, was a small amount of money, but useful to know that this course of action worked.

However it doesn’t solve the problem of what appears to be a case of either fraud or theft, or both, by the employee of a delivery company, with no easy means of complaint other than directly to the company itself, and no other obvious means of pursuing the complaint if that doesn’t work.

Neil says:
9 January 2015

In this era I’d expect the delivery companies, if they wanted to, to have location tracking on their vans or handheld tablets. I’d love to have UKMail show me where their driver actually was at 5:09 this evening when their website says he tried to deliver some large parcels – we returned home at 4 and there was a ‘Sorry you were out’ card through the letterbox already (the website still predicted 4:56-5:56 slot until 5:09 when it changed to ‘delivery attempted’). Dare I speculate that Van Man was running early, and put fake delivery attempts in via his tablet from a layby on the way back to base….? UKMail brave enough to have a complaints email address on their website (was assuming they would require contact via recorded delivery letter written in Sanskrit) so we’ll see what t_hodges@ukmail.com says….

Jayne says:
11 January 2015

My son purchased a play station from a company called CEX in early December. It was delivered to our cardboard recycle bin on the 22nd of December. A note was left behind a flower pot which we did not discover on time as the bin was collected the following morning. I contacted the couriers UPS who said we had to take the complaint up with the company. CEX only have an email no phone number and 3 weeks of emails have not been replied to. Is the next step to write to CEX? What legal action can you take? UPS said it is a case of parcel left unattended but were quite unconcerned.

The fault lies with UPS, though it is disappointing that CEX has not responded to your emails. It might be worth visiting or calling your local Citizens Advice Bureau for help. Best of luck.

Hi Jayne, in this situation we believe you could argue that the retailer should replace and redeliver your goods.

Although your delivery wasn’t stolen, and this was an accident, it’s a similar situation so you may find this guide and template letter helpful: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/problem/my-parcel-was-left-outside-my-home-and-stolen-what-can-i-do

Thanks very much for this information Alex. One thing is for certain – it’s not the customer that is at fault when deliveries go astray.

DieselDragon says:
16 February 2015

[In reply to Jayne’s comment on 11th Jan about UPS]
This does not fill me with a lot of confidence, given I currently have a (Delicate) parcel in transit which is being delivered via UPS! 🙁

Seeing no “On van for delivery” status in their tracking portal before going out this morning, I safely assumed that delivery would not be attempted today…Only to get back at 15:35 to find a status entry to the effect of “Delivery attempted at 15:04” (No card had been left), and after calling to enquire about this* and being assured of a callback from my local depot in Reading within the hour, no callback has been received. :-/
(* – Quick tip: When forwarded to automated delivery info and asked to speak your tracking number, simply say “Agent” to get through to their U.S. call centre. Same trick also works when calling Amtrak via Skype.)

Also: Shortly after my call, parts of the tracking record appear to have been amended without any clear notice of amendment being present. I suppose this means the “Impartial” records of courier companies can’t be trusted or relied upon for legal purposes, then! 😮

After reading the comments here, I have gone through the precaution of checking the waste and recycle bins (It’s not there, but I live in a block with shared facilities, so any pilferage would be easy), hunting all through the communal areas for any oddly placed “We called” cards and have found none, and I can only *hope* that they genuinely havn’t misdelivered it or just dumped it somewhere.
Am also about to contact the retailer and advise them of the code I’ll be including with my signature so they can tell at a glance if any signature recorded is correct or fake. 🙂

The ultimate irony of the whole situation of course is that my item – Which was sent from Uterecht via Lille a good week later than expected – Was collected by UPS the day before I returned from a short trip to France via the Eurostar. Had I known about that in advance, I would simply have had it left for collection from La Poste at Paris Nord TGV, and picked it up before checking-in for my Eurostar home! 😮 😀
+++ DieselDragon +++

Following the collapse of City Link, the administrators announced that consignees could collect their parcels from one of the remaining depots. Surely, it is the job of the seller to ensure delivery takes place by re-consigning the goods via another carrier, not for people to have to cart about all over the country to rescue their packages.

Rachael tipple says:
14 January 2015

I ordered a PS4 from very expecting it to be delivered before Christmas. I waited in all day and nothing. However upon checking my order tracking it says it was delivered -THOMS?? After finally getting through to them I was informed that was the signature obtained and waited two weeks for a response from verys track and trace team, to interview the driver who then obviously said it was delivered to my adress and signed for… Yet I don’t recognise the name and they certainly do not reside in my household or any of my known neighbours.
I have contacted very numerous times regarding the matter sent copies of my signature which looks nothing like the one they received and now I’m just waiting and worried that im going to be charged for an item I have never seen let alone have in my possession.
Where do I stand on this? Is it just a long waiting game?

Hi Rachel, sorry to hear about this, it sounds really frustrating! The retailer should be responsible for the safe delivery of your PS4 so it’s worth getting in contact with them. You can read more about your rights here: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/problem/know-your-delivery-rights-

And you’ll find the info in this guide useful: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/problem/my-parcel-was-left-outside-my-home-and-stolen-what-can-i-do

We’re also running a campaign to end these sort of deliveries which you can take a look at here: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/dodgy-deliveries/

Steve says:
14 January 2015

We are an online beauty product distributor based in UK. We have been using DPD to send our packages abroad in bulk, from where they join the national nework ie GDSK in Germany. I’d love to know where I can find DPD’s customer service charter to see what their delivery promises/expectations are. Our experience with DPD has been really poor. They have lost about 11% of the items that have been posted in the last two months. today I have been informed about a further three packages that have gone missing. These packages are not small. Each package is a sack containing up to twenty five items. Approximate value of each lost consignment is about £420. DPD won’t insure them because they are glass, regardless of the fact that not a single item has ever been reported damaged.

We recognise that we now need to move away from DPD and find a new delivery service. We can’t continue to sustain losses on this scale. Apart from the £4,000 – £5,000 cost of replacement items, we have to deal with the knock on effect of not managing to meet our own delivery objectives for our international customers. Add to this the risk of negative feedback from our Amazon customers and hence possible suspension from the Amazon selling platform and this has become an absolute “no brainer”: Avoid using DPD for international deliveries, paricularly if you’re an Amazon reseller.

Any journalists looking at material on courier related articles, feel free to email me. I’m happy to share our experiences with a wider audience.

I am surprised you have had problems with DPD because, in my opinion they are the most efficient of the carriers in the UK for home deliveries. DPD is owned by France Post – for deliveries to Germany you might find DHL more satisfactory since it is owned by Deutsche Post which might give it an advantage in that country.

DieselDragon says:
16 February 2015

For the record, I have to point out that DSG Retail (a.k.a. Currys/PC World and Dixons) are presently using DPD for “Pay & Collect” in-store collection orders through their website, and – Though the items have arrived – They have seldom arrived in pristine condition.

In one particular case, the items ordered (Two high performance hard drives by Western Digital) had arrived into store in such a visibly abused state that I had no option but to reject the goods on presentation, and the same has had to be done with a portable hard drive ordered since, too.

Worse still: Upon complaining to DSG about this and requesting new goods be sent (In full line with my statutory rights) they first dragged their heels and said the items were “Out of stock” (Which is nonsense: WD still produce that line of product and these have subsequently returned to DSGs inventory) and eventually tried fobbing me off with a refund of my original payment, despite the fact that the price of the goods in question has jumped considerably since the time of placing my order! 🙁

The bottom line: DPD may be good for punctuality and/or accuracy, but DO NOT have them carry delicate computer components unless you can guarantee they’ll be extremely well protected in transit. In DPD or Yodels case, I would recommend a waterproof layer around the product and no less than six inches of soft foam on all sides! 😮
+++ DieselDragon +++

We live in an old village with fairly irregular streets and lanes. Someone fairly near, different postcode, had name their house the same as ours. At least 50% of the time couriers go to that address, say they have been to us, left cards, etc. but they’ve never been to our house. We can’t change the name of our house because we are in a terrace of 3 old cottages with different numbers. Any suggestions. At present my husband’s pasport has been missing for a week.