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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?


UK MAIL.I had a small parcel”delivered/abandoned” on09/01/15.Left on doorstep,in rain,soaked.No card left.No attempt to hide it,leave next door or redeliver.
Then I discover from supplier had forged my signature as delivered! Furious.
I wonder how much loss / theft happens by staff /tempted passers by? I see on reviews they have appalling reviews. There should be undercover investigations.

This literally happened to me yesterday with the same company, UK Mail. They took my parcel to the wrong address (a property that was to let and had no one living in it), forged my signature and left it on the doorstep. They refused to collect it and deliver it to the correct address unless the sender arranged it (but the package conatined 8kg of high quality butter for my cake company!) Luckily the people who live next door saw it, found my business name on the package and looked me up for my phone number! Looking at their facebook page it seems that hundreds of people have had packages ‘misplaced’ by these careless thieves!

c koundouri says:
9 April 2015

I had interlink express of heathrow say they have a signiture of mine i have seen it and its been forged by the driver i will be visiting them personally and getting the police involved.

M cooper says:
15 August 2015

Interlink driver has forged my signature, and stated parcel delivered to my address, I am now stuck amazon say can’t do anything as the parcel has been signed for by me,
The point is its a lawless jungle out there, the loosers are the honest joe public, thiss has caused me all sorts of hassle and loss of funds,it’s now police and courts

UK MAIL.I had a small parcel”delivered/abandoned” on09/01/15.Left on doorstep,in rain,soaked.No card left.No attempt to hide it,leave next door or redeliver.
Then I discover from supplier had FORGED MY SIGNATURE AS DELIVERED ! FRAUD.! FURIOUS.
I wonder how much loss / theft happens by staff /tempted passers by ?I see on reviews they have appalling reviews.There should be undercover investigations and prosecutions.Don’t use them !They don’t seem to care ,or do they ?

tammy says:
21 January 2015

I ordered some items off ebay from a seller and they said i was to blame for the item going missing,as I had missed one number off my postcode, they had my correct name and address. but the company said that they punch in the post code and it prints the label.they did not double check the name or the address against the invoice if they they would of found out it was different, now they are saying it was my fault the parcel went to the wrong address and no refund will be given, it had been delivered to the wrong address and no signature given .

Callum says:
12 November 2015

That is your fault, it is your own negligence that caused that… Why should the seller or Royal Mail be responsible for your mistake

Brenda says:
29 January 2015

Have had parcels left by the bush, where anyone could see it and take it before by Yodel, Parcel Force fail to deliver then tell me oh yes we left a delivery note, which they never did. The only delivery company that seem to be able to do their job are DPD

G anderson says:
5 February 2015

Would never recommend using UK Mail to anyone after reading these write ups, I to this week have been a victim of there lies and forging signatures on items that have not been delivered. When I spoke to them on the phone they said the package was left in my porch, why is the driver allowed to get away with doing this and then forging my signature to say I have accepted the package, the package was not left in my porch because I don’t have a porch. Was told by UK Mail I need to contact the person I bought the item off as its down to them to sort it out. They were not bothered about the fraud side of it and now I’m told the case is closed.

Elaine says:
7 February 2015

I am having a really bad time with ukmail and samsung a £600 phone was so-called delivered to my address but. There was no signature on the form and Eben ukmail have admitted that this should of been. Signed for and samsung is. Just. Being lazy. About this must. Of phoned them 50 times over this I dread. What my phone bill is and I. Will. Make them pay for this I will never use Samsung or ukmail again they are useless I am still waiting on checking with courier company for last 4 days and as I part paid with PayPal I thought I. Was covered but only when I. Esculated the claim did PayPal say. Sorry but. They is tracking for the item I just don’t know what to. Do it’s 600 pounds it’s all my money gone down the drain if anyone can. Help I would be willing to take it with open arms and thank you for listening and I. Look forward to. Anyones reply

Hi Elle, I’m sorry to hear about your mobile phone delivery – however, have you read through our useful Consumer Right’s guide about product delivery issues:


There’s lots of helpful tips on this page that I’m certain you’ll find interesting to read through. I hope you’re able to get the matter resolved.

I have bad experience with Yodel. My parcel was delivered to my neighbours who live in completely different building. When I chatted (no number to call customer service for YODEL) I have been told that the sender didn’t mention, that they are not allowed to deliver to my neighbour. Furthermore I found out, that all the information they had on that parcel was only my POSTCODE. So I really don’t understand, how the driver can deliver something with no details. No name, no number, only the post code. I am fuming and don’t know what to next

DieselDragon says:
16 February 2015

From reading the stories and comments above I am shocked to see not only that courier services operating in the UK have become so poor quality and unreliable, but also that many appear to be in the habit of producing, manipulating and removing consignment tracking data on a whim to either benefit their business position, and/or shift the burden of responsibility onto their customers. 🙁

However: To avoid the problem of fake tracking data and signatures, here is a relatively simple measure that can be taken by buyers to guard against this problem. 🙂

1. After having ordered an item and learned that it will be signed for upon delivery (Or having ordered from a known retailer with this fact already in mind) sketch down a few short, random codes on a scrap of paper – Each code being about 4-8 alphanumeric characters long and visually distinct. Remember to choose codes that will be easy to sketch clearly into the signature field on the couriers PDA.
(Technically minded users might find the last 4-8 bytes of the SHA-1 digest of their order date, order number, surname, postcode, and a status ordinal to be best for this purpose. Railway employees might find memorable TOPS headcodes handy.)

2. Once you have these down on paper and have chosen codes to represent the statuses “Received OK”, “Received with minor damage”, “Received with significant damage”, and “Received open/components missing”, send a message to the customer services department which details the codes and the meaning attached to each one of them. Even though the retailer need not reply to this, any good confirmation of message receipt shows that they have the codes in their possession…And from a legal standpoint this means they have the necessary info with which to verify a signature, and therefore cannot hold a counterfeit signature against you.

3. Ensure that you keep verbatim copies of these codes/meanings to hand in any situation where you may have to accept and sign for your delivery (A copy taped to the inside of the front door, and another in the wallet/purse might work best) and refer to these just before signing for your item. Sign as normal, include the appropriate code in the signature field when signing, and make use of any [Confirm] or [OK] button to save and upload your signature before returning the PDA to the courier. 🙂

In the event of your signature or delivery status being bought into question, the code provided with your signature will convey to the retailer the status of your item as you had evaluated it upon acceptance. If you are told that “Your item has been delivered and signed for” but no code is present with the signature, it immediately stands as proof that somebody other than the authorised recipient has signed for the item, and this *should* stand as evidence in Court if need be. (Also see example given after signature. 🙂 )

Also: I find a personal exclusion preventing companies from exempting themselves from their obligations under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 also tends to help me a little here and there as well. It certainly closes the loophole where the recipient is otherwise reliant on the effort and capability of the sender to make a claim against the carrier, at least. 🙂

Hope this helps a few of ye to avoid unauthorised tampering, record modification and loss through the activities of any dishonest couriers out there! 😎
+++ DieselDragon +++

Working example:
Mr. A buys something online from B,com. B,com send their items out by the services of courier C, who are known to have a comparable reputation to a certain UK courier with a five-letter name beginning with the letter Y.

After placing his order, Mr. A sends a message (E-mail, or e-mail confirmed webform) to B,coms customer service department noting that the following codes will have the meanings given to them:
. . AB123C = Order received OK and in apparently good condition,
. . AB234C = Order received, but minor damage observed to shipment,
. . AB468C = Order received, but severe damage observed to shipment,
. . AB432C = Order received, but with box(es) opened and/or security seals broken,
. . AB576C = Order received, but some/all contents appear to have been removed in transit.
(Obviously: The code schema used is entirely up to the person creating it, and codes need not be anything like those given here. If buying from an independent seller with whom one has an established friendship, hand-drawn symbols could be used instead of codes, for example.)

A few days later, Mr. A notes that the delivery status of his order has suddenly changed to “Delivered and Signed For”, even though it most clearly hasn’t been. At this point Mr. A can contact B,com to inform them of the false signature – Paying attention to refer to the message sent above, and the fact that the absence of such code means that an unauthorised party has signed for the item – And both Mr. A and B,com can hold this fact against courier C.
(The only defence C has in this case is if A has a reputation for defining security codes, but then never providing them alongside or in place of his signature.)

Some days after this, a heavily battered and soggy box is bought to Mr. As doorstep by a very burly and intimidating employee of C, which A understandably doesn’t feel too comfortable about questioning the condition of the shipment with. Using the codes agreed with the retailer (Which should be different for each shipment to prevent courier replication) and including “AB468C” in his signature, Mr. A can safely inform the retailer *and* provide legal evidence through his signature that – Though the shipment did eventually arrive – It was not received in an acceptable condition, and once again C may well be liable for damages against A and B. 🙂

mrs d fitzjohn says:
13 March 2015

I purchased 2 packs of flooring from a company who were advertising on ebay however I placed the order over the telephone and paid by bank transfer. My reciept was emailed and it stated on the contract that if there is any damage i should state this when signing and let them know what the damage is asap. The delivery was to go to my husbands workplace as we are at work all day. The delivery company TNT delivered it to a different part of the factory which carries a different postal address and the lodge man who signed would have no knowledge of the delivery or conditions if damaged.
Both packs of flooring were damaged as the packaging had been ripped off on the ends. As soon as the damage was seen we contacted the company and told them what had transpired and I emailed photos of the damage. The company say that the complaint lies with the delivery company and not them and the delivery company are saying that we have no claim as we didnt state on the doccuments that was signed to say it was damaged. I now have a floor costing me over £120 plus £30 delivery charge and cannot do anything with it.
Is it correct that despite us not being able to sign for the package and state the damage according to thier terms and conditions we still have a claim against the company?
I would appreciate some help/advice in this matter.
Thank you in advance

I think you have a claim against the seller who has a duty to deliver the goods to you at the address ageed betweeen you and in satisfactory condition. In terms of the acceptance of delivery and notifying the seller, the key words are “as soon as possible”. All terms and conditions must be reasonable and you also have rights under the Consumer Contracts Regulations (which incorporate the old Distance Selling Regulations) and the Sale of Goods Act. Which? has useful guidance on-line covering these consumer protections.

Marc says:
28 March 2015

I have had ‘Royal Mail Signed For’ mail delivered to my property and the signature was fraudulently done by the postman delivering the item. I have arrived back to my property and discovered a letter with ‘Signed For’ label on it put through the post box. When I have checked it out on the tracking page of Royal Mail site there is a picture of a squiggle (showing it’s been signed) and also my surname was given as the person receiving it. First of all, that’s a deception and a fraud, as someone (the postman or postwoman, as no one was in the house to receive) is pretending to be me using my name instead of their own. On principle, that’s a very serious deception. The second thing, of course, is that the whole point of the ‘signed for’ service is that someone signs to confirm they received the letter. That’s what is being paid for and relied on. For the postperson to sign on delivery completely undermines the whole point of the ‘signed for’ service. It is also a clear breach of trust as there is a conscious and knowing divergence from the agreed procedure that should tack place when handling ‘signed for’ items.

Sarah says:
14 April 2015

DPD……. am frustrated. Upgraded my phone and was told it will be delivered on 14/04/2015- i called vodafone and informed them i will not be around for the delivery on Tuesday- so they advised that i should call on monday(13/04.15) to re-arrange deliver. On monday morning i received a text and email to say my parcel is on its way and so i followed the URL and requested that it should be delivered on Friday (17/04/2015) however on a second thought i went to the same email and requested that the delivery should go ahead but that it should be delivered to my neighbour. at the end or the day- i guess due to some mixups the delivery was cancelled and scheduled for friday. On same monday night- i re-scheduled delivery for tuesday and requested that it should be delivered to my neighbour. I got an email and a text message to confirm deliver- on getting home there was no calling card left and i asked my neighbour whose house they quotes and he confirmed that nop parcel was brought to him. This is not the first time that my neighbour receives my parcel for my so i don’t doubt him – i guess the delivery driver must have taken the parcel to a different house with the same number as mine.
Waiting to call on Vodafone tomorrow to conclude as i cannot afford to be paying for a phone that i have not received.

Kenneth Gauld says:
25 April 2015

Yodel delivered my Ceramic Poppy to the wrong address. They admitted as much, and I have a sound file taken from my mobile phone answering service a proof. They could nor retrieve the Poppy and advised me to contact The Tower of London company that were handelling the sales. This I did and they said they would investigate. This they claim turned up the following: “our investigations have shown that the Poppy was delivered to the correct address and a signature was received in the name of ‘Gauld’ “. I explained that simply was not true and I wanted a replacement Poppy. I was sent a disclaimer form, for Yodel to state I was not in receipt of the Poppy and I would not have any problem if Yodel were to involve the police if this was deemed nessecessory, I also included the sound file as proof. I was then sent an e-mail to assure me a replacement was to be sent, but to leave four weeks for this to be delivered. It is now getting on for six and any further communication is it seem being ignored. So to sum up, I was lucky enough to have my order for one Poppy to be accepted, Yodel delivered it to the wrong address, and were unable to recover and deliver it to me, they tell the Poppy distribution company a pack of lies in regards to delivery. I finally get promised a replacement but it has not arrived and probably never will and I have spent £18 odd on pay-as-you-go phone calls to try and sort this mess out and approximately £38 for the Poppy and the post and packing!

Mr smith says:
13 May 2015

Uk mail tracking number shows item delived at my property and name written for person who received it, I never received it & nobody was at my property to take delivery, no sign of parcel & nothing left in letter box, what do I do?

Antony says:
16 June 2015

Same here see next post. It’s really annoying when they say it was delivered and it wasn’t some thieving delivery man has it.

Antony says:
16 June 2015

Ordered a Monitor off Ebay which was to be delivered by UK Mail and on the tracking page it said Left With Neighbour (6293922 44) on 10th June 2015 i had no card through the door, i phoned them to ask where it was left they said number 44, There is no number 44 on my street, informed them of this and they said they would send the driver to where he delivered it and collect the parcel then redeliver it, he came to my house and told me he delivered it here, well thats a lie, they told the sender it was delivered here, and that the statement on their website is a mistake. I screenshoted the page for proof incase they change it.

Hazel says:
1 July 2015

What are my rights when a courier sent my parcels to very via Hermes, instead of yodel. Hermes have lost parcels and very are trying to charge me for them. Tried contacting Hermes, but don’t have tracking numbers as don’t have an account with them. Have proof from the courier that he collected parcels

Hi Hazel, thanks for your post and apologies for the delay in responding. Have you had a read through our guide about this? If not, you can view it here:


I hope you’re reunited with your parcel soon 🙂

Hugh says:
11 July 2015

Paid Amazon £8.99 for upgraded delivery of my £284 Roberts radio. Due between 11 and 12 noon yesterday. Coincidently I was working outside the front of my house all morning but no sign of a DPD van so at 12:15 I checked their tracking service. It stated that the item had been delivered at 11:41 and signed for by “POSTED” ??

I immediately contacted DPD only to get an email response suggesting I advise Amazon. Neither DPD nor Amazon offered any explanation on what might have gone wrong.
Amazon tell me I should get a replacement next week.
Seriously considering reporting this apparent theft to the police.

john says:
23 July 2015

royal mail guaranteed delivery? I think not. Paid £8.55 for next day delivery by 1pm.checked tracking
not arrived at 130pm.checked tracking 1 hour later ,site not working. contacted by phone
eventually got through to a person who told me the parcel would not be delivered at all today.could
not tell me when it might be delivered.if at all , and i have to wait 24 hrs before i can fill in a form
to claim just my postage back. Meanwhile my urgent delivery has not arrived.No real explanation why.and have spent all afternoon achieving nothing.It seems if it is only postage they refund its
not something they are bothered about. Will use alternative mail delivery in future.
Disgraceful service should be ashamed to call themselves royal mail.

Michael says:
3 August 2015

I’m currently in a dispute with Amazon.
They say they delivered to my neighbour ‘Mr Shelby’ at number 50. There’s no-one called Mr Shelby at number 50, and the people at number 50 say they don’t have my parcel. In addition, the people at number 52 say they saw the delivery guy go to number 50 and leave WITH the parcel.
I’ve told Amazon customer services about this, but they say they’re confident that I’ve received the package. When I asked them how they’re confident, they tell me that Amazon Logistics have recorded the package as having been delivered to number 50.

I didn’t specify a specific alternative delivery address when ordering, but they say that means that as long as the delivery driver leaves a card saying where it was delivered to, that counts as being successfully delivered to me. I’m personally of the opinion that if number 50 say they don’t have the package, and given that Mr Shelby doesn’t live at number 50 (and so can’t have taken delivery of the package as he doesn’t exist), it’s still Amazon’s responsibility.

I’d really appreciate some advice about who’s right here as I’m at my wits’ end. Thanks!

I think you’re right. Amazon have a contract to deliver the goods to you. Stand your ground and see if you can reverse the payment.

This business of carriers hawking parcels round the streets rather than taking them back to their depot has got out of hand. In my view, unless you have authorised an alternative delivery address, they have no right to take goods elsewhere. If they have not given you a specific delivery date they have to take the risk that you might be absent when the carrier arrives. Amazon and others should pursue their delivery contractors and instigate criminal investigations if necessary. It’s interesting that couriers have cameras and tracking devices when it suits them but seem unable to produce any evidence when a complaint is made. “Mr Shelby” should be asked to sign the card before it is put through your letterbox.

I have had 2 deliveries from Amazon in the last few weeks.

One arrived 2 days early at 8.30 in the evening, and I was notified 1 hour before by email. The website did not update as out for delivery until about 5 minutes before the parcel arrived.

The other was marked as out for delivery early in the morning on the expected day, but did not arrive until late afternoon with no estimated arrival time so a waste of a day waiting.

Both were handled by Amazon Logistics. Neither drivers checked I was the correct recipient of the parcels and I did not have to sign for them.

Amazon need to seriously look at how they are handling deliveries and take full responsibility for parcels arriving at their destinations.

Michael, if Amazon won’t take responsibility and send your goods again, then claim your money back.

Michael says:
4 August 2015

Thanks for that. I will if I have to, but I’ve read that if you get your credit card company to issue a chargeback, Amazon block your card (which I don’t care about) and often your entire account (which I do care about, as I use it lots for Prime stuff and also for the Kindle Desktop Publishing scheme). So it’s a last resort.

And also, I want them to admit they’re wrong. It’s petty of me, I know.

Gerard butler says:
4 August 2015

we had a Becco American fridge freezer delivered today the delivery drivers were nice and help me get the fridge freezer into the house we had to unpack the item in the garden to get it through the door when we got The item in side I started to check it over there was a slight mark and the driver said that’s a bit of glue , I took him at his word signed for the freezer , they took part of the packaging , as I read The instructions it said to wipe it down with warm soapy water inside and out which I did then noticed that the glue , was a mark so I rang idealkit who would purchase the item off I’ve sent them a picture but they are of the opinion that as a sign for it there’s nothing I can does the correct,