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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?

Gabriel says:
4 November 2016

I have posted a parcel from UK to Malta with parcel monkey. They provided me with a tracking link which was parcelforce. After 2 weeks of waiting I noticed on the tracking that the parcel has been returned to UK from Germany for some reason. I call the number displayed on the tracking info and the lady on the other said the parcel is in their National hub awaiting to be returned to the sender so I should leave this with her. One Week later the tracking said the same thing and the parcel was in the same place as the other lady I spoke to this time, said the parcel is in the national hub still and I shall give her a phone number to call me back as she is trying to sort this for me. Another week went by and I call again the phone number advised on the tracking info and I get the exact same answer like last week (location, phone number for contact, leave it with me). So i decided to email parcelforce and they reply saying that I booked trough parcel monkey and I should speak to them. Apparently in all this time they (parcelmonkey)have had my parcel held it for 21 days and disposed of it. Allegedly there was a notification sent on my email which I never saw.

£400 worth of goods £50 delivery fee all down the drain.

Nobody want to refund me, I cant claim on the insurance I had as they say.

Is there anything I can do? Would a lawyer be able to help me with this issue as this company just refuses to pay for the damages.

Kind regards,

Have you spoken to Parcel Monkey, Gabriel? They seem to be at the root of the problem and it was that company with whom you had a contract. They should at least be able to trace the destination of their alleged e-mail to you [perhaps they used the wrong address].

I don’t understand why you were dependent on ParcelForce’s tracking system and why Parcel Monkey were not keeping you informed. Perhaps they don’t do tracking and depend on that of their sub-contractor [ParcelForce in this case]. All the time you were talking to ParcelForce about your consignment Parcel Monkey were losing it.

At this stage, without more information, I would not recommend taking legal action but it might be worth seeking a free legal opinion from the CAB or a community law service as to whether or not formal legal action would be worth while given that you could be adding to your existing losses.

You sent a high value consignment to a foreign destination but, from what I can see, Parcel Monkey trades primarily on its cheapness so there must be a risk element in its pricing.

Gabriel says:
5 November 2016

I have spoken to parcel monkey and all I get from them is generic I am sorry and we apologize etc messages because there was a message that they have sent me on their website to which I did not reply in time. But all this time I was talking to parcelforce about this issue as they kept saying the parcel is in their national hub awaiting to be returned to sender and the operators kept asking to leave this with them as they will sort it for me. By the time they told me to speak to parcel monkey it was to late. I dont know who to ask to pay for the damages. Though there should be recordings of the phone calls I made to parcelforce.

I will ring CAB for advice on the matter as this is unacceptable and I simply refuse to be robed like this by these thieves.


Thanks Gabriel. It is not clear whether you have actually spoken to someone at Parcel Monkey or just exchanged e-mails. Also, did you actually receive the e-mail that Parcel Monkey say they sent you? Parcel Monkey are responsible for the service provided by their sub-contractor ParcelForce, including for them giving you unreliable information that led you into not contacting Parcel Monkey since you were led to believe by ParcelForce that they had your consignment under their control.

You will have to tackle Parcel Monkey at a senior level because their sub-contractor let you down and any compensation must come from Parcel Monkey, but that will depend on the terms and conditions of the contract between you and them. Parcel Monkey would have to settle with ParcelForce but that is not your concern.

It seems wrong that Parcel Monkey apparently made only one attempt to contact you about the return of the parcel to the UK, or to give you a reason for that, and apparently did not make any attempt to deliver the parcel back to you before disposing of it.

I hope the CAB are able to help you. It’s a bit of a tangle but if you stay focused on Parcel Monkey that should help. Check the T&C’s of the contract with Parcel Monkey and have them to hand when you speak to the advisor.

Gabriel says:
6 November 2016

Good morning, I am still exchanging messages with parcel monkey through their internal support tickets. After countless messages and requests to refund for the damages I had received this message

Good day!

We have forwarded your concern to the department in charge however, this will not be guaranteed.

Rest assured that we will update you as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

I don’t know what to make of it now. But what you just explained to me makes a lot more sense and I know how to approach them now. Many thanks again and I will keep you updated with the results.

Kind regards,

OK Gabriel. As a back-up, and to make sure your complaint is on the record, you could write to them at Parcel Monkey Ltd, 21 Tollgate, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 3TG.

JD Sports delivered a parcel to my neighbour without my express consent. (After reading, after the fact, their T’s and C’s say that they might do it.) The neighbour claimed not to have it so I ordered another pair to give me time to sort out the pair that weren’t delivered. JD Sports is now refusing to reimburse me for the first pair. It is my understanding that if I did not expressly ask for the parcel to be delivered to a neighbour and it has been stolen it is JD Sports responsibility. Specific to the Consumer Protection Act and to their T’s and C’s, ownership only transfers to me when the parcel is delivered to me – or in the case that I nominate it to be delivered to a specific neighbour. I feel they have contravened the Consumer Protection Act. Am I right?

J D Sports are responsible for fulfilling your order, Tessa. They cannot evade that responsibility through their terms & conditions. You should insist on delivery of your order.

The following is an extract from the Which? information guide to which there is a link in the Introduction [see: “ . . . . bad delivery practices” highlighted in red].

If a parcel is left without your permission with a neighbour who denies having it, you can ask the seller to resend the order at no extra cost to you.

“You can argue that the seller is in breach of contract by delivering to someone else without your consent.

You might also like to read the Which? Consumer Rights guidance [also linked from the Introduction] at

I was expecting a parcel from FedEx it came when I was out they put a note through my door saying they put the parcel in my back garden no1 had signed for it but when I got home it wasn’t in my back garden. What can I do as parcel must of been stolen.

The seller is responsible for making sure you receive your order. Tell them you have not received the goods and request them to dispatch a replacement. That is your statutory right. The delivery company is under contract to the seller, not to you, and the seller now needs to fulfil your order as quickly as possible.

I purchased an item from eBay. They a ranged the courier within their price. The courier failed to deliver & as agreed within my purchase contract. Have filed a complaint with Ebay & they have basicaly washed there hands of my complaint as the courier xdp have a signature (of which is not mine nor a neighbour ) after contact with xdp there driver states left in ally. This item was to be signed for . Ebay have closed my case & I know have one open with PayPal.

Rose says:
6 December 2016

I ordered a couple of Christmas presents last week, both arrived yesterday through Hermes. I woke up this morning to a Hermes delivery note saying both my parcels were delivered yesterday at 6.30 and an email saying they were signed for. I was in my home at 6.30 and the doorbell did not ring all night, neither did I sign for a parcel. The parcels were left in the blue bin and the blue bin was emptied early the next morning, absolute nightmare, is this the fault of Hermes?

Yes, Rose, but you will have to take it up with the seller as Hermes is under contract to them to fulfil your order by delivering the parcels to you, not to your waste bin. The carrier is clearly in breach of contract to the seller and you have the right in law to request re-dispatch with a minimum of delay and inconvenience to you. The seller must sort out its relationship with Hermes without involving you. You just need to report the facts to the seller as you have given them here.

We have had three parcels delivered by Hermes each from different sellers, but on each occasion they have not knocked or rang the doorbell to deliver the parcel they have just opened the door and put the parcel inside the property. The person receiving the parcel got an email to say it had been delivered, which it was, and signed for which is was not as the courier let themselves into the property. What rights do we have as the tenants of the property to deal with this and who should we speak to?

Thank you for any help you can give

Charlotte Hunt says:
15 December 2016

Ordered some nail polish and it was being delivered by My Hermes. November 20th I got an email to rate the delivery which hadn’t happened so I contacted them about it and they gave me a tracking number and it said the parcel was delivered on the 18th. Nearly 4 weeks later I still haven’t received anything and I’m still chasing it up because I haven’t heard anything more from the seller about it or from My Hermes themselves.

Shawn Small says:
23 December 2016

Hi all I have ordered a pair of shoes and somehow the DHL delivery driver let however sign for my parcel but however it was do not live in my building so strange I have asked all my neighbours in the building and all of them said no they have not receive and parcel what the hell is going on. So I am about to call DHL later and find out what the hell is up.

You should call the retailer, Shawn, not DHL. The carrier is under contract to the seller but the seller remains liable for fulfilling your order. They should dispatch a replacement pair of shoes as quickly as possible. The retailer will have to sort out the problems with their contractor.

I ordered a Christmas present for my daughter from Toys R US. It was supposed to be delivered on 30th November. On 5th December I contacted Toys R US to ask about my parcel, since I had tracked the delivery and couldn’t find anything. They got back to me saying that the delivery had happened on Wednesday 30th at 2.26 pm. I send them a message explaining to them that I wasn’t home, since I was at my daughter’s school, where I have to be every Wednesday at 2.30 pm. I offered to provide them with the testimonies of about 15 parents, students and teachers I meet there every Wednesdays. They ignored this piece of evidence and send me a copy of the allegedly signed delivery. It wasn’t my signature of course and I couldn’t even tell if it was a neighbour’s. Despite all the evidence, Toys R US costumer service is advising me to file a claim with my credit card company, because the courier says that the delivery has been signed for. Isn’t this a dodgy claim? Why should my credit card company refund me for a problem that is obviously due to the courier Toys R US has chosen. They are hiding being this signature, which wasn’t mine, to try to shirk their responsibilities.
How can I have them refund me?

You should write formally to Toys R Us quoting the Consumer Rights Act 2015 claiming that they have failed to fulfill your order and are therefore in breach of contract. Request a full refund of your payment. You are right that they are trying to shirk their responsibilities. If they are relying on a signature to prove that delivery to you took place they need to be able to prove that it was your signature and that the delivery was signed for at the relevant time. They clearly cannot do that . As you say, it is for Toys R Us to sort out their problems with the contractor they have chosen and they are under a legal obligation to remedy their failure with the minimum delay and inconvenience to yourself. Your rights against the credit card company only apply if the amount paid was £100 or more.

It is possible to make a chargeback claim if the amount is less than £100: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-do-i-use-chargeback

I strongly support what John says about writing to Toys R Us. Your contract is with them and it’s their responsibility is to supply you with the goods. If their courier fails to do this, it is their problem.

Yes, a Chargeback claim is possible but reputation has it that blood is more easily extracted from a stone. Worth a try if all else fails because the time limit is generous.

Rashida says:
28 December 2016

My parcel was delivered to my neighbor out of my consent and stolen. But when I complained to the courier customer service that was their answer: “After taking a look into the parcel details and the account of which the parcel had been sent on our drivers are authorised to deliver to deliver to the recipients neighbours if they are not home available, please see our terms and conditions ”
Is that legal? Because nobody showed the terms and condition to my mother when she sent me the parcel. It’s not supposed to be the senders choice?

Kendall says:
4 January 2017

Hi Rashida. Unfortunately I am experiencing the same issues, I’m sorry you have the same horrible neighbors. Have you had any progress? I am unsure of how to go on.

Only the retailer has any legal responsibility for fulfilment of an order. The delivery company has no contractual relationship with the customer so their terms and conditions do not apply to the customer. This problem is developing into a commercial scandal – there have been numerous similar reports to Which? Conversation but they are probably only the thin end of the iceberg.

Kendall says:
4 January 2017

DPD left my Asos order at a different flat in my building when I wasn’t home. They are on a different floor and I have never met them, nor would consider them neighbors. A girl signed for it and then said a man came to collect it 5 minutes later, after it was delivered. There was no one expected to collect my package for me and she could not tell me a name or even that he had given any information of which package was for him. She was yelling and very defensive and I am not sure if she has kept the package or gave it away to someone else.

DPD has not responded and Asos said this is a civil dispute with my “neighbor” . I went back to get more information, but the girl I had spoken to was not there and no one else could speak English or would help me. I don’t really want to get that involved with these people as they are quite frightening and I have to live in the same building as them.

Any and all advice is appreciated, the order was £62, which I would certainly like to get back. It is more about DPD leaving my parcel at another address without my permission. There is an option for me to indicate if I would like to leave it with a “neighbor” and I did not opt for this. If they had sent it to a local pick up place or even came back the next day this could have been avoided.

Kendall- Asos cannot repudiate your claim like that. They are responsible for delivering your order to you and if you have not given any alternative delivery instructions they must not leave the parcel somewhere else. DPD are contracted to Asos for delivery of customers’ orders so Asos need to take it up with them as they have clearly failed to perform correctly, but none of that should be your concern. DPD have no contractual relationship with you. You have the right to cancel the order entirely if you wish and if you act within fourteen days. If you still want the goods then tell Asos that they have failed to deliver your order to you, that they are therefore in breach of contract to you, and request them firmly to dispatch the order again and make it clear how you want it dealt with if there is no answer. These are your legal rights so do not let the company brow-beat you into anything less. I certainly agree that you should not involve the residents who took the parcel in – until you have received it, it is not your property to take action over and it still belongs to Asos!

There is evidence that on-line clothing retailers are getting harder in their attitude towards customers because of the common abuse of the returns and rejection facilities available under the Consumer Rights Act, but they must honour their obligations under the law and cause the minimum of inconvenience to their customers. I am somewhat surprised at DPD, as delivering to a neighbour without specific instructions to do so is unusual for them. My experience with deliveries by DPD is that they send an advance notification of the delivery day and on the morning of the delivery day [just after 09:00] they send an e-mail giving a one-hour time slot for delivery and an option for the recipient to give instructions for delivery on a different day or delivery to their choice of alternative address. The advance notification also offers this facility.

Kendall says:
4 January 2017

Thanks John! I have read different things on who is liable so this is really helpful.

I have never experienced this issue before but DPD and Hermes have left packages with a neighbor that is 2 doors down from me without instruction. I have come to know her, but still it is not instructed. I received the text from DPD and was going to opt for them to send to a local pick up but the drop down on their mobile site was not working. I had hoped they would redeliver it the next day, or slip it through my mail slot which they have done in the past if they are able to get into my building.

I’ve been given another holding message from Asos but they have inquired with DPD finally and hopefully this will be resolved.

Kendall says:
6 January 2017

This is the second time Asos has told me this is a civil dispute with my neighbor. Would you be able to point me to anywhere that this is written in “legal language” so I can counter their claims? It would be a big help.

Kendall – Your rights are clearly set out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015- see:

I don’t think you should be put in a position by Asos whereby you have to prove they are out of order. You have a contract with them to supply some goods you have paid for. They have not fulfilled that contract and so are in breach of it. I think you should write to them formally and make that point and request them to re-dispatch your order to your address, and only to your address.

Which? guidance says “There is a default delivery period of 30 days during which the retailer needs to deliver unless a longer period has been agreed. If your delivery is later than agreed and it was essential that it was delivered on time, then you have the right to terminate the purchase and get a full refund.” You might like to remind Asos of that as well.

Having rights and being able to assert them are two different things unfortunately so I suggest you contact Citizen’s Advice and see if they will deal with Asos on your behalf.

Jackie says:
4 January 2017

We have just got into a massive argument with a van mat company. They used Yodel who delivered a mat to a house over 300ft away as they say we were not in. I say the distance as the van mat people said their contract with Yodel was to deliver within 200ft of the address and showed me a google map of where Yodel said we were and where it was delivered. Our location is given as a GPS coordinate. However we are not at the location Yodel say we are. We are in the opposite direction and beyond the 200ft stipulated in their contract with van mats.
We had no card from Yodel and it was over a week when we found where it has been delivered so the recipient obviously had no intention of bringing it to us. Van mats refused to have anything to do with it and Yodel refused to do anything as they said they had fulfilled their contract. In the end we braved going round there and the mat was dumped on their drive and has presumably been outside for a month. It was that or the small claims court.
How can Yodel say that the delivery address is a set of coordinates even when it isn’t.
Terrible service from both the supplier and Yodel

As I have a parcel somewhere on the way, I checked Royal Mail to see where it might be so I could make sure I am home when it is due to arrive.

Could they be more helpful…………..?!?!?!?

Progress of your item via Royal Mail Signed For
Latest update: Information on your Royal Mail Signed For item is not yet available.
Royal Mail Signed For items are only scanned when the item has been delivered. Depending on whether the item was sent 1st or 2nd Class, this may be a few days after posting. Please check online first for any future updates on your item.

What is the point? It is called Track and Trace – Track your item.

I also have another parcel expected and have been notified by text and email. What a difference………….

On the morning of Friday 6th January you’ll receive a 1 hour delivery time slot and you’ll be able to live track your order on its way to you. Please ensure that someone is available to sign for your delivery at: (my address)

If you’ll be out, it’s not a problem: you have a range of ‘in-flight’ options such as changing your delivery date, collecting from your nearest DPD Pickup Shop, asking us to deliver to your preferred neighbour or arranging to have your order delivered to a safe place at your address. Just click below to choose:
Change my delivery now

That’s how it should be done Royal Mail.

DPD is fast becoming the best and most reliable parcel carrier, although they remain reluctant to take a parcel back to their depot for delivery at a later date unless you arrange this in advance of the timed delivery.

Having said that, Royal Mail were very helpful before Christmas when I wanted the change the booked redelivery date of a parcel to avoid them coming a second time to no avail.

I found a large parcel ordered from John Lewis outside on the doorstep this morning that wasn’t expected yet.

Parcel tracking states “Left securely in porch”. We don’t have a porch !!!

Company: HERMES

Not very good John Lewis.

Incredible, Alfa. I suggest you send JL a photo of the porch you don’t have to help Hermes explain the reason for dismissing their employee. 🙂

I am surprised John Lewis are using Hermes. All our orders from JLP come via DPD whose service has always been excellent and all deliveries have been on the correct day. Premature deliveries are as much of a nuisance as late or missed deliveries.

Many people appear to think packaging, the labour to pack stuff, label it, then ship it is free, it obviously isn’t but seems a general train of thought.

People generally don’t like or want to pay for it or, don’t want it to cost much.

So companies are forced to look for means that meet that requirement and Hermes whilst far from perfect are cheap and tracked and insured.

For a good many things, cheaper than Royal Mail and a superior service.

DPD and more traditional courier companies are usually about double the cost on most contracts. Far better service but also much more expensive.

I know as we use all three and Hermes is the best balance on speed, reliability and service level at a reasonable price in my opinion. But when they mess it up they tend to do it with panache!


I have recently ordered items from Amazon as a Prime customer which is supposed to have 1-day delivery, however, one item was due on the 5th January and another on the 9th January, however, still not been received. My Amazon account still states on its way and due for delivery via Hermes. I have spoken to Amazon Customer Service and they have spoken to Hermes who have stated they are having problems with deliveries! 3 days on still no delivery – therefore phone Amazon who have apologised again and cannot get through to Hermes. Therefore Amazon have refunded me in full for both items. Not much use not to get these items. Why do they use Hermes if they are as useless? Have been a Prime customer for a while and haven’t had any problems before, so can’t understand it – very frustrating for us customers!!!

Another terrible delivery by yodel this time i was out £220 of goods missing but saing delivered when i contact yodel it seems it was signed for by “dave” checked with neighbours and they havent received the parcel so it seems Yodels delivery driver has signed for it himself absolutely ridiculous i dont know how this company is still allowed to operate they told me someone would be in touch within 48 hours they havent bothered t get back to me the retailer is being helpful but i find it a disgrace that a delivery driver can sign for my goods when im not in and either take them himself or leave them to get stolen why should the driver get away with that

Maria says:
13 February 2017

Hi, I live in a house which an divided in 4 flats. There is a common entrance and hallway, then each flat (2 downstairs and 2 upstairs) has their own door. I feel I get something delievered, can I expect the delivery man to bring the package up to my flat or he can only leave it outside downstairs? Many thanks in advance for any assistance on this.

If you have your own doorbell at the front entrance the driver should ring it and you could then go down to take the parcel from him or her. If you have no separate doorbell and the driver can enter the hallway it is not unreasonable for him or her to go up to your door and ring or knock. This is what would happen if the driver had to deliver to an upstairs flat in a purpose-built block of flats, sometimes up to the fourth floor. The parcel carrier company is being paid for delivery to your address.

Many orders have a section at checkout for delivery instructions, so you can always put instructions like… Go through main entrance, go upstairs, and Flat C is second on right. If out, leave at Flat D.

Jayne says:
24 March 2017

You can log it with the police as stolen. I had this happen to me. Left with neighbour, when I asked for the phone they said they had to go out so left it on my doorstep. Obviously wasn’t there when I got home. Told them I was calling the police and my neighbour suddenly rushed out. I reported it to virgin as I didn’t have the phone, don’t let them fob you off, they need to send you a new phone. Give them the police incident number

Hermes. I’ve written twice now to their customer service about their subcontractor who delivers. We live rural. We own a dirt track that leads to another house, farming land and a wildlife sanctuary. This subcontractor refuses to deliver to the door of the house on our dirt track. Yet again today he left the parcel on our land – we told him it was trespass, he had no consent from us to do so. We told him that if the parcel gets stolen or lost we wouldn’t accept responsibility and want no further parcels on our land….. the guy was offensive to say the least…. I picked up the parcel and placed it on a farmers land above ours and was accused of stealing it – he even photographed me! Hermes? Isn’t interested.