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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?


We had a satnav delivered. It was thrown up on to a first floor balcony and it didn’t work. It had come from John Lewis but was not delivered by them. They replaced it straight away

That’s ridiculous. They are not intended for air travel.

At least it had reached its destination 🙂

Did you know DPD drivers photograph your home after you have agreed to take a parcel in for a neighbour then send it to your neighbour as proof of delivery?
Recently a DPD driver photographed a family member (who’s a minor) and myself on our doorstep without my consent after I had agreed to take a parcel in for a neighbour and then forwarded this to our neighbour as proof of delivery.
Absolutely unacceptable.

I cannot see anything wrong with this. It seems like a useful precaution against the person who took the parcel in denying it and keeping the goods. There is no law against taking photographs of property and people in a public place. The camera only makes a record of what we can see with our eyes. I am sure the hundreds of thousands of people who have dashcams do not object to still photographs being taken of street scenes.

I agree. It’s an easy way for DPD to show it’s been delivered and to show you – the customer – where it’s been left if you were out. I don’t see what’s the issue with someone taking pics of you and the ‘minor’, anyway; unless you’re a committed hermit, it’s happening all the time everywhere you go.

I would also think DPD are trying to stamp out thieving delivery drivers.

Whichever way you look at it, you are less likely to lose a parcel with DPD if there is photographic evidence of delivery.

Dan says:
18 March 2018

I had an item delivered by post office from pc world. Upon inspection it was clear some tape had been tampered with and on opening the item was missing. I called and explained this and was told an investigation would take place and I would receive a call back with results within week. However I have now received an email asking me to sign a denial of receipt, which has a list of declarations including I have checked that no one else has signed for the package, I agree to assist police and I am happy for information to be passed on to police etc etc. Now while I have no problem answering any questions police may wish to ask, I don’t wish to enter into any such agreement and sign this declaration. Again no signature was even required. Do I have to sign this declaration? it says that unless signed and returned within 7 days that they will withdraw my claim and not begin investigation. However I have verbally confirmed I have not got the item and was told it was to be investigated. Is this just a ploy to stop me claiming, again I don’t wish to enter any further agreement after they have failed to deliver what I paid for and to investigate as they said. However if I must sign it to get my refund then I will do so, just abit suspicious of this and if it affects my rights to refund for failed delivery of goods in package.

Liz Templar says:
7 March 2019

I would be interested to know just what these delivery drivers get out of pretending that no-one is home. It happens so often that there must be a reason for it. I’m housebound and am always home, yet time and again this happens to me. Once I was in the kitchen and heard what I thought was the letter post being delivered. When I went to fetch it it was a card from Parcelforce saying ‘sorry we missed you’ . No-one had rung the bell or knocked on the door. Another time, I was lying in wait and flung the door open as soon as I heard the gate. The chap stood there with a filled-in card in his hand and no parcel. He had to go and fetch it from the van. He looked livid to have been caught. Since they only have to re-deliver I can’t see how they gain anything from this behaviour, but clearly they must. Any whistle-blowers willing to spill the beans?

Im currently in dispute with an Ebay Seller who refuse to answer my messages and Ebay refuse to contact them on my behalf. The problem started with the goods not arriving, checked the parcel tracking number which showed it to have been delivered. Unfortunately Yodel tracking information doesn’t show where to! I opened an Ebay claim which they rejected as they did with the appeal. They have demanded that I contact the delivery company for proof of non delivery however Yodel say that, as I don’t have a contract with them, GDPR prevents them from giving me any information. Funnily enough that was the excuse that Ebay gave saying why they couldn’t contact Yodel. I really am going round in circles with this one, eleven Emails to EBay’s Customer Help Service who just keep fobbing me off.

Suzie Shearer says:
19 June 2019

I just had a large piece of garden furniture delivered.
I have had to endlessly chase this company for info about delivery and twice before have been given a single day as an option when I could not be there to receive it.
Yesterday I got an email telling me there was an additional vehicle that would be in my area today (the next day) and could they deliver?
I called them immediately and said yes, they could deliver as long as they did not turn up during a three hour window in the day when I could not be there to accept it.

Of course, they delivered it during that window. They called me to ask for permission to enter my property (which had a closed gate at the entry to the drive). I DID NOT give them permission and asked for them to take it away and deliver it properly when I could be there. I then called the company and reiterated that. We left it that they would call me later in the day with a day the following week to deliver. I was a bit fed up as they have repeatedly not called me back and not offered me options regarding this delivery – all the onus has been on me to chase them.

Two hours later I got home and found it dumped on my front lawn outside the the front door without its rain cover and sitting in the pouring rain.
Apparently the owner of the company had over-ruled me and instructed the delivery company to enter my property and leave it there, irrespective of the fact that I had specifically not given permission for them to do so.
The furniture is huge and much too heavy for me to move myself.
The cushions are not the colour I wanted and are sat out in the pouring rain.
The rain cover was not delivered with it so there is nothing I can do to protect it.
What are my rights?

Suzie – Did you order the garden furniture on-line? If so you could reject it immediately and get a full refund. See this Which? guide to the Consumer Contract Regulations –

Whistl says my parcel is too heavy or too large to deliver. I know it is neither of these things it’s about 20 ins by 6 ins and would weigh about 3 kilograms at the most. What do I do next

Terry Robertson says:
2 October 2020

I once had a fax machine delivered ( it was a signed for item), but i never signed for it, infact i never knew it had been delivered until i went to lock up at night. I saw this rather soggy box (yes it had been heavy rain all day) beside my door. It was the fax machine which was not in any postal box. I had already contacted the retailer earlier to find where it was and they were going to get back to me as they could not contact the courier company, so i contacted the retailer again the following morning to explain i found this outside in the rain late the night before, they asked for pics which i sent them and they called me back to say they were writing it off and refunding me and asked me to test and see if it worked, if so i could keep it, if not then they would replace it