Quarter of Brits experienced late Christmas deliveries in 2018

A quarter of Brits had items for Christmas arrive late last year. Photo: Sipa Asia/SIPA USA/PA Images

More than half of online shoppers had at least one delivery that did not go as planned last Christmas, research from Which? has found.

In a survey of over 2,000 Brits, 54% said they had experienced problems ranging from parcels being left in the rain, dishonest “attempted to deliver” notes left by drivers, to a customer who found her package in the toilet after a courier pushed it through the bathroom window.

Almost one in five people (17%) said at least one of their deliveries failed to arrive on time.

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However it was more common for deliveries not to turn up at all, with 24% of online shoppers ordering an item that failed to arrive over the Christmas period.

A quarter (24%) said the courier did not follow pre-arranged instructions, resulting in their deliveries handed to unauthorised neighbours or left in unexpected places.

Some 9% said a delivery driver had left a note claiming the recipient was not at home when they were.

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One person said they received a note claiming no-one was at home after seeing the courier pass their home without attempting a delivery.

Some 29% complained that their delivery arrived earlier than expected, meaning they were not at home to accept it. One respondent complained that their delivery was left in the rain for 48 hours while they were away for the weekend.

“I was out, and the courier put the parcel through the open window to my downstairs bathroom and it literally ended up in the toilet! Luckily it was sealed in plastic,” one customer even told Which?

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The responsibility for delivery lies with retailers, however only 31% of shoppers who had a problem complained to the seller.

If a delivery arrives damaged or faulty, customers are entitled to a replacement, repair or refund, Which? reminded consumers.

Customers can also get a refund from their retailer if they paid extra for a special delivery that then arrived late.

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Adam French, consumer rights spokesman at Which?, said: “Online shopping can take the hassle out of Christmas shopping but dealing with late, missing or damaged deliveries can be a nightmare for shoppers.

“Under the Consumer Rights Act, online retailers have a duty to ensure online orders are delivered within a reasonable time and in good condition, so if your delivery hasn’t gone to plan, don’t suffer in silence, and speak to your retailer to resolve the issue.

He added: “But be aware if you give permission for your delivery to be left in a specified safe place, or received by a nominated neighbour, and something goes wrong, you will still be considered to have received the delivery.

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“Think very carefully about those options when you’re making a purchase.”