What can you do when goods are delivered too late to be of use?

Annie Shaw / 22 November 2016

Annie Shaw answers a reader's dilemma about an order delivered too late for its intended purpose.



Question:

Last December I bought a plaque by mail order, with my sister’s house name on it, as a Christmas present. It didn’t arrive in time, so I had to buy another gift. 

What are my rights if a retailer fails to deliver goods on time? Should I have asked for a refund?

Last posting dates for Christmas 2016

Answer:

When you order goods by mail order you are entitled to return them, whether they are suitable or not. The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 – which replaced the Distance Selling Regulations – say you must be able to inspect goods before accepting them. 

There are some exceptions, including perishable goods such as food and flowers, and items that have been custom-made or personalised. 

Late deliveries: your consumer rights

Your plaque would fall into the latter category, however, the goods must arrive within a reasonable time. Where no time period is specified, the limit is 30 days. 

In this case, though, if the firm said it could deliver in time for Christmas, or you made it clear that you wished to purchase the item only if it could be delivered within a particular time frame, this condition would form part of the purchase contract and you would be entitled to ask for a refund if the retailer did not keep its side of the bargain.

How to deal with wrongly delivered post


Annie Shaw
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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.