Late deliveries: your consumer rights

11 December 2014 ( 18 November 2016 )

Tips to help you know your consumer rights if your deliveries and purchases fail to arrive on time.

If you order goods to be delivered to your home, what are your rights if they turn up late – or not at all?

Your consumer rights if you agreed to a delivery date

The first question is whether you told the retailer you needed the items by or on a certain date.

If not, there are some general rules that apply: your goods should be delivered within a “reasonable time”, so for example if the website you bought from said the estimated delivery time was a week, you shouldn’t have to wait for more than two weeks.

Regulations that came into effect in June 2014 state that any goods ordered for delivery must be with you within 30 days of the original purchase unless you have agreed otherwise.

If they take longer than 30 days, you have the right to cancel the order and get a refund.

Your consumer rights when you shop online...

Your consumer rights if a delivery date is missed

If you did agree a delivery date and the retailer failed to meet it, you may be able to claim compensation or negotiate a discount.

You will be in a stronger position to do so if you made it clear to the seller that the timing of the delivery was important.

This could be, for example, if you were buying an item that needed to be received before your husband or wife’s birthday, or if you ordered a wedding dress and the retailer knew the date of the wedding.

If the retailer was aware you needed the item on the date agreed, you are entitled to cancel the order and claim a refund.

Alternatively, you can agree to a new delivery date but try to negotiate a discount.

Annie Shaw's advice if your parcel doesn't arrive in time

Your consumer rights if goods are lost

If an item is lost before it is delivered to you, it is the retailer’s responsibility.

If the goods can’t be tracked down, you can ask for a refund or for a replacement delivery to be attempted.

If you want to complain about late or undelivered goods, talk to the retailer rather than the courier or delivery company.

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Your consumer rights to compensation for days off work

If you have taken time off work to wait in for a delivery that didn’t turn up, you may be able to claim compensation - for example, for lost earnings.

Do this by writing to the retailer with details and proof of your losses (such as a copy of your wage slip).

If the retailer turns your claim down, however, your only recourse is likely to be to legal action through the small-claims court.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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.