Who's liable for my lost parcel return?

10 July 2019

When a parcel return goes missing, who pays up? Plus, is a gift card or cash the best birthday present?



Question

I bought clothes online and returned some via the company’s courier. I didn’t get a refund, and found the courier had lost the parcel. Who’s liable for the cost?

Answer

If you sent the items back using the company’s returns policy and courier, you’re not liable, says solicitor Sarah Garner of DAS Law. ‘But if the company tries to pursue you, you’d need to be able to show, usually with a signed receipt you got when the goods were collected, that you passed them to the courier.’

Says Peter Stonely, of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI): ‘Tell them you did your bit by returning the goods as they’d asked, so don’t consider you’re responsible as their courier is to blame.’ If you recall signing something for the courier, tell the clothing firm’s customer services department, advises Peter. ‘They should be able to trace this back and see what’s happened.’

Hopefully, customer services will resolve the matter without a fuss.

Jo Carlowe, consumer journalist


 

Question

I don’t want to give my teenage grandson cash for his birthday, but are gift cards safe if the shop goes bust?

Answer

‘If a shop closes it’s unlikely that you’ll get your money back. Effectively you’ll become an unsecured creditor along with everyone owed money by the company. If the store is then acquired out of administration, for example, it will then be up to the new owners whether gift cards will be honoured,’ explains Michael Hatchwell, partner at Child & Child, Globalaw. ‘The best choices are either to give cash or to research the store carefully before purchasing.’

Katie Whitehead, associate solicitor at Ramsdens Solicitors, says that general gift cards such as Love2shop may be safer to purchase. ‘If one of the shops goes bust, you can still use it at the other outlets. However, there’s still a risk that the card issuer itself could go into administration.’

If you used a credit card to pay for the gift card and it cost £100 or more, you may be able to claim a refund through your credit card.

Hannah Joliffe, consumer rights journalist

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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.