Missing parcels: What to do if your package hasn’t arrived in time for Christmas - your rights explained

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 Your loved ones will forgive you if their Christmas present arrives later than planned, but it’s still important to be aware of your rights - here’s what you need to know

With disruption to the postal service continuing, many people across the UK are concerned that delivery of eagerly awaited packages could be delayed or, worse still, have gone missing as Christmas approaches. Strikes by Royal Mail employees throughout December, leaving independent delivery firms struggling to cope with ensuing demand, means there’s no concrete guarantee your package will arrive in time for the big day.

During what’s been an exceptional year, your loved ones will surely forgive you if their Christmas present surfaces later than planned. But it can be helpful to know your rights in case you need to request a refund or help tracking down that expensive parcel that seems to have vanished into thin air.

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Nick Drewe, founder of online discounts platform WeThrift, has shared his top tips on what rights consumers have if their parcels are delayed or go missing. He said: “Given the disruption to the postal service and the huge influx of Christmas  orders, parcels can, unfortunately, go missing.

“With this in mind, it’s so important to know your rights when it comes to chasing up problems with a missing delivery.”

Here’s what you should do if your parcel is delayed or missing.

Contact the retailer

Many people mistakenly fall into the trap of contacting the courier for delivery issues, when it should be the retailer. As outlined in the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the retailer has full responsibility for the condition of products until they are received by the customer.

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It is the retailer’s responsibility to chase the courier to investigate what has happened to your order, in the event of a delay. If it turns out the item is missing, the retailer is legally obliged to either rearrange the delivery or give you a full refund.

If the retailer fails to take action, you can raise a case with the Retail Ombudsman and they’ll get in touch on your behalf.

Check your payment method

If your item has not arrived and you used PayPal to complete the original transaction, you are protected by the Buyer’s Protection guarantee. This will reimburse you the full amount of the product, as well as any postage and packaging fees. PayPal will also compensate you if the item does not match the seller’s description.

If you have paid with a credit card, you could try to claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, as long as the purchased item is worth at least £100 and under £30,000. For debit card purchases, you can contact your bank and tell them you want to use the ‘chargeback scheme’ for non-delivered items.

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If the bank authorises this, they will request the seller’s bank to reverse the payment back into your account. However, it’s worth mentioning that this scheme is not well known and comes with its own risks.

The 30 day refund policy

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, your delivery must be made without undue delay and within 30 days from the point of purchase, unless you and the retailer have agreed otherwise.  If you haven’t received your item after this time period, you are entitled to a full refund.

Check your delivery instructions

Parcels are often delivered to an alternative place that you specified in the delivery instructions. Even though it wasn’t delivered to your front door, couriers will specify that your item has been delivered if they’ve left it in your safe place.

So, it’s best to double-check your order details if you have been waiting for your parcel for a while. If you didn’t provide delivery instructions and it turns out the item is in fact missing, the retailer is legally bound to replace or refund your order.

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Report any incidents

Report all incidents of package theft to the police. This will help them keep an eye out in your neighbourhood for package theft.

Let the retailer know that your package was stolen. Amazon may require the retailer to file a claim. If the retailer doesn’t cooperate, reach out to the shipper about the stolen package.

Sometimes, a stolen package could be covered by homeowners’ or renters’ insurance. If you file a claim, you will likely have to pay a deductible that might be higher than the value of the stolen package.

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