With many Britons planning on doing Christmas shopping online and Black Friday yet to come, data suggests that nearly half of people have had a problem with an order in lockdown.
Nearly half of Britons have had a problem with a parcel delivery since March, new research has revealed after lockdown creating a boom in orders.
With households relying on deliveries more than ever during the pandemic, some 47 per cent of adults said they have run into trouble with theirs in the last six months, according to Citizens Advice.
It found that 51 per cent of people say they feel more reliant on having goods delivered with 96 per cent ordering a parcel since March.
Nearly half of British consumers have had an issue with a parcel delivery since lockdown
The biggest problem people face is late delivery, with 30 per cent of people across the country facing a delay of some sort.
Meanwhile, 18 per cent of those who experience a parcel issue suffered some sort of financial loss, with 40 per cent losing more than £20.
Citizen Advice’s said its Consumer Service has received three times as many calls about delivery problems since March compared to the same period last year.
The charity also said views on its webpage doubled with its online advice on parcel issues viewed almost 208,000 times between March and October, compared to 94,000 in the same period in 2019.
Sandra, 77 from Warwickshire, has been shielding due to her age and came to Citizens Advice for help with multiple parcel delivery issues.
She said: ‘I have been reliant on couriers to buy gifts for my loved ones. Because I can’t go outside, I’ve missed birthdays and big family occasions.
‘Sadly, I’ve had nothing but trouble with couriers for seven months now. To say I have been left disappointed on more than one occasion would be an understatement.
‘The parcel companies have delivered so many damaged packages. I’ve had items say they have arrived when they have not, so I’m left chasing people which is extremely difficult as most companies do not answer their telephone.
‘The parcels I have ordered are really important to me as they are for my loved ones. So when they do not arrive or turn up completely smashed it’s absolutely heartbreaking. I’ve completely lost faith in the process.’
It is not just Sandra who has had an issue with 24 per cent of people said that their experience of a delivery issue has affected their confidence when ordering goods.
In addition, only one in three people could correctly recall their rights if something went wrong.
24% say their experience of a delivery issue has affected their confidence when ordering
Alistair Cromwell, acting chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: ‘Having parcels delivered has been a lifeline for so many of us this year, and will continue to be under current restrictions.
‘It’s not right that the number of people having issues with parcels is so high. And it’s especially worrying that so many people don’t know what their rights are if something goes wrong.
‘With Christmas and Black Friday on the horizon, it’s important to remember that it’s the seller’s responsibility – not yours or the courier’s – to make sure the item gets to you.
‘As online shopping becomes an essential, we want people to feel confident that they can shop safely and securely from home.’
Mike Andrews, National Co-ordinator, National Trading Standards eCrime Team, added: ‘As more people shop online in the coming weeks, it’s important that consumers do so safely and know their rights.
‘We’ve suspended 323 domains this year for issues related to non-delivery of goods, counterfeit products and fake clone websites that imitate genuine business sites.
‘Dazzling bargains on social media feeds may redirect users to clone websites – and some social media influencers are unknowingly promoting counterfeit goods.
‘Before making a purchase, check product reviews, returns policies and the URL of the website you’re purchasing from to ensure it’s the genuine seller. To help us tackle online fraud, we urge you to report suspected scam websites to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.’
It is not just late arrivals and smashed items that are an issue with parcels as there are a number of thefts taking place as well.
In fact, those in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire are the most likely to have their parcels stolen, new research has revealed.
Pack and Send, a packing and delivery firm, have collated the police data on parcel theft in 39 UK areas over the last two years, showing the places most and least likely to safely receive their parcels.
It found that the Thames Valley Police, who cover over 2,200 square miles stretched across Reading, Slough and Windsor topped the table.
They reported the most parcel thefts per capita across 2018 and 2019, experiencing on average 31 thefts per 100,000 people, totalling 705.
Thames Valley Police have reported the highest number of parcel thefts per person. Picture posed by model
Suffolk Constabulary placed second, reporting 26 parcel thefts per 100,000 people with 188 in total, while Essex Police reported 25 thefts per capita, totalling 433, putting it in third place.
Kent Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary made up the rest of the top five areas for parcel theft.
In total, over 6,000 parcels were reported stolen in the UK during 2018 and 2019.
This averages at 8 parcels per day, but with the increased number of deliveries during the Christmas period, there is a higher risk of something going wrong.
In 2018 and 2019 combined, Royal Mail spent almost £10million on customer compensation, over half of which was due to parcel loss.
Other common causes for complaint were P739 failure (the ‘sorry we missed you’ cards) and delays to delivery.
Top tips to help people with their parcel deliveries
However, there are things you can do to ensure your parcels are safe.
Citizens Advice senior consumer expert, Kate Hobson, gives her top tips to help people with their parcel deliveries:
1. Check delivery policies: Before you place an order find out what the delivery times, costs and returns policies are of the items you have ordered.
2. If you’re out of the house during delivery: Consider asking a neighbour or friend if it can be delivered to their address if you think it may be a time or date you are not home.
But beware, if you do provide details of a safe space or nominated neighbour and something goes wrong it’s not the seller or courier’s responsibility.
3. Online trader or online marketplace?: Make sure you know if you are dealing with a trader or a private seller on an online marketplace as dispute processes may vary.
If you have an issue with a trader, a dispute can be raised directly with them, but if it’s a private individual it may be easier to go through a marketplace’s dispute process.
4. Review traders: Check and review if the trader is genuine. It’s always worth taking a look at reviews to gain an insight as to how reliable the company is and how well they deal with missing parcel complaints and refunds.
5. Who to deal with when a parcel goes missing: Your purchase and contract is with the seller. If your parcel goes missing you should speak to the trader to deal with the problem, not the courier company.