Delivery > Guides

How to complain about a delivery company

Richard Bayston

Richard Bayston
Jun 12, 2017

When your delivery company lets you down, what are your options?

As ecommerce gets more popular, it’s more and more common to receive items through the post - except for when they don’t show up.


Failure to Deliver

Parcel delivery companies can let you down in all sorts of ways. These are the most common:

* Your item simply never arrives
* Something arrives, but it’s not your item; the carrier has mixed your delivery up with someone else’s
* Your item arrives, but it’s been damaged in transit

So what are your rights, who’s responsible, and what should you do?


Undelivered items

You have a right under the Consumer Rights Act, which came into force in October 2015, to have your item delivered within 30 days of purchase unless you made a different agreement with the retailer.

If your item is undelivered you need to talk to the retailer.

They’d love the delivery company to be responsible, but the law is clear: it’s the retailer’s responsibility.

They have to chase the delivery company, and they’ll be paying your refund. Even if you bought the product face to face or from another individual, it’s still the seller’s responsibility.


The wrong item arrives

As infuriating as this is, it’s really a special case of non-delivery.

If you don’t get what you asked for within 30 days or the agreed timeframe, it’s the seller’s responsibility.

Return the incorrect item - the seller should pay for this - and request a redelivery within 14 days.


Damaged items

Again, you need to contact the seller. Even if the damage was caused by the delivery company, it’s still the seller’s responsibility. Some will try to suggest that you caused the damage yourself; take photos, contact them quickly and stay polite but firm.

If they really want to push it the law says they have six months from the date you complain to prove that you caused the damage yourself; without convincing proof, the law assumes you’re in the right, not them.

If it’s really obvious and you spot it before the driver leaves, ask them to stay, contact the seller and ask if they want the item sent back with the driver to save time.

Some sellers will ask you to return the item, and then say it was damaged while it was being returned. Again, take photos and ask the seller if they’ll cover your insurance fees to return it insured, or if their insurance will cover it. The seller’s terms and conditions might say that you have to pay for any returns.

But that doesn’t apply if the item is damaged, faulty, not as described or not fit for purpose. In that case the law says the seller has to pay.


Getting started: complain to the seller

You should always start by complaining to the seller directly.

Even if it’s a dead end and you know it from the start, jump through the hoops: write to them or email them to make sure there’s a record.

If you talk to them on the phone, email them for confirmation while they’re still on the line and get the major points in writing above someone’s name.

There’s legal redress available if they breach their contract with you, and for some things, like the ombudsman service, you’ll need an open complaint.

If the seller is an individual, you can write a ‘letter of claim,’ requiring a refund within 21 days.

If you paid by PayPal, try their buyer resolution centre. If you bought the item on a credit card, there are two options open to you: Section 75 and Chargeback.

Section 75

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 covers you if you paid by credit card and the item cost more than £100 and less than £30, 000.

It’s the cost of the item that counts, not the amount you spent, and it only covers single purchases - you can’t claim for six £20 purchases, but you can claim if you bought six £20 items all at once, as a single £120 purchase, even if you only paid £20 of the total on your credit card. Section 75 is quite flexible - it covers spoken as well as written agreements, for instance.

To make a Section 75 claim contact your bank or credit card supplier. If you’re not satisfied, contact the ombudsman service.


Chargeback is for items that you bought on a credit card and that cost less than £100. Your bank has to agree, but they can arrange to pull the money back from the seller’s account and return it to yours. To make a chargeback claim, contact your bank.


How to complain about the seller

If you’ve complained to the seller and you’re not getting anywhere, there’s another way. You can enlist a consumer champion - like A Spokesman Said. All too often, all it really takes to get your retailer to take some responsibility is some pressure and some publicity. If they know the process is under scrutiny, they’ll behave much better. That’s where we come in.

When we complain on your behalf, companies sit up and take notice.

They know that our members and their friends are watching, and we have the experience to keep pushing until you get what what you deserve. You can make a complaint using our simple, easy-to-use system, and read other people’s complaints too.

Before choosing which delivery firm to use, check what people are saying about Yodel, Royal Mail or MyHermes - you can then make an informed decision about who to go with.  

Rank carriers and retailers, and get your complaint dealt with faster- without going through the ombudsman, the courts, or any more hassle!

Take Deirdre Cash, who was reunited with the £400 parcel lost by courier company Yodel, after she posted on A Spokesman Said.

Deirde told us: “I was getting nowhere for three weeks and it was only when I took it to A Spokesman Said that I got any response at all.

It was amazing to see the momentum it gained – it put the fear of Jesus in Yodel.”

If, like Deirdre, you want to demand action for your delivery issue, make your complaint now.


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