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Post Office strike – our guide to making sure your Christmas shopping arrives on time

Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey
Dec 13, 2016

Post Office staff have voted to launch five days’ worth of strikes this December in the lead up to Christmas.

Thankfully, most workers will not take part in the strike and services are expected to continue as usual.

Still, it's enough to put the wind up Christmas shoppers waiting for parcels to plant under the tree. 

We spoke to the Post Office and were reassured that the strike would only result in a small number of branch closures.

Those affected by the closures can locate their nearest alternative on the Post Office website.

But, as more and more of us opt to do our Christmas shopping online, the threat of late or missing packages ruining Christmas is an ever-present concern.

Here’s our guide to ensuring that your presents are delivered before the big day, making sure you avoid an empty Christmas tree and the inevitable tears (for our guide to Christmas presents and insurance, visit here). 


Sending presents yourself

Anyone making use of the Post Office to send gifts this Christmas should be aware of the last recommended dates of delivery given by the company you're using.

For second-class mail, this date is December 20, while first-class is December 21.

Special delivery guaranteed post should be sent before December 22 and customers paying extra money for this option are entitled to various degrees of compensation if their package is delivered late.

The Post Office reiterated to us that, while they are expecting no disruptions from the postal workers strike, all special delivery guaranteed customers will still be fully compensated should their post arrive late.


Buying presents online

Christmas is, obviously, a manically busy time for both retailers and delivery services; many online shops provide customers with specific dates they should place their order by to expect delivery in time for the big day.

Before placing an order, always check this recommended date.

Of all major retailers, WHSmith and ASOS have some of the earliest dates for standard delivery, with both recommending customers order by December 15.

Many other popular Christmas shopping sites set their standard delivery cut-off date for December 16, including Thornton’s, Office, Currys/PC World and HMV.

However, it's worth remembering the time of order can vary.

Deliveries from Toys R' Us on December 16 must be placed before 12pm to guarantee arrival before Christmas, while Boots allows orders to be processed right up to 7pm. Be sure to check the exact time each shop recommends ordering by.

Some shops guarantee for standard delivery arrival as late as December 20, including Urban Outfitters, GAME and Burton. Many retailers also offer faster delivery for a premium, allowing for orders up to either December 22 or 23.


Reasonable time

When ordering online for Christmas, always be sure to check the recommend dates of both the Post Office and online shop in question.

Unfortunately, presents can sometimes still turn up late.

If the delivery you are expecting is coming from an online retailer, they are responsible for your packages making it to you on time, not the postal service being used.

Unless stated otherwise, any online retailer must deliver your goods within 30 days.

If you have ordered before their specified date and your goods still arrive after Christmas, customers should complain to the company in question. They may be in a festive mood and be willing to provide compensation, or at least offer an apology.

If you have paid for faster delivery times, it is also worth complaining.

Under the Sale of Goods Act, if you have paid extra for a faster delivery service, you are guaranteed for your items be delivered within a reasonable time. What qualifies as a reasonable time is not specified by the act, although given it being the Christmas season, online retailers are likely to be understanding of complaints.

If you have had a bad experience with Christmas presents not being delivered on time, make use of A Spokesman Said's free tool. We're in your corner. 

Do you have any late Christmas delivery stories?

Share them in the comment box below.


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