How to Handle Late Deliveries – What are Your Rights?

Posted by Paul
Suffered a late delivery? Join Parcel Ex as we guide you though your legal rights for late and damaged deliveries anywhere in the UK.

So, you have arranged to have goods delivered from a company in the UK. They have a separate courier service delivering your goods and they arrive late or your goods are damaged.

  • Q. What are your rights with the courier company?
  • A.  Legally – None at all.

Even if the courier takes your priceless art collection and frizbees them across the lawn to your front door, you still have no comeback with the courier company.

Well, that’s that.

I hope this has been informative. If you require a more in-depth factsheet on how you have absolutely no rights at all with the courier company please pass your request to an ineffective courier and I’m sure we’ll get it at some point… damaged.

Okay, you do have rights, just not with the courier company.

Regardless as to whether you are a business, accepting a delivery from another company from anywhere in the UK, or you are a consumer – sitting at home waiting patiently for your fluffy pussycat socks to arrive from Meows ‘r’ Us, the contract you have is with the retailer not the courier.

It makes sense when you stop to think about it.

You are not the one who arranged delivery or took any sort of responsibility for it arriving at you place of work, or residence, undamaged and on time.

You have contacted a company and THEY have promised safe delivery of your goods. If the courier THEY select, turns out to be as ineffective as a cat flap in an elephant house then that is THEIR concern and it is their responsibility to duly compensate you for lost, late and damaged items.

A good courier service, naturally will take all reasonable steps to make sure your goods arrive safe, undamaged and on time from anywhere in the UK.

And, speaking as the head honcho in the nation’s second-best courier service,  (A shameless plug, I know), We work harder to make sure our clients never have to worry about any delivery. AND we have insurance to compensate you for the rare occasions when deliveries are late or items or lost and damaged (That’s enough of a plug I think).

ParcelEx – Delivering for you. (Okay, back to the advice).

Your Consumer Rights

Let’s suppose you are a consumer and your goods have arrived late. Perhaps your pussycat socks (Mentioned above) were for a feline convention which had passed and gone in the time it took for your socks to arrive. This renders them useless to you.

You then call the retailer and say:

“My delivery was late and I want a refund.”

Some retailers will assume you have no idea what your rights are and politely refuse, claiming that they have a ‘No returns policy.’

It is at this point you can confidently point your finger knowingly down the phone and say:

“Actually, I think you’ll find that my consumer rights apply here and I have 14 days with which to claim a refund for my goods.”

Now, you may or may not have to cover postage of the items back to the retailer, but they have to give you a refund.

It’s also handy to know that according to the Consumer Contracts Authority you are entitled to a full refund it the item/s delivered are later than the agreed date of delivery.

If no delivery date was set then it must arrive within 30 days of your initial order.

What Are You Signing For?

When a courier arrives and produces an electronic pad for you to sign, what exactly are you signing for?

It’s a question that’s oft asked and I think the worry is that if you sign that pad then you are accepting the delivery in its present condition or if it is late, that you are ‘happy’ with the late delivery.

In most cases the signature is only an indication that you have received the items, and nothing else. If you are expected to sign on the quality of the goods (i.e. undamaged) then that needs to be made clear to you before you sign.

If you are pressed for time and cannot inspect the items at the point of delivery then sign for the receipt of them but amend it to indicate that the goods have not been checked over by you. This could be a simple case of inserting the word ‘not’ in the – I have checked that the goods have arrived in good condition sentence.

Does Free Delivery Mean Free Delivery?

Some companies have tried to get around late deliveries by claiming that additional postage charges need to be paid in order for their goods to reach them on time.

The Advertising Standards Authority recently have made it mandatory for companies that claim to offer FREE UK delivery to ensure that those deliveries cover the whole of the UK and if not, the exclusions must be displayed up front. Transparency – always best.

Can you Contact the Courier company if your items are delivered late?

In most cases, yes. Though this does tend to vary depending upon whether it is a commercial delivery or a few items going to a place of residence.

Business to Business delivery services generally will be only too happy to keep their clients updated as to the whereabouts of their items and, speaking for ParcelEX, contact the client immediately if there is going to be a delay of any kind.

NetPost have a tracking system installed, so you can see precisely where your goods are at any point in its journey to you. I understand they can even pick up items from your house too!

Amazon tend to handle delivery enquiries ‘in house.’ You are given a date and approximate time of delivery and any queries regarding the order must be raised to Amazon.

How Does Compensation Work?

This works differently for consumer and commercial deliveries.

Consumer Compensation

Well, the most frequent one that companies tried to avoid paying out is when you have arranged to take a day off work for a promised delivery. Your time off means that you have lost money. This is something that you ARE entitled to. You may have to go to small claims court to get it, but simply informing the retailer of your intention will be enough for them to offer you a compensatory out of court settlement.

Commercial Compensation

Well, this is not as straight forward as consumer compensation I’m afraid. It very much depends upon what has been agreed between you and the retailer in the first instance. Though I will say, through personal experience, that and courier service worth its salt is fully insured and can pay out if they have delivered late. That being the case, the funds should simply be transferred to you.

If you need further advice on compensation claims then has a wealth of information for you to reference.

Well, that’s about it for now. If you would like to receive a quote for a commercial delivery anywhere in the UK please contact us below:

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