Half of shoppers who bought goods online had problems with delivery

Half of shoppers who bought goods online during coronavirus pandemic had problems with parcel delivery, research shows

  • Online purchases are now making up more than £1 in every £4 spent in the UK 
  • Citizens Advice received over 8,200 calls about deliveries from March to August 
  • Late delivery was the most common affecting a third of 2,029 people surveyed

Almost half of online shoppers have had a problem with a parcel delivery during the pandemic.

Internet sales have rocketed this year, with online purchases now making up more than £1 in every £4 spent in the UK.

But as retailers and couriers struggle with soaring demand, more customers are complaining about damaged and late deliveries.

Internet sales have rocketed this year, with online purchases now making up more than £1 in every £4 spent in the UK [File photo]

Research by Citizens Advice revealed 47 per cent of customers have suffered a problem.

Late delivery was the most common, affecting a third of the 2,029 people surveyed.

Nearly a fifth of those having an issue had lost money as a result, such as delays on refunds, having to pay postage or go to a depot. 

Citizens Advice also received over 8,200 calls about deliveries from March to August, more than three times last year’s figure for that period.

Visits to the charity’s webpage about problems with parcels more than doubled to 208,000 from March to October compared to 2019.

But many consumers do not know their rights. Acting head Alistair Cromwell said it was the seller’s responsibility, not the buyer or courier, to make sure items arrive.

Tom Ironside, of the British Retail Consortium, said retailers are ‘working hard’ to solve delivery issues as soon as they are told about them.

One 77-year-old woman from Warwickshire, Sandra, said she has been reliant on couriers when buying gifts for her loved ones because she has been shielding due to her age. But she claims she has had ‘nothing but trouble’.

‘To say I have been left disappointed on more than one occasion would be an understatement,’ she said.

‘The parcel companies have delivered so many damaged packages. I’ve had items firms say they have arrived when they have not, so I’m left chasing people which is extremely difficult as most companies do not answer the telephone.

‘I’ve completely lost faith in the process.’

Mr Cromwell 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.

Nearly a fifth of those having an issue had lost money as a result, such as delays on refunds, having to pay postage or go to a depot [File photo]

‘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.’

Paul Ramsden, executive director of Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: ‘Parcel deliveries have become vital for so many people during the lockdown, and I am concerned to learn of the rise in damaged and late deliveries, many of which will affect the most vulnerable.

‘Damaged goods need to be returned which causes further problems as complaint lines are busier and depots shut to the public.’

The National Trading Standards eCrime Team added that it had suspended 323 websites this year for issues related to non-delivery of goods, counterfeit products and fake firms imitating genuine businesses.

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