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3 out of 5 Consumers have a delivery problem at Christmas

By Chris Dawson December 18, 2018 - 10:53 am

Almost three in five shoppers (58%) who ordered online over the Christmas period experienced a delivery problem, with at least one delivery not going as planned.

One in four people (24%) who shop online around the Christmas period find that at least one of their parcels fails to turn up, according to new Which? research. And the packages that do get delivered are sometimes tossed over the fence, handed to a neighbour never to be seen again, put in the bin or left out in the rain.

Which? asked almost 2,000 people about their online shopping between November 2017 and the end of January 2018 to find out if their deliveries went to plan.

The most common issues were deliveries arriving too early (29%) or too late (19%). Of those who had a delivery issue, one in five (20%) told Which? that their package was left in an unsafe or inappropriate place. One in 10 (9%) said couriers didn’t follow instructions and a similar proportion (9%) said their delivery was left with a neighbour who they do not get on with or who they find untrustworthy.

Despite so many people having problems with their online order deliveries, more than half (55%) of those people didn’t complain. Just a third (31%) contacted the retailer when they had an issue with their order.

Are these really delivery problems?

The real problem with surveys like this is the huge volumes of online shopping that takes place at this time of year. The results may be very different if everyone surveyed only received one parcel. With some families ordering their entire Christmas gift list online, it would be somewhat surprising if there was never a delivery problem.

Delivery is a service which is pretty difficult to get right and many consumers don’t make it easy – for instance ordering goods when they know they’ll be out at work and unable to receive them. In these circumstances the courier will often do their best to either leave the parcel in an unspecified safe place or with a neighbour and for many consumers that will be counted as a delivery problem.

3 out of 5 Consumers have a delivery problem at Christmas

  • Stuart
    3 months ago

    Probably because of how bad Royal Mail is. Special Delivery parcel today being returned and can’t see a reason why, tried to call, on hold for 30 mins on a premium rate number still no answer!

    • 3 months ago

      Just over 3,000 items posted with Royal Mail in the last 3 weeks and 8 problems so far. I do not consider that too bad.

      It is pointless attempting to call Royal mail customer service as they are hopeless and all you will do is run up a phone bill and your heart rate!

  • jim
    3 months ago

    it would be much more useful if these figures were broke down by service,
    as it stands the good are being lumped in with the bad ,making every service look poor and thats not the case,

  • 3 months ago

    We’re always being told (particularly by marketplaces) that customers want free delivery. Generally, they do….. but they fail to realise that this is definitely a case where you get what you pay for !

  • 3 months ago

    1 x 1st class parcel not delivered after a week presumed lost. Posted last Monday 10th.

    1. Royal Mail Special delivery 1pm posted last Wednesday never left Romford, Delivered 1 day late just in time as it was for a funeral.

    The 1st class parcel above, replacement set printed and dispatched again on Saturday 15th. Sent Special delivery for 9am Monday at £22.50. Delivered a day late. Great, funeral order of service missed the funeral.

    Today kept a Special delivery back as had problems above. Put with another order for same place. DHL 12.00 delivery funeral order of service. Trunk lorry had a puncture so missed standard hub delivery and subsequently missed deadline. To be fair after many phone calls it was delivered at 4:30 today in time for tomorrows 2 funerals.

    All the above in just over 1 week one after the other.

    @ Jim, does the above help with your figures to find out which services are poor?
    @ alonicus, how much do you want us to pay?

    It is the Christmas crunch and our delivery networks cannot cope including Amazon, whitnessed on a front lawn, DHL delivereing to us at 8:30pm instead of 2:30 as indicated, Royal mail and DHL again as above. You pays your money and takes your choice, non of them can be 100% trusted to deliver as they are under too much pressure, the rest of the year is fine.

    • 3 months ago

      I sent a Special Delivery 1pm on Monday that reached a central London address by 11:21am Tuesday. My buyers rarely choose this as a service.

      It had been brought to my attention that some Royal Mail items are not being delivered on time and I extended my delivery 48hr service from 2 to 3 days.

      Even 1st Class is taking 2/3 days or longer in some parts.

      @ alonicus, it really does not matter if the item is sold with FREE delivery or not, the seller will still be using the same courier service.

  • Rob
    3 months ago

    Interesting one about deliveries arriving to early, would that be down to the marketplaces hitting sellers with defects etc for late delivery so they give a longer window for buyers to cover themselves. I for one give a two day dispatch window with 2 – 3 day shipping on most things unless expensive or heavy then goes next day. Some go out same day depending when ordered and delivered in two days.

    What works for one buyer does not work for the next. Parcel left in a safe place for some works, just like being left with a neighbour as they may not have transport to get to a collection point. Other may prefer collecting from a collection point.

    Recently had one buyer complain as they were not in when UPS attempted delivery and it was taken to a UPS access point. Can’t win with some

  • Jonah
    3 months ago

    Posted Royal Mail International Signed For Parcel to America 7 ( Yes SEVEN) weeks ago and it’s just arrived in USA. You couldn’t make it up. Sadly it’s an eBay sale,,,,, you can imagine the furore.

  • SAM
    3 months ago

    We actually need to change how we receive our online orders in this country…the letterbox simply does not do the job anymore. I now have 3 of next doors (annoying Hermes)…
    People are going to need their own lockers at their homes. Plus I think delivery slots especially 1 hour slots should be banned, it dangerous and drivers are being overloaded and to busy concentrating on delivery targets and not the road..

  • 3 months ago

    Royal Mail are definitely making cuts that are affecting customers.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/dec/15/royal-mail-queues-lengthen-as-depots-close-across-uk

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