A total of 54 per cent of shoppers said they had a delivery not go as planned – ranging from parcels left in the rain and dishonest notes from delivery workers, to a customer who found her package in the toilet after a courier pushed it through the bathroom window.
Nearly one in five people told Which? at least one of their deliveries failed to arrive on time, while one students said they had had to postpone leaving for the Christmas break because of a late delivery.
It was more common for deliveries not to turn up at all. Which? found a quarter of those who shopped online over the Christmas period ordered a parcel that failed to arrive.
A similar number said the courier did not follow instructions which meant their deliveries were handed to unauthorised neighbours or left in unexpected places. One shopper said their delivery had been left with an unauthorised neighbour who went on holiday shortly after, so had to wait two weeks to retrieve their order.
Which? also heard about deliveries being left in unauthorised places, while other issues shoppers experienced included dishonest couriers who left notes claiming the recipient wasn’t at home when they were.
One person said they received a note claiming no-one was at home, but they had seen the courier passing their home and not even attempt a delivery.
Three in ten said delivery arrived earlier than expected – which meant they were not home when it arrived. One respondent said their delivery was left in the rain for 48 hours when it arrived earlier than expected while they were away for the weekend.
Adam French, consumer rights expert at Which?, said: “Online shopping can take the hassle out of Christmas shopping but dealing with late, missing or damaged deliveries can be a nightmare for shoppers.
“Under the Consumer Rights Act, online retailers have a duty to ensure online orders are delivered within a reasonable time and in good condition, so if your delivery hasn’t gone to plan, don’t suffer in silence and speak to your retailer to resolve the issue.”
He added: “But be aware if you give permission for your delivery to be left in a specified safe place or received by a nominated neighbour and something goes wrong, you will still be considered to have received the delivery. Think very carefully about those options when you’re making a purchase.”