I've been waiting months for an item I bought, can I cancel it?

If you’ve been waiting a long time for something you’ve bought to arrive, you do have rights to cancel. However, this depends on certain factors discussed on this page.

Timeframe for delivery

Suppliers have to deliver within the timeframe they promise in their contract. So check your original order to see what period of time has been outlined. 

When you buy goods face-to-face, the Consumer Rights Act says that they must be delivered within 30 days unless a different time period is agreed. 

If you have agreed a specific timeframe and your goods don't arrive, causing you to miss a birthday for example, you can cancel your order and get a refund. 

You can also cancel if the seller doesn't provide the goods or service within a reasonable time. 

What constitutes a reasonable time can depend on the item you've bought. Sellers often don't specify a time limit for delivery, so defining what is reasonable can be tricky.

But if you were given an estimated delivery time of seven days and you've been waiting 20 days, this could be seen as being an unreasonable time period to wait for delivery. 

Consumer Rights Act

The Consumer Rights Act came into force on 1 October 2015, replacing the Sale of Goods Act.

Make time of the essence

Most contracts for the purchase of new furniture, for example, will allow retailers up to eight weeks to deliver your goods. 

These types of contracts will normally state that the retailer will endeavour to deliver within that time, but that they will not be in breach of contract if they don't deliver within the eight-week period.

Obviously, if they go beyond this time, without any genuine excuse as to the reason for the delay, then you'll be able to give them a deadline in which to deliver the goods. 

You do this by making 'time of the essence'. 

Once your deadline date has expired, then you can treat the contract as being at an end and demand a full refund.

Cancelling orders bought online

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, your right to cancel an online order for goods starts the moment you place your order and ends 14 days from the day you receive your goods. 

If no timeframe is agreed for delivery, retailers must deliver your item within 30 days of your order.

These regulations also state that you should get a refund within 14 days of either the retailer getting the goods back or you providing evidence of having returned the goods (for example, a proof of postage from the post office) - whichever is the sooner. 

If you cancel your order, the seller has to refund your money within 30 days at the latest. 

A deduction can be made if the value of the goods has been reduced as a result of you handling the goods more than was necessary.  

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