My online order hasn't arrived, what can I do?

If you buy something online that requires home delivery and it arrives late or doesn't turn up at all, don't worry - you've got rights.

Late estimated delivery

The Consumer Rights Act, which came into force on 1 October 2015, says that the retailer is responsible for the condition of the goods until the goods are received by the consumer, or by someone else they have nominated to receive them on their behalf such as a neighbour.

This means that the retailer is liable for the services provided by the couriers it employs - the delivery firm is not liable.

There is a default delivery period of 30 days during which the retailer needs to deliver unless a longer period has been agreed.

Cancelling your online order 

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations you can cancel goods bought online the moment you place your order until 14 days from the day you receive your goods, and get a full refund. 

There are some items where you don't get a right to cancel. See our guide on how to cancel an online order for more information. 

If you do cancel an order, you won't be responsible for any costs the seller incurs after your goods have been dispatched but before they're delivered to you. 

If you want to complain to the online store you can use our template letter to complain about undelivered goods

In summary

  • Goods must be delivered within 30 days, unless otherwise agreed
  • If you paid for delivery by a certain time or date and your item turns up late, this is a breach of contract
  • Always check the delivery company's instructions for collection if you get a card through your door

Late timed delivery

If you paid for delivery by a certain date or time (e.g. by Christmas or next-day delivery) and the delivery arrives late, this is a breach of contract.

If it was essential that your goods were delivered on time, you have the right to terminate the purchase and get a full refund.

If you didn’t make it clear to the trader at the time you placed your order that delivery by a date or timeframe was essential or it wasn’t clear or obvious to the trader at the time that it was essential to deliver by the date or timeframe, you should give them another chance to deliver.

You can use our free template letter to make a complaint and give them a final deadline for delivery.

If you think it should have been obvious to the retailer that delivery was essential, you can use our free letter template to ask for a full refund.

Missed deliveries

If you’ve missed a delivery and get home to a card through your door, always check the delivery company’s instructions before setting off for the depot – it could save you a wasted journey.

The delivery company may say you need to leave it a certain amount of time before the goods will be ready to collect – often so the delivery van has time to return to base.

Make sure you take the exact proof of identity required by the delivery company, otherwise your goods may not be released to you.

If you don’t have the necessary documentation, check with the delivery company if there is anything else they will accept instead.

If you have trouble contacting a courier to arrange redelivery, and can’t do so online, contact the seller and remind them of their obligations to get the goods to you and ask them to chase it up.


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