Online Christmas shoppers order earlier this yearFear of late delivery prompts early shopping

05 December 2011

Christmas gifts

Which? research shows that late deliveries are prompting at least 6.7 million people to start their online Christmas shopping early this year.

A quarter of online shoppers had an order delivered later than expected in the last year. One in five said their parcel had been left with someone else without their authorisation, while the same percentage received a 'sorry we missed you' note when they were actually at home.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: 'This is particularly frustrating for people who have ordered gifts online and don't receive them in time for Christmas.'

Late Christmas delivery

For many shoppers the situation got worse, as they had items turn up damaged (10%) or found that nothing was delivered at all (13%). An unlucky five per cent of consumers came home to find that their parcel had actually been thrown over their garden fence.

Richard Lloyd said: 'If online retailers can't meet an agreed delivery date, they must let consumers know and rearrange delivery at a convenient time, or refund them their money.'

Which? advises Christmas shoppers to play it safe and start their sooner rather than later.

Christmas shopping online tips

Which? Legal Service has provided the following tips for consumers when shopping online:

1. Confirm delivery dates: Use websites with guaranteed delivery dates to make sure gifts turn up on time.

2. Check the T&Cs: Always read the terms and conditions when shopping online before you place your order.

3. Pay by credit card: Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act gives you valuable extra protection if an item costing over £100 and less than £30,000 is faulty, not what you ordered, or simply doesn't turn up.

4. Know your rights: Retailers that fail to deliver goods within 30 days of an order must offer you the option of cancelling and getting a full refund.

5. Stand your ground: If your order turns up damaged or is faulty, you can return it to the retailer under the Sale of Goods Act.

Lawyers from Which? Legal Service will be answering your Christmas consumer rights queries online from Monday 5 to Friday 9 December.

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