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Royal Mail paid out more than £7m in compensation last year

Highest number of complaints around lost letters and parcels

Royal Mail van

Royal Mail received 1,025,799 complaints in 2017/18, and paid out £7,725,510 in compensation, according to figures from its Annual Consumer Complaints report.

Complaints to the postal service included those around packages not turning up, redirection services and delayed deliveries. The most common issue by far was lost letters and parcels – there were 257,366 complaints and £4,272,693 paid out.

With 77% of us ordering online, according to online shopping site OnBuy, online delivery is an important factor when shopping – and we expect items to arrive safely and on time.

In our most recent survey about delivery companies (June 2017), where we asked 10,500 people about their experiences, Royal Mail came joint 7th with Hermes out of 13. In the same survey, 14% of people told us their packages never turned up.

Find out which topped our table, and which resided at the bottom, in our guide to the best and worst delivery companies.

Most common Royal Mail delivery issues

When shopping online, we don’t always have a choice of delivery company. But Royal Mail has a dominant share with 47% of the UK delivery market, according to OnBuy, so you’re likely going to have to deal with it.

Below you can see a list of the most common complaints made to Royal Mail:

The third highest complaint from Royal Mail customers, with more than 130,000 issues flagged, was denial of receipt. This is when a delivery company thinks something has been delivered, but the recipient says they haven’t received it. This cost Royal Mail £104,563 in compensation.

The fourth biggest grumble was around delivery failures where a ‘sorry we missed you’ card is left. 93,131 complaints were made about this, and £20,875 paid out.

Complaints logged as ‘other’ meant Royal Mail had to fork out £1,000,057 in compensation.

Don’t get caught out when shopping online – find out which are the best and worst online shops before you buy.

Your rights when a delivery goes wrong

When something you ordered online doesn’t arrive it is the responsibility of the retailer not the courier, so you should complain directly to the shop in the first instance. If your order never arrives, you’re entitled to get a full refund.

If you paid for delivery by a certain date or time (eg by Christmas or next-day delivery) and the delivery arrives late, this is a breach of contract, so you have the right to terminate the purchase and get a full refund. However, if it wasn’t clear to the retailer at the point of purchase, you should give them another opportunity to deliver your goods.

Our step-by-step guide to complaining if a delivery is late or doesn’t turn up will help you make a claim.

If you’re in the unfortunate position to have had your parcel stolen, your rights will depend on whether you agreed for your order to be left where it was said to be delivered to.

If your parcel was left with a neighbour who denies having it, your rights will depend on whether that neighbour was someone you confirmed the parcel could be left with.

Read our guides on how to complain if your parcel was left somewhere or stolen and how to complain if your neighbour denies having your parcel for step-by-step information.

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