If you are currently stewing over a missing parcel, you are not alone. Go to online forums or social media and you’ll find so many other people in the same situation.
You ordered something online days or weeks ago, the retailer says it is delivered, the courier says it is delivered but nothing has shown up on your door.
Luckily you are protected by consumer rights. Additionally most retailers are willing to help you find the package
Here’s what you should do if a parcel goes missing.
1. Check again and ask your neighbours
Before you contact customer service make sure you are not the one who has missed the package. Maybe the delivery person left it behind a bush or somewhere else out of site to prevent theft. Double check the area to be sure it’s missing.
It’s also a good idea to check with your neighbours. There are many cases of packages being delivered to nearby addresses by mistake.
2. Wait a while longer
If the package was supposed to arrive in 2 days but it has been a week now, this tip is not for you. Jump to the next one.
But if the parcel has been late for just a few hours or a day, give it a bit more time especially if the online tracker shows that it hasn’t been delivered yet. It could have just been delayed but is on the way. It happens.
3. Contact the retailer
If your package is way past the estimated delivery period, the first place to turn to is the retailer.
Under UK’s consumer rights, the retailer is responsible for the product until it gets to you.
So if a parcel is missing, it is the retailer and not the courier who is responsible for finding out what went wrong.
For quick help, give their customer service a call or send them a message on social media. Provide the tracking number and they’ll take it from there.
The retailer will check with the delivery company they used and then get back to you with feedback.
4. Contact the courier
To speed things up you can also contact the courier.
This can sometimes be tricky because most couriers are actually not the main delivery companies. They are resellers who pass on your package to other major companies like Hermes, Yodel or DHL.
This complicates things because you are not talking directly to the company that was supposed to deliver the parcel to your door.
So it’s up to the third party service to try and find out where your parcel went.
If your parcel was delivered directly by the main service, it might be easier to trace it.
5. Ask for a refund or dispute the transaction
If no one can find the parcel, ask the retailer for a refund or a replacement item. You are also entitled for a refund if the item arrives late beyond the estimated delivery period.
If the retailer is unresponsive – a common tactic to avoid giving refunds – you can get your money back in other ways.
If you paid via PayPal, use their buyer’s protection guarantee to get a full reimbursement.
If you paid using a credit card, the Consumer Credit Act gives you the right to claim a refund as long as the item is worth between £100 and £30,000.
If you used a debit card you can ask your bank to reverse the transaction though this doesn’t always work.
You can also try submitting a complaint to The Retail Ombudsman (now called RetailADR) and they might help you.
How to prevent missing parcels
In many cases it’s not your fault when a parcel goes missing and there is little you can do to prevent it. But there are a few ways to reduce the risk of a parcel going missing.
- Buy from trusted retailers. Not only is their delivery process more efficient, they are also more likely to help you track a missing package or give you a refund in case a parcel goes missing.
- If the retailer or seller lets you choose a preferred carrier, select a trusted service like Royal Mail.
- Buy a parcel drop box to prevent parcel theft. Your package may have been delivered but was swiped off the front porch. A secure parcel drop box lets carriers deposit parcels safely when you are away. You can then retrieve them with a key when you come back.