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Pass the Parcel? Know your rights with online deliveries

Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership are working to help West Berkshire’s consumers understand their rights if something goes wrong with a parcel delivery.

And the key message is that if your parcel goes missing, you should speak to the trader to deal with the problem, not the courier company.


The reminder is being issued because Citizens Advice has found that 45% of adults in the South East of England have had an issue with parcel delivery since the country went into lockdown in March.


Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership have shared their top tips to help people shop safely and securely from home:


  • Check delivery policies - before you place an order find out what the delivery times, costs and returns policies are of the items you have ordered.

  • If you’re out of the house during delivery - Consider asking a neighbour or friend if it can be delivered to their address if you think it may be a time or date you are not home. But beware, if you do provide details of a safe space or nominated neighbour and something goes wrong it’s not the seller or courier’s responsibility.

  • Online trader or online marketplace? - Make sure you know if you are dealing with a trader or a private seller on an online marketplace as dispute processes may vary. If you have an issue with a trader, a dispute can be raised directly with them, but if it’s a private individual it may be easier to go through a marketplace's dispute process.

  • Review traders - Check and review if the trader is genuine. It’s always worth taking a look at reviews to gain an insight as to how reliable the company is and how well they deal with missing parcel complaints and refunds.

  • Who to deal with when a parcel goes missing - your purchase and contract is with the seller. If your parcel goes missing you should speak to the trader to deal with the problem, not the courier company.

Sue Mackie, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice West Berkshire, said: “Parcel delivery has been a lockdown lifeline for so many of us in West Berkshire this year. It’s helped us get hold of essentials, turn our homes into makeshift offices and send gifts to those we love and miss. With the current restrictions in place, secure parcel delivery will continue to be vital. And it’s especially worrying that the number of people who don’t know their rights if something goes wrong is so high.”


Malcolm Phillips, Fraud Victim Support Officer for the Public Protection Partnership, said: “With the festive season coming up, it’s important to remember that it’s the seller’s responsibility - not yours or the courier’s - to make sure the item gets to you. As we all turn to shopping online more, it’s important people feel confident that they can shop safely and securely from home.”

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