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Not very festive! Deliveries at Christmas worse than any other time of year

New research reveals how around 1 in 5 (19%) UK adults say they’ve been let down at Christmas when it comes to their online orders.

Published on 14 December 2023
  • Buying online is still a very popular option over the high street for many. On average, UK adults have around 4 parcels delivered to their home every month.
  • But with one of the busiest months ahead for parcel deliveries, demands for online shopping could mean delays, damages or even lost items.
  • And for those who have previously experienced a delivery disaster around christmas time, many were left short of money and feeling let down.
  • If your online delivery is lost, broken or damaged this Christmas, don’t panic. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015(1), retailers are responsible for your items until they’re in your physical possession.
  • Home and lifestyle expert, Matthew Harwood at Confused.com home insurance explains more about your rights this Christmas and what to do if your parcels go missing.

Deliveries at Christmas are worse than any other time of year.

New research reveals how around 1 in 5 (19%) UK adults say they’ve been let down at Christmas time when it comes to their online orders. That’s according to Confused.com, who asked 2,000 UK adults about their delivery disasters ahead of the festive period. According to the research, the average Brit has around 4 parcels delivered each month to their home. But with one of the busiest months ahead for postal and delivery services, this number could be higher throughout December.

In the lead up to Christmas, the volume of delivery requests can add extra strain on both retailers and delivery companies as they work hard to meet demand. But these pressures could result in more mishaps than usual. And as we approach Christmas time, this could be a huge annoyance and stress for millions of customers around the UK. Especially if they rely on online shopping over the highstreet. One in 10 (10%) people even said they’d work from home if they knew a delivery was on the way.

For those who have had items arrive damaged, or even not at all, around Christmas, it often left them feeling frustrated or short of money. That’s as almost half (47%) weren’t able to give a Christmas gift at all because their item was lost or delayed. Around 2 in 5 (37%) said they had to fork out extra money to replace gifts, and around a quarter (27%) were left to worry about the situation on their own. That’s as they couldn’t get the issue resolved due to delivery companies being so busy over the festive season.

To avoid the problem, 1 in 4 (25%) told Confused.com that they shop online in advance to avoid any issues. And 1 in 5 (22%) said that they don’t shop online at all over Christmas, to limit the risk of their items going missing or arriving damaged. And while it's great for some to prep ahead before the mad rush, not everyone can. So if you find yourself in a situation where your delivery hasn’t arrived or has gone missing, knowing your rights can help.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015(1), retailers are responsible for any items purchased until they have physically been received by the customer. So if your order goes missing or arrives faulty, you should contact the retailer who can replace or refund the item. And the majority of people (76%) do after having a delivery disaster. But more than half (53%) said they also went to the delivery courier. In some instances, customers went to their home insurance provider to claim back for lost items (9%). You should usually go directly to the retailer, but there are times where your home insurance could help in these scenarios. For example, if your parcel went missing after you asked the delivery driver to leave it in a ‘safe place’, you become responsible and not the retailer. So if you have an ‘out of home’ home insurance policy in place, you might be able to make a claim.

And data shows how reputation and experience can really leave an impression on some customers. That’s as almost 1 in 5 (18%) said they wouldn’t shop with certain companies if they’d previously had a bad delivery experience. Some common issues were deliveries being left in a place which customers didn’t request (37%), and the item being delivered but not found (17%). With Christmas right around the corner, this could even mean some retailers are missing out on important custom due to previous mistakes.

But it’s not just delivery drivers and retailers which make customers on edge. According to the research, around 1 in 10 (9%) say they don’t trust their neighbours to take in a parcel for them. But luckily that’s a minority.

Home and lifestyle expert Matthew Harwood at Confused.com home insurance comments:

“As we get closer to Christmas, the demand for deliveries intensifies as millions of people start to buy gifts for their loved ones. And although some people said they prefer to physically shop on the highstreet this time of year, it’s not the case for all. So as delivery pressures increase, there’s a real risk that some customers might experience delays or damages throughout December.

"If you’ve bought online and your item either hasn’t arrived or has been stolen, you might be tempted to claim for missing items on your home insurance. Especially if it’s of higher value. But this could affect your no claims bonus. So before going down this route, you should always try to resolve the issue with the retailer first.

“Retailers are responsible to get items to you in one piece, and on time. If they don’t, customers are within their right to ask for a refund or a replacement. They might ask you to provide some evidence to help with their investigation. So make sure to have things like your order number and delivery details available. “


Notes to editors

About Confused.com

Launched in 2002, Confused.com was the UK's first digital marketplace for car insurance and is one of the leading brands in the sector, generating over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the years to include home insurance, van insurance, motorcycle insurance, and car finance comparison, as well as a number of tools designed to save consumers money.

Confused.com is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides an objective and unbiased service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more. Confused.com’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators.

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