With the advent of internet shopping an overwhelming amount of purchases are now made online, meaning that there's potential for confusion about who's responsible for the goods during the different stages of the transaction. This article looks at some common misconceptions with remote purchases and their associated deliveries
It's quite common for a seller to try and insist that the courier is somewhat liable, leaving you to take up the issue with the delivery agent.The important thing to remember is that the merchant is generally responsible for the goods until they are actually in your possession. There are a number of common problems that often arise
Parcel Left With A Neighbour
If you've included specific instructions to leave your package with a specific neighbour, assuming that the item is actually delivered, the seller is not responsible should something go wrong. If such a thing happens and you can't recover your item, you should speak to the Consumer Rights Advice Line for advice on what action to take for your personal situation.
If you've given more general instructions for the package to be left with a 'neighbour', i.e. someone who lives in close proximity to you, then you've consented to the receive the item from a different address. However if the item is delivered further away from your home than what might reasonably be assumed as a neighbour (e.g. 3 doors away), you can argue that this is not what was agreed, and responsibility will sit with the trader.
If you haven't consented to the package being delivered to an external address, you can complain to the trader on the grounds that you simply haven't received the item.
Parcel Stolen From Outside Home
A merchant may argue that the goods were taken to the address specified by you in your order and therefore it is your problem, however responsibility lies with them to ensure that you receive the goods, in order to complete the 'sales contract'.
If the goods are left, for example on the doorstep, you would simply argue that they haven't been delivered. This of course does not apply if you have specified them to be left in a 'safe place' which they've been stolen from.
As the seller is responsible for the good until they are delivered, any damage sustained during transit will need to be rectified by the seller. In other words, you can't legally be told to take up your complaint with the courier, nor that you'll need to claim on the delivery companies insurance.
Furthermore it's important to note that you can't 'sign away' your rights – some retailers try to assert that a signature upon delivery is confirmation from you that the goods have arrived in acceptable order. Any trader insisting such is in breach of the Sales of Goods Act and the Consumer Rights Act. If you do notice any defects after accepting delivery, make sure you raise them as soon as possible to avoid complications.
Late or Non-arrival of Parcel
Regulations state that goods must be delivered within the time frame agreed with the merchant, When no time frame is agreed, the merchant should deliver without 'undue delay', and within 30 days from the point of the initial purchase. If the merchant is unable to accomplish this you have a right to a refund.
If you've bought goods online, you are free to cancel the contract at any point and even return the items within 14 days of delivery. Whatsmore, if you do cancel an order, you won't be accountable for any costs the seller incurs after the goods have been despatched; if they are yet to be delivered.
If you've paid for an expedited delivery or for an order to arrive by a certain date, (and the goods are late), you can ask for the difference of the delivery cost to be refunded. Additional to that if the goods arrive late, and as a consequence are of no longer use to you, you can return them for a refund on the grounds that the late delivery breached the sales contract.