Your rights when parcels are lost or stolen
by Brean Horne, Senior Writer
It can be incredibly frustrating if a parcel doesn’t arrive when it’s supposed to. And even more so if it ends up lost or stolen.
If your package hasn’t arrived, try not to panic! There are ways to track it down or recover your money if it can’t be found or replaced.
Find out your rights as a buyer (and seller) if a package doesn’t show up.
Your rights if a parcel is lost or stolen
When you buy something from a business to be delivered to you, it’s the seller’s responsibility to make sure that your order arrives.
So, if your package doesn’t show up it’s their duty to chase the courier or delivery service to find out what may have happened to your parcel – not yours.
This applies to sellers across the board, whether it’s a huge retailer, an independent business, an eBay merchant or a pre-loved fashion seller on Vinted.
What to do if your parcel hasn’t been delivered but the courier says it has
In some cases, a courier may say that a package has been delivered, when it hasn’t actually arrived. Which can be quite alarming and disappointing if you need an item by a certain date.
There are lots of reasons why this may happen though. For example, they may have left it with your neighbour. So try not to panic.
The best first step is to contact the seller so that they can alert the courier and start investigating where your parcel might be.
What happens if a parcel goes missing from a ‘safe place’?
Sometimes you can request for a parcel to be delivered to a safe place – for example to a trusted neighbour, on your porch or in your garden.
If it is stolen or goes missing from the safe place, then it’s not the seller or courier’s responsibility to offer a refund or replacement.
If the courier leaves your package with a neighbour or in a place where you haven’t requested it be left, then it’s still the seller’s duty to track it down or offer a refund.
What happens if a parcel arrives damaged?
Similarly to late or missing parcels, you’ll need to get in touch with the seller if your package arrives damaged.
They’ll be responsible for arranging a replacement or refunding you.
Other ways to get your money back
If you run into issues with the seller and they don’t offer you a replacement or refund you may be able to recover your money in the following ways depending on how you paid for the item.
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (which is usually just called Section 75) is a form of legal protection you pay for goods and services using your credit card.
Section 75 essentially lets you claim against your bank or lender if you don’t get the goods or services you paid for.
It applies to purchases of more than £100 and less than £30,000. And you only need to make part of the payment by credit card for Section 75 to kick in.
Check out our Section 75 and consumer rights guide for more information on how it works and if it can help you.
Chargeback is a scheme that offers protection when you buy goods and services using your debit card or credit card transactions under £100.
It typically applies if your purchases are damaged, not as described or haven’t been delivered.
Through chargeback, your payment provider can reclaim money from the retailer and transfer it back into your account.
Unlike Section 75, chargeback isn’t a legal right so there are no guarantees that your card provider will be able to recover money using the scheme.
You’ll also need to submit a chargeback claim as soon as possible. Usually, payment providers need to start the chargeback process within 120 days from when you made the transaction.
Or, when you were supposed to receive your products or services.
Can you claim for a stolen parcel through home insurance?
It’s unlikely that your home insurance policy will cover the cost of stolen parcels from your property. The only exception is likely to be if the packages are already inside your house and someone breaks in.
It’s important to take extra precautions if you don’t think you’ll be home when a package is due to arrive to avoid it being stolen.
- Opting to have it delivered to a pickup location or a trusted neighbour instead
- Installing security cameras or a doorbell camera on your property
- Ensuring you have security lights installed and working
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What are your rights if a parcel you send is late, damaged or missing?
Sellers are responsible for making sure that packages are delivered to buyers in the condition advertised.
If you send a package that is running late or has been reported damaged or missing, you’ll need to get in touch with the delivery company as soon as possible to find out more.
Each courier has its own investigation and claims process. You may be entitled to a refund for missing parcels and compensation if you paid for additional insurance as well.
It’s really important to know the terms and conditions of a courier before using the service.
They’ll often offer different tiers of postage depending on the:
- delivery speed
- parcel weight
- value of items you want to cover
Be sure to buy the right compensation level to cover the value of items you send.
Having to send a replacement item or refund a buyer could leave you out of pocket otherwise, if anything goes wrong with the delivery.