Citizens Advice has found that over two in five (45%)of people in the South East have had an issue with parcel delivery since the country went into lockdown in March.

This comes at a time when over half (51%) of people across the country feel more reliant on parcel deliveries as a result of the pandemic, with 97% of people in the South East saying they’d ordered a parcel since March.

Late parcels were the biggest problem faced by consumers in the South East, with 26% reporting this issue.

Despite widespread problems, the charity found that only 33% people across the region knew their rights if something went wrong.

As a result this National Consumer Week, which runs between 16 and 22 November, Citizens Advice across Oxfordshire are working to help clue Oxfordshire’s consumers up on their rights if something goes wrong with a parcel delivery.

Pat Coomber-Wood, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice North Oxfordshire and South Northamptonshire, said:

“Parcel delivery has been a lockdown lifeline for so many of us this year. It’s helped us turn our homes into makeshift offices; send gifts to those we love and miss; and get hold of essentials and the occasional luxury.

“With the current restrictions in place parcels will continue to be vital. So it’s not good enough that so many people across Oxfordshire are having issues. And it’s especially worrying that the number of people who don’t know their rights if something goes wrong is so high.

“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.”

Citizens Advice across Oxfordshire gives their top tips to help people shop safely and securely from home:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.  
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