The world of retail has been utterly transformed by the advent of the internet.Now, whenever we’d like to buy something – no matter how small or large, we can do so online and have it delivered straight to our doors.In doing so, however, we’re still reliant on the couriers and postal services that bring the items we need to our doors.If you’ve received an item that’s been damaged in transit, it’s easy to become frustrated – but don’t worry; there are still things that you can do to address the problem.Let’s look at some of those steps.
Signing for a delivery
In order to demonstrate that the package has been handed to someone, rather than just dumped on the doorstep, couriers will have you sign for the delivery.But this signature doesn’t imply that you’ve signed any of your consumer rights away.You’re simply saying that you’ve received the package – you aren’t making any comment on its state of repair.If you’re particularly concerned about signing for a delivery you haven’t yet inspected, then you might try writing a note explaining the situation – writing ‘received but not inspected’ on a pen-and-paper form might be wise.If you’re asked to simply scribble into a tiny box on a touchscreen, this option might not be available – but don’t worry; you’ll still be able to retain your rights as a consumer.
Who’s responsible for shipping?
The retailer is responsible for ensuring the item gets to you in one piece – right from the moment the order is placed until the moment it’s signed for.This is set out in the Consumer Rights Act, which came into effect in 2015, replacing the Sale of Goods Act.But this isn’t the only protection that consumers are afforded; consumer contracts regulations specify that the seller is responsible for the condition of the goods themselves.
So what does this mean for consumers?Basically, that every other party involved in the transaction – most notably the courier – is acting on behalf of the retailer.There’s very little point in getting in touch with the courier directly, therefore; you should instead take up any complaints with the retailer.
How soon should I lodge a complaint?
If your goods arrive in less-than-stellar condition, then you’ll want to register a complaint and arrange to have your goods returned as soon as possible.Ideally, you’ll want to do this immediately, as if you wait around for too long, the retailer might conclude that the item wasn’t damaged when it arrived.Most retailers will offer a period of around thirty days for you to check that the item is fully functional.
What if I’m sending a package?
If you’re thinking of sending a package after making an internet sale, then you’ll be responsible for ensuring that it gets there in one piece.This means wrapping it securely is essential – particularly if the item is especially valuable or delicate.Keep a steady supply of bubble-wrap to hand, along with polystyrene parcels and other padding materials.
It also means that you’ll need to guard against delivery error.The clear majority of delivery mishaps occur when the address isn’t written legibly, or if the address is incorrect.To guard against these problems, be sure to print your address information, and use a postcode lookup service to guard against error.If you’ve selected the address in question from a drop-down list, then the likelihood of an error will be hugely reduced.Postcode finder services are widely available, and there’s no real excuse for failing to take advantage of one!
If you’ve sent a package through the royal mail, and it doesn’t arrive at its destination intact, then it’ll be your responsibility to reimburse the buying party – for the reasons we’ve already touched upon.But you’ll still be able to make a claim with the Royal Mail and be compensated for the loss.You’ll need to provide proof of when the item was sent and received, and surrender the items itself along with the packaging it was send in.After first sending the item, you’ll have eighty days in which to make a claim – though the precise amount of money that you can claim back will depend on the sort of postage you’ve chosen.If you’ve elected to buy enhanced compensation when sending, then you’ll be able to make a claim back up to several thousand pounds – so if you’re sending something especially valuable, be sure to ship accordingly in order to avoid unnecessary risk.