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Are online shops delivering the goods?

We may be in lockdown but as a nation we’re still doing a lot of shopping. Online, of course! Most of the time that goes smoothly and we get what we ordered on the day we expect it, but sometimes things go wrong.

boxes on shelves

Figures released today from research undertaken by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) reveal that almost half (47%) of British consumers have had a parcel delivery issue since the first lockdown in March 2020.

The figures show:

  • 96% of people say they’ve ordered an item for delivery since March.
  • The biggest problem consumers face is late delivery, with almost one in three people (30%) across the country facing a delay.
  • Nearly one in five people (18%) who experience a parcel issue also suffered some sort of financial loss, with 40% of those losing over £20.

The CAB’s Consumer Service has received three times as many calls about delivery issues since March compared to the same period last year.

National Consumer Week starts today and the theme is online shopping and your rights.

So what are your rights when shopping off premises?

  • Your rights when purchasing items through an advert or catalogue are exactly the same as buying from any other retailer, so your correspondence about faulty items would be covered under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. In addition, under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013consumers have 14 days cooling off period for changing their minds. A further 14 days is provided from this date to return the item. There are some exceptions to this such as bespoke items.
  • Whether or not return postage has to be paid depends on the trader’s terms and conditions. If you paid extra for speedier delivery and it wasn’t delivered within this time you are entitled to a refund of the additional charge. If the item is faulty you do not pay return postage and you should receive the full cost of any postage paid for sending the item to you.
  • You are also entitled to any out of pocket expenses if the company don’t turn up when they say they will, such as wages for time off work if you have to arrange another date for delivery.
  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015 also states that goods must be delivered within the time frame agreed with the seller. If one hasn’t been agreed (you have agreed a time frame if the listing supplies a time frame) the trader must deliver ‘without undue delay’ and at the very latest not more than 30 days from the day after the contract is made. After this time you are entitled to a full refund for the item and delivery costs.
  • Deliveries must also be carried out with reasonable skill and care. So, if anything is damaged during the delivery, including on your property, you are entitled to redress.
  • Has a parcel gone missing from the doorstep or your neighbour? By providing details for a “safe place” you are agreeing to it being safe! If there is a chance that it could be stolen then don’t use it as a safe place! This is common sense really! Once the retailer has left the item where you specified then it has become your property. You could possibly try and claim from your insurer. If you did not say the item could be left anywhere then a photo of the item on your door step is not proof that it was delivered. If, for example, some fool has put it in a wheelie bin and it is bin collection day and you don’t get the parcel then it has not been delivered with reasonable skill and care and you are entitled to a full refund.
  • Unless you paid the courier company direct (extremely unlikely when purchasing items online) then your contract is with the retailer. So, when a courier company, let’s call it “Model”, is utterly useless and leaves your package somewhere to be stolen or throws it in the garden breaking the contents, it is always the retailer from whom you claim. Even if they try and fob you offand say contact “Model”, don’t. The retailer can deal with the courier and perhaps when they’ve had enough complaints they’ll drop the contract and use a better firm. If you have difficulties you can go to the CEO of the company to whom you paid the money and find their contact details from com
  • If you need the retailer to pick up the item because it is bulky, put the request in writing (why it is important to write not phone), provide a deadline for when they can pick it up, telling them that otherwise you will dispose of the item.

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo

 

For more help, advice, tips, information and templates buy  How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

 

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Business Christmas Companies customer service Complaining about customer service

Tesco fails to deliver – on delivery slots!

Tesco fails to plan for Christmas

Tesco products in a basket

For many years now Tesco like other supermarkets has offered home delivery of your shopping. You can book hourly slots or flexible slots from 6.00am to 11.00pm every day. Tesco also offers a Delivery Saver options where customers can pay for a subscription-based delivery service to save money on the cost of deliveries.

Yesterday (12 November 2020) Tesco customers who are Delivery Savers received notification that slots for Christmas would open two weeks earlier than normal, at 7.00am the following day.

As you would expect, in a repeat of what we saw at the beginning of the March 2020 lockdown, people tried to get slots by staying up to midnight to book a slot as soon as it became available. However, customers queued online for well over an hour and in some cases more than two hours.

The Tesco Twitter feed was plastered with complaints about the site:

Many people complained that friends and relatives who had been in the queue for less time than them but that they were still waiting.

For many of those who were able to finally get a slot they then couldn’t checkout!

 

Others got through and found their basket had been emptied and had to start all over again.

At 9.45am a Tesco Spokesperson said:

“Demand for online slots over the festive period is high, and we have more slots this Christmas than ever before. We are experiencing high volumes of traffic to our website and Groceries app and are temporarily limiting the number of customers using it. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused and would like to reassure customers that there are still slots available for both home delivery and Click & Collect over the Christmas period.”

However, this was not strictly true, as slots were not available from 8.45am:

And just a few hours after opening there were still no slots available. This was the situation at 10.00am:

showing all slots from 21/12/20 booked

Despite this, the Tesco Twitter team was still advising people that slots were available. It admitted that there were technical problems causing some of the issues.

Others offered ways round:

and using more than one device or having lots of tabs open can help too.

Numerous people told the team that the system was wrong and suggested solutions, such as using previous information from customers:

Other ideas included: giving priority to people who had been on the delivery scheme for longer than others, especially as some join the scheme purely for Christmas; informing people of where they are in a position in the queue; releasing some slots at different times of the day, especially as the planned 7.00am time left many parents unable to both watch the site and get children ready for school.

During lockdown many people tried to book a delivery slot and many of these people would not even have been Delivery Saver customers. So, in theory, today should have seen fewer customers trying to book a slot!  But it was chaotic and far worse than through lockdown, when people were left without delivery slots. This time they had to wait for two hours to be told they had missed a slot or get beaten by someone who had waited less time than them!

Tesco has increased the number of its delivery slots from 600,000 to 1.5million a week – which is more than double what was available at the start of the coronavirus lockdown but it’s not clear how many more, if any since the end of lockdown when we know slots increased hugely. In may 2020 it was 1.2 million.

Businesses need to be much better at planning these things. Christmas isn’t like COVID, it can be predicted! Tesco needs to learn lessons from previous years and indeed from throughout this year, when reliable home delivery has become so important.