Deliveries Laws

How to complain about a non/late delivery

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.

If an item has been left and then stolen it is your responsibility if you provided details for a “safe place”. You are agreeing to it being safe! If there is a chance that it could be stolen don’t use it as a safe place! Common sense really! It has become your property as the retailer has left the item where you specified. You could possibly try and claim from your insurer.






However, if some fool has put it in a wheelie bin and it’s a bin day then the service has not been carried out with reasonable skill and care and you are entitled to a full refund.

A common mistake people make is to contact the courier and some retailers will try and fob you off and make you do this. However, your contract is with the trader, their contract is with the courier. Here is a template letter for when things go wrong with a delivery (put in your own information instead of the writing in bold).

Use “faithfully” when it is “Dear Sir/Madam” and “sincerely” where you know the name of the person to whom you are writing) and replace the bold with your information!

More information about your rights regarding buying online and deliveries can be found in Your rights mail order, online and deliveries.

If you don’t get a satisfactory response from the company contact the CEO. You can find the contact details for any CEO on

You can purchase a templates for failures with Goods and services.

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo


For more templates, advice,information and guidance about your rights and the laws there to protect you from faulty goods and poor service see How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

How to complain about deliveries

By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

8 replies on “How to complain about a non/late delivery”

Hi i am after some advice about an order i made months ago and not arrived on contacting the company all i ever get is very busy will be with you 26 aug well i am fed up with them and excuses is there anything i cane do please

What about us, the small business that has dispatched the goods?? We are a small print company, we work hard to complete jobs to tight deadlines and we dispatch them with a couple of reputable couriers. As often as once a week now, we are getting complaints from customers who haven’t received their item and are demanding a full refund from US! At best we get the delivery charge of the returned to us. We lose all the money we’ve spent on materials and labour to produce the job. Sometimes we don’t just lose that money, we lose the customer who blames us. We have no control over the delivery once it has been collected by the courier. And we often have no knowledge of a problem or delay until after the time the item was due to be delivered. Who can WE go to for help or compensation?

Unfortunately this site is for B2C not B2B. However, I would advise that you find a reputable courier that will discuss terms regarding culpability, possible insurance etc. It may be worth paying more for postage and researching blanket as well as individual insurance. The Sale of Goods Act and the Supply of Goods and Service Act, although repealed for B2C are still in existence for B2B. You could even consider a case putting all the losses together over a period and take them to the Small Claims Court. As I say I don’t do B2B but hope these ideas give you some help and somthing to think about. You’re welcome.

I’m still waiting for the delivery of curtains which I ordered on 14th Feb . I’ve contacted the firm by phone on numerous occasions and have been fobbed off. I’ve been reasonable because of Covid-19 but I’ve had enough. What they havent done though is to offer me a firm date for delivery, deliberately I think. How does this affect my case for a full refund? Do I have to have agreed a date which was not met? Thank you Clive

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