Half of households find Christmas parcel firms fail to deliver

Nearly half of households receiving Christmas deliveries from online retailers have seen them go wrong, a survey suggests, as customers revealed that parcels were being thrown over fences, left in the rain or taken by binmen.

Four in ten shoppers experienced at least one problem with their courier during the run-up to last Christmas, according to research by Which?.

The consumer watchdog surveyed more than 2,000 people about the issues they had encountered buying goods online. Among the reported blunders were items arriving damaged, parcels being dumped in the bin and others being thrown over fences, including a crate of wine that was hurled over a garden gate.

Of those who reported a delivery that went wrong, one in five were delivered late, one in ten were left outside without consent and one in fourteen went missing.

A separate survey found that customer satisfaction varied considerably between different delivery companies, although generally it was high.

At the bottom of the list was Yodel, which at least 16 per cent of customers rated as “poor” in terms of communication about their parcel. Amazon topped the rankings with at least 90 per cent of shoppers giving a high rating in terms of punctuality, communication and condition of the parcel on arrival.

Adam French, a consumer expert at Which?, said that Christmas was “peak time for late, damaged or missing parcels and we have heard about scores of delivery disasters”. He said that proposed reforms from the regulator Ofcom, which aim to improve how companies handle complaints, were timely but added: “They must lead to far better levels of service for consumers, who are now more reliant on deliveries than ever before.”

A Yodel spokesman said: “We are proud of the hard work and diligence of our workers up and down the country and welcome all feedback from our customers to support us in addressing the aspects of our service we can build on. Other independent review platforms have indicated how much progress we have made in improving our service levels.”

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Half of households find Christmas parcel firms fail to deliver