Image by Karoly Lorentey, Budapest
We recently posted a blog post all about your rights as a consumer when a delivery you ordered fails to appear. Understanding your rights is step one, step two is taking action. The following advice should help you receive the compensation you deserve when retailers fail to deliver.
Approaching the Retailer
Some companies have a late delivery procedure that may compensate you with a refund for the delivery charge, or a voucher for money off future shopping. You may find this on the retailer's website under FAQs. If you're happy with this, then follow the procedure as described in the FAQ. Otherwise, contact the retailer directly and let them know that they didn't meet your expectations. Regardless of your legal rights, companies will often hand out compensation to disappointed customers to protect their reputation.Explain to them why they are in breach of contract, citing the delivery date and time you were given and how you received this date and time (by email, over the phone etc. If you have incurred any consequential losses, let them know the cost. If you have a figure in mind you would like to receive, let them know.The amount you receive will very rarely exceed the total of the item's value, delivery cost, your consequential loss and a nominal compensation. If you received the item eventually you will most likely be expected to pay for it in full. The compensation may be in the form of vouchers rather than cash. If you are not happy with this and you are still within seven working days of ordering, you can threaten to return the item for a refund citing the Distance Selling Regulations.
Formal Letter and Negotiation
If the retailer's offers don't meet with your satisfaction, the next step is to write a formal letter of complaint. In the letter, you want to explain, in detail, including as many dates and times as you can; when you communicated with the company, when you expected delivery and why you are unsatisfied. Tell them you believe you have a case, but would prefer not to take them to court, and what you would consider a satisfactory level of compensation. Avoid emotional language and stick to the facts.Keep a copy of the letter and send it recorded delivery to ensure receipt. Be prepared to negotiate, as going to court is a lot more hassle.
Take Them to Court
If you still don't receive your desired outcome, then seek legal aid and ask them about Small Claims Court and the civil claims procedure. The law varies slightly in different parts of the country, but a no win no fee lawyer may be able to claim their expenses from the other side if you have a strong case. Sometimes a letter on legal headed notepaper will be enough to push a retailer to cave to your demands, but if not then be prepared to deal with lawyers for the next six months, as court proceedings are rarely quick and easy.In most cases you'll be saving money and time by avoiding court at all costs. It's a good threat if you are being stonewalled by the retailer, but unless you suffer a huge loss that the retailer refuses to pay out anything for, then you are probably best settling for whatever compensation you can get them to offer.