What should I do if my parcel goes missing?

Date published: 07 January 2022


Citizens Advice is a local charity that provides free, independent, impartial advice to Oldham residents.  Each month we share advice around a key issue that we’re seeing across Oldham.


I want to do more shopping online, but there’s been things in the news about delivery problems. I'm worried about not receiving things on time or packages being lost. What should I do if my parcel goes missing?


When you’re online shopping, it’s not always clear whom to contact if things go wrong.

As a customer, your contract is with the seller that you bought the item from. It’s the seller’s responsibility to make sure the item is delivered to you. They should chase the courier to find out what happened to your order if there’s a problem.

If your parcel hasn’t arrived:
Check the delivery address you gave the seller, to make sure it’s correct.
Then contact the seller and ask where your order is.
If the seller claims they've delivered it or doesn't know where it is, you can ask for redelivery. You might be able to get a refund in some circumstances where the delivery time was essential and you let the seller know ahead of time.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, you can ask the seller to deliver the item to you again if the item wasn’t delivered either by an agreed date, or within a reasonable time - usually within 30 days. If the new delivery fails to come within a reasonable time, you can ask the seller for a refund.

If your parcel was left somewhere:
Another problem people face is when parcels get left in different places, for example outside or with a neighbour.

If your item was delivered by Royal Mail:
If Royal Mail left your package with a neighbour or in a certain place because you told them to, it’s not the seller or Royal Mail’s responsibility if it gets lost.

If they leave it somewhere you hadn’t instructed, it’s the seller’s responsibility if it gets lost. You should contact the seller to ask for a redelivery or a refund.

If the item was delivered by a courier:
Check your terms and conditions or account details - they might include other places for delivery, like your porch or a neighbour’s house. If you agreed to them, it’s not the seller’s or courier’s responsibility if your order has gone missing. However, if you did not agree to this, then it’s the sellers responsibility if your order goes missing.

If you ordered something from a private seller or you’re still having trouble after trying the tips above, you can speak to one of our advisers on 0808 278 7803 (freephone) or visit our website.


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