Online retail complaints surged 138% last year as shops “stopped playing by the rules”

Online shopping dominated consumer complaints last year seeing the number of complaints jump 138 per cent.

According to Resolver’s Annual Complaints Data 2020/2021, online retail was the most complained about sector last year, breaking records to recieve over a quarter of a million complaints.

While many customers criticised retailers’ customer service during the year, delivery was by far the most contentious issue.

More than 111,000 complaints were made about deliveries against online retailers, while 91,906 complaints were made specifically against delivery firms.

“The pandemic has changed life for everyone and its impact on our behaviour, how we live and how we engage with services is here to stay,” Resolver’s chief executive Alex Neill said.

“Given the upheaval, it’s extraordinary that complaints remain at record levels – and it’s worrying that the things people sought help with have transformed too, involving increasingly serious issues.”

READ MORE: Asda and Sainsbury’s online customers receiving gone off food in deliveries

While the rise in complaints reflects a dramatic rise in usage of online shopping services, complaints about high street retailers only saw an eight per cent dip to 65,501 despite being closed for much of the year.

“Only immediate problems like refunds for holidays and flights drove the initial surge in complaints,” Neill continued.

“But as the year wore on, we saw patience turn to frustration across numerous sectors. Hundreds of thousands of people began to struggle as some businesses stopped playing by the rules and started making it much harder to contact them to complain.

“Customer service and consumer rights are non-negotiable, so in the year ahead, we want to see more action taken against businesses and sectors that don’t play ball.”

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