Delivery companies could soon be fined if your online order is stolen

Delivery companies could soon be fined for losing your online purchases as a leading charity calls for a major overhaul of the sector.

Online orders were lost or stolen 5 million times in the UK last year according to new data from Citizens Advice, equating to ten parcels lost or stolen every minute of the last year.

The consumer rights charity has called on the government to extend sanctions, currently only placed on Royal Mail, allowing it to fine delivery companies for poor service.

Citizens Advice says Ofcom should be given the power to extend such penalties for all delivery firms in order to force them to take measures to keep customers’ parcels safe.

Nearly 40 per cent of all UK adults said they had received a “sorry you were out” message despite being at home over the past 12 months, meaning parcels were unnecessarily left in places vulnerable to criminals.

A further third of UK consumers said they had experienced delivery problems in the last year but didn’t complain because they didn’t think it would make a difference.

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According to Citizens Advice, which said the number of complaints regarding poor service had tripled over the same period, the phenomenon is largely due to brutal expectations placed on delivery drivers.

The pandemic-fuelled online boom has left delivery companies like Royal Mail, Yodel and DPD scrambling to keep up with demand, placing intense workloads on their drivers.

“When it comes to parcel deliveries, the power of choice is in the hands of the retailers, not those receiving the parcels,” Citizens Advice’s director of policy Matthew Upton said.

“So when we find our parcels under a bush or behind our bins, it’s easy to lay the blame at the door of individual hard-working drivers. But the reality is that these failings are baked into the system.

“Addressing the sheer pressure that drivers are under and holding companies to account is the real way to improve this essential service for the millions of people who rely on it.”

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