Royal Mail delays: How to get compensation if your parcel is late – ‘it’s possible’

Budgeting experts at thinkmoney explained: “If you’ve taken the day off work because you were expecting a delivery and it doesn’t turn up, you’ll be especially put out as you’ll have wasted a day’s holiday, with no parcel to show for it. If you have to arrange and wait for a redelivery booked for a specific day, meaning more time away from work, it’s possible that you could claim compensation.”

How to claim

To make a claim for any late parcels, Britons should get in touch with the company first.

Some companies have a standard policy for compensation for late deliveries and people should be able to find details on their website or by ringing the company.

Most companies will pay compensation quite quickly but in case they don’t, a formal letter should be written.

Jonathon Sabinsky, Head of Communications at thinkmoney, explained: “Waiting for a parcel can be frustrating, especially with the vague timelines given by the delivery company. We can end up waiting in the house all day for a parcel only for it not to turn up which can be annoying as well as disappointing.

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“In the run-up to Christmas, it’s so important to know your rights when it comes to a parcel deliveries. You should always contact the seller to see what reimbursement is available for you. After all, if you have paid for a service, whether it is standard or next day delivery, you expect to receive it.”

If your parcel doesn’t turn up on time

Britons should contact the company where they purchased the product if a parcel doesn’t turn up.

Companies have a policy that states customers don’t have to pay delivery costs if a parcel is late. They might also be willing to offer some other kind of compensation if there have been extra costs because of the delay.

That is, for example, if someone takes the day off work because they were expecting a delivery. In that case, it’s possible that to claim compensation.


If Britons have paid extra for a special delivery to ensure the item arrives on time and it has arrived later than agreed, they can claim back the additional cost. This is because the service that was paid for wasn’t delivered.

Late or missing package

Under current law, any goods that people order should be delivered within 30 days unless another date has been agreed.

To get a refund for these goods, customers will need to get in touch with the retailer. However, if concerned about the whereabouts of the parcel, Britons can contact the courier.

If the parcel arrives later than when it was needed for, people can ask for a refund. This is in case if it was due to be delivered on time when it was originally ordered.

Britons have the right to cancel an order within 14 calendar days in exchange for a full refund.

If a more expensive delivery option was paid, customers will only get a refund for the least expensive delivery method, and return delivery costs to send the parcel back may need to be paid.

If the parcel doesn’t arrive after 30 days and the courier says it’s lost in transit, the next step should be to get in contact with the retailer.

The retailer is the one to be contacted as the item not turning up breaches the retailer’s contract with the buyer. People can then can ask for a full refund or for the item to be delivered again.

If there’s no response from the company, Britons should write a formal letter detailing your case for compensation. If they still don’t respond to this, the company can be taken to the small claims court.

Unable to claim a refund through the retailer?

If the retailer doesn’t respond, Britons could be covered by their credit card provider. For this to apply, however, the order purchased would need to be worth at least £100. If people paid £60 on their credit card, and a further £150 another way, for example, customers will still be covered.

Credit card providers only cover these when the purchase was done directly from the trader and not other third parties such as eBay.

This covers goods that didn’t arrive or were faulty when they did. 

Jonathon Sabinsky commented: “In the run-up to Christmas, more of us are turning to online shopping to buy our loved ones the perfect Christmas present. So when it arrives broken or doesn’t arrive at all, it can be disheartening. By knowing your rights for a damaged or missing parcel it can be a little silver lining to the bad luck you’ve endured.”

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