If we have directed you to this page because you have told us that an item has not arrived, it is important that you read all the information contained here so you understand what happens next, what we will need you to do and what we will do.
The VAST majority of items we send by Royal Mail arrive quickly and without problem - we believe this is down to the way we despatch our orders :
- We use a dedicated address label printer with a Royal Mail approved large sized font
- We always post by First Class in order to minimise delays
- We use good quality and new (not used) packaging materials like padded envelopes, foam and bubblewrap and good quality Scotch® parcel tape
- We always ensure adequate protection for the parcel contents with extra bubblewrap etc if appropriate
- We make sure the packages are sealed closed correctly, using extra parcel tape if necessary
However, occasionally items go missing or are delayed and this page outlines our policies where this happens.
It may all seem a bit complex at first glance, but we've tried to make it as simple as possible, so make yourself a cuppa and take a few minutes to settle down and have a read! If you would prefer to read a hard copy (paper copy) of this page rather than this on-screen version, you can download a printable pdf here : lost_or_delayed_parcels.pdf
Important Points To Note : Most "lost" parcels are just delayed
Royal Mail specify a 15 working day period before they consider a parcel to be lost. Working days are defined as Monday to Saturday and the 15 days is from the expected delivery date which is usually the day after posting.
We have found that if a parcel does not get delivered within a few days of despatch, most of them WILL still arrive within this 15 day period, with only a tiny proportion actually going missing (a fraction of 1 percent actually requiring a claim for loss to be put in).
We will ask you to check with your postman and at your local delivery office
One of the first things we will do if you inform us that something has not arrived is ask you to enquire with your postman AND your local delivery office. If you have a regular postman, it's possible he may recall leaving an item somewhere for you or leaving a card or taking it back to the depot.
In addition to asking your postman, we will ask you to enquire at your delivery office (this is not your local post office, so ask your postman where it is if you do not know).
If an item is too big to go through your letterbox and there is nowhere for the postman to leave it for you, the item will be taken back to the depot for you to collect.
The postman "should" leave you a card to say there is something for you back at the depot but we have found that they don't always leave a card, so we will ask you to go there and see if there is a parcel waiting for you. You will need proof of your name and address to collect something if you did not recieve a card.
It's important that you do enquire there because mail held for you but not collected will be returned to us (our return address is on the outside of every parcel we post out for exactly this purpose) and if this happens you will need to pay again for it to be reposted back to you.
Our Procedure When Informed of a Delayed/Missing Parcel : To give you the highest level of customer care possible, and to maximise the chances of a prompt and successful outcome to any claim with Royal Mail (IF we end up having to make a claim) we have developed a set procedure that we will work to.
As certain aspects of the procedure require your co-operation and response, we do need you to keep to the procedure as laid out below.
To make it easier for you to see what you need to do and when, we show the procedure as a "timeline" and have added [CUSTOMER.ACTION] when there is something we need you to do.
Whenever we post an item we usually email the customer to say it's been sent, usually giving an expected day of arrival.
For the purpose of this timeline, we refer to the day of despatch as DAY1 and we are counting calendar days (which gets slightly complicated by the fact that Royal Mail's timeframes are measured in working days, but don't worry we deal with that!).
As most items are sent first class we usually expect them to arrive on DAY2 ... if the item has not been received by DAY9 (the one week anniversary of the expected day of arrival) we move into the next stage of the procedure.
To clarify this, imagine a parcel is sent on Monday (DAY1)... we'd expect it to arrive on Tuesday (DAY2) - DAY9 would be the following Tuesday.
THE PROCEDURE/TIMELINE FOR DEALING WITH MISSING/DELAYED PARCELS
- DAY1 We post the item (which hopefully arrives the next day or at some point in the next week)
- DAY9 If the parcel has not arrived by the one-week anniversary of the due date, [CUSTOMER.ACTION] you should contact us to let us know it has not arrived.
- DAYS10-13 In the next couple of days we will do several things, these include (1) emailing you a copy of our proof-of-posting, giving you peace of mind so you can see that it has actually been posted ... (2) work out for you what date the Royal Mail 15-working-day deadline falls on - this is the point at which they will officially recognise the parcel as missing and a formal claim can be submitted... (3) start preparing claims paperwork to be submitted to Royal Mail if the item remains undelivered when their deadline is reached.
[CUSTOMER.ACTION] Also in the DAYS10-13 period, we need you to ask your postman if he knows anything about the parcel and visit or phone the local delivery office to see if they are holding an item of post for you there. It would also be sensible to ask any other occupants of your address if they have seen a parcel, as well as ask your neighbours the same question.
PLEASE NOTE THAT ORDERS PAID FOR BY PAYPAL MIGHT BE ADDRESSED TO THE ACTUAL PAYER (I.E. IF YOU GOT YOUR WIFE TO PAY FOR IT ON PAYPAL OR ON HER CARD VIA PAYPAL, THE PARCEL MAY BE ADDRESSED TO HER)
- DAYS14-15 [CUSTOMER.ACTION] We will need you to confirm that the parcel has still not arrived and that you have spoken to your postman, delivery office, neighbours and anyone who is also at the delivery address. This is so we can finalise claims paperwork to submit to Royal Mail as soon as their 15 working day deadline is up.
- UPON THE PASSING OF ROYAL MAIL'S 15 WORKING DAY DEADLINE We will submit a claim to Royal mail for the loss of the parcel.
[CUSTOMER.ACTION] When Royal mail receive the claim one of the things they will do is to send you a form called a "Denial Of Receipt Letter (P91)" - you have 10 working days to fill this in and return it to them - IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU COMPLETE THIS FORM IN FULL AND RETURN IT TO ROYAL MAIL WITHIN THE 10 DAYS ... the claim will be rejected if it is not returned in time which means we will not be able to issue any replacement or refund.
Refunds / Replacement Items : We are unable to issue replacements or refunds on any orders where the parcel has gone missing and where a claim is in progress, until that claim is settled and compensation received from Royal Mail.
If you need replacement goods the way to go about this is to reorder the items and we will then refund in full (including the postage) the cost of these replacements (or the original lost items) once we receive compensation from Royal Mail.
Because the success of a claim relies on the customer completing the "Denial Of Receipt Letter" and returning it to Royal Mail in time, we have in the past had occasions where we have issued replacement goods or refunds and the customer "didn't bother" with the letter (lets face it, it's only human nature - the customers had received replacement goods or their money back, so the form had little importance to them) and consequently the claim was rejected and we ended up out of pocket.
We have also had a couple of occasions in the past where customers claimed to have not received goods when in fact they had - this was discovered by the Royal Mail investigations team, unfortunately after we had issued refunds, so again we ended up out of pocket ... apart from bringing a civil or criminal case of Obtaining Goods By Deception against these people (which just wouldn't be worth it for £30 worth of CB items), there was no way of recovering this.
This is one of the reasons that one of the very first things we will do when we hear that a parcel might be missing is to forward the customer a copy of our proof-of-despatch, so that the customer can be reassured that it was posted when we say it was posted and that we will work with them towards a fair and just outcome for everyone.
Royal Mail have a target turnaround time for claims of 30 days from the date the claim is received by them.
Because in percentage terms the actual number of claims submitted to Royal Mail is comparably very small, their investigations team are able (and willing) to go to quite extraordinary lengths to find out what's happened to a missing parcel ... i believe their motivation is rooting out and ridding the organisation of staff theft rather than actually recovering goods but the net effect is the same - they will talk to delivery staff (i.e. the actual post men and women who deliver door-to-door) and those in the sorting office and seem to very quickly build up a picture of what has happened to seemingly untraceable individual parcels.
In the last year or two we have read about several cases where they have brought criminal proceedings against people for Obtaining Goods By Deception, because they had claimed to have not received something that it was later found that they had received.
For your information, you can read more about missing post and the claims procedure on the Royal Mail website :
Royal Mail's compensation policy for loss
What to do if your mail seems to be late or lost
This page last updated 30/06/2012