While most packages in the U.K. make it safely to buyers' doors, some end up in trashcans if no one's home when the delivery man arrives, according to a new study.
Which?, a U.K. consumer group, recently polled 2,500 shoppers who regularly buy items online to measure how satisfied they were with the delivery of their purchases. Most were content, but 8 percent reported their purchases were badly mishandled. In all, consumers reported 200 examples of bad deliveries.
"We were quite surprised at the level," says Sarah Dennis, a Which? researcher. "It is one thing if no one is in and the delivery driver or shop took care, but some of these responses were shocking."
Several people surveyed said their packages were left in recycle bins or trashcans, thrown over gates, and at least once a package was hauled away during trash collection, according to the study. One consumer says a laptop he bought was thrown over a 6-foot wall. Another shopper found a mirror ordered through Marks & Spencer, a top U.K. retailer, in the driveway after being thrown over a gate.
And "scores" of consumers complained that their items were left on their doorsteps in plain view or in the rain, Which? reports.
According to Marks & Spencer, 99 percent of its online orders are delivered successfully. "However, it is clear from the Which? report that some of our products have not been delivered with enough care and attention and this is simply not acceptable," notes a company spokeswoman.
Amazon was another company whose delivery methods left some buyers unhappy. An Amazon spokeswoman responded to the survey report, saying that if customers aren't available when items are dropped off, products are placed in "a suitable alternative location or where the customer has instructed, [or] delivered to a neighbor. We are always grateful for feedback, and if any customer feels that a chosen location was not suitable, we would ask them to contact us so that we can look into the matter further."
Reporting mishandling is key to ensuring items are delivered properly in the future, adds Dennis of Which?.
"People need to complain," Dennis says. "The more people who [report] it, the more likely they are to see results."
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.