Distance Selling - and delivery delays

So just had a question about online orders and distance selling regs - if anyone here can help me make sense of stuff, that would be super helpful.

Long story short, I bought some stuff online for Christmas, it was shipped 21 days ago, and the tracking shows only as “Receieved by Royal Mail” (no steps further).

It’s now passed the point where I can use it in the timeframe I needed it, so I wish to cancel the order - but the vendor is being funny about it.

Anyone know any stuff about these aspects of the distance selling regs:

  • With distance selling, I have at least 7 days after item is received, to cancel the order - so I can legit cancel it whilst it is in transit?

  • Does a statement of shipping lead times on their order page constitute an agreed delivery time? (I.e. “Royal Mail - up to 3 days”)

  • As I’m cancelling because of non delivery, would I be responsible for return postage costs, or would the vendor?

I know obviously the Royal Mail network is super slammed at the mo, so I’m super understanding that it’s delayed. It’s just now delayed past the point of any use, and the supplier is now being a bit difficult about stuff.

Cheers :slight_smile:

I ordered coffee on 27 November that still hasn’t turned up.

Seller has been very proactive in keeping me up to date, which is nice.

On Monday, he went in person to the Royal Mail depot. Apparently, they have packages just stored in shipping containers, there are so many that they can’t deliver. All their resources are going into tracked items to try to limit their liability. Any “standard” parcels may not get through until January.

It’s particularly mad that they’re so jumbled up and disorganised that my roaster couldn’t even get his packages back to deliver himself - it would mean trawling through all the shipping containers.

By end of January, the coffee won’t be fresh and will almost certainly have been bashed about, possibly picking up aromas along the way.

I foresee a barrage of claims from January onwards, but more likely by sellers against Royal Mail for excessive delay.

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We’ve been lucky round my way, no problems whatsoever with Royal Mail. Hope you get your issue resolved.

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There’s a lot of information here


Late deliveries

There is a default delivery period of 30 days, during which the retailer needs to deliver unless a longer period has been agreed.

If the retailer fails to deliver within the 30 days, or on the date that has been agreed, you can do the following:

You can otherwise cancel the order up to 14 days from the time it arrives, but if it’s not late so that the above doesn’t apply, and it’s not faulty, you’ll need to pay the return postage.


Ah interesting, I’d found the distanced selling page on Which, which has a few slightly different explanations.

I assume then in this case the “1-3 day delivery” would not be seen as an “Agreement” outside the 30 day terms.

May give it a week and see what happens either way.

It seems making this thread was useful though, 4 other items that have been due for at least 2 weeks have just arrived!

(Including my trial pair of On That Ass undies that were highly reccomended).

Distance selling regs were killed off for consumers a few years ago:

With distance selling, I have at least 7 days after item is received, to cancel the order

Where do you get this from? it’s 14 and another 14 from the point you cancel to return.

Best place to check in, is over at MSE. The information always updated so will always be the latest rules & regulations.

Edit - and here’s an extract

I’m still waiting on a delivery but now it’s too late. Can I cancel my order? If the delivery has taken more than 30 calendar days then you can legally cancel the contract and get a refund, regardless of whether the item was bought online or in store.
If you’ve waited less than 30 days, your rights depends on how you bought the item.

If you ordered it online then it may be possible to cancel the item before it arrives – most stores will have cancellation policies in their T&Cs, so check them or give the retailer a call to find out. If an item has already been dispatched it’s unlikely that you will be able to cancel your delivery. In that case you may have to wait until it arrives and return it to get a refund. Again, this rule doesn’t apply to personalised or perishable items.

If you ordered in store, unless the retailer said it would arrive by a specific date, it’s difficult.

But there’s a trick you can use - when ordering you can ask the shop to agree that ‘time is of the essence’, as this massively enhances your rights. If it then doesn’t deliver by the deadline you’ve set, you will be legally entitled to cancel your contract and demand any linked credit agreement is annulled, or the deposit to be refunded. Or if you rather, you can chose to continue but at a lower price.

If you don’t ask the shop to agree to this, then you’re taking a risk that it won’t turn up in time. Full info in the Failed Delivery guide

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That’s me reading things from Which’s guide to Distance selling - which somehow I missed was outdated!

All said though a 2nd delivery inlcuding this missing parcel has just arrived! So it turns out, make posts on Internet and Royal Mail improves!


Question is - are you going to return it