More and more delivery errors in online shopping

A perfume instead of a €700 smartphone, bottles of water instead of a laptop, a €30 mini vacuum cleaner instead of a connected watch… For several weeks now, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) France has noticed a sharp increase in complaints about delivery errors from well-known online sellers or marketplaces operating throughout the European Union (EU).

And the problems often don’t stop there: many consumers never get their order refunded, as sellers accuse them of having sent back an empty package or a product other than the one initially ordered, the one they never received! A few days before Christmas, CEC France gives you its advice to prevent these disputes and reminds you of your rights to know how to react in these cases.

Tips for victims of delivery errors

  • Weigh and photograph the package before opening it and do the same for your return package in case of a delivery error.
  • Open your package in the presence of witnesses, take pictures or video record yourself unpacking the package. Make sure that the name and address of the sender are visible. Do the same thing when you return the product you did not order.
  • If your package arrives damaged or does not contain what you ordered, note immediately on the delivery note your remarks and confirm them within 3 days to the carrier by e-mail and registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. Then contact your seller in writing as soon as possible. Ask for the removal of the product and the return of a conform order. If the carrier did not give you the opportunity to check the condition of the package (e.g.: your package was dropped off at your door without your consent), you have 10 days to inform them.
  • When returning the non-conforming order, make a note of the weight of your package on the proof of delivery and keep this document, even if the seller has provided a return label. As a reminder, the return shipping costs must be paid by the seller.
  • If your order does not suit you, send it back in a tracked and insured package. Your online seller then has 3 (or 10) days to declare any anomalies on your package to the carrier and to you. After this period, ask for a refund of your order or a new delivery.
  • Communicate only in writing (not by phone) with the online seller in order to keep proof. Allow two weeks for a response and refund.

The online seller is responsible for the transportation of your order

Your seller is responsible for the transportation of your order until it is delivered. The carrier mandated by your seller cannot drop off your package in front of your door, at a neighbor’s house or in another place (on the garden table for example) EXCEPT if you have expressly given your consent. If this was not the case and the package disappears, the seller will have to send you back the ordered products or refund your purchase.

Delivery not in conformity with the order: use the legal guarantee!

Whether it is an error of the seller in the preparation of the order, a theft or a loss of your product during transport, it is up to the online seller to prove that the package shipped included the products ordered. They cannot simply blame the carrier.
If the delivery does not correspond to your order, you can then make use of the legal guarantee of conformity. Valid with any European seller, it allows you to ask for the delivery of the products actually ordered and this free of charge. The seller will have to pay for the return of the wrong order and the cost of a new delivery.

Who to contact in case of a delivery error?

If you did not receive the products you ordered, you sent back the items you received and your seller claims that the initial delivery was correct or that your return package was empty, contact

  • the European Consumer Centre France if your online seller is based in an EU country, Iceland or Norway to try to find an amicable solution free of charge,
  • or a consumer association in France if your online seller is based in France.
  • You can also report the professional on the Signal Conso platform.

More information on delivery in Europe on the CEC France website