Where’s my order? What to do when online shopping doesn’t arrive

June 14, 2022

I ordered something online and according to the tracking info the item was delivered last month. But, it wasn’t delivered to me. I called the courier company – apparently it was delivered to a completely different address! But I haven’t received an update since this call when I was told they would look into it. What can I do?

First of all, when shopping online, your consumer rights and entitlements depend on where the business is based. If the business is based within the EU, then you have strong rights and protections, including delivery timeframes.

Top Tip

Even if the website address ends in ‘.ie’ or ‘.eu’, this is not a guarantee of a business’s location. Check the terms and conditions or ‘Contact Us’ page on their website for a registered address.

Under EU consumer law, if a business promises to deliver goods by a specific date, or within a pre-agreed timeframe, they must deliver on this promise. If they don’t, they must give you the option to either:

  • agree a different date that suits you, or
  • allow you to cancel the contract and get a full refund

An EU-based business is responsible for your item until it is delivered to you (unless you organised your own delivery). If the business organised a courier to deliver the item to you, then the business must make sure it’s delivered. If the item does not arrive, the business must either:

  • organise for a replacement item to be sent to you, or
  • give you a full refund

You should contact the business and:

  • outline the details of your situation
  • confirm your EU consumer rights (as detailed above) and
  • let them know how you would like to exercise your consumer rights (either a replacement item or a full refund)

If you contact them by phone, follow up with an email with all the relevant information and agreed next steps.

But, if you bought from a non-EU website (including a UK website) you may not have these same rights. Check the terms and conditions on the business’s website to find out what you are entitled to when it comes to delivery delays. You may then wish to contact the business to explain your situation and reference any relevant sections in the terms and conditions to support your refund request.

I recently ordered a dress online from a small Irish boutique. On their website it says delivery is within 5 working days, but it has been over two weeks now, and my order still hasn’t arrived. I tried emailing the business, but got no response. I also tried calling them, but the number rings out. I’m concerned they might have gone out of business. What can I do to get my money back?

Having already followed the above steps, but without any response, you still have some options.

If you paid by credit or debit card, you may wish to contact your card provider about the possibility of a chargeback. This is where you request that the transaction is reversed, when a business is refusing to engage with you. Each card provider has their own terms and conditions about chargebacks, and specific timeframes for requesting a chargeback may apply. Contact your card provider as soon as possible to discuss if this option is possible.

If a chargeback is not an option, you may wish to contact the Company’s Registration Office. You can check the status of the business with them. If it is still operating in the Republic of Ireland, you have the option of making a claim against the business through the Small Claims procedure. The application fee is €25 and you can use it for claims worth up to €2,000.

If the business has gone into:

  • examinership
  • liquidation or
  • receivership

you will be treated as an ’unsecured creditor’. This is because the business owes you money for the un-delivered item. As an unsecured creditor, you rank behind secured creditors. Secured creditors include Revenue, employees who are owed wages, and banks that are owed money.

If the business has gone into liquidation, you could contact the liquidator to see if you can get the undelivered items sent to you.

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