Delivery of a package

You have just ordered something online. How soon will you receive your delivery? Who is responsible if the package is lost or damaged?

Update: Feb. 2020

What is the delivery period for an online purchase?

The seller must deliver the item or provide the service on the date or within the indicated period, unless the parties have agreed otherwise. If the seller does not specify a delivery period, they must deliver the item within a maximum of 30 days.

What do I do in case of a late delivery?

  • Contact the seller in writing (letter with acknowledgement of receipt or email) and request delivery within a reasonable period.
  • If the item is still not delivered, cancel the order and request reimbursement of your payment by a letter with acknowledgement of receipt or by email. The seller must reimburse you within 14 days following the resolution of the contract. The contract is considered resolved when the seller receives your request for reimbursement (letter or email with acknowledgement of receipt).
  • If you receive no response and the seller is based in an EU member state, Iceland or Norway, contact us.

If the delivery date is an essential condition of your purchase (ex. for a wedding or a birthday), inform the seller in writing of your need for a specific delivery date. If the item is not delivered on the specified date, you may immediately request the resolution of the contract by a letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

If I’m buying online from a European seller, can they refuse to deliver to me in France?

Yes. Since the end of geoblocking on 3 December 2018, you can purchase goods and services from a seller based in another EU member state for the same conditions (price and delivery conditions) as the clients who live in that country. However, purchased does not mean delivered. The end of geoblocking does not oblige European sellers to deliver to your home country if they do not typically deliver there. You can thus arrange for your order to be delivered to an agreed-upon alternate location (more information on the end of geoblocking).

Who is responsible in case of a lost or damaged package?

The seller is completely responsible if the package is damaged or lost during transportation. In this case, they must arrange a new delivery at their own cost or reimburse you. They may then complain to the delivery service.

If you choose a delivery service other than the one offered by the seller, or if you arrange the transportation yourself, you will become responsible for any accidents that occur and your only recourse is to the delivery service (article L216-5 of the Consumer Code).

What do I do if my package arrives damaged?

If the package is visibly damaged, refuse to accept it and indicate your reasons for refusal on the delivery slip. Be precise and avoid vague phrasing, such as “accepted under conditions.” If you don’t receive a delivery slip, use the bill attached to the delivery. Take photos of the damaged packaging and contents.

Then, contact the seller and the deliverer in writing, preferably by a letter with acknowledgement of receipt or by email. Request the retrieval of the damaged item and its replacement.

Tip: even if the package seems to be intact, don’t hesitate to check the contents in front of the deliverer and, if necessary, record your concerns on the delivery slip.

How long do I have to act?

You have 3 days to inform the deliverer and the seller of the damage, preferably by a letter with acknowledgement of receipt. If the deliverer does not give you the time to inspect the package, the period is increased to 10 days.

What are my rights if there is a problem with the delivered item?

If your package does not conform to your order, record your concerns on the delivery slip and refuse to accept the delivery. Thanks to Europe, you have a legal conformity guaranty of at least two years, which allows you to request the seller to exchange the item or to reimburse your payment. Non-conformity covers several different situations: cosmetic differences, incomplete delivery, functional differences, non-functionality…

Is the deliverer allowed to leave the package on my doorstep?

Although this does happen sometimes, it is not allowed. If the package is lost as a result, the seller is responsible and must replace the item or reimburse the purchase - unless you requested yourself for the package to be left in a specific place, such as a garage.

If the seller claims that the package was delivered directly to you, ask them to provide proof.

Can my neighbor accept a package in my absence?

If you ask a neighbor, concierge or other trusted person to accept your delivery, remind them to be careful, to check the package and its contents, and to record any remarks on the delivery slip, as if you were present.

Tip: once you receive your package, even after a delay and even if you do not seen any signs of damage, open it immediately to inspect the contents. If you find damage, contact the deliverer or the seller.

Can I accept my neighbors’ packages?

If you agree to accept a package, you must take good care of it. You should check the condition of the package, and you cannot use the contents or leave it at your neighbor’s doorstep.

What should I do to return a damaged or non-conforming order?

The items should be carefully packaged. You can use the original packaging if it is in good condition, but this is not required. You should also make sure you send the package to the right address. The return address is not always the same as the address that the package came from. If you are unsure, ask the seller. Don’t hesitate to take photos of the item and the package before you close and send it.

Who is responsible if the return package is lost?

The seller is responsible if they arranged the return. They may, for example, send you a return voucher or select a transporter to retrieve the package. If you mailed the package yourself, you are responsible for its transportation, so think about buying insurance if the item is valuable. You will need to be able to prove that you sent the package, so keep the shipping receipt.

Who pays the return shipping costs?

The consumer, as long as the seller informed them in advance of the return fees. In practice, the seller often takes on the costs of return shipping using a prepaid return shipping label.

Who can help me with a complaint against a European business?

If you are unable to come to a solution with a seller based in another EU member state, Iceland or Norway, do not hesitate to contact us using our online form.

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