Lost, stolen, delivered to wrong address. Every year, millions of packets “evaporate”. Much to the dismay of their recipients. Like Laura, annoyed at having seen her perfume order dropped off at “a neighbour” or “the caretaker”, as indicated by the delivery service. Problem: the young woman lives in a building without a concierge and has never given such an instruction. The merchant website returns the responsibility to the carrier, arguing that the package appears as delivered. A classic but fallacious defense.

A responsible seller until hand-delivery

“The seller is responsible for the proper performance of the sales contract, whatever the situation, that is to say from the delivery of the product until the customer, or a third party designated by him, has entered in contact with this package physically”, recalls Raphaël Bartlomé, head of the legal department of the UFC-Que Choisir association, citing article L.216-2 of the consumer code. A rule valid across all companies established in the European Union, but which does not concern sales between individuals.

Contrary to what some sellers suggest, the consumer does not have to prove that he did not receive his package. It is up to the merchant to justify the reverse – with a signature, for example. “The fact that the delivery company has flashed the code of your package is not enough to cover the seller”, says Raphaël Bartlomé. Similarly, if the deliverer decides alone to deliver the package to a third party or drops it on the landing, the seller remains responsible for the loss. Same observation, if the parcel is misplaced within a relay point.

Refund or redelivery

The law gives the consumer the right to obtain a new delivery or a refund. First, he must contact the customer service of the merchant site – by email, in order to keep a legal written record – by asking him a reasonable time to be delivered again. In the event of non-delivery at the end of this period, the customer may demand to be reimbursed for the product and the delivery costs. And possibly seek additional compensation if it proves harm.

A complaint procedure can also be initiated with the delivery person – La Poste, Mondial Relay, Colis Privé… Nevertheless, the UFC-Que Choisir lawyer recommends turning to the seller to obtain a full refund, rather than to the carrier whose the discount will often be limited to delivery costs.


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