UK consumer watchdog Which? has said a third of all online shopping complaints relate to delivery problems.
The respected consumer testing and campaigning charity and magazine surveyed 14,000 people in Britain regarding their e-commerce experiences, compiling a list of the best and worst online merchants in the process.
The survey found that one of the biggest irritations among UK online shoppers is being required to pay for postage and packing, along with being unable to choose delivery times. Shoppers in the survey also complained at items arriving damaged, not turning up at all, being left in inappropriate places, or the lack of choice in delivery slots and items turning up outside their agreed slot.
Which? said that even the best online shopping experiences could be “tarnished” by delivery problems.
Among delivery companies, Royal Mail fared well among those surveyed, but courier companies were “bottom of the pile” according to Which, with its survey giving parcel carrier City Link the worst rating, with a customer score of 56%.
Commenting on the survey results, Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said: “Online shopping has never been more popular with cash-strapped consumers looking for good value and customer service, but the industry falls down when it comes to the performance of its delivery partners.”
Lloyd added that Which? provides free online advice to help shoppers make claims if their parcel fails to turn up.
Among the e-commerce brands ranked following the Which? survey, skincare retailer Liz Earle came top with a customer score of 95%, with its service praised for among other things its speedy delivery. The company uses Royal Mail for standard, priority and sign-for services, with shipping fees ranging from £3.75 to £9.25 depending on the option.
The consumer scores were assembled based on customers’ satisfactions and likelihood of recommending the service to friends.
Among the major brands, department store John Lewis did well in the survey, with a customer score of 89%, as did omni-retail giant Amazon with 84%.
Some of the worst retailer brands in the e-commerce survey included bottom-placed home improvement retailer B&Q with a score of 55%, computer retailer PC World with a score of 56%, and WH Smith – the company that recently took down its entire website in response to a single Daily Mail article – with a score of 59%.