Have you ever ordered something online and discovered that the item was delivered to the wrong address? Not sure who to contact or who is responsible? Here’s what the law says in BC.
Who is responsible when your package is delivered to the wrong address?
It can get a bit complicated, but the bottom line is this: regardless of the outcome of your package, the business must always be able to prove that they delivered the item properly. The law in BC sets out how this is supposed to be done. If you provided the correct address, the business should attempt delivery at that location.
You can learn more about when goods are deemed to be supplied by reading section 53 of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
What kind of things prove the delivery took place properly?
- The business should have provided you with reasonable notice of delivery so you have an opportunity to receive the package – this could be a shipping notification and estimated delivery time.
- The law requires that the business disclose the location where the item will be delivered.
- You should not be expected to retrieve your order from another location unless the business provided reasonable notice of delivery and the delivery was attempted at the original disclosed location, but you were not there to accept the delivery. In that case, the business may ask that you pick up the item from an alternate location.
- It’s up to the business to decide how they demonstrate that they did everything they were supposed to do.
My order is not where it should be and the business says it’s been delivered – now what?
- If the business can prove that they did everything they were supposed to and you’re concerned about theft, you can report the issue to your local police.
- If the business cannot prove they delivered the goods in the ways outlined above and you still don’t have your package within 30 days of when it was to be delivered, you can follow the steps below to cancel your order and receive a refund.
Online orders in BC
When you buy something online, you are usually entering into something called a distance sales contract. This “contract” may look like an order confirmation or digital receipt.
In the situation described above, you can cancel your contract and request a refund from the business for:
- failing to deliver the item to the disclosed location within 30 days of the delivery date noted in the contract (OR if you weren’t given a delivery date, within 30 days of the purchase date).
How to cancel your order and request a refund
If a business cannot prove the package was delivered to the correct location, then you can “cancel” your contract and request a refund once the 30 day window has passed. Follow these steps to cancel your order and request a refund:
- To officially cancel the contract and request a refund from the supplier, you can use one of the official cancellation forms available on our website. Once you have filled out the right form, you can send it to the business (by mail, email, or fax). The seller has 15 days to refund you the total amount.
- If the business does not give you your refund, the recourse is now through your credit card provider. You can request that the charges on the card be reversed or cancelled – we also have a form available to help you through that process.
- If you are also denied by your credit card provider, we want to know about it. Both the credit card provider and the business may be in breach of the laws we oversee. We would encourage you to submit a complaint to us so we can review it.
In these situations, the possible violation under our laws is that the business has failed to provide you with a refund once you took the right steps to cancel your contract. We are not involved in whether or not a package arrived at the correct location.
Questions? Feel free to ask us your questions in the comment section below or explore some of the other blog posts about online orders.
Did you like this? You might like these posts too!
Online orders: who is responsible when you don’t get your package?
6 tips to be a smarter online shopper
How to get a refund if your online order never arrives
COVID-19: returns, refunds, and exchanges
How to avoid “porch pirate” theft
Confirm purchase? Make sure you see these 4 things first!
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
19 thoughts on “Your rights when a business delivers an online order to the wrong address”
I found that Canada Post has delivered “packages” to another address by mistake. I received notice from the sender that the item was delivered to the community mailbox, and when asking my mailman about it.. he just shrugged and said there was nothing he could do. Later, a neighbour luckly would knock on my door with the misdirected package. Also numerous times a home many blocks away would call me saying a package was delivered to them. (yes, numerous times). I complained to Canada Post online, and I never received any response saying anything was resolved.
Does this apply if it was Canada Post?
They said delivered. My package was never in my mailbox. Address confirmed with seller.
Hello and thank you for asking a question here. This post would apply to Canada Post deliveries as well but if Canada Post has confirmed that they delivered, the seller cannot do much about it. You can follow the steps outlined in this post and request a refund from your credit card provider. There are many steps to take in order to receive a refund so please fully read the post first before starting the process.
Canada Post will take no responsibility for parcels that are reported as being delivered to your community mailbox but you don’t get it. PayPal will do nothing and the company you purchased from will do nothing because Canada Post claims it has been delivered. No recourse.
Hi Barbara, have you tried contacting your credit card company for a charge-back? We have outlined how to do this on the post so if you are curious about the process, please read it through.
My packages end up being delivered the the upstairs suite enough though I put my address as the basement suite, around the back of the building to the basement BACK door
We want to know how to hold the courier service companies responsible, not requesting refund. They cannot prove they’ve attempted delivery because there is no calls or buzzing attempted yet neither the courier company nor the seller will spend time on fixing that. This post is not really helpful.
Hi Doris, the point of the this post is to provide you with information about whose obligation it is to ensure your product was delivered properly and in accordance with the law. If it’s not clear in the post, it is the business’s responsibility to ensure your product was delivered properly. If the business can’t prove they did what they were supposed to, you can follow the steps in the post to cancel your order and request a refund. If you’re looking to hold a courier company responsible (but not for a refund), then I’m not sure exactly what you’re looking to achieve. It might be something that needs to be resolved in court if you’re unable to work it out with them directly. Thanks!
I believe the point (same as my post waiting for admin approval) is that
1. The seller has fulfilled their obligation sending an item that is paid for to the correct address.
2. The buyer had paid (obviously)
3. The courier company had received the item.
4. The claim of delivery is made.
5. There is no theft of the package from your front door (in my case I have cameras and can prove there is no delivery and no attempt).
6. The delivery company stated no responsibility.
So I pose a questions then.
Can I just start a delivery company, keep the packages and claim they are delivered?
Since it appears there is no recourse against me (as a delivery company) and it becomes the sellers responsibility to pay as a delivery company I’m not legallyresponsible. Aka I can just steal anything I want. What’s stopping me?
I live in a rural area, the regional Purolator agent does not even attempt delivery to my home, rather they drive 25 miles up the highway, going right past me in the process, and leave items at a depot in a little town that I have no other reason to go to. I then have to drive 50 miles round trip to retrieve my items on my own time and expense despite the fact I have already paid top dollar for home delivery. There is no way to contact anyone at Purolator locally to make any alternate arrangements, e.g, hold at the depot in a town I do have other reasons to go to, and is closer to my residence. I also never receive any notifications from them directly whatsoever, only get a phone call from the independent business in that small town that acts as a depot. When ordering online, often there is little to no choice as to what carrier to use for delivery, should also note that other carriers in the area come to my residence regularily with no issues. This has been going on for YEARS now, have tried talking to Purolator agents on their 800 national (only) contact number to no avail, tried talking to Purolator drivers who are sympathetic, but also to no avail, have tried “camping out” in the parking lot at the regional warehouse to attempt talking to a manager to no avail as there seems to never be anyone there. Very frustrated by this poor customer service, not sure what else can be done to rectify, some of my deliveries include medications that must be refrigerated, so delays etc are problematic.
Hi Alan, thank you for reaching out to Consumer Protection BC. Sounds like you have reached out to Purolator numerous times already but unfortunately, that would be the only way to resolve this type of issue. Have you talked to the Purolator local depot in town you mentioned? Or maybe they will be able to get you in touch with someone in the region to talk to. Also, looking up Purolator contact info on their website shows they have an online chat function as well as a “file a claim” button. You may want to try both options and see if you get any different responses. It’s probably not what you wanted to hear but I hope you will be able to talk to the right person to resolve the issue. Good luck!
Purolator is the worst in our area. We live in rural BC and they won’t deliver to the door. They drop the parcels at a depot 20 km away and send an email saying that delivery wasn’t possible. Try to contact them is terrible.
Hi Tim, we just had a similar question about Purolator and it seems to be people in rural areas are having similar issues. Unfortunately, consumer protection laws in BC do not oversee any courier companies so we are not able to look into it. Have you talked to the Purolator local depot in town you mentioned? Or maybe they will be able to get you in touch with someone in the region to talk to. Also, looking up Purolator contact info on their website shows they have an online chat function as well as a “file a claim” function. You may want to try both options and see if you get any different responses. It’s probably not what you wanted to hear but I hope you will be able to talk to the right person to resolve the issue. Good luck!
Because of the floods in BC is it still 30 days that the company has to deliver my parcel?
Hi Linda, the law does not specify any changes to the 30-day rule under any natural disasters so it is still the same. Having said that, please be mindful that cancelling your purchase “contract” with the business, waiting for responses or contacting your credit card provider can also take some time. Depending on your situation and where you are, receiving the item may take shorter than going through the cancelling and refund process. If you want to know more about the cancellation process, here is more information on our website. Good luck with everything!
We had 3 pkgs from Tesla online shop. Received 2 of them and the other never arrived. Then we filed a claim and this was what FedEx denied the claim:
Our records indicate the package was properly delivered to the correct address. Under the terms and conditions governing this shipment, unless a FedEx® Delivery Signature Option is requested at time of shipment, we may deliver shipments to residential locations without signature.
We live in one of the safest in BC up the mountain with only 4 houses in our rink road. Never had pkg missing issues.
In the opposite, FedEx dumped other household’s pkg to our house by mistake. Obviously they made this kind of mistake quite often.
They just don’t admit this to avoid lost and try to make the customer pay for the bill, What should I do?
Hi Amy, thank you for sharing your experience here. Do you think FedEx was able to prove the delivery in a way that’s described in the post above? Take a look at the section under “What kind of things prove the delivery took place properly?” and see what you think. If you don’t think FedEx was able to prove the delivery and you still don’t have your package within 30 days of when it was supposed to be delivered, you can follow the rest of the steps outlined in the post. If you have any questions about the process, please let us know.
This appears to put the onus on the original business.
My issue is that they shipped the package and have the correct details entered. It’s not the vendor that is at fault.
The shipping company has confirmed the correct address and states the package is delivered but offers no proof.
The shipping company has no proof of delivery of any kind, as the signature for hand delivery is simply “n/a” from the driver.
I have security cameras and can prove that during the time slated for delivery and the delivery email notice sent that no delivery was made to my address (nor even on the street)
The shipping company states its not their responsibility. They have hundreds of reviews stating the same thing.
Isn’t this theft and fraud?
They claim a package is delivered and its not. They state they have no responsibility and the vendor or customer are out of pocket. And they continue on.
So how do I lodge a complaint and investigation into the shipping company which appears to be exploiting this consumer protection? After all the shipper has confirmed the correct address and that they received the package and claim a delivery (but can not prove any delivery). Why should the vendor pay or me the consumer eat the charge.
Hi Ted, thank you for contacting Consumer Protection BC. The law in BC speaks to the actions consumers can take to cancel the order and get a refund from the original seller (or the “supplier”). I hear that you don’t want to put the burden on the seller but the law does give you the right to cancel your order and get a refund that way. The post you commented on shows you the steps to cancelling your order and requesting a refund. If you would like, I believe you can take the shipping company to the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) – you can get more information about how their online-based dispute resolution system works by visiting their website.