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 business must 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 and the delivery was attempted at the original location, but you were not there to accept it. In that case, the business may ask that you pick up the item from an alternate location.

The burden of proof is on the business and it is up to them to decide how to demonstrate that they did what they were supposed to do.

My order is not here and the business says it’s been delivered – now what?

  • Option 1: If the business can prove that they did everything they were supposed to but you’re concerned the package was stolen, you can report the issue to your local police. 
  • Option 2: 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.

The law 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:

  1. 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.  
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Where to go for help

The best route to a solution is to work with the business directly. If your package has been stolen, that’s a matter for the police. 

If you can’t work it out with the business and they did not deliver the package as required by law (info above), follow the steps to cancel your contract and request a refund

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About Consumer Protection BC

We are not-for-profit regulator responsible for overseeing certain industries and specific 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 try to offer a referral to a relevant organization, if one exists. Other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.