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Which? finds retailers and delivery firms are failing disabled consumers

Which? finds retailers and delivery firms are failing disabled consumers

Retailers and delivery firms are failing disabled consumers, according to a joint survey between Which? and the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers. It found that seven in ten disabled consumers had faced one or more delivery problems in the past year.
In a survey of 704 disabled consumers the most common frustration for half of those with a delivery issue was that the courier didn’t wait long enough for them to answer the door.

A quarter said that parcels were left in an inaccessible way and the same amount said that the courier did not provide the help they needed with their disability.

Which? also reviewed ten of the biggest online retailers’ checkout pages for ease of use of leaving specific delivery instructions when placing orders. It found that although some retailers provided textboxes for delivery instructions, others only allowed this function for some products and with sparse character limits, while others didn’t include it at all.

Half of participants who had problems with a delivery said they informed the retailer and/or the courier of their needs prior to the delivery but that it wasn’t always an easy process with two in five saying it was difficult to do so.

And, even when they did manage to leave instructions, three-quarters said that their instructions were not well followed.

Ofcom announced plans in December 2021 to introduce stronger protections for disabled consumers, so that delivery firms are required to have policies in place to meet their needs and an Ofcom spokesperson said that delivery firms need to improve urgently in light of the Which? report. ‘It’s unacceptable that disabled customers are far more likely to experience significant problems with parcel deliveries,” said the spokesperson. “We’ve set out plans to strengthen protections for disabled customers to ensure they’re treated fairly by delivery firms. If we don’t see significant improvements in customer service, we’ll consider enforcement action or further regulation.”

Seven in ten of those who complained to the delivery company found it difficult to do so, compared with three in ten of those who complained to the retailer. But half of participants who experienced an issue didn’t make a complaint at all – with one in four saying they didn’t think there was any point or that anything would be done about it.

Gordon McCullough, CEO at Research Institute for Disabled Consumers, said that delivery firms and retailers just need to listen more closely. “The changes that are needed in this case are very simple and low cost to implement – listening to people and responding. We hope this research can be both a wake-up call and positive step towards enabling retailers and delivery companies to review their services and ensure they are accessible for all the UK population.”

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