Lost or Delayed Parcels

What do I do if my order doesn't arrive when expected?

First and foremost, for both UK and international orders, please check with your local delivery office that the parcel isn't there, awaiting collection. Delivery may have been attempted whilst you were out, without you realising.

It's important to be aware that Royal Mail, for UK deliveries - and most international postal services - will only hold an uncollected parcel for a limited time, often only 7 calendar days, before returning it to the sender.

The considerable majority of the UK parcels I send do arrive reliably within 1-2 days of despatch - in my experience, it's been very unusual for a parcel to be substantially delayed. To Royal Mail's credit, in the 9 years that I've been sending orders out, quite remarkably only one parcel to a UK address has ever gone completely astray and never turned up and with only two international ones ever having been lost in that time. 

Please do keep an eye out for any cards left by your postman, to notify that delivery was attempted while you were out, advising you that you need to arrange to collect the parcel from your local delivery office or to arrange a re-delivery day. 

I'd strongly recommend contacting your local delivery office shortly after the expected delivery date, even if you haven't received an Unable to Deliver card. Occasionally the postman does forget to leave a notification card, or it may have been picked up by another member of your household, or perhaps fallen from your letterbox into an out-of-sight spot. In situations such as this, the parcel might be awaiting collection, even though you're unaware that delivery has been attempted.

In cases of parcels being returned to me and then needing to be re-sent back to you, the actual cost to re-deliver would be payable. Please be aware that this amount may differ from the original delivery charge, but I'd would notify you of this, if applicable. It may very well be a slightly lower cost than the original charge, but if I subsidised the original postage, which does sometimes happen with some parcels, redelivery could cost a little more than you originally paid.

If, however, your parcel hasn't turned up and delivery hasn't been attempted, there are varying dates (depending on the destination country) when Royal Mail will accept a formal report of a parcel being lost. Please see below for details.

When parcels can officially be reported as delayed or lost...

One of the reasons my parcels usually do reach their destinations safely is because I do consciously go to lengths to make sure the parcels are very clearly labelled, with typed addresses and all labels being very firmly affixed with tape and/or a waterproof plastic wallet to protect against rain or water smudging the address details. I also ensure that the return address is clearly displayed in two separate places. 

Furthermore, my international parcels' labels only show the company initials of TOTC as the sender, rather than showing the full company name, to avoid giving clues about the contents. These labels are intentionally printed without the logo, being a clue to the contents, to minimise the risk of postal theft on its journey through other countries.

UK destinations: 

The earliest date a Royal Mail parcel is officially reportable as lost is 10 working days after the date it was due to arrive

For Standard 1st Class & 1st Class Signed For, the due date is the next working day after posting. 

For Standard 2nd Class & 2nd Class Signed For, the due date is 3 working days after posting.

International deliveries: 
Europe: The earliest date a Royal Mail parcel is officially reportable as lost is 20 working days after the latest expected delivery date.

The expected delivery date is 3-5 days after the day of posting, with the 20 working days starting from the 5th postal day

Rest of the world: The earliest date a Royal Mail parcel is officially reportable as lost: 25 working days after the latest expected delivery date. 

The expected delivery to the Rest of World is 5-7 days after the day of posting, with the 25 working days starting from the 7th postal day.

I'm so sorry that this isn't more straightforward to calculate but I have put forward a suggestion to Royal Mail to share their internal calculator for "reportable lost" dates on their public website. If I find they've implemented this, I'll certainly add the link here to make this much easier for everyone to work out!

What if my parcel is officially lost

As I mentioned above, this really is very rare, so rest assured, I'm confident in saying that the likelihood of it happening is relatively low!

Of course, if your parcel hasn't turned up by the time of Royal Mail's above reportable dates, please notify me and I'll swiftly send out a replacement order, provided I have the item(s) in stock.  Alternatively, if you prefer, you will be given a full refund of the goods and the postage you paid.

By default, I'd send a replacement order by the same delivery service as your original order. You can request a different delivery service for a replacement order, but if it's a more expensive service than the original one used, the difference in cost would be payable. If you'd like a cheaper delivery service than the one used for your original order, the difference would be refundable. I would say though that a signed for - or tracked service, if available to the destination country - does offer greater peace of mind and and traceability.

I would usually only be able to send out replacement orders for lost parcels once Royal Mail's "reportable" lost parcel date has been reached.

Delayed overseas parcels:

I do often hear that parcels to overseas destinations are delayed but, as mentioned above, I've found that it's very unusual for a parcel to never turn up. The greatest likelihood is that it has been delayed (frustratingly, I know) and I've found that this is most often the case once the parcel has reached its destination country, possibly due to delays in Customs. I'd strongly recommend keeping in regular touch with your local delivery office though, as the parcel might actually be there awaiting collection or re-delivery instructions, with you unaware that delivery has been attempted.

If a parcel hasn't turned up by the Royal Mail "reportable lost" time, please get in touch to let me know so I can get a replacement out to you.

I'm currently offering, on a trial basis, standard Air Mail with proof of posting, as a more economical delivery service option, but I'd stress that there's no way of tracing or tracking a parcel that's been sent via this service.

For high value orders (or for possibly irreplaceable toys that are now discontinued) it would be wise to opt for the Signed For service. This service also includes tracking for many destination countries. Countries without an asterisk on our Countries I Deliver To page do offer tracking. 

Royal Mail can't guarantee your parcel won't get lost or be delayed, but the tracking and signature services do provide your parcel with an "identity" via its reference number and tracked parcels will be scanned at various points in their journey.

All of the above forms part of the Terms and Conditions