3 Delivery Charges and Best Practice Myths

Suppose you’re a trader selling goods online via a delivery service. In that case, you may have heard various myths surrounding the best delivery practice. Unfortunately, the wrong information can be costly, ineffective and downright misleading.

delivery practice

So, in this article, we’re going to set the record straight by debunking three of the most prevalent misconceptions concerning delivery and trading standards. 

You need to include delivery costs in your retail price – TRUE

If you’ve been thinking that the total cost the customer pays is separate from the delivery cost, that’s incorrect.

When you list the final price of the sale, it should contain not only the delivery cost but VAT and all other compulsory charges too!

The Advertising Standards Authority considers delivery charges to be a deciding factor influencing whether customers purchase from you. Therefore, if you omit delivery cost, this is considered false advertising.

It’s your fault if the courier doesn’t deliver on time or loses the package – TRUE

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the courier or customer that bears responsibility. The trader holds all the risk until the goods are in the customer’s possession. When an item is sold, the contract is between the trader and the consumer, not the courier. So, if you promise a specific delivery date and fail to meet it, this could constitute a misleading action.

For instance, the customer may have only purchased the product on the premise that you would deliver it by a specific time, and the promise of said delivery isn’t then honoured. In that case, the customer is legally entitled to cancel the order and receive full reimbursement.

You might be liable if the customer makes a mistake – TRUE

On the one hand, UK law states that in an agreement between two parties, you and your consumer are equally responsible for negligence on either side. But, when it comes

However, if you’ve made a deal with a customer to offer services outside of your sale contract without providing the full information, regardless of the customer’s subsequent agreement, you, as the trader, are still responsible.

For example, let’s say you agreed to offer next-day delivery to a customer before they made their purchase. However, the customer doesn’t inform you that they live in a difficult-to-reach area. As a result of this inconvenience, you might have to pay extra to your courier to deliver the package. In such a scenario, you may be tempted to add this charge to the customer’s bill.

But, under UK law, this would be considered unfair trading. You cannot add on an extra delivery charge post-sale. It’s the trader’s responsibility to provide all costs upfront. Where the trader failed to ascertain whether the customer lives outside their usual courier route beforehand, they must either bear the extra cost of this delivery or provide a refund to the customer.

Final Thoughts

We hope that helps clarify a few misapprehensions concerning delivery charges and practices. For more information on delivery charges, check out Business Companion’s new best practice guide for traders selling goods at a distance.

Whatever type of business you run, you need to stay on the right side of consumer law. Business Companion offers a wealth of easy-to-understand guides on the best trading and delivery practice, backed by legal and regulatory insights. We work to make trading information accessible and impartial for business owners, and it’s free! So, what are you waiting for? Take a look at our library of guides, news, updates and facts to get the most relevant and up-to-date information on trading law.