Wednesday 21 August 2019

Can I insure against losing an expensive Christmas gift while it's being delivered?


Aine Carroll

Question: I am considering buying my wife an expensive watch for Christmas but I need to use a third-party delivery service to get it sent to an Irish address. Given the cost of the item, is there anything I can do to insure myself against the item being lost in transit?

Geoff, Lucan, Co Dublin

Answer: Third-party delivery services, whereby you place an order which is then delivered to a locker near where you live or work, can be an attractive option for online deliveries as some sellers won't deliver to Ireland - or you may not be able to be at home when the delivery comes.

If you use one of these services, this involves a contract with a company which supplies you with an address that the goods can be delivered to, and the company then delivers it to a locker for you to pick them up. If you use this service to deliver your order, you are entering into two separate contracts - one with the online retailer and one with the delivery service. Once the online retailer has delivered the item to the delivery service's warehouse, the online retailer has fulfilled its contractual obligations and your contract with the delivery service company begins.

If you are using a delivery service, check its terms and conditions beforehand and see what (if any) liability cover it provides for lost items. It is not obliged to provide you with any liability cover. However, some do - but it may be capped at a certain amount (for example, losses up to the value of €100 might be covered). The delivery company may also offer you the option of paying to have a higher level of liability cover for a certain period of time. In your case, it is important that you know that if anything happens to this expensive gift, it will be covered, so do your homework before you make your final decision.

If your item is misplaced or stolen, the first step is to contact the delivery service provider to make them aware of your situation and also to find out the next steps to recover the losses to which you are entitled to - as stated in the company's terms and conditions.

Aine Carroll is the Director of Communications and Markets Insights with Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

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