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Parcel delivery companies must do more for disabled consumers, Citizens Advice says

5 December 2019

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday deliveries start to arrive, Citizens Advice is calling on parcel companies to take action so they serve disabled consumers. Recent polling found 2 in 3 disabled people (66%) in the UK experienced problems with their parcel deliveries in the past 12 months. This compares to just over half of people (56%) without a disability.

Through a series of interviews with disabled people, the national charity found people face a number of barriers when getting parcels delivered, such as:

  • Missing deliveries because they’re not given enough time to get to the door 

  • Not being able to retrieve their parcel because it’s left in an inaccessible location  

  • Feeling rushed or anxious when signing for parcels

Charlotte, who became a quadruple amputee after losing her limbs to sepsis, relies on home deliveries around once a week. In one instance, a parcel was left under her accessibility ramp to her home so she was unable to pick it up on her own. 

She said: “I have a sign in my front door asking for deliveries and post to be taken to the side entrance as it’s more accessible. But 9 times out of 10 my sign is ignored and my parcels are left in places I cannot access. They are then left in the rain until my daughter gets home which really frustrates me.

“I don't think they realise the emotional stress and upset of not receiving a parcel causes me, it makes me feel vulnerable and helpless.”

As the watchdog for postal consumers, Citizens Advice is calling on delivery companies to take up the following simple solutions in the next year, by: 

  • Allowing disabled people to specify their explicit accessibility needs and pass these onto the driver making the delivery. This could include allowing more time for drivers when delivering and leaving parcels in accessible locations that are easy to reach. 

  • Publishing detailed accessibility information online so disabled people can choose where they can pick up and drop off parcels. 

Six UK parcel companies have committed to doing this already including DHL Parcel, Hermes, DPD, Menzies, Gnewt and Parcelly. 

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: 

“Online ordering can be life-changing for people who find it hard to get to the shops. But we’ve found many disabled people face unreasonable barriers when they order parcels online. 

“We think these can be avoided through simple solutions like allowing people to specify their accessibility needs and publishing accessibility data online. Some of the major delivery companies have already committed to make this happen so we urge others to follow suit.”

Notes to editors

  1. In August 2019, Opinium ran a survey of 5,006 across the UK. Data were weighted to be representative of the UK population. In September 2019, we followed up the survey with some targeted questions on Opinium’s omnibus survey that reached 2,000 respondents across the UK. Both surveys included boosts to allow analysis of parcel delivery in each nation of the UK.

  2. Citizens Advice has also asked Royal Mail, Amazon, Parcelforce, UPS and Yodel to adopt these measures.

  3. Citizens Advice includes the national charity; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.

  4. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and post. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
  5. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free, independent support for prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.
  6. Citizens Advice offers Pension Wise services at 500 locations in England and Wales.
  7. Citizens Advice’s services are free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to all regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  8. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit
  9. For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 to talk in Welsh.
  10. We helped 2.6 million people face to face, by phone, email and webchat in 2017-18. For service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
  11. Citizens Advice staff are supported by over 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 locations in England and Wales.