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Online retailers need to offer accessibility options as deliveries fail 3.4 million disabled consumers

29 November 2018

During National Consumer Week and the busiest shopping season of the year, Citizens Advice is calling on retailers to work with parcel operators to make it easier for disabled people to make their delivery needs known.

The charity found almost 1 in 3 disabled people missed a delivery because they weren’t given enough time to get to the door. It found 1 in 4 postal service users who are disabled say they feel rushed, anxious or irritated when accepting deliveries at home.

Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for postal services and is calling on  retailers and parcel operators to work together to let disabled consumers explain any additional delivery needs when shopping. This would allow people to outline their accessibility needs such as needing more time to get to the door or to specify places to leave missed deliveries that are accessible.

Over 13 million people in the UK have a disability and together they influence more than £80 billion of spending each year. Citizens Advice found 1 in 10 disabled people in the past year have avoided using home delivery or have items sent to friends or family members because they find it too difficult.

Citizens Advice has developed a delivery charter for disabled consumers that sets out guidelines for retailers and operators to improve online shopping and delivery experiences.  

This includes:

  • Retailers and operators working together to ensure disabled consumers can specify any additional delivery needs.

  • Making sure all pick up and drop off points meet the needs of disabled consumers. This means ensuring there is level access at each location, accessibility features are renewed annually, and providing clear information online about the accessibility features available at each pick up and drop off point.

Citizens Advice recently worked with Post Office Limited to ensure accessibility information for every post office in the UK will be listed on its website. Until this work, Post Office Limited did not have any disabled access information on its branch finder.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“During the busiest season for online shopping, we’re calling on retailers to make sure deliveries work for disabled consumers.

“We found some people are missing deliveries, and even avoiding online shopping altogether, because they feel rushed or anxious when accepting deliveries at home.

“This should be an easy fix for retailers who have a duty to take into account people’s accessibility needs.

“As the statutory consumer advocate for post, we’re calling on companies to make sure they’re not leaving disabled consumers behind.”

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice has put together best practice guidelines for retailers and parcel operators based on our research looking at the customer journey for disabled consumers to ensure that online shopping and delivery services work for disabled consumers. We’re calling on parcel operators and retailers to:

    1. Work together to allow disabled consumers to specify any additional delivery needs (such as additional time to get to the door) they may have

    2. Ensure that all pick up and drop off points meet the needs of disabled consumers by:

      1. Providing level access to the building - or a ramp if this is not possible

      2. Providing clear information online and in store on the accessibility features available at each pick up and drop off point (eg parking facilities, level access, portable pin pads)

      3. Annually reviewing accessibility features at each location to ensure provisions are available and information is up to date

      4. Take accessibility into account when setting up new locations

  2. The research was conducted on behalf of Citizens Advice by Ipsos MORI. Ipsos MORI surveyed 914 disabled postal users and 990 non-disabled postal users aged 15+ using in-home face to face interviews between the 20th October to 9th November 2017. Data was weighted to be representative of all British adults aged 15+.
  3. Over 13 million people in the UK have a disability and together they influence more than £80 billion of spending each year.
  1. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and post. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
  2. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free, independent support for prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.
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  5. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  6. For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 to talk in Welsh.
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