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.”