Where’s My Stuff?

“Guaranteed in time for Christmas”  is seen all too often at this time of year and is a phrase which we as consumers rely on – but are we right to do so?

In this article, we consider the legal consequences of late delivery and provide top tips to consumers who are shopping for furniture that they need in time for Christmas.



Whether we can rely on statements made in advertising, depends upon what is said and how detailed those statements are. A company cannot state that they are able to deliver before Christmas, if they are unable to prove that they have enough stock to meet demand. So, you should be able to rely on this, but check carefully to make sure the promise relates to the items you want to order.


Delivery Dates

Goods should be delivered within 30 days of your order – unless agreed otherwise. This can sometimes be in the terms and conditions or specified on your order documentation.

Often with large items of furniture, there can be a longer lead-time because it is made to specifically for you.


So, what happens if you order your furniture and it doesn’t arrive for Christmas?

If you are ordering on-line, this doesn’t matter as you have a 14 day right to cancel which starts on the day after you receive the goods…but that’s not much use to you if you were expecting a brand-new table to eat your Christmas lunch at or a new bed for your spare room.

When you buy in store, you should clarify that the items you are purchasing are covered by the promise – and keep a record of the answer.

You should also check the estimated delivery window and make sure it gives enough time for you– especially if you are busy on the run-up to Christmas and don’t have much time to wait in for a delivery.


Essential Time

Under consumer law, you can specify that delivery by a certain date is essential. If the retailer agrees to this and then fails to meet that date, you can cancel the order. If you have entered into this sort of agreement, make sure that the date is recorded, and you have the evidence that the retailer agreed to it.


Top Tips for your Festive Furniture orders:

  1. Check the delivery estimate for the furniture you want to order.
  2. Keep a note of the estimated timeframe and make sure it is suitable for you, before you place the order.
  3. If the retailer agrees to delivery for a date that is essential to you – keep a written record.
  4. Keep in touch with the retailer – check and double check that they are going to be able to deliver on time.
  5. Have a back-up – don’t dispose of your old furniture until your new items have arrived.


The Furniture Ombudsman

The Furniture Ombudsman is an independent, not-for-profit organisation set up in 1992 to deal with and resolve disputes between consumers and traders in the retail, furniture, and home improvement industries. Our Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services are free of charge for consumers and we work hard to ensure we reach an outcome that is fair for both parties.  Click here to find out how we can help you if you have a complaint about a furniture or soft furnishing purchase.


Judith Turner

Legal Counsel & Head of ADR

The Furniture Ombudsman


Simple Follow Buttons