What if you click but don’t collect?

Many retail chains offer a click-and-collect service. You select and pay for your purchases online, and on the following day or even later on the same day, you can go to a branch near you, or tube station or community location, and collect your purchases.

tomatoesBut what happens if you don’t collect your goods because another car collides with yours on the way to the store and you end up in hospital? Or simply because your train or plane is delayed?

I decided to explore this question. Note that I collected the information below on 17 April 2015 and it may no longer be valid on the day you are reading this post.

  • ASDA logoAsda’s terms and conditions for click and collect say the following:

“Available at selected stores. £25 minimum spend applies. Collection times subject to availability. Service is free for the foreseeable future. Customers will be contacted if any change to collection date occurs.

Same Day terms and conditions

For same day collection order by 12 noon to collect after 4pm. Subject to availability, selected stores. Excludes Sundays.

Same day collection at London Underground station, order by 12pm for collection after 4pm.”

At first sight, Asda’s supermarket click and collect service offers have no mention of what happens if you are late. For Asda, that information becomes available when you create your account, in its T&C for use of the web site, sub 3.2.1:

“Our Site invites You to buy goods and services from Us. Once You have placed an order on the Site We will send You an order acknowledgement by email setting out what You have ordered with the in-store prices on the day of order. This is not an order confirmation or acceptance from Us. A legally binding contract with You will only arise once We have completed Delivery of the goods to You or You have completed Collection of the goods from Us. At this time You become the owner of the goods. This means that You will have no legal liability in connection with Your order until Delivery or Collection (as applicable) is completed.”

This would mean that Asda does not charge your account until you’ve collected your purchases, and indeed, sub 3.3.6, it says:

“On the day of Delivery or Collection We will request another pre-authorisation for the full order amount. We do this to ensure that the card details are still valid and that You have sufficient funds to complete the transaction. We take NO payments from Your account before Your order is Delivered or Collected, so You will only be charged for items once they are Delivered or Collected…”

  • George logoAsda’s George click and collect service specifies:

“As soon as the store receives your order we will send you a text message or email to tell you that it’s available for collection. Your order will be held in store for 10 days, after this time it will be returned to our depot and you will be refunded.

If you would like us to hold your order for another 7 days please contact the store you selected or call our contact centre 0800 952 3003.”

  • Tesco logoTesco says “Collect at a time that suits you”, while asking you to select a collection slot, just like Asda. “Up until 11pm the night before collection you will be able to … change the collection slot” or cancel the order. If you are early, you will have to wait.

“What happens if I am late for my collection slot?
Please check with the member of staff at your collection point, and they will advise you on where to collect your shopping. If collecting from a community location please call Customer Services on 0800 323 4040 or 0330 123 4040 to make alternative arrangements.”

“What happens if I am early for my collection slot?
Unfortunately we will not be able to serve you before your collection slot as your groceries are loaded into the collection point for the duration of your slot only.”

At first sight, Tesco’s groceries click and collect offer does not mention what happens if you are late either, as for Asda. When you log in, you can look at the Terms & Conditions for products and find the following under Click & Collect:

“Please bring your order number and the credit card you used to pay for your order (we will not be able give you your order unless you produce an appropriate form of I.D.).”

About returns, the Terms and Conditions state the following:

“For perishable items the cancellation period is at the point of delivery or collection only.

For everything else the cancellation period is 28 days from delivery or collection.

All you need to do is hand over the item(s) you have changed your mind about to the delivery driver or a member of staff for Click & Collect. So long as the item you want to return is not perishable, you can also return it to any Tesco store within 28 days from delivery (you will need to bring proof of purchase with you).”

About payment for click and collect, Tesco says:

“You can pay by any American Express, Mastercard or Visa credit card, Maestro or Delta debit card. We do not currently accept Visa Electron cards or Tesco Gift Cards. Your credit/debit card details will be encrypted to minimise the possibility of unauthorised access or disclosure. Authority for payment must be given at the time of placing your order. You will not be charged until your order is ready for dispatch.

Our liability to you in connection with any order will not exceed the total price charged for the relevant items.

We accept orders only from Web browsers that permit communication through Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology, for example, 3.0 version or higher of Explorer and versions 3.02 or higher of Netscape. This means you cannot inadvertently place an order through an unsecured connection.”

This sounds as Tesco does charge your account when you place the order. (I am not going to comment on the browser versions.)

I decided to give Tesco a call. I spoke with a very helpful and very well-informed woman who told me that if I were to place a click and collect order and be unable to collect, for example because I was in a traffic accident, they would hold my purchases for me until 8 pm that evening. The next day, the order would go back into the store and my card would be credited.

  • eBay logo eBay has started Click & Collect at Argos and eBay tells its sellers:

“If a buyer doesn’t collect their order within 7 working days, it’ll be returned by Royal Mail 48-hour tracked service at no cost to you. You’ll need to refund the buyer once you’ve received the item. You won’t receive a defect in this case.”

So eBay gives you, the buyer, a refund, as it should.

  • Sainsbury's logo Sainsbury’s sounds a little bit more helpful than Tesco and Asda:

“What if I don’t arrive on time for my Click & Collect Grocery order?

Don’t worry if you’re running late. Your order may still be available at the collection point. Our colleagues will let you know and we’ll do our best to get it to you.

It’s also not a problem if you’re slightly early. You’ll still be able to pick up your order and we’ll deal with it as soon as we can. If your slot is after 2pm and you arrive early (e.g. 12pm) please go to the Customer Service desk instore and our colleagues will be on hand to help.”

It also says:

“Cancelling an order?
You can cancel your Click & Collect groceries order through our website up until 1pm on the day of collection. If for any reason you wish to cancel after this point you will need to contact us.”

But its terms and conditions for click and collect from stores (sub 8.10, available when you create an account) say clearly:

“We reserve the right to cancel your order, return your order to store and refund your payment if you do not collect it within a reasonable time. All uncollected orders will be returned to store at 8pm Monday to Saturday or close of business on Sunday. Monday to Saturday orders will thereafter remain available for collection in-store until the store is closed that day. Thereafter, if not collected, your order will be cancelled.”

And about its click and collect from tube stations, Sainsbury’s says (sub 7.9):

“We reserve the right to cancel your order, return your order to store and refund your payment if you do not collect it within a reasonable time. All uncollected orders will be returned to store at 9pm. In these circumstances, we reserve the right to retain any collection charge (where applicable).”

  • John Lewis logo John Lewis is flexible as well, but it can be because its click and collect does not concern perishables. It alerts you the moment your order is available for collection. It adds:

“Your order will be available for collection at your chosen shop for 7 days, after which it will be returned to our warehouse and your account will be refunded, but please allow up to 2 weeks for this.”

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