Earlier this year Consumer Lookout pointed out a dubious clause in Argos’s terms & conditions, where they appeared to try and pass liability for goods to the customer after their first attempt to deliver.
What Has Changed?
Since then they have updated this clause in their terms & conditions with an alternative that seems nearly as questionable:
3.3 Risk of loss and damage of products passes to you on the date when the products are delivered to you or are left with a person or place nominated by you.
This may conflict with the Consumer Contracts Regulations, which state:
Risk passes from the trader to the consumer when the goods are delivered unless the courier is one not offered or named by the trader as an option, but chosen and arranged by the consumer. In this case risk passes to the consumer when the item is delivered to the courier.
The Good News
This is an improvement on their previous T&Cs, as it is clear from the wording that in order to fall foul of this condition you have to actively nominate a person with whom – or a place where – the items you ordered can be left.
It means that if you did not nominate any person/place and they randomly choose leave goods outside your property or with a neighbour, then you would not be liable for the loss.
If you do nominate a person or place for delivery, the risk is that if your neighbour refused to hand over the items or they were stolen from your “safe place”, then you might have signed away your rights to get the goods refunded or replaced. Although it is possible consumer law might still protect you, if this were seen to be an unfair condition.
You can avoid this either by not nominating anyone or a place at all, or by only nominating a person you really trust.
When ordering online I tend to specify “Deliver to me in person only“, to make it clear I do not accept any liability for the product until it is delivered into my hands.