E-tailers defend late deliveries

<p>Complaints about late internet orders rose by around 30% this Christmas compared to last year. In the six week period leading up to Christmas, government watchdog Consumer Direct received nearly three thousand customer complaints relating to overdue orders from online retailers, compared to around 2,300 the previous year.</p><p>However, internet booksellers Amazon.co.uk and Play.com both said they were satisfied by how they performed over the busy period. </p><p>Amazon spokesman Damian Peachey said: &quot;We&#39;re very pleased with our delivery performance this year. Less than 1% of our deliveries were late, and we introduced a number of new initiatives to ensure optimum efficiency.&quot; At its peak, Amazon shipped over 700,000 units in one 24 hour period.</p><p>Play.com also said it was satisfied with its Christmas deliveries. &quot;We were very happy with how operations went in the run-up to Christmas,&quot; said Play.com books category manager Georgina Stoaling. &quot;We had very few problems and a minimal number of orders were late.&quot;</p><p>Amazon pointed to its introduction of Amazon Prime, which guarantees next day delivery for an annual fee of &pound;49, and its new same day delivery service in Birmingham and London. Peachey added: &quot;Amazon is also unique amongst retailers in that we keep customers informed at all times as to what stage their delivery is at logistically. We told customers before they ordered whether or not they would receive their product before Christmas, and they had the option to cancel their order if they were worried.&quot;</p><p>But postal service watchdog Post Watch warned that there were still issues that needed to be addressed. &quot;There are still questions that need to be answered&mdash;we&#39;re still trying to get an overall view on how things went at Christmas, but certainly from anecdotal evidence there were problems,&quot; said Post Watch press officer Daryl Barrett. &quot;Unhappy consumers have been speaking through the media, and these public statements have had resonance.</p><p>&quot;However, we realise that the volume of customers goes sky high at Christmas, and you would expect there to be some problems. Next year we will focus on giving customers a date by which to order their products so they can realistically expect to receive them in time.&quot;</p>