LAST OOOOORDERS! The deadlines for free and cheap delivery before Christmas are FAST approaching

LAST OOOOORDERS! The deadlines for free and cheap delivery before Christmas are FAST approaching

If you’re shopping online for gifts, the deadline for ordering to get ’em in time for Christmas may be sooner than you think. Get it wrong and instead of having presents under the tree, you could find they end up being held hostage at a courier firm’s out-of-town depot until New Year…

To help prevent this, retailers now give their own final cut-off dates for orders you want to make sure will be delivered before Christmas. In most cases, there are two separate deadlines – firstly, for cheapest standard delivery, and secondly, faster 'express' delivery that usually costs more. Of course, if you leave it late and want presents to arrive at all before Christmas, this extra cost may be necessary. Yet if the price is the same in store, consider shopping that way instead if you can to avoid delivery altogether.

Remember, nothing is guaranteed. There's always a danger of a festive spanner being thrown in the works - such as the threat of postal workers striking, or extreme weather – so you need to weigh up the risks and any additional costs compared with possibly paying a bit more on the high street.

Christmas last order dates 2019

Below, we’ve listed the order cut-off dates (and where they've given them, times as well) from some of the biggest UK retailers if you want goods to arrive on or before Christmas Day. Yet regardless of how late the deadline is, once you've decided you'll buy online, do it sooner rather than later to minimise the risk of disappointment.

Retailer For cheapest delivery (cost) For latest delivery (cost) For click & collect (cost) (i)
Amazon Sun 22 Dec (from free) Tue 24 Dec, 10.59pm (£7.99 for Prime members) (£2.99 or free for Prime)
Argos Sun 22 Dec, 8pm (£3.95) Tue 24 Dec, 1pm (£3.95) Varies by store, up to Tue 24 Dec (free)
Asos Thu 19 Dec (£4) Mon 23 Dec, 12pm (£9.95) Sun 22 Dec (£5.95)
Boots Thu 19 Dec (£3.50) Mon 23 Dec (£4.75) Mon 23 Dec (free-£1.50)
Currys Thu 19 Dec (free) Sun 22 Dec, 9pm (£4-£10) Tue 24 Dec, 2pm (free) (ii)
Debenhams Wed 18 Dec (£3.49) Sun 22 Dec, 9pm (£3.99) Sun 22 Dec (free)
John Lewis Thu 19 Dec, 7pm (£3.50) Sun 22 Dec, 8pm (£6.95-£10.95) Sun 22 Dec (free-£2)
M&S Wed 18 Dec, 8pm (£3.50) Mon 23 Dec, 6pm (£3.99) Mon 23 Dec, 6pm
Next Sun 22 Dec, 11.59pm (£3.99) Sun 22 Dec, 11.59pm (£3.99) Mon 23 Dec (free)
 (i) To collect by close of business on 24 Dec, (ii) Leave yourself enough time to collect from store before it closes

These are just a few of the biggies. Yet many retailers do list the info on their websites for all to see – so it’s worth checking if you’re after one not listed above.

Late delivery rights

By law, delivery only needs to be “within a reasonable time”, which could be up to 30 days – no use for Christmas. For you to get a refund if an item doesn’t arrive in time, the retailer must have stated goods will arrive by the 25th. If you can’t prove this, you’ve no comeback – though you’ve extra rights when buying via the web. For more info, see our guide on Delivery Rights.

A gentle reminder…

In previous years, retailers have brought forward their last order dates due to couriers struggling to cope with demand or bad weather. Though last order dates are a useful guide, it’s better to take them with a pinch of salt than to trust them as a guarantee.

Basically, if you’re going to buy online, do it sooner rather than later – unless you’re happy to hold on for the chance of a last-minute bargain, despite knowing the risk of it not arriving in time.

Have you had good/bad experiences when ordering Christmas presents online at last minute? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter.