Home and garden retailer WorldStores has come under fire from shoppers after their goods failed to show up.

MoneySavingExpert.com has been contacted by angry customers, while the internet store's Twitter feed is littered with responses to complaints about no-show orders and problems getting in touch with the firm's customer services team (see our Cheap Online Shopping tips and tricks for buying on the web).

WorldStores says it's "painfully aware" of the problems, caused after its main courier company was affected by the recent storms, as well as increased demand over Christmas.

It insists all customers will get their orders, or a full refund if they've asked for one, and all affected customers will be contacted to ensure problems have been resolved.

Unhappy shoppers

Scores of unhappy shoppers have vented their frustration at WorldStores' service on Twitter. Here's a selection of some of the complaints we've seen this week:

  • @Neill_Peel: "Shocking to discover that such an elaborate looking website can have such terrible customer customer service... #don'tbefooled"
  • @beckinaylor1990: "Yet another day @WorldStoresUK promise to call and deliver my item and it doesn't. Another wasted day because of it."
  • @JimRai: "Been waiting in all day for a bed to be delivered. Specified today for delivery. Now 6pm and not here. Where is my order?"
  • @MKCreative: "@WorldStoresUK Trying to contact you again. Two parts of my three orders have been delivered. BOTH are damaged and have been returned!! Useless."
  • @MROni0n: "Shocking customer service! Waited in all day for delivery, nothing. Tried calling and emailing, nothing!! #neveragain"

What is WorldStores doing?

WorldStores says it's working with its courier companies to clear backlogs as fast as possible, with extra collections and deliveries.

Staff are working overtime, while the firm says it's also putting money into new staff and technology to ensure the issues aren't repeated.

A spokesman says: "We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to customers who have been affected by the issues we've described. We are painfully aware that the service they have received is in some cases far below the standard we want our company to be known for.

"We would like to reassure them that we are doing everything we can not only to get their order to them as soon as possible, but also to prevent any recurrence of problems on this scale."

I'm affected. What are my rights?

With all items ordered online, in most cases you're entitled to cancel and get a full refund seven working days from the day after you receive the goods under the Distance Selling Regulations. You usually need to write to let the seller know, although some allow you to cancel by phone.

As soon as you've cancelled, take good care of all of the goods, as you have to send them all back in reasonable condition. The seller must then pay back any cash within 30 days, including the cost of delivery to you – although be sure to specifically ask for this to be included as some stores don't add it automatically. 

If goods are faulty, you also have a legal right to return them and get a full refund. See our Consumer Rights guide for the full details.

You can also get compensation for extra time off work, additional costs, and even inconvenience and distress caused by late delivery problems.

However you can only claim for what's known as 'consequential loss'. So you can't claim compensation for the original no-show day as you haven't technically lost out through this as you were going to take that day off work anyway.

But if you need to take a second day (or morning/hour) off for a new date, you should be due compensation for loss of earnings or loss of a day's holiday.

Complain through the company's own late delivery procedure. If that doesn't work, or you feel the standard compensation isn't adequate, call the company to let it know its service "didn't meet your expectations". As a last resort you could take the firm to court – see our Failed Delivery? Fight Back guide for the full information.