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Cash on delivery: pitfalls when paying at your doorstep

Cash on delivery: pitfalls when paying at the front door
Image: dpa Cash for parcel at your doorstep: every second online retailer still offers payment for online orders by cash on delivery from the parcel carrier. This is the result of a sample of 50 shops that the consumer advice center North Rhine-Westphalia checked for this payment method.

Cash on delivery: pitfalls when paying at the front door
Image: dpa Goods ordered cash on delivery can usually be shipped faster than orders where customers have chosen prepayment or payment by invoice. With prepayment or PayPal, the sellers first wait for the money to be received for the order before sending the goods on their way. When paying by invoice, on the other hand, it often happens that retailers first check the customers for their solvency. This is usually done through a Schufa query - whoever is charged here will often find the only possible method of payment in cash on delivery.

According to the experts, ordering by invoice is still the better choice for customers because, in contrast to cash on delivery or prepayment, the goods can be checked for completeness, quality and function before paying. In addition, door-to-door collection costs extra - an average of 5 euros for deliveries within Germany - and excludes handing over to neighbors or depositing in packing stations. In the worst case, the recipient faces long distances to the parcel service branches.

Unclear information and extra costs confuse customers

In the case of the cash on delivery prices of many online shops, however, the consumer advocates found some gross mistakes or inconsistencies in the context of the sample. It is often unclear for customers what exactly the shipping costs and what the cash on delivery costs. In addition, the shop operators can add a little extra to the collection fee negotiated with the respective parcel service.

According to consumer advocates, DHL is a candidate who demands an additional fee. For cash on delivery deliveries, the company charges an additional transfer fee of two euros directly from the recipient. Competitors such as UPS, Hermes or GLS, however, do not rate such an extra payment. However, some online shops incorrectly reported this fee to DHL competitors as well.

Overall, the following also applies: Only a few dealers break down the cost components clearly according to delivery costs and cash on delivery fee. Sometimes the terms are mixed up, the items mixed up, or one item merges with the other, or vice versa.