THE ONLINE world of shopping has taken off in the past decade with most of us finding Christmas gifts for families and friends in the comfort of our own homes.

And, while it's nice to have our purchases sent direct to the door, sometimes these parcels go missing or arrive late.

We've compiled the ultimate guide for customers to know their rights, according to consumer advice charity Which?.

Read more: Residents' frustration over "mysteriously disappearing parcels"

What can I do if my parcel goes missing/arrived late?

In this situation, the first step is to call your retailer who will then let the courier dealing with the order.

This is because your contract is with the retailer, who you bought the goods from.

Legally, your contract is with the retailer and the Consumer Rights Act makes the retailer responsible for the good condition and safe delivery of your order.

I paid extra for special delivery and it arrived late 

If the parcel arrived after the agreed time you can claim back the extra delivery cost. This is because the service wasn't delivered.

I gave permission for my parcel to be left in a safe space or with my nominated neighbour but something went wrong

This is where it gets tricky. This is because you are still considered to have received the item.

My order arrived damaged and faulty

Customers have a right to refuse it and get a refund, repair or replacement.

The retailer is responsible for dealing with this, even if the courier was responsible for your goods.

If anything goes wrong with your parcel but it was left with a neighbour or in a safe place that you yourself nominated, your rights are diminished.