When signing for a neighbours parcel, you are potentially signing away their consumer rights, whilst exposing yourself to potential prosecution.
Over the past few years, the rate of home shopping has increased by 19% – these days, a number of us find ourselves standing face to face with the postman taking in a delivery that’s not even ours.
A question few of us ask is does being a good neighbour by taking in the parcel hinder their chance of getting a refund on damaged goods. It might not be a good thing, despite wanting to be a friendly person next door.
So, should you sign for your neighbour’s parcels?
Whilst some of us prefer our neighbours to not accept parcels on our behalf, others designate a close neighbour for their parcel to be delivered to in case they miss the knock at the door or elsewhere at the time of delivery and some even refuse to take parcels for neighbours.
It’s important to remember that when your order goods from an online retailer, you have an agreement specifically with the retailer – and not with any third party companies used throughout the delivery process.
Taking in a neighbours parcel or asking your neighbour to take one in on your behalf has the ability of damaging your chance of compensation if a claim is required and can put your neighbours in danger of being sued if something happens to the parcel whilst under their supervision.
Retailers and sellers alike argue that goods are their responsibility while they are in transit until they are signed for. We should aim to check parcels before signing for them to ensure the contents are undamaged. Although we don’t always have time to check the contents of every package, if the outer packaging is visually damaged it is best to look inside to give you the opportunity to refuse acceptance. The best way to do this is by taking a picture of the damaged packaging and goods before refusing it – so you have photographic evidence should you need it.
If you have signed for a damaged item – don’t panic! You haven’t waved goodbye to all your rights as a consumer just yet because The Consumer Rights Act states that any damaged during delivery is at the responsibility of the seller. Despite this, it’s always a good idea to write on the card or electronic device if you can that your goods have been received but not inspected on arrival. This way, you can stand your ground in case there is any damage.
If you have given instructions for the parcel to be left elsewhere but is damaged when you get your hands on it, there is little you can do accept contact the seller or retailer directly for advice however, if a courier has left a parcel with a neighbour without permission, as the consumer you can argue that the goods were supposed to be delivered to the address specified when you placed the order – even if it was signed for.
If you appreciate the fact that your neighbours occasionally sign for a parcel for you, you may want to return the favour but remember that if you do, you should make sure that the parcel doesn’t look damaged from the outside before you sign it. If it is, make sure you get the courier to note your findings.
If not, expect neighbours to refuse taking in your parcels too!