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Signing For A Neighbours Parcel May Land You In Court

Thursday, 9 July 2020 at 09:46

If you are asked by a courier companies delivery driver to sign for a neighbour’s parcel, you could be signing away their consumer rights and even get sued! Neighbours need to think before they sign for a neighbour’s package delivery.

As online shopping has become much more common, we are often asked to take in a neighbour’s parcel delivery. But being nice could harm the consumer’s chances of a getting a refund on damaged goods, and the individual who has signed for the parcel delivery could find themselves sued if things go wrong? Signing for someone else’s parcel delivery can lead to a legal pass-the-parcel to decide who’s to blame.

It’s so annoying to find a card pushed through your letterbox saying you missed your delivery and you’ll have to go to a depot to collect your package. Most of us would be happy if a neighbour signed for our delivery and would return the favour for them. But if the parcel is damaged or goes missing, what happens then? Neighbours reveal signing for a parcel can raise some issues.

Recently, an elderly man was threatened with court action after signing for a parcel for his next-door neighbour which was then stolen in a burglary; and in another case, a retailer even tried to get the buyer to call the police about a neighbour who denied signing for a delivery.

Retailers will argue that goods are their responsibility while they are being transported until signed for by the buyer or their neighbour. Therefore, if signing for a neighbour’s delivery you should always check parcels and packages for any signs of damage. Not all of us have the time to check the contents of every package, but it looks in any way damaged, it would be best to refuse to sign for it.

If a courier delivery driver has left your parcel with a neighbour without your permission, even if it’s been signed for, you can argue that, as delivery has been made to a different address, it is classed as undelivered, and is therefore still the responsibility of the seller or courier company.

The vendor or courier company will argue it isn’t their responsibility if something goes wrong once the parcel is accepted by a named neighbour, the same as if you took delivery yourself. In this case, hopefully, the delivery is something that’s been bought online, as you will still be able to return them within 14 days under the Consumer Contracts Regulations; no matter who signed.

Even if a neighbour has signed for parcel delivery, they haven’t thrown away all your consumer rights. It may make a claim smoother to highlight a damaged package at the time, but it is not an absolute legal requirement.

You may have honest neighbours living near you, but what about dishonest ones? What happens if a dishonest neighbour flatly denies they even received and signed for your delivery, even though the courier who carried out the delivery has the neighbour in question’s signature?

In a case such as this, the answer is quite clear-cut. As long as no permission was given to make the delivery to this particular neighbour, no matter if they flatly deny ever signing, or claims they later left it on your doormat, the retailer must, by law send you a replacement item.

Signing for a parcel delivery can be a pain in the arse, especially if you have taken in a large item delivery for a neighbour who then takes days getting around to collecting it from you.

After reading this article, a few of us may well be politely turning away couriers in the future due to the legal responsibility and any potential hassle involved.

To summarise - Can you refuse your neighbours delivery? Yes, you are fully entitled to refuse delivery of any parcel a driver tries to talk you into accepting for next door. If you do decide to sign for a neighbour, make sure, at the very least, that the package doesn’t look damaged before you sign for it, also ensure that if it is damaged you make a clear note of this, and that you put the parcel in a safe place until the neighbour arrives to collect it.

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