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Signing for a neighbours parcel delivery could land you in court

Wednesday, 27 April 2022 at 12:23

Are you aware that if you sign for a neighbour’s parcel delivery, you could end up facing legal action or even be signing away your consumer rights?

As online shopping continues to increase, many people may find themselves taking in a neighbour’s parcel delivery. However, carrying out this good deed may harm the buyer’s chances of a refund if the goods arrive damaged; in some cases, signees could find themselves sued or in court if things go wrong?

It’s really annoying when you arrive home from work and find a card saying you missed your delivery, and you’re told you need to travel to the courier company’s depot to collect your parcel. You’d probably be pleased that your neighbour’s signed for your delivery, and you’d probably return the favour. However, problems begin to arise if the parcel has arrived damaged or even goes missing.

There was a report recently about a lady that was threatened with prosecution after they signed for a neighbour’s parcel delivery which was then stolen when her house was burgled, and in another case, the retailer even tried to get the buyer to call the police to investigate when their neighbour completely denied signing for their parcel.

The retailer will say that any which are in transit is only their responsibility until they’re signed for by the buyer or a neighbour. Because of this, any parcels delivered should be checked over for any loss or damage at the point of signing. If you find that the package looks at all damaged, the best thing to do is refuse the delivery. Do NOT sign for an item and write ‘arrived damaged’ on the driver’s delivery note.

If the courier has left an item with a neighbour without your permission – even if signed for – you can argue that, by leaving them at a different address, they are still undelivered, and still the responsibility of the seller or courier.

Even if a courier leaves your parcel with a neighbour without your permission, you could argue that the goods are still undelivered, as the goods were not left at the specified delivery address, therefore it’s still the responsibility of the retailer or the courier company.

It’s more than likely that the seller or courier company will say it’s not their responsibility when something goes wrong with the parcel once a neighbour has signed for it. If this is the case and the goods were bought online, no matter who has signed for them, you are still legally able to return them within 14 days under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

Even if your neighbour has signed for an item, they haven’t waved away all your consumer rights. It may any claim you make much easier if you’ve highlighted a damaged package at the time, but it is not an absolute legal necessity.

Then there are the dishonest neighbours that unfortunately live among us! A neighbour completely denies having ever taken delivery or even signed for your parcel, even though the courier company that delivered it has their signature. What happens then?

Well, if you’ve given absolutely no permission whatsoever for your parcel to be delivered or signed for by the neighbour in question, and they are denying ever receiving it, then the retailer MUST send you a replacement item.

If for example, you sign for a large item delivery for one of your neighbours, it can be a massive pain when they take several days to come and pick it up. In addition to this, you may have the threat of legal action when things don’t go smoothly. In the future, it may be that a few of us are politely turning down the request to sign for a neighbour’s delivery.

Can you refuse to sign for someone else’s delivery? The answer is yes. You are completely within your rights to decline a delivery driver's request for you to sign for your neighbour’s parcel.

If you do choose to sign for a neighbour’s delivery, at the very least, check the package over for any sign of damage. If there is visible damage, either make a note of this when you sign or completely refuse to take in the delivery.

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