Damaged or delayed delivery? Here’s what to do
With billions of deliveries made annually, and the number of deliveries rising exponentially year over year, the statistical likelihood that a package will be delayed or damaged upon delivery also rises. What should you, the consignee (customer) do if you ordered something and it arrives with noticeable damage or is delayed?
What you should know
Delays or damage could happen at any point within the supply chain, including before the item is packaged in the warehouse. E-commerce delivery is much like a relay race where each member of the supply chain has the potential to help win the race or to be where the team falters.
It’s also important to know that each retailer and 3PL provider that contracts with regional last mile delivery companies will have different contractual arrangements. This also includes the differences that are made by what the customer might order. This could include whether or not the package is dropped off at the door or if services up to white glove delivery were included.
How to handle delays and damage
As the customer, here is what we recommend if you find yourself in the position of dealing with damaged or delayed freight.
When we receive large freight on our dock, we are usually able to inspect it and contact the consignee and the retailer if we discover visible damage once we refuse the delivery. We then work with the retailer on how to handle the return and generally, the retailer works with you, the consignee, on how to replace the damaged item.
What happens if you receive a delivery and it has damage? First, don’t sign for it. We require all freight delivery customers to inspect then sign off on the delivery. If there’s damage, forms need to be completed to document the damage and if you sign for the delivery, it indicates that you accept the delivery despite the damage. Signing off on the delivery also means we become powerless to help you if there is a problem because the delivery has been officially taken out of our responsibility.
With larger items, damage, even small scratches, are easier to find when the item is delivered. Some smaller boxed items that are left at your door will reveal what is appropriately called “concealed damage.” If that happens, you need to contact the company where you ordered the item from directly.
What about if your package is just late?
As we stated, many factors can affect the timeliness of delivery. We all strive to get deliveries to the right spot on time, but delays can happen. If your package is delayed, we first recommend contacting where you purchased the item because they likely have tracking information that they can share with you.
If you determine who the last mile delivery provider is, contact that provider. They should have tracking information as well and know when the freight is scheduled to reach their dock. They can also, based on that information, schedule a delivery date for you.
Be kind, be proactive
During the holiday season, retailers and delivery companies are overwhelmed with the vast number of deliveries they are making. We encourage people to order as soon as possible. For items that are not needed immediately for the holidays, consider scheduling your delivery for after Christmas.
Also, try to remember that delays and damaged freight are stressful for everyone. With communication and understanding, everyone involved can have a great experience!