Check contents before signing (sorry too late)!

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I made a purchase from a major high street retailer via eBay Outlet, and it duly arrived by courier and was signed for in the office. I don’t normally bother opening personal purchases until I get home, so it was only in the evening I opened the parcel.

Inside the courier sack, which only had a courier label attached to the outside, was my item and the despatch note which read “Please Check Contents Before Signing For”.

Now firstly I don’t have time, secondly there are several people in the warehouse none of whom have permission to open items addressed personally to me and thirdly why should I? Just because I sign for something unchecked shouldn’t affect my warranties or customer services.

I know why sellers want items checked before they’re signed for, it’s so that they can claim from the courier if the item is damaged or missing. In truth though it’s impractical for buyers – even if I’d opened the outer courier mailing sack I don’t have time to undo the inner box on every delivery to make sure the contents are intact.

However if you do want to make life awkward for your customers and insist that they check the contents before signing for parcels, it’s probably a good idea to put the note on the outside of the parcel and not inside the packaging!

19 Responses

  1. Hi Chris,

    I am having the same problem with a Mobile Phone Company (Three). I bought a phone well upgrade some 14 months ago, and within 35 minutes of having the phone, knew i could not use the touch screen, fingures too big etc. So got on the phone, and was told sorry cannot return………….. I had put the sim card in and the date.

    I explained that had to be done to use the phone.

    They said, sorry I should have known before hand and their policy is once the sim card is put in the phone cannot be returned.

    An hour later phoned back, again told, by someone, that I had already been told their policy and it was my fauly for puting sim card in.

    Next i went down the route of the distance selling act, they said it did not apply, as I was at fault for not trying the phone and using it in the shop. When I explained that the phone was an upgrade and bought on the phone, they said, well i should have done my research better, and they are not at fault.

    I explained that all the other air time companies allowed phones to be returned within a 14 day time period.

    So at the moment, I have a phone sitting in my desk draw that I cannot use, waiting for the contract to run out in december.

    Some companies just want to make life bad for people.

    Have a great day

  2. The DSRs give you the right to examine the article – including all the usual things. Putting a SIM card in would appear to be a necessary step to testing a phone so I would be surprised if a court didn’t uphold your right to return.

    Contact trading standards with a copy of your notice of rejection (sent in a durable medium within 7 days of receipt) and details of what has happened.

  3. Crap as it is, I also would be on the side of teh phone company here.

    The DSR’s allow you to examine a product as you would in a shop. You are not able to put your sim card in a mobile phone in the shop, this simply isn’t an option.

    I feel for you but in this case DSR’s don’t apply.

  4. I haven’t checked if this is still current practice in the US but it reminds me of how software is sold. Inside the packaging or on the disc itself you are presented with an EULA. If you don’t agree you aren’t allowed to use the software. But to get to the EULA you have to open the package. There isn’t a single retailer that I know of that will accept returns on opened software.

  5. some way ,some how ,a business needs to be able to operate and make a profit, they need some protection
    buyers need to have confidence to purchase, though they also need to be reasonable and realistic

  6. What rubbish – ofcourse mobile phones are covered by DSR’s. Where do you people get your ideas from?

    The phone company were obliged to accept the phone back – the whole point of DSRs is that you can’t inspect the item if you buy online / over the phone. Inserting the sim card and entering the date does not change the phone in an irreverisble way and I think would be considered necessary to inspect the phone.

    It may be harder now seeing as so much time has passed – but if you decided to take action against the company as long as you have some evidence to back your claims you would have a very strong case.
    The company has a vested interest to make it as hard as possible to return your phone. However I usually find that once you start taking names and obtaining details for CEOs etc they are falling over themselves to help.

    I had a similar problem with Orange when my mobile stopped working within 2 months (I didn’t have their insurance). They tried to claim I had done all sorts of things even though their shop inspection of the phone recorded it as being in immaculate condition – eventually after my obtaining the full names and job titles of everyone involved and details of head office, and started quoting sections of the sale of goods act they “lost” my phone and just gave me a new one as a gesture of goodwill!

  7. I think it’s worth a quick reminder of our comments policy. Aimed at no one in particular and not in reference to this thread only but please bear in mind that everyone is welcome to post on TameBay but we do expect respect for other people who also comment on the site.

  8. Well, from the above comments it would appear we have a lot of “back bedroom” sellers here, no doubt your customer service skills are equally productive.

    Mobile phones are not exempt, I said that DSR’s didn’t apply in this case.

  9. “Just because you haven’t had a chance to examine the product, doesn’t mean you automatically have a right of return”

    Thats exactly what the Consumer DSR’s do mean. You haven’t had a chance to examine the product, so you DO have an automatic right to cancel and you do not have to give any reason whatsover.

    It isn’t that items are exempt so much as there are situations where you cannot cancel i.e before you open the CD you can afterwards you can’t.You couldn’t cancel if an item had been personalised for you or had a very specific shelf life a newspaper or a lottery ticket(no buying it on Friday and sending it back on Monday saying you want to cancel!)

    Mobile phones are not covered specifically. They are probably claiming you started using the service by putting the sim card in, in which case you lose the right to cancel but they would have had to inform you of this in advance and if they didn’t then you can still cancel and send it back within 7 days.

  10. Many years ago I worked for one of the big four mobile phone companies in their retentions department; it was my job to persuade customers not to end their contract with us.

    We’d inform the customer that we would upgrade the handset and/or slash the tariff if they stayed with us. Many times the customer would say that they had already received a new phone (from another network provider, a few days before their existing contract ended – either in the shop or online. We would advise them that it was their right to end the contract and return the phone within 14 days of receiving it. Their only obligation was to pay for any telephone call charges they had incurred and any monthly charges (pro rata).

    Many customers did return their new handsets – opened and used – with no quibbling from the other network provider, so I am sure it is within the customer’s statutory rights to do so.


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