What do we really need from parcel tracking?

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There are still many couriers who require a signature on delivery. There are others who are happy to leave your parcel in a safe place. Some services such as Royal Mail Special Delivery can only be delivered to the addressee, other services from both Royal Mail and couriers can be left with a neighbour.

At times it’s the retailer who specifies if a signature is required and tracking for some services is only ever a bar code scan at the door step.

There’s a whole debate to be had over what kind of tracking is required but generally the industry is becoming more relaxed about it. Consumers are happy so long as they get their parcel, couriers are happy so long as they can get rid of parcels and preferably get rid of them on the first delivery attempt. People don’t generally complain about couriers bending the rules, for instance it’s not uncommon for a Royal Mail Postie to sign for ‘Signed For’ deliveries on behalf of the recipient when they know each other. No one admits this of course, it would only result in the Postie being disciplined.


And that brings me to a recent delivery for which the online tracking (shown above) clearly states that the item was “Delivered, signed by customer”. That’d be me and I can assure you I wasn’t at home at 16:59 on Thursday the 24th of November. I certainly didn’t sign for the package.

del-track-2The delivery courier used their common sense so the note they popped through the door tells a completely different but very convenient story. The parcel was left in a safe place, out of view from anyone who wandered past and was safely waiting for me when I returned home.

This raises some serious questions:

  • How much latitude a delivery driver should have before they’re disciplined?
  • Why are some companies like Amazon Logistics are happy to leave parcels valued at several hundred pounds in a safe place but other retailers want a signature for a £10 item?
  • Why don’t all couriers allow you to give an online signature on receipt of tracking information, giving them permission to leave a parcel in a safe place regardless of the senders requirements?

As a retailer how precious are you about tracking? Are you happy with a scan at the door step or do you really need a signature? Do you follow your courier’s minimum requirements or do you tick the box insisting on a signature, knowing that some of the time the signature will never take place anyway.

4 Responses

  1. Royal Mail Tracked status of ‘Delivered to your address or a neighbour’ is not of much use. It needs to say where it was delivered.

  2. Amazon is different.

    If a buyer abuses the protection they are given and makes too many claims for non-delivery (or indeed sends too many parcels back), Amazon will block the buyer, and all of his family, from the site.

    If that buyer thinks they can simply re-register using a different ID, they will find that Amazon’s computer knows it is them.

    If Amazon’s computer spots any one of the following that match up to a previously blocked user, it will instantly ban them, and add all of the new information to its blocked list, making it 10x harder to re-register, and 100x on any further attempt:-

    Physical address
    eMail address
    IP address
    Bank details / credit card details
    (Probably MAC addresses)
    Telephone number

    The upshot of this is that Amazon doesn’t really need to prove delivery and its customers need to behave themselves.

    Their delivery drivers also have a computer that links GPS coordinates when they scan an item (a constant headache for the crew who deliver to our warehouse as the map point for the postcodes is about 400 yards away and his scanner should be used within 300 yards of the point).

  3. This year i sent a £150 swimming pool to a customer. I ticked the box that said deliver to addresse only. Must have signiture etc…. So i was pretty suprised when they gave it to a random person outside as they ‘claimed’ to know the person! Long and short of it was the pool vanished and the courier had the cheek to point out that deep in the small print it says it reserves the right to leave things with who it pleases and where it pleases regardless of my instruction which were asked for when booking! To add insult to injury they then pointed out a £50 admin fee for them to process my claim and even then would only pay out the cost price to me. So i lost out on alot of profit and had to pay for them to completely ignore my instructions! I’m a business account customer too!
    I thought i stopped using Yodel because of this sort of thing only to find they are not alone!
    Ebay are a joke too…. had a parcel delivered and signed for… customer simply said ‘not my signiture’. I submitted evidence from the courier that it was at their address but again just said wasnt them ( just some random stranger in your house eh?) Ebay went and refunded them anyway….
    So basically proof of delivery is now pretty pointless.


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