We are all familiar with it, eagerly placing an online order, only to find that we are not at home on the day of delivery...
Now, most postal and courier companies work with pick-up locations where you can pick up your parcel, or they offer it the next day, which means you have to wait yet another day for that long-awaited parcel....
Or, in many cases, you can now choose to give the courier permission to put the parcel in a 'safe place', leaving it waiting for you in perfect condition when you get home... or is it?
Is a 'safe place' always that safe?
If, as a consumer, you yourself choose to use this service provided by the postal operator, whereby the handler leaves the parcel unattended in a place designated by the user as 'safe', the burden of proof in case of non-receipt passes to yourself.
Indeed, there are some risks involved in specifying such a location. After all, what does a 'safe' location mean, and what do you best take into account when specifying such a location?
The location you choose should be easily accessible to the parcel delivery man, and out of sight of passers-by.
It is also very important to take into account the capricious weather here in Belgium. Just because the sun was shining when you placed your order, or even when the parcel was handed over by the parcel delivery man, does not mean it will stay dry until you get home. The location should protect your parcel from the elements. It is also best to protect the parcel from any stray pets that might like to play with a cardboard box.
It is also important to choose between a one-off drop-off or permission to deliver all your parcels to the location of your choice. In the latter case, even more valuable parcels will be delivered to your chosen location if you are not at home. As well as those parcels delivered just after you left on holiday.
If you give your parcel driver permission to put the parcel in a safe place, this does not mean that the parcel will indeed be delivered to this place every time.
After all, if the parcel driver himself finds that the location is not safe enough, he may take the parcel away again. Certain modes of shipping also do not allow the postal operator to leave the parcel in such a secure location.
So are there no benefits to it?
Sure there are! If you can select a place near your home that is very safe considering all the risks involved.
Apart from the time savings and convenience for you, the recipient, there is also the environmental benefit if all parcels could be handed over immediately at the first presentation.
Furthermore, you don't have to take time off work to be at home to receive your parcel, you don't have to drive to a collection point to pick it up yourself if you missed the delivery, and you have your parcel as soon as possible because you don't have to wait for a repeat delivery.
Always consider the risks and weigh the benefits against the drawbacks.
What if things do go wrong?
Your parcel company contacts you that the parcel was delivered to the safe place, but you don't find the parcel there.
If you give the parcel company permission to hand out the parcel in such a way, the terms and conditions usually state that they will not be liable if the parcel is lost, or damaged, after delivery.
In such a case, contact your sender immediately. An additional difficulty may be that the sender does not wish to reimburse you since the tracking states that the parcel was delivered to you.
Of course, in such a case, you can contact ombudsman poste so that we can intervene. Based on an investigation and mediation, we will see whether there are still grounds to defend compensation from the postal company for your lost parcel.
As ombudsman poste, we advise addressees to pay close attention to all risks, weigh up the pros and cons, and always read the small print of the terms and conditions of carriage before subscribing to such extra services offered.