You sign the consignment note and then take the package from the courier, and it is done. There is nothing more to say. That’s right, however, only in 99.5% of cases can you open the package and enjoy the ordered item. “It’s great, it’s great, there is no problem”. It turns out that there is about 0.5% of cases when the courier has just left, you open the package, and find inside a laptop with a cracked screen or a porcelain service, which belonged to your grandma, to be reassembled with glue. What to do in such a situation?
According to the law, the seller is liable for the goods until the recipient signs the consignment note which certifies that the package has been received and there is no objection to its condition. If it turns out that the goods are damaged while unpacking only after the courier left, you as the recipient have to take the full responsibility for getting compensation.
It would be much more reasonable to take a closer look at the state of packaging and – in case of any doubt – to check the contents of the package in the presence of the courier. For those of you who are not convinced that it is always worth doing, we recommend a short but very educational film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4XgyowNmFA.
The packaging always tells the truth
Usually it does, but not always. Especially when the package did not hit something with a corner or an edge, but fell flat on a hard surface. Even if it fell from a great height, the packaging may appear intact, while the contents may be in a sorry state. This happens most often when transporting electronics or fragile objects (made of glass or porcelain).
Nevertheless, in most cases, the condition of the packaging will be a good indicator. You should pay attention to any deformations of the box, indentation, dirt, security tape rupture or moisture. Any of these changes in the packaging appearance indicates that the package has not been properly transported or stored.
Before you proceed to inspect your delivery, you should first sign the consignment note, and in the case of cash on delivery, make the payment. If you notice any worrying signs, you should ask the courier to assist you while unpacking and checking the condition of the ordered goods. If you find any damage, you should draw up a damage report.
What to do if your package is damaged?
As was said above, you have to draw up a damage report. The courier should actively help you in this. The report should be written down carefully, as it will be the supporting document for filing your complaint.
The document should contain the date and place of drawing up of the report, shipment details, personal details of the recipient, courier and potential witnesses, and of course a detailed description of the damage. It is worth attaching some photos documenting the damage, if available.
You should remember that if your assessment of the damage is different to that of a courier’s, or you disagree on other details of the damage report, you are wholly within your rights not to search for a compromise but to state your own comments.
The courier cannot refuse to be present whilst writing the damage report using any excuses, such as lack of time or other external factors.
How to file your complaint?
The next step is to file a complaint. It should always be prepared in writing – either as a traditional printout on paper or by email. The best is to use ready-made forms or electronic complaint forms available on all courier companies websites.
The complaint will process quicker if the damage is noticed and described in the damage report still in the presence of the courier. However, you may always file a complaint if the damage is discovered only after the courier has gone. The main difficulty is proving that the goods were damaged during shipment, and not after the parcel was delivered.
You can file a complaint within a maximum of 7 working days after delivery. The carrier has 30 days to respond to your complaint. If you do not receive a response, you have to go to trial.
What compensation can you claim?
The amount of compensation depends on the amount of loss that you can prove. The easiest way to claim your rights is when the package has a declared value. Otherwise, you are obliged to prove that the goods in the package had a value equal to the amount of compensation sought. In disputable cases, an appraiser must be appointed.
You can never claim more than the actual value of the goods, except in the situation when you can prove that the damage occurred as a result of gross negligence or deliberate misconduct of the carrier.