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Wed Dec 2 2015 13:59:38

Will Shipping Carriers Use Selfies as Proof of Delivery?

By: Ina Steiner

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Proof of delivery may be taken to a whole new level, according to this report in the UK newspaper the Daily Mail - photographic proof.

Royal Mail is testing the use of photographs to prove carriers have left packages in a "safe place" designated by the householder. It seems cameras are already installed in the PDAs devices that the postal service provides its carriers. 

"If a customer requests proof that you've delivered their item to their designated Safe Place, you will have the ability to take a picture of the item in that location." And apparently the driver can then email the photo to the buyer.

The problem may help in cases of mis-delivered packages ("that's not my house!"), but will a photograph of a package in a buyer's "safe place" help in cases of package theft? It also raises the issue of who is responsible if a package is safely delivered to a home but is then stolen - the seller, the shipping company, or the buyer?

In the US, the Postal Service is launching a Postal Proud campaign to promote best practices among its mail carriers - it's interesting that one of the posters in the campaign features the dilemma, "Not sure where to leave it?" And advises: "Pick a secure spot. Select the event location on your MDD. Your customer will appreciate you."

With companies looking to hire regular people to deliver packages Uber-style - even Amazon with its Flex program - will selfies help prove delivery? What's to stop the person from taking the photo and then leaving with the package?

As a seller, what would you like shipping carriers to do to cut down on cases of buyer complaints about undelivered or damaged packages?



Comments (16) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Dec 2 15:26:47 2015

Won't be good enough for eBay, PayPal or Amazon. They have Buyer is Always Right policies.

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This user has validated their user name. by: windsorbear

Wed Dec 2 18:28:33 2015

I've already decided that I'm going to get a couple of cheapie video security cameras and tie them in to my computer.  One camera is going to be aimed at my mailbox to record any activity at all to it.  The other will be aimed at my "safe spot" on my porch to record all activity there as well.  Sadly, the only way a person can function these days is to audio/video record everything that happens in their lives to have proof of what happened.  I whole-heartedly advise the use of both front and rear dash-cams in vehicles, and video cameras aimed at all points of entrance into a person's yard and home.

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by: zenbreeze This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 3 00:20:03 2015

Tonight, I had an experience on the other side of this.  I've been waiting for a supply order.  My email dinged and it was a tracking update saying the package had been delivered on my porch at 7pm.  I was sitting right here, having dinner, with a clear view.  No one came near the door.  I got the email at 7:15.  I went out and looked on the porch. Nothing.  Checked the neighbor's, just in case.  Nothing.  So, I'll be calling the PO first thing tomorrow morning, and probably going down there.  

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by: zenbreeze This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 3 00:20:32 2015

Tonight, I had an experience on the other side of this.  I've been waiting for a supply order.  My email dinged and it was a tracking update saying the package had been delivered on my porch at 7pm.  I was sitting right here, having dinner, with a clear view.  No one came near the door.  I got the email at 7:15.  I went out and looked on the porch. Nothing.  Checked the neighbor's, just in case.  Nothing.  So, I'll be calling the PO first thing tomorrow morning, and probably going down there.  

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by: Garcia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 3 00:53:57 2015

I sent a package and the item arrived broken, so now I know why.  USPS insurance almost never pays out on expensive items.  So I am always out the money.  It seems USPS does not know the meaning of insurance and doesn't care because there is nothing you can do.

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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 3 01:30:28 2015

@Garcia  You just said the magic words "because there is nothing you can do."
As sellers we are at the mercy of the venues, shipping employees, Customs agents, package thieves, and buyers. It is amazing that the system works at all.  

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 3 05:54:14 2015

All the buyer has to do is mount a surveillance camera.  We in Chicago have caught several thieves because of cameras.

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by: Biglouis This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 3 08:32:35 2015

Its time the postal services tooik responsibiity for the safe delivery of the packages we small sellers have commissioned them to send. I send thousands of packages abroad every year. If the tracking says ''delivered'' then I for one will not refund. So the buyer will have to get up off their ass and be proactive and look for it because I sure as hell cant from thousands of miles away. If they know they live in an area where thefts happen the its upto them to take precautions.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Fly on the Wall

Thu Dec 3 09:19:45 2015

Common logic would say that the seller is responsible for a package until its in the shipper's hands, and then the shipper is responsible until it's in the buyer's hands (delivered). But we all know that eBay says the seller is responsible for the package from start to finish (actually for a whole 180 days).

The only solution to this BS is for all buyers to pick their packages up from a designated station, and agree to open and inspect the order/s on camera while there picking it up.

Now both the seller and shipper have proof of delivery, as well as seeing the item arrived in one piece, and either was or was not "as described".

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by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 3 11:10:58 2015

This week the big brown truck dropped off a package containing an expensive and well know electronics item.  The box had large printing that clearly announced what was inside. The driver left the box at the door without knocking to alert anyone at home.

Fortunately, I live outside the city in an out of the way location. Lucky me, but what if I lived in a large city in an apartment or crowded residential neighborhood.  With the name of the product printed in large letters on the package sitting unguarded on the porch, I would think that many a low life would not hesitate to snatch the box.

I see in the near future the only way for a seller to protect themselves from liar buyers and porch thieves is to ship their items to be picked up at the local post office or UPS and FedEx stores using the ''hold for pickup'' service.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Dec 3 15:30:06 2015

Selfies would never work with eBay or PayPal because if they can't see it online, it doesn't exist. That's why the 180-day INR claims are so egregious since the post office only keeps records online for approximately 120 days.

I've never had a problem collecting on USPS insurance, though it's been a number of years since I had to file a claim.

As for what shipping carriers can do, and I know they are in a hurry to get packages delivered, but they should treat every package as though it was being delivered to themselves. They don't want a broken widget anymore than any other recipient. Yesterday I mailed a Priority Mail box with insurance, and the clerk tossed it like a frisbee into a bin. Luckily I packed it with lots of bubble wrap.  

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by: ConnecticutGal This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 3 23:12:58 2015

Have to say that my postman and the guys in the Post Office in my town must be the gems of the USPS.  They are pretty careful with stuff and just about everything gets logged in on time.

That said, probably time to buy stock in the body cam companies because pretty soon, USPS employees will have to be wearing them.

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 4 17:28:28 2015

A locked box shpuld be added to all houses, much like apartments

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by: Beth This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 4 18:28:58 2015

McPosty         Locked box for mail delivery? mine would have to be big enough to accomodate 20 x 20 x 20 boxes because I have things that big delivered (well the boxes are that big)> So that would me a locked shed and the USPS would need a key so where is the security in that?  

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by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 7 09:28:22 2015

As I have said before, it is time to get over the ''good old days'' and realize that it it absolutely ridiculous for packages to be left on porches, between doors or anywhere else.

Thieves are going to check out bins,oversize mailboxes or any other hidey hole around.

Today's demanding shoppers who expect to order online and have the item in hand in a flash may have to adjust expectations and pick up parcels at the post office.

They will not be motivated to do so as long as sellers are forced to eat losses for stolen goods. Ebay will not support sellers, but my feeling is that we have to hope that when large retailers are hurt by the number of ''non-delivered'' items, they will pressure their carriers to come up with better ''best practices''.

Amazon could take the lead in this and likely may if this shopping season sees whole neighbourhoods stripped of Amazon boxes as happened in several areas of the greater Toronto area last year.

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by: shobana This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 11 06:00:36 2016

In the US, the Postal Service is launching a Postal Proud campaign to promote best practices among its mail carriers - it's interesting that one of the posters in the campaign features the dilemma



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