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Carriers start to suspend signatures on delivery

By Chris Dawson March 16, 2020 - 10:30 am

Carriers including the Royal Mail are starting to suspend signatures on delivery, even for services where a signature is normally required such as Special Delivery or other Signed for services. Instead, they will simply ask for the name of the person receiving the parcel and record this without signature removing the need for handheld devices to be touched by customers.

This will impact consumers as when a parcel is delivered it is likely to be placed on the door mat, the delivery person will ring the bell and step back a couple of meters and if the parcel is accepted and taken into the house they will record that as if a signature had been received.

Marketplaces and website owners will need to be aware that their normal proof of deliveries will vary over the next few months and be aware of the requirement by carriers to suspend signatures on delivery until further notice. This could also provide an opportunity for some cost savings in your shipping costs. During the period of time that carriers suspend signatures on delivery, you may well decide to use a cheaper service with a doorstep scan rather than a signature on delivery.

With many in the country going to have to self isolate at some point, we are going to be reliant on deliveries for everything from food to medicines as well as doubtless treats and diversions to keep us occupied and distract from the boredom of staying at home. Courier delivery drivers and Posties are at the front line and will be the ones to keep the country moving, so work with them while they suspend signatures on delivery to help them stay safe and make their lives as easy as possible during these changes.

Royal Mail suspend signatures on delivery – Changes to Operational Delivery Processes

The following notes are the temporary changes for posties to Royal Mail’s Operational Delivery processes for the delivery of any parcels which cannot be posted through a letterbox, or items that would normally require a signature.

For “Non-Signed” for parcels (1C/2C, RM24/48, T24/48)

  • Scan the parcel as delivered but do not press submit
  • Leave the parcel on the doorstep, knock on the door and step back two metres
  • When the customer comes to the door tell them they have a parcel there
  • Witness the customer taking the parcel inside
  • If the customer takes the parcel inside the postman or woman should press submit
  • If the customer refuses to take the parcel inside, then the postman or woman should:
    • Retrieve the parcel
    • Update the PDA status to “Undelivered – No Answer”, and
    • Leave a “Something For You” card so that the parcel can be collected at a later point
    • Do not show the parcel as “Refused”

For “Signed” parcels including letter formats (Signed For, T24/48 with signature, International)

  • Scan the parcel as delivered but do not sign yet
  • Leave the parcel on the doorstep, knock on the door and step back two metres
  • When the customer comes to the door, tell them they have a parcel there and inform them that we will not be collecting the usual signature, but we will require the customer’s name and must witness the customer taking the parcel in
  • Input the customer’s name as normal. When the signature box appears, do not press Done until the customer picks up the parcel
  • If the customer takes the parcel inside the postman or woman should press Done
  • If the Customer refuses to take the parcel inside, then the postman or woman should:
    • Retrieve the parcel
    • Update the PDA status to “Not Delivered – No Answer” and
    • Leave a “Something For You” card so that the parcel can be collected at a later point
    • Do not show the parcel as “Refused”

For “Special Delivery” parcels, including letter formats

  • Scan the parcel as delivered but do not sign yet
  • Leave the parcel on the doorstep, knock on the door and step back two metres
  • When the customer comes to the door tell them they have a parcel there and inform them that we will not be collecting the usual signature, but we will require the customer’s name and must witness the customer taking the parcel in
  • Input the customer’s name as normal. When the signature box appears, do not press Done until the customer picks up the parcel
  • If the customer takes the parcel inside the postman or woman should press Done
  • If the customer refuses to take the parcel inside, then the postman or woman should
    • Retrieve the parcel
    • Update the PDA status to “Not Delivered – No Answer” and
    • Leave a “Something For You” card so that the parcel can be collected at a later point
    • Do not show the parcel as “Refused”

For “Age Verification” parcels

  • Knock on the customer’s door, walk back two metres and scan the parcel
  • Advise the customer that they have an “Age Verification” parcel that we can leave on the doorstep without the usual signature, but must still verify the persons age and witness them taking the parcel inside
  • Ask the customer to open the door or stand in a window and undertake the “Challenge 25” check
  • If the customer does not look over 25 the postman or woman should ask the customer to provide ID that proves their age. The customer can either show this to the postman or woman at a safe but visible distance or as an alternative through a window
  • If the customer looks over 25 or produces the relevant ID, the postman or woman should ask the customer for their name and advise them to step back
  • They should then input the customer’s name into the PDA, when the signature box appears the postman or woman without pressing Done and should place the parcel on the doorstep
  • When the customer takes the parcel indoors the postman or woman should press Done
  • If the customer does not provide the relevant ID/proof of age then the Postman or woman should:
    • Refuse to deliver the parcel
    • Update the PDA status to “Undelivered – Failure to Produce ID”, and
    • Leave a “Something For You Card” so that the parcel can be collected at a later point

Key questions

Does this apply to all parcels and items requiring a signature?

Yes. These new processes apply to all parcels and items requiring a signature that are delivered in the UK.

Do these changes only apply when we suspect the receiving customer has coronavirus?

No. These new temporary processes apply to delivery to all customers.

When do these changes come into effect?

These changes are effective immediately, until further notice.

  • jim
    3 weeks ago

    if were going extreme
    hope they washed their hands before knocking on my door

    • Steve
      3 weeks ago

      We’re more likely to catch it of the postman / woman as they are touching letterboxes garden gates hand rails and so on all day

  • NorthCrystal
    3 weeks ago

    if we’re going extreme again…. as a RM business customer I hope the lack of communication (from RM itself) on this issue is the danger of me receiving covid-19 on the the letter about this ‘update’.

  • Steve
    3 weeks ago

    Why doesn’t the postman just hold the machine and ask the customer to use their own pen without holding the machine , at arms length if your expecting a special delivery item then just get a pen ready for when postman arrives , special delivery usually means the item is expensive. Or just give the postman / woman surgical gloves .

  • Dave
    3 weeks ago

    Its when someone says “i did not get it”, ebay or whoever ask for a proof of delivery and there is no signature………it is how compatible RM’s stance is with ebay etc and RM’s own claims department will be for any claims made etc. Lets hope all are sensible…..that includes you eBay!!!!

    • 3 weeks ago

      We use RM24 and RM48 with delivery confirmation scan. No signature is required. It’s not perfect, as posties won’t perform 100% of these scans, but mostly they do. Ebay/Paypal accept it as proof of delivery. Amazon do not accept it as proof.

    • David
      2 weeks ago

      Because to do that they will most likely have to step within 2 metres of the customer. Gloves are not stopping them breathing on you. Masks might, but do you want numerous delivery drivers to use up the scarce supply of masks needed for health and care workers who do have to get that close?

  • jim
    3 weeks ago

    wont really matter if were all in lock down,
    no one will be buying or selling much anyhow

    • Toby
      3 weeks ago

      In a rather unfortunate twist of fate… this situation will benefit me. As a seller of hot tub and pool accessories etc, we have already seen a spike in hot tub stuff selling as more stay home or get ready to. If this continues into summer, with holidays abroad cancelled etc… then that drives our pool business. As with any situation it creates winners and losers…. but to be honest, i would rather it not be happening. there is no joy in the benefit from others misery.

    • John
      3 weeks ago

      Toby, you could always donate your increased profits to charity groups working with those who get laid off or underpaid because of corona 😉

  • Toby
    3 weeks ago

    Oh and just waiting for RM to think about emailing it’s business customers to update them on this… great when you hear it through a third party first!

  • Erwyn
    3 weeks ago

    This has been in place for several days now. Haven’t seen my postman to ask him for postal sacks to send my orders out for instance, which he normally supplies for me on regular basis.

    How will this impact seller protections on Ebay, Paypal etc. No communication, just tumbleweeds from them. Assume they will try and get away with it as long as possible, sticking to their usual policies….

  • Dave
    3 weeks ago

    Was out on delivery today which felt awfull. Customers are looking at us on delivery like we are big germs. Can’t believe royal mail still haven’t supplied us gloves. Plus hand wipes.

  • Dan
    3 weeks ago

    You cant use a pen on a royal mail PDA machine .. it’s done with your finger to sign for items …

  • 3 weeks ago

    As a Postie i can see us carrying the technique on, after the virus has gone, as it speeds up delivery, and as they (RM) want to increase walk sizes it would allow them (RM) to do just that. By the way https://tamebay.com/2020/03/royal-mail-cwu-workers-vote-to-strike-but-support-country.html

  • Mike
    3 weeks ago

    As a courier for the royal mail we are only providing a service which the customer wants, if they want to avoid the virus at all costs then don’t order on line, our pda, s are only touched by us and the transport supervisor, the parcel will have been touched by a lot of people down the line not including the goods inside
    If we believe we have the virus we are responsible enough to self isolate so as not to put the general public at risk

  • Frances Hayes
    3 weeks ago

    My daughter works in a mail room on a military run camp at southwick park Hampshire so should she be going to work as she handles all types of mail and parcels from couriers

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