What Is the Proof of Delivery (POD) and When Do I Sign It?5 min read

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You have just received your package and cannot wait to open it and sign immediately whatever the courier driver hands you. However, you should check the content of the package before you sign anything. You may not think so, but this is an essential document serving to prove the condition you have received your package.

What does proof of delivery (POD) mean?

The proof of delivery (POD) is what the recipient signs when receiving a shipment in good order and condition. The POD usually contains:

  • the time and date of the delivery;
  • the name of the recipient;
  • his/her signature.

The POD resembles a receipt, just that it has a different purpose. Its purpose is proving that the courier driver has delivered the package in good condition.

How to sign for the POD for the package?

You get the POD either in physical or electronic form and by signing it the recipient confirms that the delivery has been completed successfully, without any problems. As we mentioned earlier, the POD does not only stand as proof of delivery, but it also stands as proof for its good condition.

Why is this important to sign the POD?

The claim procedure for any damages starts with the POD, and if the receiver has signed this document, it might be difficult to claim. Learn more about the claims procedure in case of damage or loss.

Who should sign the proof of delivery for the package?

  • The person signing the POD should be the recipient that is indicated on the package.
  • In case the indicated recipient cannot be physically present at the delivery location at the specified delivery time, he/she can appoint someone else to receive the parcel on his/her behalf. In such cases, the receiver should notify the designated person about the importance of checking the package before signing the POD.
  • Many courier companies offer the possibility to sign online for the delivery of your parcel. You can also request that they leave it at your door. It is also essential to know your country’s legislation on delivering and receiving parcels. In certain countries, in the UK for example, the appointed person is responsible for the condition of the package if the recipient assigns someone else to receive the package. Learn more why parcels often get damaged.

It is important to be aware that not only should you be very careful when asking someone else to sign for your package, but also when someone asks you to sign on their behalf. Deliveries received by anyone else but you, fall under a grey area when it comes to consumer rights. Therefore, it is hard to prove something about the condition of the package.

If you had designated your neighbour or another person to receive your parcel, the sender might argue that delivering the item to them is no different than providing it directly to you. They might try to use this argument to deny you compensation. However, remember that you still have legal rights and should file a complaint! If you never permitted your neighbour to sign for you, then the process becomes a lot easier.

What should I check for before signing the POD?

You must pay close attention before signing any document from the courier service. Most importantly, always check if:

  • there are any damages to the package and its content. Otherwise, it might be difficult to claim for damages;
  • there was a ticked box saying that the sender did not correctly pack the parcel. The courier companies might use such details later to deny you any claims;
  • there is no time to check the box or the courier driver denies you to do so. In this case, an alternative would be to sign and write “unchecked” next to your signature. However, keep in mind that writing down what you have not inspected the parcel, offers no guarantee that your claims will be accepted.

Can the courier driver refuse to allow me to open the package?

In most cases, the courier driver allows the recipient to inspect their parcel before signing the proof of delivery briefly. There have been many instances though, where they have flatly denied such a request. There are several reasons for that.

  • The courier driver might not have been well informed by the provider they work.
  • Maybe they have a limited time framework to deliver a massive amount of parcels.
  • Also, they could be merely afraid that they might have to take responsibility in case of any damages.

Indeed, it is often hard to find a specific guideline in the couriers’ legal obligations concerning the act of inspecting the package before signing the POD. Some courier services have also established their own rules, such as allowing the receiver to open the parcel only if the sender indicated it.

Even when there are no clear obligations from the courier’s side to let you inspect the parcel, we strongly recommend you to insist on that matter, especially when there are apparent external damages to the package.

Furthermore, it is crucial to check the legal framework in your country concerning the obligations of the courier service providers.

In case you are not a recipient but a shipper of a damaged or lost parcel, learn more on how to file a shipping insurance claim. To avoid any risks, you can send your package through Eurosender. Eurosender only collaborates with the most reliable courier service provider, meaning that your items will be in good hands.


Do you have more questions? Do not hesitate to contact us.

Last modified: March 16, 2020

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