If I sign a delivery note and appliance turns out damaged can I still complain?

Consumer rights Delivery companies expect us to sign that we’ve received goods in good condition. But it’s often impractical to check them properly, especially a white goods appliance wrapped up in protective packaging. No delivery driver is going to wait until we’ve taken off all the packaging and carefully inspected our new appliance – yet they expect us to sign to say it’s in perfect condition.

Best practice is to not sign or tick any box to the effect that it is in good condition unless you have examined it and can see that it is. If you can’t remove all the packaging it’s best to leave any such box unticked.

If there is a box to tick or a notice next to the signature stating the appliance was received in good condition then you might cross out any “received in good condition” phrase, or write something like, “not checked”.

Ideally it makes sense to not indicate in any way that you accept there is no damage because it’s impossible to be sure until all of the packaging has been removed. If you sign saying something is in good condition and it isn’t you are in a weak position.

In reality, the consumer rights act allows us a “reasonable time” to examine new goods, and we have a contract with them to deliver it in proper condition as expected for a new appliance. If we are presented with a fully packaged appliance, and a man pressuring us with a form to sign – this is clearly not a reasonable amount of time to examine them.

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Even if by any chance he did wait until we took off the packaging we might still miss something like a small dent or damage, which we only discover later on. Clearly it might be difficult reporting damage some time after though, so make sure you thoroughly examine the goods as soon as possible after delivery.

What if we find the appliance is damaged after delivery?

If we unpack the appliance and find damage we can reject the appliance, or ask for it to be repaired. Even if we signed or ticked a box saying it was OK we should be able to complain but obviously they could try to argue that you said it was okay.

What if you signed or ticked a box confirming received in good condition?

If a signature did indicate the appliance was undamaged it isn’t ideal. It gives them an opportunity to argue about it, but they shouldn’t be able to dismiss damage claims because of it. A fully packaged appliance is impossible to check for damages and delivery men are not going to wait whilst you unpacked and examined it – so any “received in good condition” declaration is arguably pointless.

I recently had a new fridge freezer delivered. Prior to delivery I received a confirmation email that stated that I must inspect the appliance and if any damage was found I was to ring and report it whilst the delivery driver was still there. Of course, as I’m sure you could imagine the delivery driver refused to wait while I removed all the transit packaging. He claimed to know nothing about such a policy. I had to let him go and just trust that it was okay. Fortunately white goods are usually quite well protected during transit. However, I did remove the transit packaging as soon as he had gone. Any damage needs reporting ASAP.

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1 thought on “If I sign a delivery note and appliance turns out damaged can I still complain?”

  1. Thanks for the article about signing for a package. Excellent article answered a few questions . Thanks again.

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