Last updated on February 3rd, 2017
Delivery companies like us to sign that we’ve received goods in good condition. It’s often impractical to check them properly, especially a highly protected white goods appliance. 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 can see that it is, which you can’t without removing all the packaging. It’s best to leave any such box unticked, or if you are just signing and it says “received in good condition” sign it but add “not checked” or “unable to inspect”. The reason is that it’s just easier to do this so they can’t try to wash their hands of it by saying you signed saying it was OK.
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.
In reality, the sale of goods 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 with a form to sign this is clearly not a reasonable amount of time to examine them. 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 so make sure you thoroughly examine the goods as soon as possible after delivery.
Summary: If we unpack 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. However, as mentioned in the previous paragraph it’s easier if we don’t sign anything confirming something we can’t really know in the first place, but if you have, don’t let them relieve you of your rights.
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.