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Tips to ensure safe delivery of large packages

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Posted at 5:52 AM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 10:59:41-05

You picked out a great new dresser and waited anxiously for the company to deliver it to your home. You also expected it to have four legs instead of three. What do you do now?

Advance planning can help you avoid these scenarios when possible and help you make the right decisions when delivery accidents do occur.

Here are some steps to protect you from the three-legged dresser and other potential delivery hazards with larger items.

Take measurements
Take measurements in your home to know how much clearance you have along the path to your product’s final placement. People usually take measurements of the front door and the door of any other room the item must pass through, but they often forget about stairs and tight corners. If you are not sure if you can make a corner, make a simple test vehicle with a cardboard box or simple wooden frame.
Take the weight of the item into account. You might make the corner easily with cardboard, but can deliverymen make the corner carrying a few hundred pounds of furniture?

Review delivery terms
People are often so excited about their purchase of a furniture, TV, or big-ticket item that their only thought about delivery is how soon it will arrive. Take a look at the terms of liability for delivery. Is the store responsible, or is the delivery company responsible? Are you responsible for setting up your own delivery method? Is the shipment and installation insured, and does that coverage extend to delivery to your home or through full placement in the home?
If you do not review the terms, you may have to make a snap decision that you regret. Take the time to understand your options.

Inspect deliveries before signing
Delivery companies are on the clock and are interested in getting your shipment delivered, installed, and accepted as soon as possible. Resist being rushed and thoroughly inspect the delivered item before signing any acceptance forms. Look over the inside as well as the outside. Do doors and drawers open properly? Are there blemishes in the paint, scratches in the metal, or chips in the wood? If there is any final assembly required on your part, are all the pieces present? Is the fourth leg of the dresser sitting by itself in the truck?

If the item does not meet your expectations, document the damage before signing. Take plenty of pictures illustrating the damage, and make sure that both the delivery company and the vendor receive copies of the pictures and official notification of the damage. That is also true for any damage to windows, walls, or floors caused by the delivery company during their work. If you reviewed the terms beforehand, you know how to proceed with filing a formal complaint.

Reject delivery if necessary
Damaged goods should be returned without questions. Delivery companies are likely to try to talk you into accepting it in the short term while they work out liability for the problem. Simply refuse to accept and ask the delivery company to take it back immediately. Do not accept the excuse that they will be back for it later as it fits in their schedule.

Again, it is important to review the terms with the vendor. Did you sign away rejection rights under certain conditions? What are the vendor's return policies? Are there delays or waiting periods before any settlements can be reached?

Do not end up propping up your brand new dresser with wooden blocks or old books, or try to repair any delivery damages yourself. Make sure that delivery terms are clear on your big-ticket items and that you do not passively give in to stores and delivery services. You should expect to receive what you paid for, and in the proper condition.

Accept no less.

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