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Signed for what turned out to be a broken delivery - rights?


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Hi All,

Came across this forum searching Google to see if I've got any chance of getting out of a hole.


I bought a fishtank for my Dad for Christmas. Ordered online; turned up via Fedex in the snow last Saturday. (I was really impressed at them getting through the snow. Driver was in a hurry, parcel was bulky and wrapped tightly inside a layer of bubble wrap.And inside the bubble-wrap, it was inside taped-up box. In hindsight - this feels a bit daft - but the driver just handed me the handheld device to sign so I did.


Handed to my Dad for Christmas today (on Boxing Day as was at the inlaws yesterday for Xmas Day.) And of course on opening on the box, the tank is broken. Badly. Definitely hasn't happened at 'my end'. I've looked after it well since taking delivery. I've just got home and checked the online retailer in question, and they state:


We have never and will never knowingly send a damaged item to you, but if you do receive a damaged item, please sign for the item as damaged (when the deriver delivers it) and then contact us for a replacement immediately. If when you open the package, having signed for it as 'good condition', you find the item is damaged inside its outer packaging then you can still contact us but claiming that it was damaged by the courier is more difficult. If you are unable to check the items before signing, please sign for them as "unchecked". You should check the contents of your order immediately and must notify us within 1 working day of receiving the package if there is a problem or we are unable to process the claim with Fedex and will not be able to send you a replacement/refund. This timeframe is very important and it is out of our hands if you do not contact us in time.


I'm kicking myself for signing - I 've just read whilst googling around to always sign as UNCHECKED if that's the case which I shall always remember going forwards. But in this instance, am I up the creek without a paddle? Can they really just write off any responsibility like this if not reported to them within 24 hours as stated? I'll certainly be dropping them a mai in any event, bu would appreciate any advice anyone might have.




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If it is a stock item, not custom made, and ordered over the Internet you may have some recourse under Distance Selling Regulations. You need to contact the seller ASAP, also in writing and sent by recorded mail preferably and advise that the goods are damaged and this has to be done within 7 days of delivery.

Any conversation that you have with the seller, followed it up in writing asking for confirmation in writing of what was said on the phone. Remember that equally the driver cannot prove that the item was not damaged on delivery due to wrapping over said article.

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Thanks Surfer - sounds good advice re: distance selling.


I emailed yesterday to advise that on unwrapping the item for the first time yesterday it was damaged. I also asked how do I go about arranging a replacement with them. Thought would just see in the first instance whether they are prepared to just do that. (Although I'm fully expecting to be knocked back.) They're closed today and tomorrow for the bank holidays, but I have registered this info with them yesterday, the 26th Dec. That was my first opportunity, but as I took delivery on Saturday 18th I guess that's 8 days since delivery :(


Do you know if under Distance Selling regs I have 7 days or 7 working days? I'm hopefully in with a shout under that if 7 working days.


Thanks again - I'll see what they come back with in a couple of days time. If they knock me back on the grounds that I signed for it and didn't contact them within 24 hours, I'm thinking to politely push for some more info around this business of having to advise them of a problem within 24 hours. As their delivery info states they're quite happy to leave in porch / with a neighbour etc. then it seems entirely possible that people won't manage to reasonably find out a problem within 1 day of delivery. Plus possibly I can push more on distance selling reg grounds if my email counts as writing to them within 7 working days...?

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