Home Deliveries

As more and more consumers enjoy the convenience of shopping online and from the comfort of their home, merchants need to understand shipping realities to ensure a successful home delivery. There are several things that need to be considered when delivery is to a residential address. This article attempts to address a few of these for you.

ATL (Authority To Leave): many online transport services provide this service. It simply means you are giving the driver an ‘Authority to Leave’ the goods if no one is available to sign for and accept the goods. You need to beware however, if the goods are left unattended they are then considered ‘delivered safely and in good order’; if the goods are then stolen or damaged you have no recourse.

By choosing a ‘Receipt Delivery/Signature on Delivery’ service the delivery driver is required to obtain a signature upon delivery, you then have the peace of mind the goods have been received in good order by your customer. If your customer is not available to sign for the goods the driver will ‘card’ the consignment (leave a calling card), advising the receiver what to do next to receive their goods safely. You do need to bear in mind most transport companies will only hold the goods for 48 hours before returning to the sender which could incur additional costs for the merchant.

Receiver signing for the goods: under a general ‘courier’ or ‘freight’ arrangement the driver will obtain a signature from anyone at the delivery address. This deems the goods to be delivered. The driver does not need to obtain a signature from the actual ‘receiver name’ you nominate in the booking.

Potential damage on delivery: if your customer believes the goods may be damaged upon delivery (i.e. the outer packaging is crushed, damaged, pierced, etc) they can sign for the goods as ‘pending inspection’. The driver’s cannot always wait for the receiver to open and inspect the goods (as they are very busy with many pickups and deliveries to effect each day). If the goods are then found to be damaged a claim can be made and investigated with the carrier (if ‘transit cover’ was taken out for the booking). Alternatively if the driver agrees with the receiver that the goods are damaged upon delivery, this can be noted on the ‘Proof of Delivery’.

However please note, once the goods are signed for (with no mention of ‘damage’ or ‘pending inspection’ on the Proof of Delivery) then the goods are deemed delivered in full and good condition and there is no further recourse.

Apartment buildings and gated communities: these types of deliveries pose a challenge for delivery drivers, as they quite often cannot gain access to effect delivery. If you are choosing an ‘ATL’ delivery, there may not be anywhere safe to leave the goods or even leave a card to advise your customer/receiver they have attempted delivery and where the goods can be collected.

This is very frustrating for all involved in the delivery process; it can cause lengthy delays, which can be easily avoided if a business address was chosen for these deliveries where possible. We recommend asking buyers in these scenarios if they can provide a work or business address to deliver to which will enable an easier and more streamlined delivery process.

Heavy items: all items with a dead weight of 30kg plus require a ‘Tail-Lift Truck’ service to unload the goods from the truck to the ground. It is not possible or feasible for the receiver to help unload from the back of the truck. Once the goods are off the truck the receiver can help the driver to move the heavy item safely onto their property (however driver’s in a courier/freight environment are not required to deliver goods into a house, they are only required to deliver to the front door, if accessible).

The transport companies have very strict OH&S and Work Cover policies concerning the handling of heavy items and may refuse to deliver if the correct service is not chosen at the time of booking (or you will incur additional charges to have them effect delivery).


As always the Smart Send support team are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have via the ‘Customer Service’ link at www.smartsend.com.au.