We have had a number of enquiries from operators who are experiencing challenges at the point of delivery with customers who are concerned and reluctant to sign Proof of Delivery (PoD) documents/tablets due to concerns that they may contract the coronavirus through cross contamination of the electronic pad or paperwork. This potentially leaves operators exposed to future claims for short or non-delivery of the goods and therefore non-payment and/or claims in respect of failure to perform their contractual obligations.
Given the circumstances and the importance of obtaining PoD, operators should seek to offer a number of proactive solutions to alleviate customer concerns whilst ensuring that a record is kept demonstrating the goods were delivered in accordance with the contract.
Businesses could seek to agree with customers that delivery can be acknowledged by email. Practically this entails providing customers with an email address to submit an email which should confirm the necessary information as contained in the PoD.
It is important that the email is sent by the customer whilst the driver is on site/at the customers premises and the driver should not leave until they are satisfied the email has been sent. If there are any concerns this can be viewed in the ‘sent’ items of the customers email account or alternatively by allowing the driver to have access to your ‘PoD’ email account.
Customer prepared POD
If the customer is unconformable signing the PoD then the driver could invite the customer to prepare a handwritten PoD slip and sign the slip which ought to contain all essential information including conformation of receipt of the goods.
The driver could take a photograph of the customer with the product where possible, or alternatively of the product delivered at the customer’s premises.
Consent should be obtained and customers should be informed that the photograph would be deleted once email confirmation of safe receipt has been received.
Electronic signature pads
All drivers should carry hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes with them at all times so that they can reassure the customer that they are taking all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
Customers could also be given the option to wipe down the pads themselves prior to signing.
It is also worth checking with technology suppliers whether the pads have alternative functionality or mechanisms of evidencing delivery.
None of the solutions fully replace the PoD forms but in uncertain times, something is better than nothing and these alternatives would certainly provide some form of evidence that goods were delivered in accordance with the contract.
It is also important to document any changes to the contractual position regarding delivery of goods and furthermore, to ensure appropriate training is provided to drivers and that the processes can be referred to by the workforce.
Should you have any enquiries please do not hesitate to contact the Commercial Litigation and Employment Team on 01254 828300 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.