how to stop/manage taking my neighbours parcels?

(38 Posts)

This is driving me insane. I live in a block with 18 other flats. They order lots of stuff over the internet to be delivered to their flats, and they work long hours. The delivery men (whether postmen, DHL or other couriers), ring every bell in the block when there's no answer from the flat they're delivering to. And I'm the only one in during the day, but I'm trying to work from home, and the buzzer goes every half hour or so. I used to take these parcels in an attempt to be neighbourly. But over the past couple of years I've started to regret this. First when a neighbour accused me of stealing her £500 shoes she'd had delivered (I hadn't taken in that parcel, had never seen said shoes), then when a parcel containing sth very bulky and expensive was sitting in our flat for a week (our flat is far too small for us, we don't have room to store things, and surely this item wouldn't have been covered on our insurance if we'd been burgled) while I tried to get the person it belonged to to answer the door and come and get it. When they did come they acted like they were doing me an enormous favour and complained that I hadn't carried it down the stairs to their flat. And most of all I regret it because it's just too much, they're just buzzing all day and I can't get any work done. I am not the concierge!

So now when the buzzer goes, the conversation goes:

Deliveryman: Parcel for you
Me: Which flat?
D: Ermmm. For you.
Me: Which flat number is on the parcel?
D: Flat 16
Me: Ok, that's not me. Can you leave a note for them?
D: Can't you take it?
Me: No
D: It's very small.
Me, Sorry I can't take it. (I hang up)

Buzzer goes again immediately. I ignore it.
Buzzer goes again and again and again. I answer it.

Deliveryman: Look it's very small, if you could just sign for it (etc etc)

There's an iphone coming to a flat in this building which they have been on at me about for weeks now. I don't know the neighbour it's coming to. The deliverymen try to get me to take credit cards FFS! Most of all I just want to be left alone to work. I don't want to be mean to my neighbours, just not to be disturbed constantly.

I suspect there's a simple sensible way for me to deal with this. WWYD?

belledechocolatefluffybunny Sat 10-Jul-10 20:04:30

Just tell them you are not insured to take in these items, if they are lost/damaged/theft then they are liable for the cost.

They are probably covered by your contents insurance up to a certain amount but as you have no idea what's in the box and what it's worth then it's not worth the risk to you.

SugarMousePink Sat 10-Jul-10 20:16:13

Sympathies - I live in a block of flats and it is a nightmare when you are the only one in!!

DH works for RM and says that they don't get a bonus for not returning packets (perhaps this applies to Parcelforce or DHL?). He suggests if you get repeated buzzes on your doorbell to ask them which company they are delivering from, tell them no again and that you will be making a formal complaint about their behaviour. He said that it is not acceptable for you to be harrassed over someone else's mail (he was actually quite shocked when I read your post to him!). You can usually find the number for the local delivery offices in yellow pages or the phone book. One stern phone call should put a stop to it!

I ended up putting a note up saying that I would not be taking parcels for people again as it was becoming very inconvenient - I didn't explain any further. Re: door buzzer, DH ended taking the cover off ours and pulling the wire out in the end as it was driving us mad! We specified our local post office for packets so it doesn't matter if the buzzer doesn't work. We are currently investigating if it's possible to fit an on/off switch to them - a definite design flaw!

SugarMousePink - I've never been repeat buzzed by RM, so that does fit. In fact I think our postie must think I'm a miserable cow giving him the third degree about whether the parcel he's buzzed me for is really for me! (RM have never lied to me about this, only courier companies). But the postie does buzz me every day asking me to buzz him in. Whereupon I reply 'Does it not fit through the letterbox?' There's a pause and then he replies 'Oh yes, it does. Okay then, bye'. Every flippin' day. Maybe he's just lonely and wants to hear a human voice, not many Londoners are in when he's delivering grin

belledechocolatefluffybunny Sat 10-Jul-10 20:32:25

I had to open the door to a parcel last week with a blanket wrapped around my legs, it was for me. I'd already recieved 1 dress, I undressed to try it on and wasn't expecting any more deliveries so didn't get dressed again, then I fell asleep, half an hour later there was a knock at the door so I grabbed the first thing at hand and hid behind the door grin

Just a small diversion from your problem OP.

SugarMousePink Sat 10-Jul-10 20:42:19

I had to go down to sign for something last week. It was my day off so I had had a bit of a lie in. Thought the postie seemed more cheerful than normal; it was only when I got back indoors and wandered past my hallway mirror, which showed the vest top that I'd slept in had worked its way down my shoulder and that my left nipple was hanging out for all to see...

belledechocolatefluffybunny Sat 10-Jul-10 20:48:52

Ouch! I bet your posty will remember you! No need for a christmas present now wink

bluecardi Sat 10-Jul-10 20:54:25

Could you put a note up by your bell or where it will be seen saying Please don't ring bell number...as this is my office and I can't accept any parcels or post not addressed to ...put in your names

belledechocolatefluffybunny Sat 10-Jul-10 21:17:09

or stick one up saying very volotile husband on nights asleep. Wake up at your peril.

Oh sugarmousepink and belledechocolate, that did make me laugh! I haven't greeted these deliverymen in my undies yet - perhaps that's what it would take to send them back to the depot screaming 'we promise not to disturb you again, just put your clothes back on!'

I've thought about putting a note up on the door, but the front door where the buzzers are is right on the pavement, and it's not the safest of areas (eg someone was shot in the face a few weeks ago on our street and they found a headless body in a wheelie bin a while back...). Also I think any passing kids seeing a note would think 'oooh, let's push that buzzer and run off!'. Actually I guess kids anywhere would do the same - it would be a bit of a dare wouldn't it! (DCs of present company excepted, I'm sure grin)

NetworkGuy Sun 11-Jul-10 17:39:18

Sorry to read of the hazards of living in that road (!)

In conclusion - I think you ought to respond on first buzz if poss (so you don't get a headache), go down without questioning them via the intercom, but with a pen and paper and camera, allow delivery man to put the package down and say "Oh no, that's not for me - I'm not insured to accept packages for other people. I'd better have your name and the depot phone number so they make sure all drivers are aware I will NEVER accept packages for anyone else."

See what reaction you get - if they want to walk away at that point (leaving you with the package in the building) you can shout "I'll just take a note of the package delivery number and will take a photo of where it was left - it's still your responsibility".

I hope that will get them to (a) know they can pester if they wish, but their company will still hold them responsible for losses, so there's no point ringing your bell in future, and (b) avoid any neighbour knowing just why there is never a package "in care" at your flat.

You might just 'cure' this problem once and for all, within a week, with no need to do more than threaten contact with their depot.

With luck, they might brand you an unhelpful cow woman and know they will have to leave a card for the "missing" dwellers in other flats.

I would do exactly as you've suggested - once they are walking back to their van, you can take a photo (they're in a public place) of them driving away, catching the index number and any other markings like a fleet number. Then take a snap of the package they left (though I suspect there will be none in future!)

Very best of luck.

Oh yes, you could put a very discrete note by your bell "Home Worker" (so they will remember [a] who it was that they managed to disturb last time, and [b] you're ready to trigger their P45 if they keep pestering you).

LimaCharlie Wed 14-Jul-10 11:40:23

You're very tolerant I have to say - I do take in neighbours stuff but I'm a SAHM with DCs in school so spend most of the day lounging around and making vague attempts at housework so its not exactly onerous for me.

But having worked from home before I know how annoying it is to get embroiled in a document / teleconference etc only to have to go answer the door.

IIWY I would just buzz them into the building - if they come to your door refuse the parcel and let the delivery driver take the decision to leave it unsigned for outside the addressees door or have to lug the thing back down to their van - they'll soon get pissed off and stop it

exexpat Wed 14-Jul-10 11:56:12

Maybe the residents of your block should club together and get a few of these or something similar. I've seen blocks of flats in other countries which have similar systems.

zingally Mon 14-Jan-13 14:28:38

I've had this problem before as well.

In fact, I have a parcel in my hallway at the moment for a neighbour (none of the 12 flats have numbers on the doors, so I'm not even sure which flat it is), but quite often I just say,
"Sorry, I don't take in parcels for people I don't know." and hang up the buzzer.
This parcel I have currently has been with me since Thursday and it's now Monday... It is possible the owner has gone on holiday, but why order something that could be delivered while you are away? I'm also a bit precious about my personal space/time and start thinking "oh what if they want the parcel when I'm in the bath/just made my dinner/still in my pjs?" It makes me a bit anxious actually.

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