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?

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.

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.

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

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).

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)

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

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

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 20:48:52

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

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 20:32:25

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 - 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

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!

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.

Ahh, that bonus thing makes a lot of sense. Now I understand why they keep buzzing and hassling.

belle is right actually, you become the bailee in accepting the goods which makes you responsible for them (trying to remember law school a long time ago)

So unless you have adequate cover you absolutely should not accept them. I happen to have this cover as part of my insurance but I still won't do it anymore unless it's for the nice family over the road.

UPS, and DHL both give bonuses to drivers who return with empty vans!

belledechocolatefluffybunny Sat 10-Jul-10 19:22:24

It appears that parcelforce delivery folk get a bonus if they don't return parcels back to the depot.
There was an Act to make the carrier take care of parcels/letters in their care (ie, not leaving them with a neighbour) but this was repealed in 2000 by the Labour government so this no longer applies.

Stick a note on the door saying you are not the concierge.

belledechocolatefluffybunny Sat 10-Jul-10 19:06:27

There's some law saying that the postperson (politically correct here) must only deliver to the address on the envelope, surly this must apply to parcels aswell? maybe the delivery people could get into legal problems if they deliver to someone else's flat (insurance etc)?? You can't 'legally' accept them, it's a legal minefield out there, unsolicited goods and all that. Something for you to look up wink

wwmc, you have summed up my whole problem - I establish myself as the 'helpful sort' then get resentful when people proceed to take the piss. I need to practice just saying 'no' don't I?

mutters 'no I'm not coming down for that parcel' over and over to herself.

Glad I haven't had a stream of 'oh you selfish cow, why don't you just take their parcels', which part of me worried about. I suspect that is the same part of me that worries about saying 'no' to taking the parcels...

gorionine Sat 10-Jul-10 14:44:24

I would do exactly like you really, say "no it is not mine" and then just ignore subsequent requests.

When I am not home to receive a parcel there is a note through the letterbox saying that I can :
- ask for the parcel to be delivered at a different time
-ask for the parcel to be redelivered to my closest post office and pay a 50p charge to get it back from them
-go myself to the sorting office wih a proof of ID and pick it up

Simple enough really. Your neighbours mail is not your problem. WWMC idea of writing a little note for the delivering companies a good one.

louii Sat 10-Jul-10 14:37:41

I would agree with the poster that said buzz them in then say oh this parcel is not for me and refuse to take it. A few times doing this then I am sure couriers will stop asking you.

NetworkGuy Sat 10-Jul-10 14:33:19

Yes, wmmc is likely to be right - neighbours won't accept a change in the status quo now you have been helpful.

The Post Office idea sounds a good one (though depends on when people actually get home - after 5:30pm and it's as good as locked away until Saturday, anyway).

A local post office will hold parcels for you for 50p. Tell them to drop it there. Personally I now refuse all parcels for my neighbour because the lazy cow won't walk all of 20 metres to our front door to pick up parcels despite the fact the delivery man leaves her a card hmm

I would suggest you get in touch with the companies involved and ask for a note to be put on the route log to the effect that 'if you ring X's bell and the parcel is not for her, you'll get a kick up the arse'

I wouldn't bother mentioning it to the neighbours, they'll just roll their eyes and ignore it as you've established yourself as the helpful sort and they won't believe you really mean it (sorry). Also it's not actually their fault the couriers are wankers is it?

And refuse point blank to take any parcels, and tell them to stop harassing you, or let them in, let them come up and then say 'well leave it outside the flat then, I'm not signing for it' and close the door.

NetworkGuy Sat 10-Jul-10 14:10:18

If it wasn't for the concern about 'creating an atmosphere' I'd say you charge 10 pounds because of the interruption to your work day.

However, I suspect that would not go down well.

Can understand problems over delivery (first at least) not being allowed at work (by card company rules to reduce frauds) but the impact is always on you, and then there's the insurance aspect, ingratitude, and lack of reciprocation.

Wonder what they would do if you worked in an office too, and no-one was home to accept parcels and recorded delivery etc.

said Sat 10-Jul-10 12:50:35

SOme workplaces will not accept personal mail at all though. But I'm sure most people could think of at least one alternative address. What a pain for you

BouncingTurtle Sat 10-Jul-10 12:48:37

As someone else who work from home, you have my deepest sympathies. I do get fed up of people trying to leave parcels here, and I can't turn my doorbell off!!

there are some good solutions here, I wish I could offer anyone.

Many companies DO deliver to alternative addresses, Amazon do, as do Shop Direct (who I work for), and they can pay for premium delivery.

I do like the start charging idea - after all you are not obliged to take these parcels in and you are running a business from home!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now