Inspecting the contents of a parcel whilst driver is present

I have a fairly expensive order arriving soon via geodis (I know they don’t have the best rep), and when I read some trustpilot reviews, I noticed somebody’s order was not complete, but the company (who had a pretty good reputation) said if they didn’t open and verify the contents in front of the driver, then there’s nothing they could do.

I just wanted to confirm what the normal rights are in France? Can I insist that before signing, that I open up the box and check everything is accounted for, and correct? If they refuse, do they have some sort of paper form where I can sign for the delivery, but make a note that inspection was refused by the driver, hence putting the onus on the delivery company in the unlikely event there was a problem? And is there a formal way of writing that?

I fear even asking to do this will test the patience of the driver. I did have an experience many years ago with an Ikea delivery. There were so many heavy items being delivered (by two men), and piled up, one item on top of another, that it was impossible to check everything. I signed for it and realised I was missing an office chair. Of course Ikea didn’t want to know.

If the parcel looks degraded in any way… I always open and check before accepting…
and, yes, there is a phrase to use if one is not allowed to check on the spot (I’ve done that twice, ages ago )… but I can’t remember what it is… someone will come along and “deliver” it soon… :wink:

I’ve also taken photos of a damaged package before delivery/opening… and the contents therein… useful if one has a problem… :wink:

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I photograph every parcel as it’s received, on the ground, or on a work table outside.

Minimum 1 shot showing the whole, with the label visible, even if to read the label the picture would have to be expanded. Then 1 picture square on, of the label, ideally clearly still on the sealed parcel.

Extra photos before opening of any tape that’s loose, ot dinged or pierced areas (close up and also at a distance showing location on the parcel as a whole).

The above, before you open it.

If it’s open or really damaged, best to reject delivery (refuse to sign and tell driver to return it due endommagé/état du colis). If you know and trust the vendor to make things right you could accept it but not without writing endommagé on screen/paper. Rejection generally means the sender is not charged for either the attempted delivery nor the return, and he is likely to be able to claim damage from the transport co. If you accept it, even writing “damaged” the sender’s position is almost certainly worse.

You are covered if damage or absence of an item or incorrect item, could not have been seen or reasonably deduced before you open the parcel. Hence photos photos photos.

Then photo each stage of the opening, all damage ideally as you come upon it still in the box, stage by stage. Anything damaged also take out after that and photograph all over individually. When it’s all unpacked do 1 photo of contents of each box alongside the box.

I do this routinely now every delivery. Never, ever had a problem getting refunds. For 1 thing the label on the parcel includes the weight and that is sometimes helpful with missing items. Claim same day or evening (or inform sender of your rejection due to poor state of the parcel - though likely he will receive that automatically too from delivery co system) if you possibly can. Photos carry a timestamp by default and an immediate claim accompanied by a few key photos is a more credible one (retain remaining photos on phone till claim is settled - email them to yourself for storage if you are worried about space on the phone meanwhile).

As soon as all is OK delete photos from phone (and clear the photos/files corbeille on it frequently).


Thank you Stella and Karen, all good advice; much appreciated.

@KarenLot - when you take these photographs, do you do so after signing for it, or is something you do while the driver is present? I think most drivers don’t like to hang around. I’ll be sure to take many photographs during the opening process, although I don’t think photographs can prove if something was missing from the order. It would be too easy for somebody to fake it if they won’t honest.

The package I’m waiting on is just over 50kg. Not something that’s too easy to move about.

If its a large or heavy package, often the supplier asks that it is unpacked and inspected before signing.


If the package appears undamaged then I just sign for it. Then photo/opening after driver gone, Sooner is better than later as delivery time is logged.

If visibly open or knocked about then decide as above to reject, or accept but only if you can write endommagé on screen or paper and ideally photo the overall package showing ding and closeup of ding BEFORE you annotate/sign. If your phone time is not running ahead this should give you some support if you decide to accept but I’d say you have to know your vendor. For example Amazon are very good IME and so was my grocery company.
Have your phone in your hand. Be very quick as drivers are mostly under ridiculous time constraints and won’t hang around. In case of doubt, reject.
But there are some buys/known vendors where you’d take the chance.

@Mark’s type of thing, I would guess, would be for things like building materials. Yes they are expensive to deliver so highly likely the seller will have in contract something like you must inspect as acceptance of delivery = acceptance of the product as delivered correct and complete.

I’ve only had one delivery by an IKEA subcontrctor and I definitely got the impression I needed to check condition and quantity on delivery - there wasn’t the hurry of all other couriers and driver told me to check. At 39 euros delivery charge, I should think so. But I’d still expect to be covered if damage or absence was not apparent from the number and condition of the packages when delivered So I routinely photo every time as photos are easy to delete off phone if all OK.

I was thinking more of electrical items, fridges etc. Most building materials dont arrive wrapped up (plasterboard on a rainy day maybe) but the only inspection is a quick count to make sure its all there. Most builders merchants, in my experience, are happy to give credit notes for stuff like excessively warped timbers after delivery has been completed.

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I can only assume that the above actions do not involve Amazon, because I can’t imagine they would ever make a fuss over something missing or damaged. Certainly haven’t with me with the only exception being delivered from a Marketplace seller, so I don’t order from them anymore.

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My order is from a bricolage/tools type of company - it’s a Makita lawnmower, and turns out the package is 69kg. I believe it’s shipped in the manufacturer’s box with no outer packaging, so it should be quite easy to confirm that model number from the box and I can be fairly certain there’s no bad surprises.

I might take a video of the unpacking instead just after it’s delivered. Just in case!

Yes be careful i took delivery of a lawnmower over 50kg supposedly designated a “2-man delivery”. I have never had any item delivered by more than 1 man including that.

It looked ok and I signed on a grey winter’s day. Opened it 5 months later once it was summer. Front wheel was found to have arrived smashed - obviously because being both bulky in the box and heavy, a “1 man only” had dropped it somewhere in the shipping chain.

Of course after that time I had no recourse. And it turned out that seller couldn’t even be ar$ed to sell me a spare part replacement wheel for money.
The German manufacturer also refused to sell me a replacement wheel. Not even if I came to Germany to pick it up - pushing me to their French office who couldn’t be ar$ed either. Ruralmaster has just sourced me a replacement wheel plus 2 extra sets of consumable parts at very moderate cost, as an add-on to the mower’s first service - this Ruralmaster franchise has now got all my servicing and equipment maintenance business henceforth.

Better if I’d seen any damage to reject it at delivery.
This is the simplest for the vendor and the safest for you.

And even if stuff arrives with the parcel appearing perfect, always always open it and check it asap doing photos.

If i ever give any advice on here, very often I’m reading it off my own T-shirt. As in been there, done that, got the T-shirt :slight_smile:

Similar to the question I posed a few weeks back. Bought from an online do you have a distance selling directive where anything can be returned withing 14 days, so if found to be damaged or parts misding you have time to return it?
I have made a UK driver wait whilst I undid the packaging due to a corner of the package being damaged and although the driver got really angry having to wait it was damaged! I rejected it because I to have that T shirt :flushed:


I’m stuck with a variant of Karen’s problem - which is that I’ve bought two induction hobs for the kitchen and both have failed. It’s a total pain as, although they both barely had the equivalent of a couple of months use it was spread out over several years so way beyond the end of their respective guarantee periods.

The one that’s there now works when it wants - which is just about often enough to cook on it and use the single ring camping stove as a back-up. I might get round to pulling it out and seeing if there is any obvious problem.

It doesn’t help that if I load up the house electricity supply it goes out of voltage tolerance - I’d complain to EDF but I have a sneaking feeling that their answer might involve the phrase triphasé and I don’t want to have to rewire the house for that.

That’s definitely an ENEDIS problem, not yours. If you have a 12kVA mono supply then their network has to be able to deliver 230V +/- 10% at that power level at the PDL/their main breaker.

They can’t force you on to triphasé.

You won’t be the first person to have ancient overhead supply wiring that is too small for modern demands, which ENEDIS will ignore until the complaints become loud enough.

However, if you have a long main supply cable from your PDL to the main tableau you might want to check it’s size. It should be big enough to give a maximum 2% volt drop at the maximum rating of the supply but, again, you won’t be the first to have been short changed over the amount of copper that a previous owner had installed.

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It looks like the house was originally 3-phase, I’m convinced there are four conductors arriving on the overhead (?? each of phase & neutral doubled up might be possible, obvs I can’t break open the meter to see how it’s terminated).

It’s on my to-do list to get some voltage/current monitoring so I can approach EDF/Enedis, it’s not that high up my to-do llist though, especially as the better of the two multimeters I have over there died and I’ve been looking for a likely replacement. I need to hunt out the clamp meter for current as well but I’m 99% sure I know where that is.

The cable is 16mm2 - too small IMO but my handy guide says it is good for 76A in conduit


so it wasn’t a massive priority to replace it.

There’s about 10m of it across the width and half the length of the garage which should only be 3.5V at 63A

PS, my interim check was done just after the main disjoncteur, after about 6" of the board’s cabling - also 16mm2 so I know it’s probably out of spec even without any wiring problems on my side of things.