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Door-step deliveries are being targeted by criminals

With online shopping platforms and e-commerce sites offering an ever-increasing range of products, many people across the UK are opting to place an order and have goods arrive on their doorstep instead of visiting retail outlets in person.

During the pandemic when many stores were closed and people were advised to only shop for essential items, online shopping experienced a considerable boost. After enjoying the convenience of home delivery, this shopping trend has largely continued for many, who use services to receive everything from home groceries and electronic goods to clothing and gardening supplies.

Unfortunately, this has led to an increase in “porch piracy”, a crime involving deliveries being stolen from people’s doorways before they have a chance to accept them. For health and safety reasons, many courier companies will leave parcels on doorsteps and take a digital photograph as proof that it has been delivered with a signature no longer required.

However, if the intended recipient is not at home when it arrives, fails to hear a doorbell, or does not see the courier’s text or email, a package can be left unattended for minutes or hours – rendering it vulnerable to thieves.

Research carried out by the Citizens Advice showed that in 2020, five and a half million people had a parcel either stolen or lost.

For the most part, reports suggest that doorstep delivery theft is mainly the work of opportunistic criminals, but delivery drivers have commented that they have also been tailed by other vehicles observing them dropping off parcels.

To deter the act of porch piracy, many homeowners are now opting to install doorbell cameras and signs warning that CCTV is in operation. The latest smart doorbells can inform residents when they have received a delivery with an instant alert sent straight to their smartphone.

Fortunately, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that the legal responsibility lies with the retailer when it comes to ensuring a delivery arrives safely. It confirms that until the consumer has physical possession of the goods, they remain at the risk of the trader. If an item is lost, they are obliged to either rearrange for replacement goods to be delivered or to issue a refund.

While the act protects consumers financially, it cannot help them avoid the inconvenience of such an incident. An exception to the act, however, is when an item is stolen from a “safe place” designated by the consumer. As the courier and retailer have followed specific instructions, they are no longer responsible for any loss

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