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Home Deliveries? No Doorman? Always Require a Signature

by Borderstan.com December 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm 1,091 7 Comments


Someone got a new suit for Christmas. It just wasn’t me. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Matty Rhoades

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which can only mean… stolen packages. Take notice, Borderstanis, especially you new arrivals from the suburbs and rural America. Here is an ugly little fact about the holiday season when you live downtown: Packages get stolen a lot this time of year.

Thieves literally make the rounds — watching for delivery trucks — and looking for untended boxes on front steps, underneath stairs and inside unlocked doors to building entrances.

A Logan Circle neighbor emailed me yesterday that she saw a van driving slowly down a residential street — and thought nothing of it until what happened next. One of the passengers jumped out, ran up to a box sitting on a front step, grabbed it and got back in the van. Yes, she did call 911.

Always require someone to sign and take possession of your deliveries. A box sitting on a front step or inside an unlocked entryway is a tempting thing for thieves — especially in December. No doorman? No one will be home? Ship it to your office or pick it up.

Here’s my personal tale of woe.

A few weeks ago I bought a suit. I like it so much that I wanted the same suit in a different color. “No problem,” said the (wonderful, BTW) saleswoman. “We will ship it to you.” Never in a million years did it occur to me that it would be shipped without requiring a signature by the recipient. So, I did not ask about it.

I learned the hard way last week that no signature was required for the delivery of my suit. I came home and saw the top of a large box (see photos above) sticking above the window line in the front door of our building. It’s the location of our mailboxes and it is unlocked; the security door is inside the entryway. The culprits had opened the boxes — taking both the coat and pants — but were kind enough to leave the boxes and packing slip.

Who was responsible? I contacted the shipper who told me the clothing manufacturer had not required a signature. “Not us,” in other words. I contacted the clothing manufacturer that shipped my suit and was told that their contract with the retail store did not require signatures on deliveries. So, “not them,” either.

Last stop was the retailer. After explaining the situation, I was given two options: They would reship a suit to me or I could get my money back. By this point, I just wanted my money back. BTW, I explained (rather pointedly) that you cannot ship an item, especially a large one, to a downtown location without requiring a signer — especially at Christmastime!

I’ll get the suit at the store, thank you.

  • cathy

    we’ve had the same problem with a twist. last year my sister had something shipped to us, WITH SIGNATURE. and it got signed, not by us, not by our landlord upstairs, not by either of our neighbors on either side. either the delivery guy was clueless or in cahoots. fortunately amazon sent her a replacement free, with shipping.

    the eeriest part was that the trashed box appeared on our stoop a couple of weeks later complete with address and tracking number. weeeeeird.

    i have the luxury of working in a small office not far from home, so i have everything delivered to work.

    • bugagboo

      Last week a delivery guy saw me in front of my door. He asked, “Do you live here?” I said, “yes.” He asked if I knew [name of neighbor] in building. I said, “yes.” Here! SIGN! So I did and kept the box until my neighbor got home.

      • cathy

        why aren’t you our neighbor? 😉

  • Kori

    This happened to me about five years ago with my computer. I had a problem with my Dell laptop, which still had a warranty. Dell sent me a box to ship it to them. They “fixed” and shipped it back, without telling me they were, and didn’t require a signature. So the delivery people just left it in my hallway and someone snatched it. It took WEEKS on the phone to finally get a replacement computer. I’m now a proud Apple owner.

  • minnesota60

    To make matters worse, the delivery guys are under tremendous pressure to get the packages delivered. I saw one driver toss a box onto a porch on Q Street a couple of weeks ago. I was stopped at a light and I could SEE lights on in the house AND people inside. I am sure no signature was required, but…

  • Logan Mom

    I had so many packages stolen last month and raised such hell with UPS that the driver actually started calling me to see if I was home before he came over. He’s really a great guy. I should buy him a Christmas gift as a “thank you”.

  • Rich

    I can’t imagine just having something just dropped off and I’m less paranoid than a lot of people about crime.


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