GPI 188 – Always get customer signatures and dates on delivery documents; help collections.

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One of the simplest rules you can impose on your truck drivers and outside delivery people is, when possible, never to leave anything at a customer’s location without first obtaining a customer signature and date indicating the legal receiving date.  If followed, this simple step saves lots of money, reduces heated disputes and ultimate write-offs since it provides undeniable proof that goods or service were received.  A signature by a valid company employee is enough evidence for most to accept the liability for the delivery.

Your truck driver cannot leave without a legible receiving signature. When your company driver or your hired driver delivers your product, tell them they must get someone at the customer’s facility to physically sign the packing list with their legible name.

Ask for a printed name if possible or your driver can add it. Ask the customers’ representatives to print their name and also to sign it legibly so there is no question as to the identity of the receiving person.  It is mandatory that you be picky about this requirement before paying any outside third party delivery service.  This provides proof of delivery, something you need in court one day when difficult or unscrupulous buyers tell the judge they never received their ordered goods.

Put a date next to the name.   In addition to the legible name, demand a delivery date next to the name which indicates legal transfer of title in most cases.  You might suggest to your drivers to enter the current date on the packing list and request the customer’s employee (receiving person) to sign next to the date that is listed.  This generally works well.

Signed and dated packing lists eliminate arguments.  Making this a mandatory company procedure will eliminate 99% of the problems convincing the buyer’s accounts payable department that their company received your company’s goods.  When they ask for proof of delivery, you will show them their own employee’s signature accepting the disputed shipment.  This normally eliminates any further delay in getting your firm paid unless they do have financial problems.

Make getting a customer signature an ironclad receiving policy.  If your delivery company does not get a signature or you cannot read it, tell them initially when you hire them they will not be paid.  Make getting paid, contingent upon them getting signed delivery signatures and dates.

Spell out your receiving rules to hired freight companies.  Dictate your rules when you hire them and issue them a purchase order; make it a requirement.  Set this up so there are no questions or arguments later.  Your firm works hard to get a customer, spends a lot of money upfront to get a product ready for shipment, then delivers it and neglects to get anyone to sign the last piece of paper in the trail?  Who fell down on the job?  Get a signature before you walk away but more importantly, get a written receiving signature that will help greatly in getting paid.

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