Hunt when she has the whole package

Customer at home, deliverer does not ring: What can be done against fake delivery attempts?

Fake delivery attempts unfortunately happen with all parcel services. Paketda recommends: Buy specifically in online shops that deliver with reliable parcel services. If delivery with an unreliable parcel service is unavoidable, have the parcel rerouted to a parcel shop before the first attempt at delivery.

Table of Contents

  1. Why are there fake delivery attempts?
  2. How do I recognize a fake delivery attempt?
  3. What can I practically do about it?
  4. What can I theoretically do legally?
  5. Trick17, when a delivery person deliberately does not ring the doorbell

Why are there fake delivery attempts?

According to observations by the Paketda editorial team, the following causes for fake delivery attempts can be distinguished:

  • The deliverer did not make the delivery tour in time.
  • The deliverer made his work easier and brought a parcel directly to a parcel shop.
  • The deliverer has deliberately marked a parcel with "Acceptance refused" or "Recipient unknown".
  • The delivery person really couldn't find the address because, for example, the house entrance is hidden.

As a customer, you should first rule out that the package was incorrectly addressed. Talk to the sender and compare the delivery address.

► Also make sure that your mailbox and doorbell label are properly labeled. The name on the parcel label must match the name on the doorbell / mailbox 1: 1.

When you have carried out these checks, you can call the hotline of your parcel service and complain about the fake delivery attempt.

Parcel service hotlines

The Paketda editorial team occasionally receives feedback from users that complaints from parcel service hotlines are not being dealt with seriously. One can almost get the impression that parcel services are powerless against fake delivery attempts themselves.

The impotence of customer service is due to the following reasons:

  • Deliverers are not employed by the parcel service but by subcontractors. Parcel services therefore have no direct right of access.
  • The job market for parcel deliverers has been swept clean. Subcontractors therefore also hire low-skilled personnel.
  • Deliverers are on their tour without a "guardian". Misconduct can be covered up.

In general, as a customer, you have the shorter hand and cannot force parcel deliverers to do anything. On the contrary: some users tell us that they were "punished" by the parcel delivery company after complaining to customer service.

Some parcel delivery companies purposely no longer deliver to customers who complain. Parcels are then deposited directly in the parcel shop without a delivery attempt or even sent back to the sender as "undeliverable". More on this in the "Unauthorized Returns" guide.

► The Paketda editorial team recommends: Maintain a good relationship with the delivery person. If possible, watch the deliverer on the street and talk to him personally. Do not choose reproachful words. Explain in a factual manner the effort you incur due to simulated delivery attempts.

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How do I recognize a fake delivery attempt?

As a rule of thumb it can be said that the message "Unsuccessful delivery attempt" in the shipment tracking in connection with a missing notification card is a clear indication of a simulated delivery attempt.

In the event of a real attempt at delivery, the deliverer would have to have been at the delivery address and would have left an information sheet in the absence of the customer. Incorrect delivery addresses are excluded. In such cases, the deliverer was not at the address (because he could not be found) and could not leave a notification.

► There are also cases in which a notification card is in the mailbox, but the deliverer did not ring the doorbell beforehand. One person concerned even reported to the Paketda editorial team that he was standing in front of the door to smoke and that the parcel delivery person dropped a notification card in front of his eyes.

As a customer, you ask yourself what this is all about. If the deliverer gets out, fills out a card and drops it in, he could have handed over the package at the same time. From the point of view of a deliverer, this way of thinking is only half correct: after the bell rings, the deliverer has to wait a few seconds, then perhaps bring the package to the second floor, obtain a signature, walk down the stairs and back to the car. It might take a minute or two in total. With 30 notification cards inserted daily, the deliverer can save 30 to 60 minutes of time.

A former Hermes delivery person told the Schwäbisches Tagblatt:
In order not to have to go to all the addresses on their tour, many drivers enter incorrect information in the internal system. Pretend a package is not part of their tour by falsely declaring it a stray. Or state that they inserted a notification card, although that is not true. [...] The drivers save a few stops - otherwise they would have to work even more overtime. The next day, however, the parcels are back in the car.

Pay attention to the wording in the shipment tracking

There are supposedly fake delivery attempts, which in reality result in a tour being aborted. Some deliverers are so overloaded that they cannot deliver all of the parcels.

The message "The shipment could not be delivered today" then appears in DHL shipment tracking. The text does not state that the recipient was not found. It is therefore not a fake delivery attempt. The delivery person canceled the tour and was not at the customer's delivery address.

In DPD's consignment tracking system, you can often recognize tour interruptions by the message "Parcel could not be delivered as planned" without any further explanatory text appearing next to the status.

In Hermes shipment tracking, the message for a tour interruption reads: "The shipment will be delivered on the next working day."

A real tour termination is booked towards the end of the working day, i.e. usually after 4 or 5 p.m. You can recognize the approximate start of work for the deliverer in the tracking by the message "in delivery" or "has been loaded into the delivery vehicle".

If a deliverer has only loaded his vehicle at 10 a.m. and already books a tour termination at 3 p.m., this is implausible. Of course, a sudden accident or illness may have occurred that prevented further extradition. But some deliverers simply book tour interruptions, although there is no reason to do so - except reluctance.

In a ZDF report from October 2018, a DHL deliverer reported anonymously that he invented reasons for non-delivery in order not to deliver parcels. The deliverer literally: "Of course you will also learn a few tricks, for example list with the scanner." - "Or you just break a package, then it goes back.", The deliverer continues.

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What can I practically do about it?

Sometimes it is possible to "buy" better delivery behavior by tipping. Because parcel deliverers hardly get tips, generous customers are fondly remembered.

Due to moral remorse, a deliverer will not allow himself to fake delivery attempts to tip customers. Unless there are constantly changing deliverers. Then the tip method won't work.

The Paketda editorial team recommends avoiding deliveries with unreliable parcel services. Look specifically for online shops that ship with reliable parcel services.

The Paketda editors do not recommend insisting on delivery to the home address if the package is already in the parcel shop. Pick it up there, if possible.

You can avoid deliveries to the home address in advance by having parcels sent directly to a parcel shop or by redirecting them there afterwards. This will prevent your parcels from falling into the hands of the unreliable deliverer who delivers to your home address.

  • DHL: For direct delivery to a parcel shop or packing station, you need to register at
  • Hermes: At some online shops you can select a parcel shop during the ordering process. Otherwise, watch out for the "Change delivery" button in Hermes tracking. If it appears orange, packet redirection is possible.
  • DPD: Parcel rerouting possible without registration at
  • GLS: It is best to try parcel rerouting by calling GLS customer service.
  • UPS: Registration required for the UPS My Choice service.

Tip: From around October to January, parcel services use many temporary workers to handle the Christmas parcels. Temporary workers are not as quick as regular deliverers because they know the delivery district less well. Tour aborts and simulated delivery attempts tend to occur more frequently with temporary workers.

Problems with such unreliable deliverers, which occur before Christmas, often disappear again at the end of January (when the temporary workers are dismissed).

Trouble with deliberately returned packages
Sometimes not only delivery attempts are faked, but packages are sent back to the sender with wrong reasons. For example, deliverers claim that the recipient cannot be identified at the address or that he has refused to accept the delivery.

As a recipient of a package, you can hardly defend yourself against such false claims. The return of the package can usually not be stopped. We recommend that the sender complain to the parcel service, reclaim the postage and send the parcel again with another parcel service. More information in our separate advice package sent back because recipient is unknown.

Tip: You can also complain to the Federal Network Agency about simulated delivery attempts.
Complaint letter generator

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What can I theoretically do legally?

Making a delivery attempt to the recipient's home address is one of the contractual services of the parcel service. In other words: the parcel service or the deliverer must bring the parcel to the address given on the parcel label. The parcel may only be handed in to a neighbor or a parcel shop, for example, if delivery fails there.

Parcel deliverers are not allowed to reroute parcels to a branch / parcel shop immediately without first attempting to deliver to the recipient.

The crux of the matter: In practice, as a customer, you can hardly prove that a deliverer did not attempt or faked a delivery attempt. Sometimes the doorbell is actually overheard or you don't make it to the door in time, so that the delivery person has already left. If it came to a court hearing, the customer's statement would be contrary to the deliverer's statement.

In our opinion, a legal dispute could only be considered if the customer as a customer has clear evidence of the misconduct of the delivery person (e.g. video surveillance), and if this misconduct occurs over a long period of time. Before you go this route, it is best to seek legal advice from a consumer advice center.

► Legally and theoretically, you as the recipient have a claim for damages against the parcel service, provided that no real delivery attempt has taken place and provided that you have suffered financially verifiable damage.

This damage can include, for example, the costs that you incurred for picking up the package from the parcel shop, e.g. for travel tickets there. Please note the explanations by lawyer Christian Solmecke in the video:

The cumbersome third-party claims liquidation mentioned in the video is not necessary in the opinion of the Paketda editorial team. As a recipient, you can refer to Section 421 (1) HGB and enforce exactly the same claims against a parcel service that the sender has.

Tip: Use our sample letter to claim travel costs for the parcel collection as compensation.
Sample letter: claim back travel expenses

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Trick17, when a delivery person deliberately does not ring the doorbell

The Paketda editorial team has successfully tested a trick to "force" deliverers to ring the doorbell. That's how it's done:

  1. Send yourself a package with no contents.
  2. Enter your own address as the sender and recipient.
  3. If a delivery attempt is simulated and the package is deposited in a shop, you do not pick it up.
  4. The package will be sent back to you after the storage period has expired.
  5. When the delivery is returned, the deliverer notices that the sender and recipient are identical.

The result: the deliverer has to ring your doorbell, otherwise the parcel would go around in circles and land at him again and again.

Did you use this trick successfully? Then we look forward to your experience report in the comments at the end of this page.

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