Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Home3PL/4PLIs Delivery to a Non-Designated Consignee Considered a Failure of Delivery?

Is Delivery to a Non-Designated Consignee Considered a Failure of Delivery?

Yes. And this is the story of the missing airfreight parcel.

Sometime in 2003, Janine R. Cruz sent a package containing some checks to her mother Jessica, who was residing in New York. The parcel was shipped through Lateral Express Corporation (LEC), a well-known airfreight courier company.

Two months later, Jessica informed Janine she did not receive the package. Janine immediately contacted LEC to inquire about the non-delivery of the package, but was informed the package was delivered to her mother’s neighbor but that there was no signed receipt.

As the checks were not received by Jessica, the obligations of Janine in the US were not paid, and Janine sustained some huge damages. Janine subsequently sent a demand letter to LEC for the payment of damages due to the non-delivery of her package.

LEC refused to heed her demand so Janine filed a complaint for damages with the Regional Trial Court (RTC).

LEC contended the shipment was released without the signature of the actual recipient, as authorized by the shipper or recipient. However, it failed to show during the trial that the authorization was made. Thus, the trial court ruled for Janine, awarding her moral and exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees for the loss of the package.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the RTC. And after the denial of its Motion for Reconsideration, LEC appealed to the Supreme Court.

And the SC ruled in the following tenor:

“ x x x.
The responsibility of common carriers to exercise extraordinary diligence lasts from the time the goods are unconditionally placed in their possession until they are delivered “to the consignee, or the person who has the right to receive them.” Common carriers must ascertain the identity of the recipient. Failing to deliver shipment to the designated recipient amounts to a failure to deliver. The shipment shall then be considered lost, and liability for this loss ensues.

x x x
Petitioner [LEC] cannot but be liable for this loss. It failed to ensure that the package was delivered to the named consignee. It admitted to delivering to a mere neighbor. Even as it claimed this, it failed to identify that neighbor. x x x.”

I wish to stress that the courier-common carrier must deliver the package to the consignee, or to the person who has a right to receive it. Otherwise, there will be a failure of delivery, and the package shall be considered lost. And liability for the loss shall follow.

Next story please. And stay safe.

For inquiries, email the writer at atty.joeytbanday@gmail.com.


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