Hi,
I was working for an IT company. I left the company recently. As I am working remotely, I had to ship the laptop back to the company. The laptop is owned by the client of my employer.

I shipped the laptop on 11th September 2021 by a local courier services company which I used once before for similar purpose. As of 19th October 2021, the date of post, the laptop has not reached yet.

My employer is asking for an FIR against the courier company. The estimate amount of laptop post depreciation is 10k, as mentioned by employer.

Courier company is saying they are trying to track the parcel. At time of booking, I didn't disclose on any documents that the parcel contains laptop. It was communicated to them orally. There is no insurance taken as I was not aware that I had to take one and neither did the courier office employee told me that I can or should take the insurance.

Steps taken so far:
1. Daily follow up with courier company to see if they found my parcel

2. Daily updates given to employer

3. Written legal notice given to courier company copying my employer and the top brass of courier company to give a written reply on the status and location of parcel giving them 5 days of time to reply back. This was done on 7th October 2021.

4. Attempt to file FIR with local police station. The Thana incharge said that this is a civil matter and denied filing FIR. Requested him a few times but he is saying they cannot do it.


Questions:
1. What could be next course of action?

2. Can I get my final settlement post deduction of the cost of Laptop?

3. Can I really not file FIR? Asking this because employer is pushing on filing FIR.

From India
Dear member,

The loss of consignments by the courier companies is a common problem. Please note the following in your case:

a) When you had booked the consignment, the courier company must have issued you with the hard copy of the docket. You will find the terms and conditions of the delivery of the consignment given on the backside of the docket. Whatever the value of the consignment, in case of loss or damage or theft, the courier companies accept liability for the payment of a maximum amount of Rs 500/- only.

b) As mentioned earlier, when a customer books the consignment through a courier company, it issues a docket to the customer. This docket is nothing but a contract between a consignor and a courier company under the provisions of the Indian Contract Act, 1872. However, once you sign the docket, the terms and conditions of the docket (or contract) become valid. Therefore, the courier company has taken measures to safeguard itself.

c) This is irrespective of (a) and (b) above. While booking a non-document (any material or articles), a customer is expected to declare the actual contents as well as the commercial value. However, for the case at hand, neither was done. Even if you had declared the actual content as "laptop", you were expected to mention the laptop serial number, model number, make etc. A copy of the purchase invoice of the laptop should have been attached to the docket. You have not done that.

d) The cautious customers insure the goods they ship through the courier companies. Unfortunately, this was not done in the case at hand.

e) Your lawyer has sent a legal notice to the courier company. But on what basis? Which act or law have they violated? Did your lawyer speak to you on that count?

f) You can file a case in the consumer court for the deficiency in service. To file a case, you need to need the services of a lawyer, you can do it on your own also. However, with the liability for the loss being just restricted to Rs 500/- only, I do not think that any courier company will get deterred even if they receive a summons from the consumer court. Moreover, to get Rs 500/-, you may have to spend a few thousand rupees!

g) Loss of shipments or consignments by the courier companies is common. Those who work in courier companies grow up with this perennial challenge. While the case could be new to you, it need not be so for them.

h) Non-delivery of the consignment by the courier company is a civil matter. Since the police authorities deal only with criminal matters, their denial to file an FIR is understandable.

Final Comments: - My objective was to analyse the case dispassionately. My objective was not to demotivate you. The loss of shipment by the courier could impose a financial burden on you. However, setbacks are part and parcel of life. That is why it is better to use branded companies to ship the consignments. Not that they do not lose the consignments. They also do it, however, the chances are minimal.

By above comments are based on personal experience. The other senior members may offer their valuable comments.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore

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