Signature forgery by Chinese kuaidi (couriers) happens on a daily basis. For a delivery company in Jiangsu, one false signature ended up costing a lot of money.
It happens on a daily basis in China, but how much could a courier’s (kuaidi’s) signature forgery end up costing a delivery company? According to a local Chinese court: 300,000 yuan (±US$47,300).
For many people in China, it might have happened before; the kuaidi delivers a package but finds no one at home – some kuaidi then decide to sign off the delivery themselves.
A recent case involving such a signature forgery by a local courier became a trending post on Weibo earlier this week, after a Chinese kuaidi from Jiangsu’s Sihong County decided to personally sign a receipt for the recipient without actually delivering the parcel back in February of this year.
Unlike other ordinary parcels, the package contained a rather important document for the recipient, namely a court subpoena.
Not receiving the subpoena, the intended recipient missed the designated court date, causing his case to be dismissed due to his absence, China News Agency reports. Realizing that the parcel was signed, received, yet wrongfully handled by the courier, the plaintiff sued the courier service firm for this error.
A local Sihong court made a verdict in favor of the plaintiff and imposed a 300,000 yuan (US$47,300) fine to the person in charge of the courier service firm. According to the verdict, the courier did not notify the recipient regarding the delivery, and left it in a convenience store near the recipient’s neighborhood. In what was ruled a “fraudulent act”, the courier not only counterfeited a signature but also misspelled two out of three characters in the recipient’s name. Since unsuccessful delivery caused the recipient to miss their supposed court date, the court ruled the incident “a waste of legal resources.”
Although the kuaidi was legally at fault for providing a false acceptance signature in order to receive the letter, it is something that often happens in Chinese cities. With thousands of packages being shipped every single day, many recipients are often not at home to personally receive them. The absence of the actual recipients to sign for the delivery have made many Chinese couriers – often migrant workers who are cramped for time and underpaid – form the habit to sign the receipts on behalf of their customers. Lack of legal knowledge and proper training also adds to the problem. “Who sends legal documents by courier services anyway?”, some people on Weibo comment: “There’s always a risk in using kuaidi services.” “The whole courier industry needs to be put in order,” another person writes: “It’s all a big mess.” “Kuaidi should not be able to sign for someone yet it happens all the time,” a typical comment read: “The company deserves to be punished for it.” Much different from the person they were supposed to deliver the court documents to, the courier service company in question did properly and officially receive the court’s verdict. A spokesperson has stated that the company will put more effort into training their staffs on the proper procedure in parcel deliveries to avoid similar errors – and fines – in the future.