Stopping Porch Piracy

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Mark Huggan, the Phantom himself, Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. Vancouver's favourite courier company. We're going to talk about some of the problems over the next few broadcasts that couriers solve for you. And one of the big ones is porch pirates or package theft. Mark, how do you guys solve this for people? 

Mark H: Well, we're highly aware of it. There's, like we mentioned before, the broadcast started, there's people out there, that's their job to cruise around in suburban neighbourhoods and look for unattended packages and they will be there, like that and steal it. 

And whatever they're stealing, it could be something valuable or it's a nothing. But it's always an inconvenience and it's illegal. And it's really disappointing to a person who's had a notification that your package arrived and then it's not there. And then that is the first domino that falls into a huge administrative like search for the package.

So we've got a proactive step to prevent this kind of thing, because we do get permission to leave with unattended packages, with no signature required and no contact delivery. And that's the opportunity that we have to thwart for the thieves. So we usually make good contact with the receiver and we're like, so we have your package, the courier's there, there's nobody answering the door. What would you like us to do? And so we'll like, you know, we'll come back. It's an extra cost. If the people want us to come back. It's a second attempt to delivery. It's no big deal. We can just route it out. 

Or we'll ask them, is there a safe place to leave it? And if people say, Oh, by the front porch and we confirm with the courier, can you see it from the street? It's like yes or no. And if they can see it from the street, well, hold on a second. We confer with the receiver. Look, you could see this package from the street. Are you sure you want it to be left in plain view? And then they might say, Oh, you know what? There is a blue box in the backyard that we keep our lawn tools and go put that there. Bingo done. 

You know, so we always try to go that little bit extra. It's really easy just to run up and say, okay, it's on your porch, goodbye. But it only takes a second for somebody in a car to spot a courier uniform, walking to the door and take that package. And it's a big problem. We get permission to go into backyards. In fact, one of our drivers was, the police arrived quickly because it's such a thing. The neighbours are on the watch for this. So even though our courier was wearing a uniform, thieves dress like couriers too. 

So we're, you know, it's a constant battle. We've been very successful at not having things stolen because it's in the news all the time. It's on YouTube all the time, and it's very disappointing and you don't want to be part of that. 

Well, the insurance process, you have to go with them on their insurance. It could be anything. And as a receiver of a package, you get pretty disappointed if it's been stolen. And then of course, first thing you do is doubt that it was over there. So we want to make everybody comfortable. It's a big deal. 

Mark: It's a big deal. And it's something that I noticed that the other delivery, perhaps larger ones, I won't name names, they just dump them off and leave. 

Mark H: Yeah well, their volume is very high. The volume is high. They couldn't possibly you know, wait, larger companies can do 12 million deliveries a day. So imagine like the technological side of contacting and back and forth, it's almost impossible. So we're lucky we're a little bit more nimble and we're more bespoke, niche market that we can do it. We've got a team here that will listen and we're able to follow up, we have really good tracking and we also take a picture when we pick it up to make sure we have the right item. And then when we deliver it, we have a picture too. 

So say there was just a slight miscommunication. Oh, go to the backyard, take the stairs door on the left. Oh, I meant the right. Ahh, you know, it could be 20 feet, it's dark, they come home, it's gone. And then there's a picture, it's like, Oh, that's Mike's floor mat I understand. Bingo. Done. 

So, you know, it's always trying to smooth out those little wrinkles and that's something we do all the time, because really we just communicate with customers constantly. That's our job. Couriers are communicators. Our office is a dispatch. And the whole thing is just communication. So we keep that pretty crystal clear, keeping it simple, right? It makes people more confident and happy in the end. And most of the time the package is right there anyways. But when it's not, let's find it. 

Mark: So what's some advice perhaps that you could give people who don't have access to Phantom Couriers, maybe they're in the States, maybe they're in another country who happened to watch this, how can they protect themselves in a little bit better way from this kind of fairly rampant thing of people stealing stuff off your porch?

Mark H: Yeah. Well, traditionally in the past, if you weren't home, say for a large carrier, you'd have to leave a note that said you may leave it, but now that COVID laws are in and no contact, it's just assumed that you're saying leave it. So just print up a little note for the delivery people, put it down at the right-hand corner of your door, where it's noticeable and not from the street where you'd have to see when you walk up, be like what's that. And it could have specific instructions like, Hey, I know you're dropping off a package today, why don't you just walk it around the backyard and put it by the swing set. 

Or if it's an apartment well, it's a lot more trouble, like maybe make arrangements with your neighbours, be more community minded and just say, I have deliveries come in today. Just poke your head out the door. If it's there, just grab it for me I'll be home at five. Because people will steal prepared meals. And how would you like it if you're sending prepared meals to your grandmother and somebody steals them? How frustrating and like, you know, just make those communication notes. We're all in this together. And you know, we're here, you're there, let's team up.

And because it's a delivery economy. I think it's great, which know your neighbour. Well, you don't have to know them, but you know, teamwork, just those little notes, little communication, and it'll solve it a lot faster because once the person gets into a building, they'll just elevator down from the top to the bottom and they will leave with a shopping cart of your stuff. And we've seen them on the streets, you know, it's bad news. 

Mark: So if you're in Vancouver or BC, because they deliver right across British Columbia, into Alberta, into Ontario, Phantom Couriers. You can reach them to get your packages delivered securely (604) 899-5447. Or if you're outside of the lower mainland one eight four four eight nine nine five four, four, seven. Any package, anywhere Phantom Couriers 

Mark H: Gets it, or keeps it safe or brings it back or we'll bring it back another time. 

Mark: Thanks, Mark. 

Mark H: Right on.