“Indirect signature required”: What does it mean when FedEx asks me this?

“Indirect signature required” is when someone who isn’t you, signs for a package for you, on your behalf. This could be someone at your delivery address, your neighbour, or if the delivery has been left without anyone present.

The “indirect” comes from the fact the person who ordered the package wasn’t the one who signed for it. However, it still serves as proof the package has been delivered.

Examples of “Indirect Signature Required”

#1 Signed by someone at your delivery address

Most of us have jobs to go to, and then homes to go back to. We can’t stay in one place all day waiting for the postman to arrive.

With an indirect signature, as long as there is someone in the building, someone can sign for a package.

Should the parcel be delivered to your home, it will most likely be signed by a family member you live with or a housemate.

For packages delivered to a workplace, a receptionist or secretary will be the most likely person to sign for it.

#2 Signed by a neighbour

If there is nobody at home when your package is delivered, the postman might give it to your neighbour instead.

When your neighbour signs for your package, they are saying “I fully understand that until the rightful owner collects it, this package is my responsibility”.

To get the package, you will need to ask for it from your neighbour who is legally required to give it to you.

At least with your neighbour, it’s somewhere safe and close to where you are.

#3 Not signed at all

And finally, you may have authorised your package to be left without anyone present. Even though there is no signature, it still counts as an indirect signature.

When this happens, the postman will either place your package in front of your house or hide it somewhere in the front porch. Potential hiding places include, behind a flowerpot or in the recycling bin.

As you can probably imagine, this is risky as there is always the possibility of the package being stolen. If you can, try to only do this as a last resort. Not only can it get stolen, but if it rains, it can also get damaged.

Why does FedEx have an “Indirect Signature” system

Unless we work from home, it will be rare for us to be in the same location all the time. Even if we do, many of us might want to go out for the day.

It would be unreasonable for us to expect post workers to know when we’ll be home. Indirect signatures solve this problem by enabling others to receive the package on your behalf and giving it to you when they can.

It’s also better for posties as they won’t have to drop your package off at a collection centre to wait for you to collect it.

What happens if a package is “direct signature”, but you’re not in?

Sometimes, packages will not enable you to give an indirect signature. Most of this time, this will be for valuable items.

When this happens, your package will go back to a collection centre where you will need to go to, to collect it. Of course, this can be irritating. However, it’s always the safest.

Family/housemates can forget to tell you, and neighbours aren’t always honest. Even though these situations are rare, there are some packages where it’s worth being that little bit more careful.

For the majority of things we order, an indirect signature will be absolutely fine.

Conclusion

Indirect signature is when someone who isn’t you signs for your package to verify that it’s been delivered. This could be someone you live with, someone you work with, someone you live next to, or even nobody at all.

It enables us to receive packages easily even if the postmen come when we’re out. Without this system, we would either have to be in all the time or go through the kerfuffle of going to a collection centre more often.