A delivery receipt is a document that confirms delivery of a message, object, or order. There are several ways to use delivery receipts, including in mail exchanges as well as the logging of orders sent out by a company for delivery. Generic versions for companies to fill out as needed are available, and many software programs designed to assist with shipping also produce delivery receipts.
One setting where this type of document is common is at the post office, where senders can request a delivery receipt for an extra fee. When the mail arrives, a recipient must sign for it, acknowledging delivery. This allows the sender to know that the mail arrived safely. It can be important where there is a deadline or similar measure in place, and the sender wants to have documentation in the event of a dispute. If an attorney claims she didn't receive a communication in time, for example, the sender can use the delivery receipt to prove otherwise.
Email can also come with a delivery receipt option. Some automated mailing systems generate receipts so senders know their emails arrived safely. This is especially common in customer service, where the receipt will also provide a reference number and a time frame so the sender knows when she can expect to hear back. This email comes from an automated address, and senders are advised that they cannot email things to that address and expect a response.
In shipping, many companies use a delivery receipt system to address the risk of customer claims. When the customer receives a shipment, he must review it and sign a delivery receipt, indicating that he received it in full. Since shipments are often tightly packaged, and the delivery service is waiting to move on to the next delivery, customers may sign the forms without checking, and have a brief window to dispute something on the form. A bookstore, for example, could sign the documentation and then discover that it's actually several copies short on a title, and request a refund or reshipment.
The delivery receipt goes into the records pertaining to the shipment. If a customer claims something never arrived, the company can pull the delivery receipt to investigate the situation. It may find that products were delivered to a wrong address, or were not signed for by an authorized representative. It could also determine that, according to its records, the shipment went to the right person at the right place, and the company has no recourse.