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First it was the gruesome murder of a Jumia Delivery salesman in Port-Harcourt. Next, a few days ago, the senseless killing of an Uber Driver in Lagos. Both killings had one thing in common- lazy young men wanted to take advantage of goods and services being provided by the online retailers without paying for it. The easiest way for them to do so in their weird calculations was to kill the men contracted to deliver those services to the end consumer. The question this poses is- Should pay on delivery be scrapped? Will scrapping it better guarantee the safety of the delivery men? How can their safety be better guaranteed?

Pay on delivery is currently an accepted mode of payment in Nigeria due to various issues like lack of trust of consumers in online retailers and weak legal protection for consumers. However, until trust is built and consumers gain adequate confidence in online retailers to ‘deliver’ their own part of the bargain(no pun intended), scrapping pay on delivery may not be an option. E-commerce companies will have to vamp security for their delivery men to discourage and reduce incidents of armed robbery and assault

According to a CNN.com report, being a delivery man is one of the riskiest jobs in America. About 25 percent of delivery men are victims of robberies and assaults. It is therefore very imperative for delivery men and their companies or those they deliver for, take appropriate measures to protect them. First, e-commerce companies and delivery companies if the e-commerce companies are outsourcing, need to set clear rules and procedures for all delivery drivers. Some of the things they could do include-

  • Ensure that phone numbers of customers are functional and verifiable.
  • Do away with pay as delivery as much as possible. However due to the ‘lack of trust’ in the Nigerian online retail market, it may be difficult to scrap that now.
  • Never deliver after dark. If you absolutely need to ensure the person pays with a card.
  • Print the rules for delivery on your take out menus, so customers know them.
  • Uniforms looks mart but drivers should be encouraged to use street clothes, instead of uniforms distinguishing them as delivery persons to a devious predator
  • Encourage drivers to have as little cash as possible on them
  • Deliveries of products above a certain amount should be discouraged except it has been paid online
  • Don’t deliver after dark. Don’t enter the houses of the recipient too.
  • Ensure all of your drivers have cell phones or a way of communicating with you, or the authorities, in the event of an emergency.

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