More than 40% of Americans have felt the sting of package theft. After they discover the package is missing and experience the frustration that comes with it, the question that arises next is: What do I do now?
To this end, here are 4 steps to consider if a package is stolen from the doorstep.
It’s probably best to contact the delivery company first. They should have information about when and where the package was delivered. It is important to determine if the package actually made it off the truck, if it is lost in the shipping channels, or if it’s still in a warehouse somewhere.
Once it is determined that the box was left out for delivery but wasn’t received, each shipper has their own process they follow. Here’s a detailed look at what to do for each popular delivery provider.
If you purchased the item at Amazon, go to your orders and initiate an A-to-z Guarantee refund, which covers a refund on lost, stolen, or damaged. There are a number of requirements and rules for this process, but generally it first directs customers to the seller (if it isn’t Amazon). If they don’t respond within 48 hours, Amazon allows for the filing of a claim within 90 days of the purchase.
Because of this policy, Amazon is known for being very responsive when it comes to package theft. Here’s some positive customer feedback on Twitter:
For FedEx deliveries, go online and file a claim. Make sure to have the package’s shipping tracking number to get started. Through this portal you can report the missing package, upload additional documentation, check the status, or cancel your claim.
Doing it online allows the victim to receive claim payments and track it for up to 12 months. Typically, the company covers up to $100 of the total value of the shipment or the full amount insured.
If the tracking information shows that UPS delivered the package but it is nowhere to be found, contact the sender of the package to initiate a trace process with UPS. To note, UPS will not allow a claim to be filed until 24 hours after the delivery took place.
The sender will then follow up with you on the progress of your shipment. Generally, UPS will not reimburse a consumer if the package was delivered to a residence and then stolen. It will work with both the sender and the purchaser, as well as, law enforcement for a given claim. However, UPS will not issue a refund unless there’s proof that it was responsible.
First, file an online request at USPS to begin a search for the missing item and to get the local post office involved. If after 7 days the package is not found, the next step is to submit a Missing Mail Search Request. At this point, enter all pertinent information and pictures.
If the package is not found, USPS customers who used Priority Mail Express can request a refund, and those that paid for insurance can file a claim. This process must be started no later than 60 days from the date of mailing.
If the issue cannot be quickly and fully resolved through the shipper, contact the store or retailer next. Most large companies that do a lot of shipping will replace the package with only a few questions asked. Here’s a great example of a positive customer experience with a large retailer, Sephora:
When it comes to smaller retailers, it depends on how well they work with customers and whether or not they can afford to replace items on a regular basis. Also, if it’s a one-of-a-kind product from somewhere like Etsy, then a replacement might not even be an option.
Still, it’s worth reaching out to the retailer. They might have great customer service and create a customer for life with their response to the issue.
Make no mistake, porch piracy is a crime. Reporting the theft to law enforcement is an important step that often gets skipped because the victim doesn’t want the hassle or doesn’t want to bother the police. But by reporting the crime, it gives the police a better chance of catching the thief in a certain area.
Also, If the crime is reported it will become part of the local and national crime statistics. Why is this important? Because increasingly more states are pushing for stronger penalties for porch pirates. If they can prove the issue is a serious problem, it will help get support for stronger penalties and greater vigilance.
Also, if a buyer is filing for an insurance reimbursement, a police report will probably need to be submitted along with the claim.
Another option is to contact the credit card company used in the purchase. Many credit cards policies offer free insurance on every purchase, so it is worth finding out what protection benefits may be available for package theft. To note, there’s usually a value limit on these types of benefits and it will typically require a police report.
Although the onus is on the buyer to deal with package theft, there are several options in attempting to get reimbursement for the loss. If Amazon is the retailer and the shipper, most buyers have had success in getting a refund or a replacement. If not, there are some options with other delivery companies, but most likely contacting the retailer is the next best option. If it’s a larger retailer, there’s a good chance the item will be replaced or refunded. If it’s a smaller retailer or an exclusive item, the buyer may not be as successful in recouping the loss. Also, credit card companies have some options for reimbursement. Ultimately, don’t forget to report the crime. The more law enforcement and lawmakers are aware of package theft, the more all Americans can expect more measures to fight it.