A Guide to Recovering Your Lost or Stolen Packages

Aug 29, 2017 |

Piles of boxes on a loading dock

The new shoes you ordered are supposed to be on your doorstep, but they’re not. Only two things could be possible, the carrier lost your package or it was stolen. Either is an annoying and alarming scenario. To get to the bottom of it, get reimbursed, or track down the thief, here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Check Your Video Footage

If you have a doorbell camera or outdoor security camera, you can use it to your benefit. Watch the footage to see if the carrier dropped the package off or if someone walked away with it. If you spot theft, you can report it to the local police department. If you can prove no one ever showed up at your door, the carrier (if you’re the shipper) or shipper (if you’re the recipient) will be forced to refund you.

You can shop for a number of smart doorbells and home security cameras these days. Some sync through apps, others simply record. Arm yourself with proof of delivery or theft by purchasing one on your porch.

2. File a Police Report

If you don’t have a doorbell camera, but seriously suspect something has been stolen from your stoop, call the police. Without witnesses, they won’t be able to do much, but they will take note of the incident. If others in your neighborhood report the same problems, then they will be more likely to investigate and find the crooks who did it.

3. Contact Your Carrier

Every carrier has a different protocol to handle lost and stolen packages. If yours is missing, here’s what you can do:


UPS is pretty great with refund policies for missing packages. If you order something domestically and it is missing, you can’t file a “missing package” claim until 24 hours after it was supposed to be delivered. Claims for internationally purchased products are trickier. For these, you won’t be able to file a claim and could find difficulty receiving a refund or replacement. Once you file a “missing package” claim, UPS will investigate. It’s really difficult to find out if a package was lost or stolen. Regardless, all missing packages—for whatever reason—are handled in this protocol. If you ordered the product, you should get in contact with the shipper, since UPS will issue the refund to them.

Report a missing package with UPS here


FedEx makes it easy to file lost package claims. If you ordered or shipped something through FedEx Express® and FedEx Freight®, or through FedEx Ground®S. domestic, U.S. shipments to other countries, and Canada shipments to the U.S., you can file a lost package claim online. The only shipping method that doesn’t fall under this category is FedEx Ground® C.O.D..

FedEx is also pretty speedy. It normally takes five to seven business days to resolve a claim. As the sender, recipient, or third-party, you’ll have 60 calendar days to file a claim for damaged or missing contents and up to nine months to file lost item reports. Just make sure you keep any and all packaging or evidence because FedEx might ask to see it.

Start your claim with FedEx here.


Amazon is known for its fast Prime shipping and basically no-questions-asked philosophy. If their tracking shows a package was delivered, but you can’t find it, you should be able to get a refund pretty quickly and easily. Once 36 hours since expected delivery have passed, you should contact Amazon. If packages are late, they’ll usually credit your account for the inconvenience. The company handles all the details with shippers (if not their own services), so you won’t need to get involved.

Start your claim with Amazon here.


Filing a claim with USPS is a bit trickier than other carriers. While its protocol for refunding damaged packages is clear, its process for stolen mail is not. If your package was shipped and delivered by USPS, but it’s missing, you’ll need to file a claim regardless. Have the tracking number, proof of insurance, and proof of value handy. If your package was stolen and there’s evidence, take photos and submit those too. Shippers who send insured packages should be refunded directly by USPS. Recipients of stolen packages can normally go through the seller to receive a replacement or refund.

Start your claim with USPS here.

Falling victim to theft is never fun—either is dealing with faulty carriers. While it does happen, we hope this guide will help you make the best of it, get your money back, and get a replacement quickly. If you have any advice about how you recovered cost or package items from something lost or stolen, tell the Safewise community about it below! It’s always helpful to hear first-hand accounts, so all stories are appreciated.

Written by Caroline Maurer

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