Sometimes packages get lost. But let’s face it—most of the time if you’re searching for a missing package it’s because someone swiped it from your doorstep.
Almost 26 million packages were stolen in 2017.¹
But you don’t have to be helpless when porch pirates strike. Here are some steps you can take to get to the bottom of it, get reimbursed, track down the thief—or scare them offbefore they do their dastardly deed.
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.
After 36 hours have passed since the expected delivery date, you should contact Amazon. If packages are late, they’ll usually credit your account for the inconvenience. The company handles all the details with third-party sellers (if not their own services), so you won’t need to get involved.
If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, you might want to look into Amazon Lockers. These are secure kiosks where you can send your Amazon packages and pick them up at your convenience. Best of all—using an Amazon Locker is completely free.
FedEx is also pretty speedy. It normally takes just 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.
UPS has different policies for lost or stolen packages depending on whether your package was shipped in the US or internationally.
Domestic Shipping: 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.
International Shipping: Claims for internationally purchased products are trickier. For these, you won’t be able to file a claim, and it could be difficult to get a refund or replacement.
All Claims: 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 this way. If you ordered the product, you should get in contact with the seller, since UPS will issue the refund to them.
USPS lost packages can be more challenging than packages lost by other carriers because it’s trickier to file a claim with USPS.
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 ready
Be ready to show proof of insurance
Find proof of the value of the item, if possible
If your package was stolen and there’s evidence, take photos and submit those too.
If your USPS lost package was insured, you should be able to get a refund directly from USPS. If your USPS package was stolen, you should be able to go through the seller to receive a replacement or refund.
What You Can Do to Prevent Package Theft (or Track Down Those Porch Pirates!)
If an expected package is nowhere to be found, watch the footage to see if the carrier dropped off the package or if someone walked away with it.
If you spot theft, report it to your local police department. Or, 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 andhome security cameras these days. Some send instant alerts through apps, and others simply record footage. Arm yourself with proof of delivery or theft by installing one on your porch.
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more