Shipping Tips & Solutions

When Porch Pirates Strike: Steps to Take When Packages Are Lost or Stolen

From insurance claim to refund recovery, explore how businesses can effectively handle missing packages, and lost shipments in our latest guide.
When Porch Pirates Strike: Steps to Take When Packages Are Lost or Stolen
Jules

By Jules

 

July 29, 2020

We've all likely experienced that sinking moment when we feel that our recently ordered package probably isn't going to arrive. While most eCommerce shipments arrive safely and on time, there are times when a package will get lost or stolen. An estimated 90,000 packages disappear daily in New York City alone, so unfortunately this is a topic we all need to familiarize ourselves with as we come to rely on eCommerce more and more.

In most cases, a stolen package results from deliveries sitting on the front porch for days while owners are at work or on vacation, giving porch pirates plenty of time to snag them.

Unfortunately, most online shoppers lack much recourse if their packages are stolen. In most cases, delivery companies and retailers don't take responsibility for stolen packages once dropped off. Some might not also offer to replace the stolen products.

The guide below provides insights that will help you handle missing or stolen packages.

Front porch in the country
Photo by Heather Stewart 

Is My Package Lost or Stolen?

Losing your package is undoubtedly challenging, and going through the claims process is even more frustrating. And while there are several options to minimize the risk of losing online delivered packages, most online shoppers still lose their online orders from time to time. Apart from low-security status, the surge of deliveries, especially during holidays, creates great opportunities for porch pirates.

An estimated half (51%) of online shoppers claim that they haven't received packages they have ordered in the last six months. From this, approximately 16% of online customers claim that the package was stolen, while 29% are not sure why they didn't find the package.

However, even as online shoppers have the right to claim back any stolen package, replacements or refunds significantly depend on the delivery carrier and if the package was insured.

What Do You Do If Someone Steals Your Package?

You’ll need to act quick to make an effort to retrieve the package. Begin by checking your shipping carriers' tracking information to confirm if your ordered shipment was delivered successfully.

If your package was delivered successfully but stolen by porch pirates, you have several options.

Among these options, include:

1.Report to the police

Like any other case of theft, you should report package theft immediately to the nearest police station. While they can't do much without witnesses, they will note the incident and take measures to prevent recurring incidents.

If the cases are on the rise within the neighborhood, the police will likely open an investigation. Filing a report with the police will also come in handy in making an insurance claim.

2. Contact your sender

After filing a report with the police, you should reach out to your online seller to inform them that your package hasn't been delivered. The majority of established companies might send out replacements immediately.

However, not all companies will send replacements or refunds. As such, make sure that you provide sufficient proof that supports your claim.

For instance, if you receive a delivery note, but couldn't find the package where the delivery note indicates, take a picture and include it in your claims report. You should also provide your shipment confirmation number and additional details to help the company track the shipment with ease.

Contacting USPS about your stolen package

USPS has a clear refund protocol for damaged packages but has no clear procedures for stolen packages. As such, claiming refunds for a stolen package can be quite challenging compared to other couriers.

If your stolen package was shipped and delivered by USPS, you should file claims with a tracking number, show insurance proof, and any other evidence to support your claim.

If the USPS stolen package was insured, you will get a refund directly from the courier. If it wasn't insured, you should contact the seller for either a refund or replacement.

Contacting FedEx for your stolen package

FedEx provides a clear claim process for stolen packages. As such, if you placed an order and shipped any items through FedEx, you can easily claim for the lost package online. Once you have placed the claim, the courier resolves the claim within five to seven days.

Customers, senders, and even third parties have 60 days to file claims for their damaged and missing packages and nine months to claim their FedEx stolen package. You should only provide sufficient proof, including packaging evidence to support your claim.

Contacting Amazon for stolen packages

Amazon is well known for its fast shipping and refund for damaged deliveries. Therefore, if you receive a delivery note that your package was delivered but couldn't find it, you should easily get a refund or replacement.

You should contact Amazon 36 hours after the expected delivery date. If the package is late or your Amazon package is stolen, Amazon will make refunds for the inconvenience.

Contacting UPS for stolen packages

UPS has varying policies for lost or stolen packages for local and international shipments, unlike other couriers. You should contact the courier to report and claim UPS stolen package 24 hours after the expected delivery date. Claiming refunds for international shipping is quite tricky.

As such, you might not be able to file claims and get refunds or replacements for damaged or stolen packages. Once you have made claims for lost packages, the courier conducts investigations before issuing refunds.

Suppose your stolen package originated from friends or relatives, inform them that the shipment was not delivered. They can contact the carrier and help them track the shipment.

7 Steps to Prevent Package Theft

While there are no fool proof precautions you can take to assure your package doesn't get lost are stolen, there are measures you can take to make it less likely to happen.

The following seven strategies can help you prevent package theft.

1.Schedule deliveries with the shipping courier

Without a doubt, it is hard to tell when your packages will arrive at your doorstep. Fortunately, you can schedule with the shipping company, to provide an assured time when the package will be delivered. Similarly, you can reschedule the delivery time or have it held if you aren't at home.

Scheduling notifications with shipping companies is free, but you will have to pay some fees for rescheduling deliveries.

2. Contact couriers to keep your packages hidden

You can work with your couriers and coordinate with shipping companies to keep your packages out of sight once delivered. Since it is difficult to make such coordination while making your orders online, the best option is to leave a note about specific delivery instructions.

Delivery drivers might be willing to conceal packages according to your delivery instructions. They can hide them somewhere at the back of your house or somewhere within your front porch.

3. Schedule in-person delivery

Another great way to avoid porch pirates is scheduling to receive your deliveries in person. As such, make sure that you inform the shipping company that you need a signature during delivery and that somebody is present at your scheduled delivery address.

If you are always away from home, you can have your workplace as the designated shipping address.

4. Leverage a lockbox service

The other way to avoid losing your delivered packages to porch pirates is by using a lockbox service. Convenience stores and eCommerce stores offer such service through Amazon locker and other lockbox service providers.

If you don't like picking your deliveries from the post office, you can invest in a protected lockbox sitting right in front of your porch.

5. Use Amazon Key for safe deliveries

Apart from lockbox services, taking advantage of the Amazon key provides much convenience as well. With this, the shipping delivery staff can unlock your garage or front door and drop your packages inside. While it might seem a significant security risk, Amazon provides several options that make your home and packages safe.

Amazon will immediately send notifications to your smartphone and record the delivery from the connected camera, providing peace of mind. The only limitation with this option is that you should invest in a smart lock and a connected camera.

6. Collaborate with your neighbors

If you have a close relationship with neighbors who stay at home during the day, you can ask them to pick deliveries on your behalf. Ideally, you should offer them something in return, depending on your existing relationship. Similarly, if your packages have been stolen, you can collaborate with neighbors to gather footage that might help to trace porch pirates and make claims.

7. Install a security camera

Installing security cameras is probably the easiest way to keep porch pirates at bay. Fortunately, a wide array of security cameras are available on the market that are reliable and easy to install. Installing cameras in a visible position will not only prevent package theft but also scare the porch pirate.

Easyship Adds a Layer of Security

While packages will get lost from time to time, there are steps you can take to protect yourself or your customers. With Easyship you can take advantage of features such as:

Up-to-date Tracking: Updated at each step of the delivery process, Easyship tracking provides customers with the most timely and relevant information to give them peace of mind and clear directions for a smooth delivery.

Shipping Insurance: Have peace of mind when shipping by using our insurance option at reasonable rates.

Take Precautions and Know What to Do

Despite the booming eCommerce businesses, online shoppers often remain helpless with striking porch pirates. Going through such an experience can be frustrating.

The best way to avoid losing your packages is by tracking your shipments. With a tracking number, you can be sure when your online orders will arrive home.

If you are rarely at home, consider having your orders delivered elsewhere, be it at work or anywhere you spend more time. You should also insure packages and file a claim to get reimbursement for the items you have purchased.

Sign up with Easyship now to supercharge your eCommerce shipping

Stolen Packages FAQ

Should I report a stolen package to the police?

Yes. Reporting to the police that your packages have been stolen is prudent. This will help the police implement measures to keep off porch pirates and note rising situations within your locality.

What does a porch pirate mean?

Porch pirates are simply thieves who steal delivered packages from front doors. These thieves can either pick packages that are unattended by homeowners or use manipulative techniques such as impersonating recipients to sign off deliveries or have children pick the boxes from the porch.

Who is responsible for stolen packages?

The exact responsibility for stolen packages is quite tricky. In most cases, the seller is responsible for the deliveries until they are dropped at the customers' designated place. Once the shipping courier has confirmed delivery, the package becomes the online shopper's responsibility. Fortunately, some carriers and sellers can work with recipients if their packages are stolen.

Do companies replace stolen packages?

Yes. Most shipping companies have a process of filing for claims for refunds or replacements if your package is stolen or missing from the designated delivery station.

Does Amazon reimburse for stolen packages?

Like other eCommerce stores, you can never be sure of reimbursement from Amazon. Since most Amazon sellers are third parties, you should contact the seller in case of stolen packages. If you don't receive a replacement or refund from the seller, you can request refunds directly from Amazon.