Who is Responsible for a Lost Package or Stolen Package

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Who is Responsible for a Lost Package or Stolen Package?

Trying to figure out who is responsible if a package is delivered to the wrong address, lost, or stolen can be a frustrating process. First, you have to take the time to find out whom to call and do the footwork to determine if the merchant, shipping or delivery company is accountable. Then, once you’ve identified the responsible party, you then have to go through the sometimes-complicated steps to arrive at a satisfactory solution. This becomes even more difficult when determining who is responsible for lost packages at work.

Merchants have different policies when dealing with a lost package, missing package, or stolen package, as do the companies that deliver the packages (e.g., an Amazon delivery driver or Flex driver delivering an Amazon package). Not only is the problem of package theft or a misdelivered package an inconvenience for everyone involved, but the increase in package theft and porch piracy, in particular, is affecting the pocketbooks and bottom lines of consumers and businesses.1

Shipping and delivery companies, consumers, legislators, and merchants are all working to solve some of these issues. For a successful resolution, the seller might have to take action, or you might need to make a claim against your credit card or home insurance policy. But in either case, you, the customer, will likely be responsible for getting the process started.

The consumer is responsible for pursuing a resolution for a lost package or stolen package

So who is responsible for lost packages at work or at home? As the recipient or buyer, you are ultimately responsible for resolving the issue of a lost or stolen package delivery. It is up to you to reach out to the sender or merchant, make a claim with the delivery service, and in some instances, report the crime to the local police. In most jurisdictions, laws don’t clearly define who is responsible for a lost, misdirected, or stolen delivery. The onus is on the buyer to contact the relevant parties and seek reconciliation.2

Who is responsible if a package is delivered to the wrong address?

If you provided the correct address, but your package was delivered to the wrong place, the first thing to do is contact the seller and confirm your merchandise was labeled with the correct address. If the seller or shipperprinted the address label incorrectly, didn’t include a return address or didn’t package the goods properly, they will likely replace the item or issue you a refund or gift card for the cost of the item.

Even if the seller did everything correctly, they may still choose to refund you or send you a replacement item. But alternatively, they may ask you to contact the delivery company and file a claim.

Who is responsible if a package is stolen?

If the package has been addressed correctly and marked as delivered, but you have yet to receive it and believe it may be lost or stolen, it is up to you to contact the seller, delivery company, and, if necessary, the police to seek a resolution.

Remember that when if you choose to reach out to the local authorities, even if they are unable to help you find your stolen items, the information you provide may help catch the individuals responsible for the theft.

What should I do if I think my package is lost or stolen?

Before contacting anyone, the first thing to do is make sure that you gave the correct address to the sender or seller.:

If you gave the sender or merchant the wrong address, follow these steps for how to reroute a package. Remember that each delivery company has different procedures, so make sure you follow instructions carefully. For instance, the way Amazon handles a missing or stolen Amazon package may be very different from the way FedEx handles a missing or stolen FedEx package.

If you provided the sender or merchant with the correct address, follow the steps below to seek a resolution to the problem:

  1. Contact the delivery company. The United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEx, UPS, and Amazon all have claims sites with dedicated customer service teams to deal with lost or stolen packages.3 Let them know what happened and they may be able to help provide more information about your package’s location.
  2. Contact the merchant or shipper to ask for a possible replacement or refund. Many companies will send a replacement if the package never arrived or went missing. Be sure to have your order number, tracking information, or other relevant details on hand when contacting them.
  3. File a police report. The local authorities may not be able to recover the items, but the information you provide might help catch those responsible. The report will also be helpful if you want to get your money back by making a claim using your credit card or home insurance policy.

Preventing package theft or loss

Though the risk of a lost package or a package delivered to the wrong address remains relatively low, the boom in online shopping and home delivery has caused a significant increase in the rates of package theft, in particular by porch pirates.4,5According to recent Safewise research, in 2022, an estimated 260 million packages were stolen, with a value of over $19.5 billion.6

This type of crime is more common in apartment complexes and multifamily buildings and is a significant issue in urban communities.7 The steep rise in porch piracy has changed how governments and law enforcement in many jurisdictions handle package theft. Legislators are cracking down on offenders. Laws are pending or in place in a growing number of states, making package theft a felony offense with penalties that range from three months to several years for multiple offenses.8

Consumers are playing their part, too, by taking measures to discourage and help prevent porch privacy. These tips include9:

  • Setting up tracking notifications through the merchant or delivery company
  • Installing door-mounted security cameras
  • Requiring an in-person signature to accept delivery
  • Purchasing delivery insurance for high-value items
  • Changing the time or delivery location to make sure someone is present to receive items

While tampering with a USPS mail or package delivery is already a felony, those rules are now being extended to other delivery companies nationwide.10 Additionally, many delivery companies are implementing preventative measures, such as using delivery management tools or facilitating deliveries to parcel locker network hubs to improve security.

Increasingly, businesses, corporate campuses, and multifamily communities are implementing electronic locker technology and IoT property management solutions to help prevent package theft and missing package instances or other kinds of loss on-site incidences. In fact, property management tips often feature parcel lockers as a method of preventing package theft. Retailers are also encouraging alternative in-store pick-up or Buy Online, Pick-up in Locker (BOPIL®) options to limit package losses and help prevent package theft.

Ready to discover how our smart multifamily, higher education, retail, and commercial locker solutions can deliver MORE package security for your business? Contact a Parcel Pending representative today.

 

Sources:

  1. Hurst, A. Porch Pirates: 6 Steps to Take if Your Package Is Stolen. www.valuepenguin.com. February 14, 2023. https://www.valuepenguin.com/home-insurance/6-steps-take-if-your-package-gets-stolen-your-door
  2. Delivery Safe. Who is Responsible for Package Theft and What is Being Done about It? www.deliverysafe.com. https://deliverysafe.com/blogs/news/who-is-responsible-for-package-theft-and-what-is-being-done-about-it
  3. Weir, M. Here’s what to do if your package gets stolen — and how to prevent it from happening. www.businessinsider.com. January 5, 2021. https://www.businessinsider.com/guides/tech/what-to-do-if-your-package-gets-stolen
  4. USPSOIG. Service Performance. www.uspsoig.gov. https://www.uspsoig.gov/our-work/service-performance
  5. Parcel Pending. How To Prevent Porch Pirates From Stealing Your Packages During The Holidays. www.parcelpending.com. https://www.parcelpending.com/blog/prevent-porch-pirates-from-stealing-packages/
  6. Edwards. R. Worst Metro Cities for Package Theft for 2022. www.safewise.com. December 18, 2022. https://www.safewise.com/blog/metro-areas-porch-theft/
  7. Cosgrove, E. Package theft is now a felony in 8 states and counting as lawmakers crack down on ‘porch piracy’. www.businessinsider.com. January 14, 2023. https://www.businessinsider.com/stealing-package-theft-could-soon-be-a-felony-2023-1
  8. Ibid
  9. Delivery Safe. Who is Responsible for Package Theft and What is Being Done about It? www.deliverysafe.com. https://deliverysafe.com/blogs/news/who-is-responsible-for-package-theft-and-what-is-being-done-about-it
  10. Cosgrove, E. Package theft is now a felony in 8 states and counting as lawmakers crack down on ‘porch piracy’. www.businessinsider.com. January 14, 2023. https://www.businessinsider.com/stealing-package-theft-could-soon-be-a-felony-2023-1