What To Do If A Package Is Stolen From Your Doorstep

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Last month, I bought a tiny air conditioner on ebay for my sweltering top-floor apartment. Despite me being home and anxiously awaiting its arrival, the delivery service decided to leave it on my busy street where it was promptly stolen.

Or at least that's what I think happened. The package was marked as delivered at 5:05pm, and when I came down at 5:08 it was nowhere to be seen. So, now what? Having a package stolen is a huge pain, and something that happens pretty often, especially in big cities where you often don't have a porch or discrete spot for deliveries to be left, and have to rely on the patience and kindness of your delivery service to actually call you when they arrive (mine didn't in this case).

What do you do?

Look For Your Package

This may seem like a no-brainer, but if the tracking info says your package has been delivered and it's not sitting on your porch, look around for it. It wasn't the case for me, but depending on your home a delivery person might opt to put a package somewhere other than right in front of your front door. This may also be the case in rainy weather.

Consider where you might have placed the item if you were a delivery driver looking to hide it. In some cases, you'll also see somewhat detailed info within the tracking, such as "Left in garage" or "left on back veranda." Failing that, look around for a small card - if the package was large or clearly expensive, it may have been dropped off at your local post office instead.

Contact Your Seller

Once you're positive the package is MIA, there are a few things you can do next. The best call, in my opinion, is to just contact the seller at this point. I contacted Amazon, and they actually told me that my air conditioner hadn't been delivered yet, despite the tracking, and that I could expect it the next day. I thought that was great news until the next day came and went and the package never arrived.

That said, when I contacted them the following day about the issue, they immediately offered to send a replacement out immediately or to give me a refund. Since the replacement wouldn't arrive before the heat wave ended, I opted for the refund.

But, not everyone is going to refund your money. I have a long purchase history with Amazon and this is the first time I've ever had anything stolen. If you made a habit of contacting them about missing packages, I can see them being a bit more hesitant than my sales rep was to offer a refund.

However, larger companies have better access to shipping companies than you or I and can help facilitate a conversation about what happened to your item. It's a good idea to at least mention the issue to them as soon as you realise what's happened.

Contact the Shipping Company

If you don't have any luck going through your seller, then try the shipping company. All of the major delivery companies often offer insurance on packages. If they can't help you track it down, they should be able to help you start an insurance claim for the package (or at least point you in the right direction), so you can recoup the cost of your lost item.

Depending on the company, they also may be able to talk to the driver and determine that your package was actually left in an odd spot like under your back deck or behind a potted plant on the veranda.

Talk to Your Credit Card

If for some reason the other steps here don't work, take a look at the card agreement for the credit card you used to make the purchase. In many cases, purchases are protected by your card agreement, so if you can't get a refund or a replacement anywhere else, you may be able to get one from your credit card provider.

Avoid the Issue in the Future

Having a package stolen is one of those things that happens frequently enough it's likely going to happen to you. In the future, consider having your packages sent to your office instead of your home, or to a neighbour's house that works at home.

Security cameras can also come in handy. I've seen dozens of videos of people stealing packages, so they're not exactly a full proof plan, but a visible camera placed facing the front of your home could be enough to deter a would-be package bandit from striking.

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Comments

    An Australian version of this article would be worth reading, particularly with Australia Post's shift to Safe Drop starting this year.

      or use Parcel Collect, they leave it at your nominated Post Office. not very useful for couriers though as almost all of them are unable to leave parcels at a PO. work address usually suffices in these cases.

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