WASHINGTON — It’s the most wonderful time of the year... for porch pirates. As people begin ordering items and shipping gifts, reports of package thefts typically spike this time of year. So what happens if your box gets snatched?
If your package is stolen, will shipping companies send you a replacement, or give you a refund?
In general, no, shipping companies will not refund or replace stolen items.
WHAT WE FOUND
"The rise in residential e-commerce deliveries since the onset of the pandemic has unfortunately been met with a steep rise in package theft," explained a FedEx spokesperson in an email.
According to statements from all four shipping companies, they have no hard policy of refunding or replacing stolen items.
Amazon said they “work with customers directly to make it right” when issues come up, but their statement has no guarantee about replacing stolen goods.
The USPS explicitly said that they won’t pay customers for missing goods, directing victims to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service rather than their local police.
While they won’t provide refunds or replacements, Amazon, FedEx, and UPS highlighted a variety of tracking and secure delivery services they offer.
For Amazon deliveries, customers can opt for different delivery and pickup options. In addition to lockers, the most unique we saw was something called “Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery. Available only to Prime members in some parts of the country, the service lets customers give drivers access to their garage - theoretically keeping their packages safe behind closed doors.
UPS highlighted their delivery alert system, as well as the option to have drivers deliver in backyards or at their place of work.
FedEx had fewer unique solutions, offering picture proof of delivery for packages and recommending customers give specific delivery instructions to help keep packages safe
The bottom line: if your package gets stolen, shipping companies likely aren’t going to give you a replacement.
So what can you do?
If it’s an order delivery, you can try reaching out to the seller to see if they can work with you on a replacement, or see if the credit card you used has "purchase protection."
It’s a good idea to try to avoid package thefts in the first place. Some suggestions from carriers:
- If you won’t be home, have your stuff shipped to an office, or a local participating store or post office for pickup.
- Track the package so you can plan to get home or ask a neighbor to grab it for you the moment it’s on your doorstep
- Schedule your delivery for a time that's convenient
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