WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
Who is responsible if a thief steals your packages: the retailer, the carrier or you?
Typically, you're out of luck, unless the retailer decides to be generous. Delivery companies say they're not responsible for reimbursement if the package was successfully delivered to the correct house. A spokesperson for one of the carriers compared leaving packages unattended to leaving a wallet in an unlocked car.
Jonathan Lyons -- FedEx spokesperson
Dawn Wotapka -- UPS spokesperson
Michael Hotovy -- U.S. Postal Service spokesperson
Bea Garcia -- Deutsche Post DHL
Hugh Carew -- Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson
With the holiday season upon us, little brown boxes will start to collect on doorsteps everywhere. That means more opportunities for porch pirates to snag your gifts.
So what happens if a thief gets to your packages first?
Our Verify team wants to know, who is responsible if a robber pilfers your package? Are you out of luck?
First, our researchers contacted Amazon, the largest online retailer in the U.S. A spokesperson said if someone nabs your parcel, call their customer service line, and they'll work with you on a solution.
Amazon lets you track your shipments online or through their app. A few years ago, the company rolled out with a new feature. The carrier will take a photo of your package being delivered so you know exactly where the package was placed.
Our researchers then contacted major mail carriers: UPS, FedEx, DHL and the U.S. Postal Service.
UPS, DHL and USPS all said that if a package was delivered to the right address, they're not responsible. FedEx responded by sending tips to protect your parcels.
"If loss, damage or missing contents occur to any parcel after delivery by the Postal Service, indemnity will not be paid. This includes insured mail — including Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail, Registered Mail, COD — and Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express," Michael Hotovy, a spokesperson for USPS, said. "If a customer has a home security camera system, ensure it captures activity at the front door and mailbox. If you catch any mail thieves in the act, save the video and alert your local Postal Inspectors."
Others suggested alerting local law enforcement.
"If a package has been successfully delivered, UPS would not be responsible for the reimbursement," Dawn Wotapka, a UPS spokesperson, said. "We suggest the consumer file a police report that can be submitted to the retailer for potential reimbursement."
Hugh Carew with DC Police said that anyone who discovers a package has been stolen should call their police department immediately, and DC police will "take a report and gather any evidence to further investigate the crime," Carew said.
All carriers suggested that if you won't be home when a package is delivered, consider having your stuff shipped to your office, or a store/post office for pick up. You can also schedule your delivery for a time convenient for you and request a signature upon drop off.
So we can verify, if your package gets pilfered, it’s pretty much on you.
You can always contact Amazon, or file a claim with the carrier -- you may get lucky and they’ll eat the cost to send you a new one.
Another pro tip: Check your credit card for something called "purchase protection." In some cases if your stuff is damaged or stolen, you can get a refund.