Parcel theft is rampant in the U.S. Here's how the big shippers view the problem, and how a refund can sometimes be possible.
The explosive growth of eCommerce sales has sadly been matched by the number of thieves out to stop them from reaching buyers. One in three American consumers is affected, amounting to around 26 million victims. What’s worse, penalties for these criminals aren’t even that harsh unless they can be conclusively linked to multiple thefts.
Some regions are taking innovative action, like Arkansas’ use of “bait boxes” and New Jersey’s team-up with Amazon to plant GPS trackers in fake packages. Until a nationwide solution is found, what can businesses expect when seeking a refund for a stolen delivery?
How FedEx and UPS view parcel theft
A business will first have to prove via the shipper that the package was indeed dropped off at the customer’s address. This is where obtaining a refund becomes tricky, if the carrier can say they did their part by dropping the parcel off successfully. The prevailing attitude is that what happens after delivery is out of the carrier’s hands. Nonetheless, that shouldn’t dissuade any seller from filing a lost-package claim.
Page 140 of the FedEx Service Guide states that they won’t be held liable in any way for “criminal acts of any person(s) or entities.” They also state that they will not be obligated to refund or credit the shipper’s transportation charges if they provide proof of timely delivery.
There may be a few instances where sellers can recoup $100 of their losses or of the value the package was insured for, but those constitute the exceptions to the rule.
The UPS website offers little direct help and advises shippers to initiate a trace process. UPS does offer a few options that guard against theft. These may be in your business’s best interests, since a post-theft shipping refund seems unlikely.
With either shipper, it’s part of the courier’s duty to use responsible judgment on where to leave a package that wasn’t signed for. A shipper may have a shot at a refund if it can prove the courier could have left the delivery in a safer place, but this can be a tough thing to verify. Having 71lbs on your side is certainly an ally in this fight.
Some logistics companies offer innovative solutions
The battle for a stolen package refund can be eased if shippers are proactive about the vulnerabilities of last-mile distribution by alerting business customers to solutions like the Danby Parcel Guard.
It incorporates the standard anti-theft mail drop slot and includes a package deposit door that the courier opens when scanning the package. It then locks securely and uses a wireless connection to notify the customer that the package has arrived, while guarding it with a security camera and an alarm.
Amazon Key is combating porch thieves by providing an app-controlled smart lock that lets couriers leave a package inside the premises. Boxlock also offer solutions to protect packages handled by all major carriers, while the Latch Smart Lock is a powerful way for businesses to let the right people in.
More tips for businesses to minimize package theft
You may want to have a word with your packaging department. This research infographic shows that 47% of customers say discreet, non-content-identifiable packaging is a deterrent to parcel thieves. It’s one reason they order from online stores, and 37% of consumers are willing to pay extra for a box that doesn’t indicate what’s inside.
The logic is questionable here, since standard Amazon packaging is bland, but that hasn’t stopped large numbers of their deliveries from being stolen. Still, if it’s what a high percentage of customers believe, then it could be in the best interests of your business to tone down the package design.
When your business offers Premium Tracking to customers, you can let them know where their package is every step of the way and when they will need to be there to sign for it. This helps minimize excuses from shippers that nobody was there to collect. You can even include another assurance, depending on the value of the merchandise being shipped, using a Signature Required add-on. Tracking keeps businesses in touch with their customers and forges a vital bond of transparency and trust that can reduce or prevent reputational damage in the face of parcel thieves or irresponsible carriers.
Lastly, always report a theft of a customer’s package to the relevant police department. Some businesses don’t take the time to do this, especially if they successfully receive a shipping refund. (Their customer may not report it either if they can get their money back on the purchase.) Filing a report could mean another thief being locked up, since it requires being linked to multiple thefts before serious prosecution occurs.
71lbs reduces stress and struggle
It's our job to go to work and fight for our customers’ shipping refunds, no matter how they were lost. Our team will do everything possible to fight in your corner while providing other services like affordable shipping insurance, which can further protect against loss.
At 71lbs, we uncomplicate the shipping process for our customers, making it easier and faster for them to access refunds and reduce their expenses. Our automated platform gathers all your shipping information into one easy-to-use custom analytics dashboard. Drop by the contact page to get in touch.