You spend hours or days waiting for that USPS package and it never comes. What a disappointment! So what do you do now? Your first thought may be to go straight to the USPS website, but we’re here to tell you to avoid this site at all costs! Why? Because although you can file a claim at the USPS website, you first have to muddle through all the information, and there’s a lot of it.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to save you time, stress, frustration, and energy when trying to recoup the loss of your stolen package.
How to Get Started Recouping Your Loss
Before filing a claim with USPS, consider contacting the retailer. They may agree to resend the package or reimburse you for the stolen contents. For example, Amazon has a great recovery process so if your package was shipped by Amazon, be sure to contact them first. In other instances, your package may be insured. If so, you qualify for both an insurance claim and a missing mail search. The USPS claim process then covers the cost of both the package value and the shipping for the amount insured. For this reason, it’s always best to purchase insurance if that is an option when buying from a retailer in the United States or abroad.
If you can’t work it out with the retailer and your package wasn’t insured, then your next step is to gather everything you need before filing a claim, such as shipping dates, receipts, tracking info, and proof of the package content’s value. You have 60 days to file a claim, so it’s best to get started right away.
How to Get Started with a Missing Mail Search
Your package was lost or stolen and not insured, so now what do you do? Well, if the USPS package had a delivery guarantee as part of the shipping costs but didn’t arrive on time, you can immediately file a claim. The same goes for FedEx. However, if the package was shipped internationally, this is handled a bit differently. The USPS will have to cooperate with the foreign country’s post office after a claim is filed in the United States. The assistance of the foreign post office could be outstanding or sub-par, and chances are you may only receive a refund for shipping costs if the shipping wasn’t free.
To locate your lost or stolen USPS package, you’ll need to do a Missing Mail Search. Once you do this, the USPS will search all its trucks and sort facilities to find your package. Unfortunately, you have to wait seven days from the expected shipping date before you can initiate this search. If your package hasn’t arrived after seven days, start a Missing Mail Search online. You’ll first have to set up an account. Then you’ll need to input the following information:
- Tracking number
- Mailing date
- Description of the package (e.g. size and type of envelope)
- Description of package contents
- Sender and receiver addresses
From here, USPS will determine whether your package was delivered or not. If not, they will start a search, send you periodic updates, and if they find it, they will either ship it to you or return it to the sender, whichever you decide.
Filing a USPS Claim for a Stolen Package
At this point, it’s time to file a USPS claim for your lost or stolen package. Create a USPS account, if you don’t already have one, enter the appropriate information described above and wait for an answer.
Now, this is very important. In order to prove the value of your package, you will need to upload a 2 MB JPEG or PDF file as proof. For example, you can use one of the following:
- Electronic receipt
- Sales receipt
You Filed Your Claim. So, What Happens Next?
Your claim may come back as having been delivered but is nowhere to be found in their facilities or on their trucks, which is a bummer because that’s where your claim ends and you need to cut your losses. Someone most likely stole the contents and already has them up for sale online somewhere. In fact, USPS package theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. People are stealing them right off resident’s front porches or straight out of the mailbox.
Once you’ve determined your package was stolen, your next step is to file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspector. Did you know that the USPS actually has its own police force dedicated to the investigation of mail theft? It’s true.
Besides filing with the USPS, you can also file a complaint with your local police station. However, your stolen package is not considered a priority by the police so an investigation will likely not be on the top of their list. Filing these complaints probably won’t get your package back, but it will help both the USPS and local law enforcement to prevent or catch future package thieves, so it’s always a good idea to alert both organizations of a stolen USPS package.
How to Prevent Losing Out on a Missing or Stolen USPS Package
Start by always insuring your package and keeping the proof of its value on hand. You can read our detailed theft prevention guide for more tips. There are also a number of products you can purchase to help you prevent mail theft, like one of these extra large parcel drop boxes, especially useful if you order a lot of packages. Having a Post Office box at your local USPS is another way to avoid having a package stolen, but still can’t prevent a lost package.