What to do when your parcel is stolen

According to the Office for National Statistics, more than a quarter of our shopping is done online on sites like Amazon and Ebay. Unfortunately, this increase in online shopping appears to be driving a stolen parcel epidemic. If you're a victim of parcel theft, what can you do about a stolen package?

According to the Office for National Statistics, more than a quarter of our shopping is done online on sites like Amazon and Ebay. Unfortunately, this increase in online shopping appears to be driving a stolen parcel epidemic. If you're a victim of parcel theft, what can you do about a stolen package?

Helen Phipps
Insurance expert
minute read
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Last Updated 8 NOVEMBER 2022

My parcel has been stolen – what should I do?

First of all, it’s worth checking with any neighbours, in case it’s been left with them. You should also check whether your package has been left in a 'safe place’, like behind a plant pot or even over a fence. If you can’t find it and think you’re the victim of a stolen parcel, the first person to contact should be whoever sent it to you. If that was a retailer, then it’s worth knowing that it’s their responsibility – not the courier’s – to make sure your order reaches you safely. So if your delivery doesn’t turn up, then it’s down to the retailer to deal with it.

What happens if you gave authority for a courier to leave your parcel in a safe place and it gets stolen?

If you were asked for an alternative ‘safe place’ for the courier to leave your parcel, and your package is stolen, then it’s your responsibility. However, if you didn’t tell them to leave it anywhere else, then it’s the retailer’s responsibility to refund or replace the stolen parcel.

What if the parcel never turned up?

It may be that you receive a text or notification saying that your parcel’s been delivered, but there’s no actual parcel to be seen. What should you do then?

You might be one of the many people who’ve received a ‘We tried to deliver your parcel, but you were out’ card, when you were actually at home. In some cases, delivery drivers have left the package on the doorstep, only for it to go missing. If this happens, you’ll need to take it up with the retailer.

If you think the parcel’s been stolen from your doorstep, you can call the police on 101 - the non-emergency number. They’ll be able to give you a crime number, which you’ll need if you’re going to make a claim on your insurance.

What happens if the courier says the parcel’s been delivered, but it hasn’t turned up?

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for couriers to claim delivery of a parcel that doesn’t arrive. But to avoid false accusations, many couriers, including DPD and Evri (formally known as Hermes), now take pictures of the package on your doorstep to prove that they delivered.

Depending on the delivery company, there will be a different way of reporting a stolen parcel:

Royal Mail stolen parcel

If your package was sent via Royal Mail, it’s worth checking their retail compensation policy, which covers both first and second-class mail. The company has a claims centre, where you can check to see if you’re eligible for compensation. You’ll have to wait for up to 10 days after the package was due to arrive though.

Amazon package stolen

If your Amazon package is missing, but showing as ‘delivered’, Amazon advises you to contact the carrier. Keep a note of the tracking number or delivery confirmation. If that fails, you need to contact customer service within 30 days of the scheduled delivery date.

Evri, formerly Hermes, stolen parcel

If your Evri, formerly known as Hermes, package is stolen, Evri will compensate you for the loss, damage or theft, depending on the level of cover selected by the retailer. Contact the sender first, who will then need to make a claim themselves. The retailer is responsible for the package being delivered.

DPD stolen package

If your parcel hasn’t arrived, DPD ask you to contact the sender, who will then need to contact DPD to start an investigation into your stolen parcel.

UPS stolen package

If UPS have failed to deliver your parcel, or you think the package was stolen, you can make a claim. Just give them some details and as much evidence as you can, and they’ll investigate your missing package.

Yodel missing package

Yodel recommend that you first check your package’s tracking page, to confirm the status of your delivery. If your parcel is registered as ‘delivered’, but you still haven’t received it, you should contact their customer service team via webchat.

What happens if my parcel arrives but is damaged?

If your parcel is damaged when it arrives, you’re under no obligation to accept it. If you want, you can give it straight back to the courier to return. If the courier’s long gone by the time you spot the damage, you can take it up with the retailer later. It may help to take pictures of the damage and email these to their customer services department.

What should I do if my parcel is stolen?

If you're the victim of a package theft, you can file a police report or call 101. But you’ll probably find that you’re just as well taking it up with the retailer. Some companies will send you a no-questions-asked replacement, as they want to keep you as a customer.

If they don’t give you a replacement and you paid by credit card, then you may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act - although this isn’t guaranteed. This means you may be able to make a claim with your credit card provider. It’s worth contacting them to find out.

If you paid using PayPal, then you should contact them. PayPal will review the claim to see if you’re due a pay-out.

Can I claim on my home insurance for a stolen parcel?

If a parcel is stolen from your doorstep and there’s no sign of forced entry to get to your property, it’s unlikely you’ll be covered by your home insurance. And that’s the case whether or not you have possessions cover outside of the home.

If the parcel is extremely valuable, it may be worth calling your insurance provider to check, but it’s possible that the excess will outweigh the value of the goods.

Top Tips To Ensure No More Parcels Go Missing

Here are our three top tips to protecting yourself against parcel theft:

  1. Get a doorbell camera/security camera
    Doorbell cameras are an increasingly popular way of improving home security and a great way to deter thieves and prevent stolen packages at your front door. If your parcel is stolen, you can use the footage as evidence in your claim.
  2. Install outside lights
    These are useful for deterring thieves, who will find themselves in the spotlight when approaching your home.
  3. Make sure your ‘safe spot’ is secure
    If you’ve asked a courier to leave a parcel in a ‘safe spot’ then make sure it really is safe. If you’ve asked them to drop it over the fence, but the garden gate is left unlocked, then that’s not secure enough.

Frequently asked questions

What if I sent a parcel that goes missing? Am I eligible for compensation?

If you send a package with a courier company that later goes missing, you’ll have to contact them to complain. You should be due at least the cost of delivery.

Can I claim compensation from Royal Mail if my parcel goes missing?

If you send a parcel to someone else that goes missing, you may be eligible for compensation. You’ll need proof of posting, however. That’s why you should always get a receipt or proof-of-postage certificate when sending packages at the Post Office.

I paid for express delivery, but my package has taken too long to arrive

If you pay for next-day delivery but your parcel doesn’t arrive within the promised time, you can claim back the extra postage from the retailer. If the item arrives so late you no longer need it, you can send it back for a full refund.

Who is responsible if a package is stolen?

The retailer is responsible for delivering a parcel safely to you. If it’s stolen, you should contact them to arrange a refund or replacement.

However, if you have told the courier to leave your parcel in a safe place somewhere, then you are responsible for it going missing or being stolen.

Can I get a refund for a stolen package?

Yes, the retailer is responsible for the delivery of your package. If it’s stolen, missing or damaged, you should get a refund or replacement delivered.

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