What to do when your parcel is stolen

According to the Office for National Statistics, more than a quarter of our shopping is now done online. That’s a lot of packages that could go missing. So what happens when yours is one of them? What can you do? Who should you contact? And, more importantly, can you claim any money back on your home insurance?  

According to the Office for National Statistics, more than a quarter of our shopping is now done online. That’s a lot of packages that could go missing. So what happens when yours is one of them? What can you do? Who should you contact? And, more importantly, can you claim any money back on your home insurance?  

Chris King
From the Home team
4
minute read
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Posted 13 OCTOBER 2021

My parcel has been stolen – what should I do? 

If your parcel goes missing in transit, 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.  

How to get back a missing 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.

Similarly, if the package was sent via courier, you should contact the company to see if they can track the delivery.

But if your package was something you bought online or over the phone, as we mentioned above, you’re better off taking it up with the retailer. They’re likely to compensate you for the full value of the item, whereas a courier or postal company may only cover the delivery costs.

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?

Well, it depends on what you told the delivery company. If you said it’s okay to leave the parcel in the porch or behind the bike shed, and it’s been taken from there, this is unfortunately your responsibility. But if the courier took it upon themselves to leave it somewhere unsafe, you should contact the retailer to ask for a replacement.

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, couriers 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 now take pictures of the package on your doorstep to prove that they delivered it.

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 have something valuable stolen, you can report it to the police by calling 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.

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.

How can I complain if my parcel goes missing?

If your parcel is stolen and you think Royal Mail or a courier company is to blame, you can take it up with their customer services department. If you don’t get anywhere, you should ask to speak to a manager. Make it clear what redress you’re seeking, but always be polite.

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