Buying online from Etsy is convenient, but it can have risks as far as package delivery goes if your neighborhood is a hotbed of package thieves.
Once the Etsy seller sends your package, they’re basically not responsible for the delivery, since that’s handled by the shipping service that they use, whether it’s USPS, UPS, Fedex, or any number of international services.
If your Etsy package has been marked as delivered but you don’t have it and you think it might have been stolen, the seller isn’t responsible for replacing the item if it was sent with tracking.
The seller fulfilled their part of the transaction if they shipped the item and they have tracking to show that it was delivered by the shipping company.
Since Etsy is a marketplace, all of the shipping of Etsy purchases is done by individual shop owners. That means a lot of variability in the type of shipping services used and the way that each service handles shipping problems.
Table of Contents
- What to do if you think your package was stolen.
- Are USPS scans accurate?
- Who’s responsible for stolen packages?
- How can I keep my packages from being stolen?
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What to do if you think your package was stolen.
In general, the way to proceed if you think that your package has been stolen is as follows:
- Check to see if someone else who lives with you brought the package inside without telling you.
- Check with neighbors to see if the package was misdelivered, or go to the post office with the tracking number to see where it was delivered. USPS scanners have GPS locations on them, so they should be able to tell you the exact location where the delivery was scanned in.
- If you or your neighbors have security cameras, check to see if there was anyone who took the package off of your porch or from wherever it was left by the delivery service.
- If you have cameras you can also check to see if the package was actually delivered based on any notifications that you received about deliveries that day.
- If you see that someone took the package, file a police report for package theft with the post office and the police department so that they can track patterns of theft. Mail theft is a crime in the US.
Are USPS scans accurate?
Something else to be aware of is that sometimes the postal service will scan packages in ahead of time, then not deliver them for up to 48 hours after the scan!
It says this on the USPS website, and I’ve personally had things that were set to be delivered that didn’t arrive for a couple of days after they were scanned in, so I know it happens.
This is because they get backed up during busy times of the year, and they scan things in to make it look like they’re sticking to the (usually unrealistic) schedule that they’re told they have to maintain.
If you’ve ever seen the mail truck delivering things at 8:30 pm (I have) then you know that there are times of the year when the postal service is just overworked, and they tend to scan things in incorrectly at those times.
If you go to the post office with the tracking number from your order, they should be able to tell you where the package is, and it will usually be out for delivery that day, even though it was scanned in the day before.
Who’s responsible for stolen packages?
In the US, the seller and the shipping companies are not responsible for replacing stolen packages once they’re marked delivered to the customer’s address. The customer is responsible for providing a secure location for the delivery, which is why a lot of people will have things delivered to their work addresses if they’re not home during the day.
Most shipping services have very clear statements about not being responsible for stolen packages on their websites.
And if your package is marked delivered, it’s unusual that a credit card company will refund the cost even if you file a claim with them.
If you’ve checked with the post office and they don’t help you, you can file a claim with Etsy under their Purchase Protection Program if the conditions for that are met.
This includes having the package sent with tracking, and sent to the address on the order.
If you enter the wrong information at the checkout, that’s your responsibility, so you might not be covered. Etsy would have to decide, but you should contact the seller to find out about filing a claim, and always double-check your address before hitting the buy button.
If you choose to have a package shipped without tracking, your shipment won’t be covered under purchase protection, so always upgrade to tracked shipping if that’s not a standard option where you’re located.
In the US most packages are sent with tracking, but small or light items might be shipped untracked. Check with the seller before purchasing to see if that’s something you have to pay extra for.
How can I keep my packages from being stolen?
If you live in an apartment building, or somewhere where there isn’t a locked location for your mail to be delivered, I’d recommend that you have expensive packages delivered somewhere that’s secure instead of to your home address.
You might also want to see if the seller is willing to ship things via UPS or another service that provides lockers at retail locations near you, since that’s becoming more common.
Not all sellers will do this, though (I don’t) because of the extra cost of the service, plus the time that it takes to go to a different dropoff location.
If you do ask a seller to change their delivery service, be prepared for them to say that they don’t do that, or to charge an additional fee for the change. If it takes me an extra half hour to go to a UPS dropoff, I need to charge for that.
You can always have your items shipped to a work address, or you can have the package held at the post office for you to pick up there.
You can also request that the seller send the package with a signature required for delivery, which will also involve an additional fee in most cases, but it will give you a little more security.
The USPS has also started a service called Informed Delivery, which gives you daily updates about packages that are on their way to you, and lets you know when something has been delivered.
You can sign up for that on the USPS.com website.
So the short version of this is that the seller of the item isn’t responsible for refunding or replacing things that are marked delivered but aren’t actually there.
The post office might be backed up and it will show up within the next couple of days, it could have been stolen, or it could have been misdelivered.
It’s the customer’s responsibility to provide a secure location for deliveries, and with the increase in “porch pirates” who are getting more brazen by the day, it’s important to make sure you do have a secure location.
Your purchase might be covered by Etsy purchase protection, but it won’t always be, so make sure that you provide correct delivery information at checkout and choose tracked shipping when you order things on Etsy.
Contact the seller if you have a problem, but following the steps above will usually solve the problem, and the package will show up.
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