Misdelivered Package: What to Do and How to Deal With USPS
Did you find a package on your doorstep that you didn’t order? Or have you gotten a delivery confirmation but can’t find the package anywhere?
Misdelivered packages aren’t common, but a mistake by the delivery service could have consequences. You won’t get the package you paid for--or you might get one that you didn’t expect at all.
Whether it's an address mixup or a carrier mistake, what do you do when you don’t receive the order you shipped? And what if you receive an order by home delivery that you didn’t order--can you keep the items?
Here’s a guide on what to do if you’re involved in a situation with a misdelivered package.
Missing a Package
Waiting for a package to arrive can be nerve-racking enough, but what do you do if it never arrives?
Here are some steps you should take to find the mistake and get your missing package back where it belongs.
Check for a Delivery Mistake
First, you should take a look around your property to be sure that the package wasn’t dropped somewhere that you didn’t expect.
Check all doors, including side doors or back doors. Make sure it didn’t fall or get pushed to the side. You can also stop by the neighbors to see if it’s been left there instead.
If you still can’t find the package, check online to confirm that you entered the correct address when placing the order. Any typos in your name or address could lead to a delivery mixup.
Sometimes, an order might be marked as “delivered” through the electronic delivery confirmation when it hasn’t yet been dropped off. Unless the order is time-sensitive, it might be best to wait a day or two to confirm that the carrier hasn’t delivered your package.
Confirm the Wrong Delivery
If you’ve followed the above steps but still haven’t received your package, it's likely been delivered to the wrong address.
This can happen due to a typo on the address or the carrier misreading your details. Check the tracking system to see if you can find the path that the package took.
Take note of any details, including the time and date the package was supposed to arrive, where you’ve checked to confirm that the package wasn't delivered, and the address that the tracking system delivered it to. Then, contact the shipping company or courier company and give them all the details you have on the situation.
Getting Your Package (or Your Money) Back
Once you’ve contacted the shipping or courier company, they will do everything possible to get the package back into your hands.
It might take a few days for them to track down the recipient and then get the package shipped back to you. In some cases, it may take a while because the person who mistakenly received your package isn’t willing to give it up easily.
If the shipping mistake causes a significant delay--and it was due to a mistake on the part of the company--you may be entitled to ask for your money back on the shipping costs.
If the package can’t be located within a few days and the company declares the package as officially missing, you can file a claim to get a refund for your losses. Provide evidence of the value of the contents of the package, as well as the amount you paid for shipping.
Getting a Package by Mistake
For every lost package, there’s always someone who ends up with an unsolicited item delivered to them by mistake. Here are the rules and regulations you should follow--so you don’t end up in hot water later down the line.
Getting a package you didn’t order isn’t always about a mistaken delivery.
In some cases, a company will send you an item that you didn’t purchase. This is called an “unsolicited good.” When you’re sent an unsolicited good, you’re within your rights to keep them.
You have no obligation to send the item back or pay for it. If the company sends you an invoice for the item, you can ignore them.
If you notice an address and name on the package that is different from your own, this means that the package was meant for somebody else. In many cases, there will be similarities between the two--but there should be a clear difference.
When you receive a mistaken delivery, call customer service for the delivery company and explain the situation. Give them the tracking number on the package, as well as the name and address on the package if it's different from yours.
The company will come and pick up the product within a reasonable time frame. You shouldn’t be inconvenienced in any way--and you definitely shouldn’t be paying anything.
Above all, just be sure you don’t hang on to mistaken deliveries without contacting the company. These companies will likely be alerted by either the sender or their tracking system that the package was misdelivered. If you don’t take the initiative and contact them, they might show up at your door or call your number asking about the package.
Handling the Situation
When a package is misdelivered to your door, never reach out to the person who should have received the package. Respect their privacy by only contacting the company.
If the intended recipient shows up at your door or contacts you demanding the package, don’t give it to them. It’s unprofessional for a shipping company to give out your address--and it could always be a scammer.
If you reach out to a company and you don’t get a response, feel free to keep the item. Sometimes it's easier for the company to resend the product than go through the process of retrieving it--in which case, the package is all yours.
Have You Received a Misdelivered Package?
Whether you’ve lost a package or found the one you didn’t order on your doorstep, knowing how to handle a misdelivered package can save you a lot of trouble later down the line.
The regulations aren’t always clear, but a delivery mistake is never your fault. As long as you follow all the rules, respect the intended recipient, and communicate with the shipping company--the rest of it is out of your hands.
Want to get a package delivered but don't want to deal with the hassle? Check out our certified mail labels to simplify the process and skip the post office altogether!