Lost Packages 101: How to Handle Them7 min read

When you ship through DHL, FedEx, UPS, or USPS most packages make it to their destinations intact and on time. But, what about those rare occurrences when packages are lost in transit? Who exactly gets blamed when this happens? The seller or the shipper?

In most cases, it is the retailer who bites the bullet. This is because customers the accountability of the package from checkout to delivery falls on the business they ordered from rather than the shipping carrier, a third party.  

Customers who’ve lost their packages are often aggrieved and take their grievances to social media and call out your brand. Just like this: 

And what exactly happens when posts like this catch the attention of their followers/ your potential customers? 

Your brand reputation takes a huge hit, customer churn rate hits the roof, and staying ahead of competitors becomes next to impossible (Uff 😤)

Worry not!

Here are some tips for retailers on how to handle lost packages, (spoiler alert!) save on shipping costs, and improve customer loyalty.  

Step 1: Determine if the sent packages are really lost

If a package that was en route to a customer goes certifiably missing and has not arrived at their doorstep four or five days after schedule, then it can be officially considered lost.

When you suspect your packages as lost, wait it out a maximum of seven days beyond the day of expected delivery.

Sometimes, there are packages that turn up after being rerouted somewhere along the chain (they might have also been incorrectly scanned or sorted).

In most cases though, the issue is either a wrong address or a weather-related one. Quite simply, it is not unheard of for a package to turn up a day or two late.

In case the tracking number shows that the product has as ‘delivered’ and the customer still files a complaint about the package being lost, then it has to be treated as a stolen package. 

Here’s how you can prevent package theft.

Step 2: The packages are lost. Now what?

In case if your customers’ packages are truly lost, they naturally expect a refund or a replacement. 

If the shipping carrier is unable to locate the packages, you need to file an insurance claim to cover the combined insured value of the lost packages. This requires the tracking number, proof of value of the item, and proof of insurance.

When you’re shipping valuable products, it is always wise to insure the shipments. 

Remember that apart from the insurance sum, the carrier also has to fully refund the shipping costs for failing to deliver the package safely to the buyer. 

Once the claim is filed and investigated, you will receive your dues via the original mode of payment be it through check or credit card.

Meanwhile, make sure YOU send the customer a replacement or a refund with a sincere apology. 

Step 3: File a Refund Claim for the Lost Packages