When you ship through FedEx or UPS, most packages make it to their destinations intact and on time. But, what do you do during those rare occurrences when a package is lost in transit? Who exactly is to be blamed when this happens? The seller or the shipper?
In most cases, it is the retailer who bites the bullet. A study by Voxware indicates that nearly 70% of customers are less likely to shop with a retailer if the item they purchased is not delivered within two days of the date promised.
Your brand reputation takes a huge hit, customer churn rate hits the roof, and staying ahead of competitors becomes next to impossible when there are multiple delivery exceptions. Even if you have handed over the package to the shipping carrier, you hold the responsibility of it reaching the customer’s doorstep on time.
How do you determine if a package is lost?
If the package that was en route to the customer goes certifiably missing and has not arrived at his/her doorstep four or five days after schedule, then it can be officially considered lost.
When you suspect a package is 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 also get 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.
While there are delivery woes afoot, staying in touch with the customer throughout the process ensures that the he/she gains trust in your brand and chooses to stay loyal even after a bad delivery experience. If the delivery had been a time-sensitive one, say a birthday present, you owe the customer all the more (a replacement can be sent immediately or even overnighted if the delay is forecasted before the eleventh hour).
In case the tracking number shows that the product has been delivered and the customer still files a complaint about the package being lost, then it will have to be treated as a stolen package. Here’s how you can prevent package theft.
How do you file a claim for a lost package?
The tracker on your package is usually true to its name and rarely allows packages to get lost. But on the off chance that the shipping label comes off, or the package is torn and the contents scattered, you’ll have no choice but to file a lost package claim with the carrier.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind if you’re going to file a claim for a FedEx lost package.
- If the contents of the package cost less than $100, you can complete the entire form online and request a refund without documentation.
- In the event of the package costing anywhere above $100, proper documentation is necessary for the claim to get processed.
- Documentation can include FedEx pickup record, photos of the damaged or lost contents, and proof of value documentation.
- For deliveries within the US, claims have to be filed within 60 days and in 21 days for international shipments.
- The tracking number that was initially allocated to the package is vital to the process and has to be provided.
After a scheduled inspection, your claim will be processed and you can track its progress.
In the case of other shipping carriers, you can file claims online through the following links.
- UPS lost package claim (file within 5 months online, within 9 months through customer service, and within 45 days if it is an uncollected C.O.D)
- USPS lost package claim (file within 60 days for all services except Priority Mail Express, First class, and Surface Mail)
- DHL lost package claim (file within 30 days)
It is easier to use services like LateShipment Pulse if you are a bulk shipper who uses multiple carriers and would prefer an efficient automated process.
How does Pulse work?
LateShipment Pulse helps you stay ahead of lost or damaged packages with ease. It is easy to use and tracks every package you send via major carriers like FedEx or UPS. When a certain package takes a detour, Pulse sends out an alert to the sender and the receiver. This helps you predict the delay beforehand and handle it proactively. If you send out several packages at once, Pulse gives you the suspected lost package count.
As you get to know well in advance if the package is flagged as lost, it gives you an edge when you get in touch with the carrier to resolve the issue or send a quick replacement in case of time-sensitive deliveries.
In a total of over 25 million packages tracked in 2017, 10508 were reported to be lost/ damaged through the Pulse dashboard.
How do you handle the loss of a package?
In case the package is truly lost, the buyer will naturally want a refund or a replacement. If the shipping carrier is unable to locate the package, you will be directed to an insurance claim to cover the insured value of your package. This requires the tracking number, proof of the value of the item, and proof of insurance.
When you’re shipping valuable products, it is always wise to insure the shipment. Not only does this minimize loss, it also ensures that your customers experience an exceptional customer service right from the cart to their doorstep.
Remember that apart from the insurance sum, the carrier also has to pay penalty charges for failing to deliver the package safely to the buyer. Even for a delayed shipment, a full refund of the entire shipping fee is directed to your account. So you can rest assured that with a reputed shipper like FedEx or UPS, you will have a full refund along with the penalty.
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.