How does UPS / FedEx investigate lost / stolen packages?

  • I’m not sure about UPS, but I had to call Fedex yesterday for a package showing as delivered that I never received. Each step along the way the package gets scanned. They use that record to go back and question that employee. If packages show as delivered that weren’t then the go back to the driver question them and look at the GPS record.

    Each district has a security department that handles stolen packages. Before it even gets to security though the center will check with the driver that delivered it to see if he may have left it somewhere out of that the customer wouldn’t think to look. Normally the drivers leave delivery notices on the front door if they do this but if you’re door is dirty they’ll blow right off or fall off. The driver may realize he delivered it to the wrong address as well when he goes to talk to the customer. This is called a driver follow-up. The driver goes to the delivery location to follow-up with the customer. Usually this is when the driver either realizes he mis-delivered the package or he finds it right where he left it, at the back door or behind a potted plant or something like that.

    In the case of actual stolen packages the security dept is called in. They may work together with the local police dept if it is a re-occurring issue (this is the time of year that happens) and set up a “sting” operation. They may install hidden cameras in all sorts of places you wouldn’t think to look. Sometimes the customer is “stealing” their own packages so they don’t have to pay for it and can also collect UPS automatic insurance. And sometimes, such as I’m sure you heard on the news recently, people follow the delivery vehicles, wait until they’re out of sight and then go up to porches and steal the packages…or send their children to steal them. Sometimes customers will steal packages out of the delivery vehicles while the driver has her back turned. Yes, this actually happened in one of the buildings I worked in. In any case when it comes to stolen packages usually the security dept works together with the local police department to catch the thieves.

    One thing to note: If you EVER report a package stolen from your house/apt/condo whatever, the driver will not be allowed to leave any packages (except shipper release) at your residence without a signature. No more coming home to goodies from eBay, Amazon or Sephora…hello attempted delivery notice telling you you must sign for all packages now.

    As for lost packages, that’s completely different. A center will check the scans to find the last location and where it was headed to and those buildings will scour every inch of belts, unloading equip, loading equip, delivery vehicles, feeders, offices, under equipment, etc etc until they can find it. If it is not found then it’s marked as lost and UPS pays the insurance on it. However a lost package can turn into a stolen package and then the security dept would become involved. This usually happens when there’s an abnormally high number of packages disappearing.

    El pretty much nailed it for FedEx as well. The biggest thing is to find the root of the loss. For example: Was it lost before it got to the sort facility in the route, or was it lost at the dropoff location? There is a huge room at FedEx in Memphis (hub facility) where packages end up if they are lost, package labeling gets damaged, etc. It’s up to the folks in that division to hold on to the package until it is claimed.

    Additionally, stolen packages are handled as El stated above. There is virtually little difference. If a package has a label torn off by a machine, then the package may be opened to try and find the destination location. Otherwise, if there is a return address still listed, they will contact the shipper to find out the correct address and relabel the package.

    If neither can be found, they will hold the package and await an update from the person who lost the package. Once a description of the package (it’s contents, it’s wrapping, etc) is received, they will usually release the package back to the shipper or the person it’s being delivered to after a certain number of days.

    Many buyers who order the package may struggle with what to do when they find that their packages are lost or stolen. Even though all the sellers and delivery companies are careful in their actions, the possibilities of lost and stolen packages are happening. The exact answer for how UPS or FedEx investigates lost or stolen packages is they will track the packages. But they required the shipper to report any lost packages then only they can move to further steps.

    Both UPS and FedEx have several policies for domestic and international shipping if a package is lost or stolen. Once 24 hours have passed since the scheduled delivery date, the company advises customers to contact the relevant e-commerce company about their lost package. The process of requesting a refund for international shipments can be difficult. Customers and merchants are both encouraged to report a lost package to UPS. You cannot track your ups stolen package until you submit a claim for it. Many people found their stolen or lost packages at the end of the investigation.

    According to UPS policy, once a customer files a claim for a refund or replacement for lost or stolen packages, the company investigates issuing any refunds. The overall time taken for investigation by the UPS is ten business days, and FedEx takes a maximum of 7 days for their investigation. Shipping receipts or insurance files from customers are required as proof by FedEx for the investigation process. Either sender or recipient, you need to file a claim for your missing packages within 60 days. By using the internal tool, FedEx can track your package’s last known location. Finding out the last location of the package where it disappeared will be more helpful for the investigation team. Customers will get notifications from FedEx or UPS once the issues are resolved through email.

    You call. A trace is initiated. Was it delivered? That initiates a loss claim and an investigation. Is it missing?

    I work in a hub QA department for a major carrier. We find all that is lost, wayward and broken and we fix it.

    We also track the packages we are responsible for in our hub and investigate ourselves if a package misses a scan through our system.

    This all depends on the value of the package or the frequency of lost/stolen packages to this one address.

    Usually it is done when a “tracer” comes down to the driver. The driver goes out and makes contact with the customer and asks if there was a problem with the delivery ie: broken, open, missing items. If the customer states they didn’t receive the package then they sign the “tracer” stating that. If it is less than a hundred dollars it is paid. High value packages are usually turned over to Loss Prevention for further investigation.

    They have their own procedures that involves both in house security investigators and if necessary local police departments.

    Pkgs have a better chance of being damaged than getting lost. Every pkg has real time tracking from origin to destination. If something is lost or mis-delivered it won’t take long to realize the mistake or know the last place it was scanned. They know exactly where everything is down to the time it arrived at the destination city, which package car it’s on and who the driver is and then what time it made final destination. Theft is a non-issue within the system. Cannot control any circumstance after final delivery. Simply put, Every pkg is tracked, start to finish.

    Yeah, it’s Draconian to make the driver pay for your stolen package but so what? These dipshits are always dumping packages on sidewalks—or hallways—in urban areas where anyone with a pulse knows it can or will be stolen and they do it even if you leave a huge sign in three languages telling them NOT to—which is really a courtesy to THEM because it’s a nice way of telling them it’s not safe and don’t bother wasting your time guessing if it’s safe to dump packages on the freakin sidewalk. In reality it’s also the driver’s BOSS’ fault—and UPS—for having a basic policy of abandoning merchandise in unattended areas in major metropolitan areas instead of saying, ‘hey wait a minute, we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we stop dumping packages on the street when nobody’s freakin HOME? Or answering the freakin DOOR? I mean, c’mon, is it really that big of a stretch for shipping companies to establish an Always Knock On The Door First And If Nobody’s Freakin Home, Leave A slip Policy? Or is that freakin rocket science? Why should people have to feed the wallets of insurance companies to protect stuff after they’ve already shelled out their hard earned money for it only to wind up paying some dipshit to dump it on the sidewalk?

    You do not seem to understand how mail is tracked – there is no tracking device attached to a package which can then be located at any time. All the package has is a bar code, which is scanned every time it goes through a depot. The tracking tells you where the package was the last time it went through the scanning machine – not where it is now.

    A stolen package will not be put through a scanner, so there is no way to track its location after the theft. The cost of putting a tracking device on every package would be exorbitant – and extremely wasteful of the resources need to manufacture the chips involved.

    If you have received a notice that your package has been left at you house, first make sure where the tracking info says the driver left it. In order to avoid thefts the driver should attempt to conceal the package as best they can. Sometimes it may be best to leave it in the carport, sometimes the rear door, or it may be fine at the front door. If the package is not where tracking info says it was left, then you should call 1–800-PICK-UPS to get your claim rolling. I am not sure from personal experience how this is all handled, be there were a couple of experienced people who also answered this question you can check out. I do know that when a theft is reported a Driver Follow Up will be sent out (preferably with the driver who delivered the package) to interview the customer. Once a theft has been reported at that address, the system will not allow a driver release (leaving the package without signature) there anymore.

    If package is lost in shipment, UPS can issue an investigation starting with the last location there was a physical scan of the package. It will most likely end up as an insurance claim, but there are times when the package when the package shows up then next dayafter being reported lost. Other times the package may show up torn open and the pieces scattered and unidentifiable. Those pieces will go into an overgoods bin and shipped of to a big wherehouse to sit with other unclaimed goods.

    Keeping an eye on your tracking is the best tool you have to keep track of your shipments. UPS works hard to maintain the tracking integrity so that you know where they are.

    As a frequent shipper of very high value parcels I can tell you that UPSs loss rate is high. And by loss I mean never recovered.

    I’m writing this in the hopes that people need to understand that the possibilities of UPS losing a package are are much much higher than you want to imagine. They have managed to lose and not recover two ultra high value packages in a span of three months and a few before that. Their record is dismal. Be aware when shipping high value items.

    They do not disclose loss statistics but off the record employees have shared some pretty upsetting statistics. Most will make it but don’t count on all making it.

    That being said, the staff at UPS, especially the account reps are top notch and the service level is among the best out of the three major couriers. They will go to great lengths to assist you and they seem to employee really service oriented knowledgeable staff. To be fair I’m not sure how many high value packages FEDEX and DHL lose.

    I know this is not pertinent to your package since it is a couple of years later, but I wanted those looking at this site to know that it IS possible for lost UPS packages to be found sometimes! I had shipped 4 cartons of items for my granddaughter to her college, and only 3 arrived. After many days of calls and emails with UPS they told me to open a claim for the lost carton. We were devastated because the one carton that was missing had all of her most valuable items in it, plus items that could not be replaced such as photos and study notes. Four days ago she even went to the UPS distribution center where it should have been located and talked to them directly, and they told her there was no hope of it showing up. Lo and behold, 18 days after it should have been delivered, it showed up on her doorstep today!! I do want to thank UPS for not giving up on the search, even though they said they would close out the claim 8 days ago. And thank you to St. Anthony for leading someone to it!

    To give some context…

    I received notification that a package was delivered at my door. I look outside and there is nothing. Probably the driver left it in another place. Possibly some bad person took it.

    However, when I call to report a non-delivery, FedEx will say we will check with the driver when he gets back to the delivery station. And that investigation may take days…

    Obviously, FedEx has a GPS on the scanning device that transit the delivery notification. Why they cannot say immediately “The package was scanned at your door, probably someone took it”, or “The package was scanned in the wrong location, we will have the driver fetching it”.

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