Adventures in Online Shopping – When Packages Get Stolen

A reader sent me this email, and I thought it would be a great topic to discuss on Alterations Needed.

As another petite clothing buyer, I usually have to order stuff online since items are not carried in stores. This can be frustrating. I recently made a purchase online from Banana Republic. Unfortunately, the package was stolen after it was delivered when I wasn’t home. BR refused to give me a refund or reship the items because this happened one other time. I was reprimanded that I should have asked for signature required upon delivery. But I can’t predict thieves are going to strike again or someone else in my building likes BR. BR also told me that they don’t insure their shipments because they would “go out of business” if they had to ensure safe delivery and/or reship lost items for everyone. This is one of the main concerns of ordering stuff online, people prefer reliable shipping times and delivery. Now I am out $300.

(edited for brevity)

As petite women, the sizes we need are often in short supply in stores, or only offered online. This means a lot of online shopping, and the dangers that it can bring, such as package theft. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never run into an issue like this, but it’s a great topic for discussion, if at the very least to warn other shoppers about the ways we should be protecting ourselves when shopping online.

Have you ever dealt with package theft? Did it get resolved? How?

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36 Comments

  • Reply April 17, 2011

    JenlovesBal

    If this happens often, you should opt to have your local post office to hold your packages for pick up. I know sometimes for BR they use Fedex Smartpost which is transferred to the receiver's local PO to be delivered with the daily mail.

    For UPS, if you get to know the delivery guy well, you can tell him to chuck the package behind a bush or somewhere hidden to prevent theft. My UPS guy would throw my packages behind the shrubs at my old house.

    I have an enclosed porch now and haven't had this happen again recently (last time was when I first moved here). *knocks on wood* As you can see I'm an online shopping junkie! lol.

  • Reply April 17, 2011

    Revanche

    I've only had one box go missing from Amazon and they replaced the items. (Which later, oddly enough, showed up.)

    For valuable packages, I'd just send the packages to work. Since I commute, I do have to schlep them home, but so long as they deliver during business hours, there's always someone to sign for them.

    I just keep an empty tote bag or two in my desk to toss the boxes into and bring them home to open.

    In my place now, you have to be buzzed in or have a key so theoretically if someone steals packages, it'd be resident or a guest of a resident but even so, it'd probably be a PITA to replace so I route more valuable stuff to work and things I'm less worried about home.

  • Reply April 17, 2011

    Linda

    great suggestions!! My UPS guy usually hides my packages as well. One time he concealed my package too well. I ordered 2 TLBC bras. After searching every bush and shrub with no luck and scoping out my neighbors' porches, I sadly walked inside. I noticed the front mat was out of place far from the door. When I picked it up, lo and behold there it was. You couldn't even tell there was something underneath considering the package wasnt flat either.

    I read about how another girl, who lives in an apartment complex, had a UPS guy who slipped a note under her door saying that he hid her package high up on a lighting fixture. UPS is pretty good with that.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Jarucha

    Wow, I never heard of such things happening….people are so bad these days – stealing packages for crying out loud. I never had a package stolen but I had a few scares since sometimes the tracking says it was delivered but it wasn't!!!! I had a panic attack.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Thesmallone

    That is really disappointing to hear about BR. I'd expect better. I wonder if the reader's credit card company will allow her to dispute the charge. I own an online clothing biz with my husband and sometimes packages do get lost/stolen. It sucks for us but we do replace when it happens and take the loss. It's not worth losing the customer or having them badmouth us. If it's an unusually expensive order we insure at our expense. Insurance is not that wildly expensive.

    All of this said, if you know your house is not a secure delivery location, delivering to work or a PO box is a good idea. Places like Mailboxes Etc will work if you need fedex/ups deliveries. Since they accept all carriers.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Anonymous

    This happened to me with Ann Taylor Loft a couple of years ago. they refused to refund or resend the purchase, as did the credit card company. I was on the lookout for someone in my neighborhood wearig the clothes I ordered but unfortunately never saw them. I quit giving AT my business for 2 years after that but since no other copmpany makes clothes that fit me so well off the rack i have recently, reluctantly, gone back.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Elaine A (TOBeautyReviews)

    Wow this is scary. I had a package go missing once from BR Canada. I don't know if it was stolen or simply delivered to the wrong address. In any case they were completely great about it and re-sent my items out that day. They only asked to inform them if it did show up.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Anonymous

    UPS could have dropped the package off at a wrong location. My contact lens was at my neighbor's which was 3 numbers down the block while her F21 items was at mine during Christmas season. Very often, UPS delivered my neighbors' packages at my doorstep. I delivered them back to the right receiver with a note. Don't know if others will reciprocal.
    Report your lost packages to the local police. I only order with American Express and AE will honor and reimburse your lost.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Trystan L. Bass

    If she'd had it happen once, she should have definitely had the package shipped to her office or held at the PO for pickup or required a signature or *something* the second time. One stolen package is a big warning sign!

    I've lived in questionable neighborhoods in the past, & whenever anything valuable or large was going to be delivered, I always arranged for it to be delivered to my office, where there's always someone to sign for it.

    These days, my house is much more secure & I know my neighbors, so I haven't had any problems w/packages. But I still sometimes have stuff sent to work if it's a valuable order. Better safe than sorry :-)

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    kileen

    my bf actually had a package stolen. he filed a claim with UPS and UPS then contacted the retailer. we were able to get all of our money back. i would highly suggest filing a claim. you never know if the retailer will refund you your money.

    cute & little

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Sunshine

    I've never had packages stolen but a couple of them have been delivered to the wrong addresses. Thank God I have honest neighbors (one of the item was an LV wallet too!) There was one package from Amazon that just never showed up; I called and they refunded me, no questions. Usually, when something like that happens, the seller will request that you sign for future deliveries or else they won't even sell you their goods anymore. Amazon didn't, but probably because it was a cheapie item.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Natalie | The Bobby Pin

    I used to get my stuff sent to work. Though I had a mega problem with that too! My passport was lost, which was really awful.

    So now I get things shipped to my home, but I alert my landlords and give them permission to hold onto it, or slip it inside my door so it isn't out in the open.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Anonymous

    Talk to the UPS delivery person and see what they suggest. Perhaps they can leave it with the apartment manager if you're not home.

    Some retailers will allow you to ship it to the store and pick it up. Maybe check with the manager or senior SA at your local BR and see if they can work something out for you.

    Otherwise, work or a Mail Boxes etc is a good option. Or if you can, set up package alerting and work from home when you expect pricey shipments.

    BR does have some online only items and they do go down to 0P in my local store store, so likely yours as well. They can probably pull items from other stores for you. I've seen the online only as returns in store, as well.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    calcho

    I've never had a problem with online purchases. I live in a condo, so the doorman always signs for the packages. One time I was missing one item, and was refunded for this. Unfortunately, people scam companies too, so usually this is a one-time courtesy gesture.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Anonymous

    I have two packages not show up in my mailbox from Ebay but not stores like BR. We opened a PO Box and now have packages sent to the PO Box if from stores or Ebay. No more trouble now, but can sympathize. It is very frustrating since being small require good online shopping skills also. I shop everywhere!!! Bonnie

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    PetiteAsianGirl

    If it has already happened once…then I would probably never have it sent to that location again. I luckily have a concierge to sign for packages, but, most coworkers who live in apartments without security have items sent to the work mailroom. I'm more of a skeptical person so I don't know why fellow shoppers have items delivered to their home left out in the open when anyone can take it. It's too bad BR wouldn't replace it, but from their perspective…it's happened once before already, and it's kind of the shopper's responsibility to make sure items are sent to a secure location.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Anonymous

    I don't understand why BR can't replace your items at least one time. You're obviously a frequent customer. Their profit margin is extremely high so it seems a bit unreasonable. Same goes for Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft and all those other big chains. This is extremely upsetting.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    SewPetiteGal

    Wow, this has never happened to me but I'm surprised BR wasn't more empathetic about it. I know many ship to their office so there's more control over the package.

    We have a porch that collects our deliveries when we're not there but typically someone is home since my mom moved in with us to help take care of my son.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Short Sister Style

    I've had this happen to me a couple times. Once I had flowers sent to me and left at my door. I got a call at work that the flowers were waiting for me at my apartment door and when I got home, they were gone. I wouldn't think anything of it, but I've had packages from Urban Outfitters and Amazon disappear, too. It turns out my elderly neighbor had been opening them, thinking they were her's (she has bad eyesight and was too embarassed to tell me until it happened a third time). All three times though, the companies resent the items (flowers included) without question. Honestly, I'd boycott BR. Sorry for your trouble :(

    Briggs
    http://shortsisterstyle.blogspot.com

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Lizbeth

    talk to your bank and see if they have protection against purchases in which you did not receive the product. Most do have something that can help. I second everyone else's recommendation though, have the items shipped elsewhere!! I receive items at work or held at the fedex & ups facility. I happened to live near both so it works for me.

  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Jen HaHA

    We have a pretty high hedge so our packages are usually blocked. I add notes to shipments asking to deliver to our side door. I haven't had problems with missing shipments. Just slowpoke delivery. Or packages never sent (waving a fist to the eBay seller who never sent my 5-year-old son's cards)
    Jen Hemming and Hawing Again

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    The Little Dust Princess

    I've only had a missing package once. I'm not sure if it was stolen by the postman or if it just got lost in the mail all together. It was about a $160 purchase and after three months, I asked for a solution to the problem and the store owner chose to refund the total amount to me. She has had packages stolen by the post office before because she marks her packages as jewelry. I thought she had learned her lesson because she DID post online that she'll smarten up and not write "jewelry" on her shipments anymore.

    I'm not sure what happened…because I actually had another order with her as well, which was NOT jewelry…but was marked as jewelry. :S The packages looked like someone had slit it open with a knife… I think I only received those packages because the "thief" realized it wasn't actually jewelry.

    Hope my blabber made sense, Kelly. LOL I said "jewelry" and "package" a lot …

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Mia

    At my last apartment all of our mail and special delivery guys were great about leaving the packages at our patio door or behind our bushes instead of in the breezeway, but we still had our more valuable things delivered to my work. That being said we only ever had one package not arrive at that place. It was from Amazon. They happily sent another and just asked us to return the original should it ever show up. Oddly enough it ended up arriving soon after the second.

    At our current apartment we've only had one package not arrive and it was through the USPS. It was filled with Christmas presents from my Mother. She sent it through the postal service and I've yet to see or hear from it. My apartment managers were more than happy to let us search through the packages they were holding in the back room (which I did on a weekly basis) but it was not there. The post office however was downright combative and basically said that "sometimes packages are put on the wrong plane and just never show up".

    I was up in arms at the time, especially since some of the items were of a great sentimental value, but my mom continues to say there is nothing she can do about it.

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Erin

    Yep! Lost about $300 worth from HauteLook and all I got was some lousy store credit!

  • Reply April 22, 2011

    spiffy

    I had something stolen once- UPS dropped the package at another door on a friday at 5pm (it was sent to my husband's work) had UPS delivered it according the the label on the package he would have been able to accept it. So, the package sat outside (in brooklyn) for who knows how long but when my husband went back to work on monday there was no sign of it anywhere. the package was target and they offered to reship the items or refund me. I requested a signature and they wouldn't do it, so I just took the credit. I was still bummed and it made me feel rotten that someone would do that!

  • Reply April 23, 2011

    Rinny

    Fortunately I haven't had one of my neighbors steal a package, but last year there was a freak storm in my state and I think my package from Express was literally blown away by the strong winds (trees and powerlines were topped over so it's not that far fetched of an idea). It didn't help that Express ships everything in plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes. I was scared I would be out $200 but Express kindly offered a one time credit for lost packages. Hopefully it doesn't happen again though because then I'll be out of luck.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Anonymous

    I don't understand why BR can't replace your items at least one time. You're obviously a frequent customer. Their profit margin is extremely high so it seems a bit unreasonable. Same goes for Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft and all those other big chains. This is extremely upsetting.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Jen HaHA

    We have a pretty high hedge so our packages are usually blocked. I add notes to shipments asking to deliver to our side door. I haven't had problems with missing shipments. Just slowpoke delivery. Or packages never sent (waving a fist to the eBay seller who never sent my 5-year-old son's cards)
    Jen Hemming and Hawing Again

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Lizbeth

    talk to your bank and see if they have protection against purchases in which you did not receive the product. Most do have something that can help. I second everyone else's recommendation though, have the items shipped elsewhere!! I receive items at work or held at the fedex & ups facility. I happened to live near both so it works for me.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    SewPetiteGal

    Wow, this has never happened to me but I'm surprised BR wasn't more empathetic about it. I know many ship to their office so there's more control over the package.

    We have a porch that collects our deliveries when we're not there but typically someone is home since my mom moved in with us to help take care of my son.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Revanche

    I've only had one box go missing from Amazon and they replaced the items. (Which later, oddly enough, showed up.)

    For valuable packages, I'd just send the packages to work. Since I commute, I do have to schlep them home, but so long as they deliver during business hours, there's always someone to sign for them.

    I just keep an empty tote bag or two in my desk to toss the boxes into and bring them home to open.

    In my place now, you have to be buzzed in or have a key so theoretically if someone steals packages, it'd be resident or a guest of a resident but even so, it'd probably be a PITA to replace so I route more valuable stuff to work and things I'm less worried about home.

  • Reply September 15, 2011

    Arpotractor

    I just knew , I lost my stuff this morning. UPS delivered it on last monday (3 day ago) and signed by The Apartmen’owner and the he asked The UPS guy to dropped to my room directly but I haven’t received any package , I thought he might be dropped inside the apartment which is a lobby that everybody who live in my apartment walks though the door …. it’s a 20 lbs package and about $900 …I called the shipper and they gonna deal with the UPS ..and I’ve to wait about 8-10 days ..it’s so baddddd

  • Reply July 30, 2013

    Josh Adams

    Boxaddress.com totally solves this problem. You can ship your package to a local business and pick it up whenever it’s convenient.

  • Reply January 5, 2014

    slkdjflksdjf

    Dispute the charge on your credit card — always a good last defense!

  • Reply March 29, 2014

    Gina

    Ugh this just happened to me a week ago. Waiting for a package from Abercrombie via smart post FedEx/ USPS system package never arrived even though their tracking online said that is has been delivered, now I have to file a claim to usps, which takes forever to get a hold of by phone. I contacted Abercrombie online and they are sending me a new shipment for free. I have to check my credit card now to see if they charged me double. What a pain in the butt, I’m so hesitant to order online now. I don’t have a choice since most stores don’t carry petite sizes, I have to but them online!

    • Reply April 8, 2014

      Dan

      Wow, the exact same thing happened to me as well. I made my order on March 26 through A&F, and my package is lost even though the smart post tracking states that it is delivered to me. My apartment has a mail box for package, and only an addressee gets a key to that mail box, so only possibility for my situation is that my mail carrier has delivered my stuff to the wrong address. A&F was kind enough to reissue my package at no charge (haven’t got them yet), but only problem is that I ordered some clothes to try them on, not necessarily to keep them. I can’t get refunded for clothes that I may not like unless the original package turns up magically. :(

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