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Here’s what to do if Amazon packages go missing

July 17, 2018

Fred O. Williams is senior reporter for CreditCards.com. A business journalist since 1987, his work has appeared in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, the Buffalo News and USA Today.

After Amazon Prime Day comes Christmas in July for package thieves.

Shoppers who take advantage of the online retailer’s discount holiday July 16 and 17 should brush up on the coverage available for package theft, unless you already have robust theft prevention in place, such as a locker, smart doorbell, porch-cam – or you direct shipments to your office instead of your home.

“There’s a lot of (prevention) things that can be done, but they take a little more time and effort on the part of the consumer,” said Brian C. Gibbs, CEO of Refund Retriever, a shipping analytics company in Houston.

Thirty-one percent of consumers said they had experienced theft of a package in a 2017 survey of 1,000 consumers by Shorr Packaging Corp. But when asked what companies should do about it, less than 1 percent of respondents said signature delivery should be required.

“They want to just order it and have it arrive at the door,” Gibbs said.

Merchants will ship most items without a signature requirement for delivery, shipping experts said. Signature verification costs the merchant extra and risks alienating customers who miss the delivery.

“If you’re not home when Amazon stops by, you might be out of luck,” said Michael Grabham, founder of Package Guard, which makes a delivery protection device.

When a package is dropped off at your address, theft protections fall into three general layers of coverage: from the seller and shipper, from your credit card, and lastly from home or renter insurance.

Some credit cards have rolled back their protections against theft of merchandise. But before making a claim to the card’s theft protection benefit or launching a chargeback, buyers missing a package should first seek help from the shipper and the seller. Credit card protections should be a fallback if other steps fail, shipping experts say.

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