Your Package Wasn’t Delivered? Here’s What To Do

By Heidi Unrau | Published on 05 Mar 2024

An Amazon package left on a busy sidewalk.
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    So you ordered something online and the package didn’t arrive, now what? As an extreme introvert, I do most of my shopping online, and so do 27 million of my fellow Canucks. That’s a lot of stuff to deliver – something’s bound to get lost. Generally, the seller is obligated to ensure the shipment arrives as agreed. But they may try to argue otherwise depending on the terms of the sale. Here’s what to do if your package wasn’t delivered.

    Know Your Rights

    Consumer protection laws vary by province, but in most cases, the law is on our side. Generally, you have the right to cancel the order and get a refund if your package doesn’t arrive within 30 days of the expected delivery date. If no delivery date was indicated, you have 30 days from the time of purchase. The seller typically has 15 days to issue a refund.

    Watch out for retailers who try to hide behind their own shipping policies. The law takes precedence, even if you agree to the terms at the time of purchase. And don’t let them deflect responsibility to the carrier.

    While the shipping company or postal service is responsible for the actual delivery of the package, delivery issues are usually addressed through the seller. If necessary, they should communicate with the shipping company to resolve these issues.

    Check the Shipping Status

    If the seller issued a tracking number, use it. This will tell you if the package is still out for delivery, if there’s been a delay, and if it’s been delivered. 

    ‘Delivered’ Status, No Package

    If the shipping status says ‘delivered’, but you can’t find your package, do the following: 

    1. Verify the Delivery Address: Double-check that the address provided for delivery is correct. Mistakes in the address can result in your package being delivered to the wrong location.
    1. Check Around Your Property: Sometimes, couriers leave packages in less visible or unexpected areas to prevent theft or damage. Look around your porch, garage area, and anywhere else the package might be placed. If you live in an apartment, check common areas like the lobby or mailroom, and ask the building manager.
    1. Ask Neighbors & Household Members: Check with your neighbours and other members of your household. The package might have been accepted by someone else on your behalf or mistakenly delivered to a nearby address.
    1. Wait 24-48 Hours: It’s not uncommon for carriers to mark a package as delivered before it actually arrives. This can be due to logistical errors or the package being on a nearby delivery vehicle. It’s often advised to wait a short period to see if the package turns up.
    1. Contact the Carrier: contact the shipping or postal service about your missing delivery. They can often provide more detailed information from the delivery person’s records or GPS data.
    1. File a Claim: If the package was insured, file a claim with the shipping or insurance company. Provide all necessary documentation and details of the situation.

    Most Common Postal & Shipping Companies in Canada

    Shipping CompanyContact Information
    Canada Post1-866-607-6301
    AmazonShipped by Amazon
    Not shipped by Amazon
    Purolator– 1-888-SHIP-123 
    – Tweet @PurolatorHelp
    File a Claim Online
    FedEx– 1-800-463-3339
    File a claim online
    DHL– 1-855-345-7447
    File a claim online
    UPSContact the location that shipped your package & have your receipt handy.
    File a claim online
    ASL (Precision)905-393-1442
    Supai Express778-8666831
    Uniuni– 1-800-282-2468
    – Submit a Customer Support Form

    Contact the Seller

    As soon as you realize there’s a problem, notify the seller. Share your order number, tracking information, and any relevant details about the delivery issue. 

    Ask about the policy on lost packages and what the next steps are. If you purchased from an online marketplace like eBay or Amazon, they often have guarantees or buyer protection policies covering lost packages. 

    If you haven’t already, ask to speak with a supervisor or a higher authority within the company. Escalating the issue can help find a resolution if the first point of contact is unsuccessful. 

    If you ordered from an online marketplace where buyers and sellers connect on a centralized platform, like Etsy and eBay, you may need to involve the platform’s customer service team. 

    Guidelines From the Top Online Retailers

    RetailerFirst StepNext StepResolution
    AmazonLog into your account and go to  ‘Your Orders’ to check the status and verify the shipping address.Report missing packages through their online Help and Customer Service page.Amazon typically offers refunds or replacements for lost items.
    eBayCheck the delivery status through your eBay account. You have 30 days from the delivery date to report a package not delivered.Contact the seller directly for resolution. They have 3 days to provide an update, replace the item, or issue a refund.If unresolved, ask eBay for help. You have 21 days from the original request to contact eBay. 
    EtsySend the seller a ‘Help With Order’ request. They have 48 hours to respond.If the seller doesn’t respond or there’s no resolution, open a case with Etsy. You have 100 days from the estimated delivery date.Qualifying orders will be refunded by Etsy.
    SheinCheck the delivery status through your account. You have 45 days from the purchase date to report an issue.Report undelivered packages to Shein’s customer service.Shein may offer a credit through their On-Time Delivery Guarantee or resend the item.
    WishClick on the tracking link provided in your order history to check status.If your item doesn’t arrive by the specified delivery date, report the issue through ‘Wish Assistant.’The Money Back Guarantee refunds orders not received by the Refund Eligible Date.
    TemuContact the carrier first to inquire about your package.If no resolution with the carrier, contact Temu Customer Support through the app or website.Temu offers Purchase Protection for qualified orders that were lost in transit or couldn’t be delivered.

    Contact Your Credit Card Company

    This option is only accessible if you charged the full amount of the purchase on a credit card. Many credit cards provide purchase protection insurance on lost or stolen items. Specific policies can vary from one card to the next, but you’re typically covered for up to 90 days from the date of purchase

    Another option is to request a credit card chargeback. If the seller has not resolved the issue, contact your credit card provider to dispute the transaction. Chargeback policies vary among issuers, but you generally have 30 days from the date of your credit card statement to request one. You will need to prove:

    You Contacted The Seller First

    A chargeback will likely be denied if you did not contact the seller for a resolution. Keep records of your communication or attempted communication with the seller because you will likely need to submit this as proof.

    Details About The Transaction

    Explain the situation in detail. Include the date of purchase, the amount charged, the name of the merchant, and the reason for the chargeback request. In this case, it would be non-delivery. 

    Send in all the gathered documentation to support your claim like receipts and credit card statements. This can usually be done via email, a customer service portal, or mail, depending on the credit card company’s procedures.

    What if My Package Was Stolen?

    If you have proof the package was stolen, like security footage that caught your porch pirate in action, you have some options. First, file a police report right away. They probably won’t find your package or the perp, but it serves as legal documentation of the theft. 

    Then, reach out to the seller ASAP and let them know what happened. In some cases, the seller is still required to issue a refund. Most major retailers will compensate you for a package stolen off your doorstep. If the seller denies your refund, they typically have to prove that your package was delivered and that you were given reasonable notice to collect it.

    If you paid for the item in full with a credit card that has purchase protection, submit a claim. Coverage policies can vary, but most provide coverage for lost and stolen items within 90 days of the purchase date. 

    Next, you may be able to file a claim through your homeowner insurance or tenant insurance coverage. Many policies cover personal contents inside, outside, and temporarily away from your property. However, coverage varies by provider and type of policy, and there are usually limitations on the dollar value of the item. If the deductible is more than the value of your package, it doesn’t make sense to file a claim.

    Finally, if your package has shipping insurance, submit a claim through the relevant shipping company or postal service. 

    What if The Seller is a Jerk? Real Life Example

    Sometimes sellers can be real jerks when a package isn’t delivered. The anxiety alone can prevent you from advocating for yourself. And while it does happen (too often!), major retailers are more likely to make things right without a fight. Especially if you threaten to take your business elsewhere. 

    My friend recently ordered a package from Temu that never showed up – and it wasn’t the first time. He lives in a large apartment complex with a sizeable lobby and mail room. Shipping companies are often inconsistent and disorganized with their deliveries, making it hard to find his packages to begin with. He received a delivery notification and checked all the usual places, but could not find his package anywhere.

    So he called Temu to complain about what happened. He told them he would never purchase from them again because their shipping partners cannot be trusted. Temu gave him some discount codes and promised to have Canada Post deliver his purchases from now on.

    While Temu did not necessarily give my friend a hard time, he believes he would not have received the same level of customer service had he not played ‘hardball’ from the outset. If you find yourself in a similar situation, stand your ground with the same courage of conviction. 

    Moral of The Story & How to Protect Yourself

    At some point, you’re probably going to have a package delivery issue (if you haven’t already). The most important thing is to know your rights and advocate for yourself. After all, no one cares as much about your money as you do. 

    Be confident and use every available tool to recover the cost. That could include requesting a refund from the seller or filing a claim through your credit card company, the shipping company, or even your home/tenant’s insurance policy.

    Consider protecting yourself from the get-go by opting for insured shipping, especially if you’re purchasing something expensive. Try to stick to large, well-known retailers as much as possible. For smaller online companies, do your research to make sure they’re legitimate. Look for customer reviews and ratings to assess their reliability and service quality. Carefully read the seller’s return and refund policies before making a purchase. 

    If you can, pay with a credit card that offers purchase protection. This can provide coverage for non-delivery, damaged items, or not-as-described items. Save all purchase-related documentation, including order confirmations, receipts, estimated/guaranteed delivery dates, emails, and any correspondence with the seller. This is crucial if your package wasn’t delivered.

    Finally, use a shipping option that includes tracking whenever possible. This allows you to monitor your package’s journey and can be valuable evidence if it doesn’t show up. 

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    Heidi Unrau is a senior finance journalist at Hardbacon. She studied Economics at the University of Winnipeg, where she fell in love with all-things-finance. At 25, she kicked-off her financial career in retail banking as a teller. She quickly progressed to become a Credit Analyst and then Private Lender. This hands-on industry experience uniquely positions her to provide expert insight on loans, credit scores, credit cards, debt, and banking services. She has been featured in publications such as WealthRocket, Scary Mommy, Credello, and Plooto. When she's not chasing after her two little boys, you'll find her hiding in the car listening to the Freakonomics podcast, or binge-watching financial crime documentaries with a bowl of ice cream. Fun Fact: Heidi has lived in five different provinces across Canada and her blood type is coffee.