What to do for Lost, Missing, Stolen and Delayed USPS Packages?

USPS is a reputed organization which is famous for providing efficient and timely services. It is extremely rare that the customers lose or miss receiving their packages or the mail items. But, because sometimes the mishaps happen, it can happen with an esteemed organization like USPS too. Whether you are sending mail or receiving mail, your every mail is important to the United States Postal Service. It will try to find your mail to the best of its ability. If you have a lost package, you need to know certain things and follow certain steps to allow it to help you find your mail.

Here is the detailed information on what to do when you find that your mail is missing, stolen, or never delivered.

Before You Start:

Check the Status of Your Mail:

The first step is to know “where is my package?” To know this, just visit the main site of USPS and start tracking your package. The tracking service will show the updated status of your mail.

For tracking your missing mail, CLICK HERE and enter your tracking number to see the status of your mail item. You can enter 35 tracking number maximum, separated by a comma.

In the case of missing package, you can also go for the Informed Delivery option. It will give you a digital preview of your impeding mail item. Sometimes, when the mail gets delayed in reaching its final address, the Informed Delivery can help you. You don’t have to pay anything for using the Informed Delivery because it is a free service. With this service, you can also manage your packages which may come soon. With this exceptional service, it will be easier for you to see what is coming to your mailbox anytime and anywhere.

Check Standard Delivery Time:

delivery statusBefore you believe that your package has lost or is stolen, you must check its delivery standard time. The delivery time of different mail classes is different from one another. It may happen that you are assuming that your mail is stolen while your mail is still in the transit and is not lost or stolen.

The delivery standard time and the suggested time for how long you should wait for the mailing time before you raise your concern are given below:

USPS Mail ClassStandard Delivery TimeSuggested Waiting Time
First-Class Mail®1 to 3 days5 or more days
Priority Mail1 to 3 days5 or more days
Priority Mail Express1 to 2 daysN/A (guaranteed delivery)
Retail Ground2 to 8 days14 or more days
Media Mail2 to 8 days14 or more days
Bound Printed Matter2 to 8 days14 or more days
Marketing Mail3 to 10 days14 or more days

You must wait until the suggested time starting from the date of shipping your package or mail. If you do not receive your mail or package even after waiting for the specified period, then you need to raise your concern and follow the steps given below.

Submit Search Request for Missing Mail:

You need to take action when seven business days pass, and you believe that you have a lost the package. It is the time to submit a search request for the Missing Mail. You need to submit the request by providing the following details:

  • The mailing address of the sender
  • The mailing address of the recipient
  • The Size of the envelope or container the sender has used
  • The type of the envelop or container the sender has used
  • The information related to the identification. The identifying information can be the USPS Tracking number or numbers of your package or packages, the date when you mailed the package as mentioned in your mailing receipt. The Click-N-Ship label receipt may also be required.
  • You also need to describe the belongings of the mail item. The information related to the content may be what exactly the shipment it, the brand of the mail item, the model of the mail piece, the color of the item, the size of the mail item or any other detail of the content as applicable.
  • In case you have the picture of the missing mail item, it would be great. With the picture, it will be convenient for the USPS to recognize your missing mail item and take a quicker action.

After you fill this form of “find my package request,” USPS will send you a confirmation email. USPS will also keep sending you the intermittent updates related to your search request. When the USPS takes action on your request, and if you are fortunate enough and USPS finds your package or mail item, it will send the same to the given recipient’s address.

What Should You Do After That?

It may also happen that USPS is unable to find your missing mail pieces. Sometimes when the USPS feels that your package or mail item is not safe enough to forward, then also it does not recover the package.

  • Call Customer Service:

Call USPS in the case of missing mail, lost mail, and delayed package. The customer service representative will record your concern. USPS lost package phone number is 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777). They might answer you on how to find lost mail.

Customer Service representative’s timing is as follows:

  • Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET
  • Sundays and Holidays: Closed

If your USPS missing package says delivered on the tracking status, but you have not received it, you can do the following:

  • Request for a Refund:

Since you have lost your package, you can file a refund. But the refund is not provided for every mail class. In the case, you had booked your mail item with a service that offers a money-back guarantee then only you will be able to request a refund. For example, Priority Mail Express comes with a money-back guarantee, and you can request the refund.

To file for a refund in the case of a package not delivered, you need to provide a proof of purchase. You may also need some of these as you apply for a refund.

  • The Tracking number of the package
  • The Purchase receipt of the package
  • Your Photo ID

You can request a refund online by signing into your USPS account. If you do not have USPS account, you can register for free. You can also file refund by going to the Post Office. The business customers may file refunds online through Business Customer Gateway (BCG).

  • File a Claim:

What to do if the package is stolen? You can file for claim of your package if you never received the package from USPS. But to do so, your mail or package must have the insurance included, then only you will be able to file a claim. It is advisable that the customers file an instant claim in case they have a damaged or missing content. But in any other case, you must file the claim before 60 days from the date you have mailed your package to get the insurance claim amount.

You may file a claim for:

  • Insured mail or Priority Mail (15 to 60 Days)
  • Cash on delivery items (15 to 60 Days)
  • Priority Mail Express items (7 to 60 Days)
  • Registered Mail with postal insurance packages, etc. (15 to 60 Days)

As you can see, every mail service may have a different timeline for filing the claim. Though as we said before, you can file an immediate claim if the package is damaged or goes missing.

To file a domestic claim, you need to give the following details:

  • Tracking number of the package: The tracking number of the package or mail is between 13 and 34 characters. The same is mentioned in the following places:
    • Mailing receipt
    • Your online record
    • The label of the package
    • Sales receipt.
  • Insurance Evidence: The evidence of insurance for lost or stolen package can be one of these:
    • The original mailing receipt which you have got at the time of mailing your package
    • The outer packaging that displays sender’s and addressee’s name and address
    • Electronic online label record or a computer printout
  • Proof of Value: The proof of value must be provided in the case of a stolen package which can be:
    • The credit card billing statement
    • The receipt of sales
    • The paid bill of sale
    • The printouts of the transactions done online that can help identify the purchaser and seller, the price paid, description of items bought, date of the transaction, and a declaration that the transaction status is complete.
    • An estimate of repair by a reputable dealer
    • The receipt of the costs due to the reconstruction of non-negotiable documents
  • Proof of Damage: Lastly, you need to show the proof of damage. The photos showing the damage will be the best proof.

In the case of an international claim, the USPS handles it differently. The international claim will need a cooperation and coordination from the destination country’s post office. The international claim will have to be initiated by the U.S. based sender of the mail. Normally in such cases, what you get is the postage refund only.

When does the USPS declare a package to be officially lost?

If a piece of mail is lost, the USPS needs to declare it officially lost before you can file a search query. For most mail categories, this needs to be at least seven days from the date of sending. The time restrictions exist because the mail might just be delayed. If it’s been less than seven days, wait a little longer- it might turn up. When reporting a mailing issue, you will need to provide information such as your name, the address where the mailpiece was sent, the tracking number (if available), an estimate of when you mailed the piece, a list of what was in the envelope or package, and contact information so that a customer service representative can reach you.

2 Comments on “What to do for Lost, Missing, Stolen and Delayed USPS Packages?”

  1. Good morning,
    On May 9, 2019, I went to the post office and talked to a supervisor named Albert at address 1799 NW 28 Street in Miami Florida. He looked for my book called Atlas Shrugged with tracking number 9341989677090064078597. When he did not find the book, he told me to file a claim form. He said to file a lost or stolen claim form; he said that Amazon would return the book to me within two days. I did what he said but the computer said that the book does not have insurance and I cannot file a claim form. The supervisor said it would take five minutes to file a claim and it took longer than five minutes. The address that the book was suppose to be delivered to is 4911 NW 15 Court, Miami, Florida 33142 on May 1, 2019. My name is Ms. Robin L. Johnson and my phone number is 305-549-4772. The supervisor looked on the computer and saw that the postman did deliver the book to the address but it was stolen. I went to the address after I left the post office for the second time and the neighbor said the book never came. Please call or email me on the answer on how to get my book that was given to me by someone who knows that I do not have the money to pay for this book.

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