See which companies offer redemptions to customers who've had packages swiped from their front porch, plus what to do if your deliveries go missing.

By Hannah Bruneman and Jessica Bennett
Updated December 02, 2020
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Porch pirates are one thing you don't want showing up at your front door this holiday season. The term refers to thieves who steal packages waiting at the front door, typically while the owners are away from home. Although millions of Americans shop online, many don't have a solid plan or protection in place for deliveries that wait at the door, which makes packages extremely vulnerable to theft.

A stack of shipping boxes on a front porch
Credit: C5Media/Getty Images

Some companies have acknowledged this problem and are working on ways to guarantee safe delivery. To prevent packages from going missing, you can choose to sign for your packages, have them delivered to a designated pickup location, or buy a password-protected bag or locked storage box ($106, Bed Bath & Beyond) that holds your deliveries.

If you're the victim of a porch pirate, you might be able to get a refund from the company that shipped it. Here are the policies on stolen packages from four major online retailers.

Amazon

A few of our editors know friends and family who have received replacement products for stolen Amazon packages, free of charge. However, there is no official policy from Amazon that says they guarantee a replacement or refund. Instead, follow the steps they recommend to find a missing package, which includes verifying the shipping address, searching the area, and more easy tasks.

If your package has not arrived after waiting 48 hours past the delivery date, we recommend calling Amazon's customer service. They might be able to replace a product within a limited price range.

Target

Target is willing to offer a refund or replacement for missing items on Target.com orders. They offer step-by-step instructions on their website to report your stolen items, but they are careful to not promise a full refund in all cases. Replacements are subject to availability and only eligible on certain items, but they will not require any additional charges.

Walmart

Walmart does not have a direct stolen or missing packages policy either, but they recommend waiting 24 hours after receiving a delivery confirmation to see if the package turns up. Upon chatting with their online assistant, we found that they need to run an investigation into any stolen package report.

To help this process along, file a police report of your missing items and email a copy of the complaint to executiveescalations@walmart.com, including your order number and contact information. From there, allow 24 hours for Walmart to reach back out to you with a response regarding a refund or replacement shipment.

Wayfair

If a package from Wayfair goes missing, the retailer recommends contacting the carrier that shipped the item, such as FedEx or UPS. You can use the tracking number provided for your purchase to file a claim with the shipping company. The website also notes that if you've tried everything without success, you can contact Wayfair and they will fix the issue.

Regardless of whether you're able to replace or refund the purchase, you should report the incident. If you live in an apartment building, the management or landlord might be able to track down a resident who is swiping packages from the mailroom. Local police records could pick up on multiple thefts in a single area and issue a warning to residents to keep an eye on their own and neighbor's possessions. But it's always best to ensure you're home at the time of a package's arrival, especially if it's a big-ticket item.

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