Here's Exactly What To Do If Your Packages Get Stolen

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.

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 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
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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 lockable storage box ($70, Amazon) 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 include 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 contacting Amazon's customer service. They might be able to replace a product within a limited price range.

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond does not specify a policy on replacing stolen packages, but their website recommends checking around your home and with neighbors if your tracking information indicates that the package was delivered but you have not received it. If you still can't find the package, you can contact the retailer by using their online chat function or by calling 1-800-462-3966.

Target

Target allows you to report damaged or defective items after they have been delivered, and shoppers can use the step-by-step instructions on Target's help site to fix the issue. Target notes that only certain items are eligible for this support service and also offers a separate set of instructions for packages that are never delivered by the carrier. Target does not currently publish a guide to remediating issues with stolen packages.

The Home Depot

If your package from The Home Depot goes missing, your best bet is to contact their online order support center. The website does not state an official policy on stolen packages, but a customer service representative can likely offer specific recommendations. Call 1-800-430-3376 within 30 days of the expected delivery date to determine your next steps.

Walmart

Walmart does not have a direct stolen or missing packages policy, but they recommend waiting two full days after receiving a delivery confirmation to see if the package turns up. If it still doesn't turn up by 8 p.m. on the second day, contact the retailer's help center.

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.

What's the Bottom Line?

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 their neighbors' 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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