Most online sales go smoothly, but occasionally there may be a problem. What if a customer says he/she didn’t receive his/her order?

What are you going to do?

Even veteran sellers still not sure what to do with this situation. So what major marketplaces say about this issue?

What USPS Suggests

1. Reassure your customer that if the package is not found, you will refund. Then:
2. Have them verify that the shipping address is correct (copy/paste it into your response email from the order).
3. Ask them to check with other family members to make sure someone else didn’t bring it in.

First, don’t worry just yet; sometimes shipment and delivery get delayed after you provide buyer with the tracking number. Calling your customers PO and/or asking him to check with family members may resolve the problem. In the meantime, try to keep both parties calm and professional.

Don’t be the kind of seller who worsens the situation because you might get poor feedback even after the package is found.

Here are the 3 possible reasons why the package is missing:

  1. Somebody stole the package from the mailbox or doorstep.
  2. The item was delivered elsewhere by mistake, like the neighbors for example.
  3. The buyer is scamming you.

Never assume that the buyer is lying right away. Most of the time the package was delivered at the neighbor’s house by mistake and it takes another 2 or 3 days for it to be returned to the PO and then delivered to the correct address – or the neighbour eventually takes it to the correct address themselves.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

Calling the buyer’s local post office is a good idea, but tell the buyer you’re doing it first before you actually do. Sometimes packages mysteriously “appear” when the buyer realizes that an investigation is going to be started to determine the whereabouts of the “missing” package.

If the buyer opens a claim for INR (item not received) and the delivery confirmation shows it was delivered, your customer usually loses the claim, however, the buyer might leave bad feedback to get even.

But always remember to keep it professional, take your time, and make no assumptions or accusations.

How To Make Sure That It’s Not A Scam?

Have them call their post office with the delivery confirmation (don’t offer to do it yourself because this will give the buyer an ‘out’ if they are lying AND it’s usually a waste of time anyway, especially when you are being scammed). Tell them that if the post office is unable to help them, YOU WLL BE HAPPY TO FILE A LOSS/THEFT REPORT ON THEIR BEHALF WITH THE US POSTAL INSPECTOR.

This is an important step to get rid of scammers because they will either stop contacting you or tell you they have found their package! Never accuse them of lying! If they still insist no package is to be found, they are probably being truthful, so file a THEFT REPORT with the US POSTAL INSPECTOR here:
https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MLNtRcvd.aspx

Tell your customer that it may take xx days for the postal inspector to do some digging. This step ALSO has the potential to knock this package loose if it’s stuck somewhere in the postal system despite the ‘delivered’ status.

It’s also a good idea because it could raise a red flag if there is a recurring problem somewhere within the postal service, or with this address.

Finally, it stalls the customer a bit, which will give the package more time to show up/be discovered if it really was misplaced by another family member or it’s still in the carrier’s truck.

If all else fails, you will have to refund. Sending a replacement may not be a good idea. It would be better to refund and have them buy again of they want.

What Ebay Suggests

If a buyer opens a request about an item that they haven’t received, you can resolve the request by providing proof of delivery. Ebay will ask you to provide tracking information that shows:

  1. The delivery status of the item as delivered.
  2. The date of delivery (which shows you shipped the item within your stated handling time).
  3. The buyer’s address, displaying at least the city and state or ZIP code of the address shown on either the Order Details page or PayPal’s Transaction Details page.
  4. For items valued at $750 or more, proof of recipient’s signature.

If the tracking information shows that the item is still in transit, they will ask your customer to wait.

If you shipped an item without tracking information, you can Ebay to step in and help. They review the situation, but may still find you responsible for refunding the buyer if the item hasn’t yet arrived.

Gary Capps

I live in the one of the most beautiful places in the world on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with my wife and our 2 dogs, Poppy and Mia. Since 2009 I have helped over 15,000 handmade business owners to grow their business with our software and free tools designed for todays entrepreneurial artisan.

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