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Who Pays for Stolen Packages?

A stolen package at Christmas time is a terrible thing. Whether it was a gift for your child, or something valuable sent from someone you care about -- you are going to be mad. And you are going to want some compensation. Can you look to the delivery company for a little payback?Whether a delivery company will reimburse you for a stolen or lost package depends on a number of different factors, most importantly your contract. Yes, when you send a package you enter into a contract. The terms of that deal govern the extent to which you can seek reimbursement for a delivery that never arrives. Factors That Matter Factors that will impact your ability to seek reimbursement include what delivery service you use, whether and how much the package was insured, and where it was stolen, among others. Packages stolen off a front porch are less likely to be reimbursed than those taken from a delivery truck. Terms of receipt are also very important, perhaps the most important contract term in this context. So let's take a look at what you can do to ensure that presents don't all get swiped from your doorstep. Require a Signature To ensure that you receive what you ordered and that your gifts reach the intended recipients, require a signature when packages are delivered. Requiring a signature makes proof of delivery to an appropriate party an element of your deal, or contract. When you do not require a signature, you are agreeing that the extent of your deal with the delivery company is that they get the package to a particular address. In other words, you are not requiring that the package reach a specified individual, or even that just any person at the address may accept the package. You are asking only that the package reach its destination and certifying that the company's responsibility ends with dropping the package at the door. If you require no signature, then it is also much easier for a package that actually disappeared en route to be classified as a package stolen later. So although it can be very convenient to order goods online and find them waiting in a pile on your porch, it's probably worth the effort to ensure that deliveries only occur when you are available to receive them. Related Resources: Criminal Consequences of Stealing Packages (FindLaw Blotter) US Code Section 1708: Theft or Receipt of Stolen Mail Generally (FindLaw) Shoppers, Beware Christmas Counterfeits (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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