You have received a tracking update where UPS says “Delivered” but there’s no package in sight.
It is natural to think the worst in this situation; the package has been stolen or has gone missing. Or that UPS has made a mistake and delivered your package to the wrong person.
While these might be the outcomes, there is plenty that you can do if you receive this update.
Let’s take a look…
UPS Says Delivered But No Package
There are a number of actions you might take after UPS says delivered but you can’t find any package.
This is what I recommend:
1. Take a Look Around Your Property for the UPS Package
This is the natural first step after receiving a UPS “delivered front door” update.
You should check around the property for the package before contacting UPS or the shipper.
It will save you the time and embarrassment of involving other parties in the search when the package could be somewhere close by.
UPS drivers will place packages in different places around the property in order to prevent theft or damage from rain.
Check all entrances, and areas around your porch. Is there a container where the UPS driver has taken the initiative and placed the package inside?
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If UPS has access to the back door, garden, or gate, they may place the package there in order to reduce the risk of porch theft.
Was your garage left open? Look inside the entrance there.
The package might even be placed behind a plant pot, or at the base of a bush to hide it from passersby.
Ensure that you exhaust these potential places before making any calls.
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Ask Neighbors if the UPS Package was Delivered There
If the UPS driver has left the package with a neighbor a delivery note in your mailbox should reflect this.
However, mistakes do happen and this might not have taken place.
Or in a momentary lapse of concentration, the UPS driver may have updated the tracking as “delivered front door” forgetting that they had done so with a neighbor rather than the recipient.
Either way, checking with your neighbors whether they have received your package or saw a UPS driver stop by is a step you should take.
In some cases, the driver may have mixed addresses. This can happen with a block of apartments or condos with various numbers on one plot.
A UPS driver unfamiliar with the location may have left the package at the wrong door.
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Contact the Shipper About the Missing UPS Package
After you have checked your property and surrounding area, and spoken to the neighbors, it is time to contact the seller.
The reason you contact the seller before UPS is that it is easier for the seller to start the process with UPS in this situation.
You should tell the shipper that you have received a UPS “Delivered” update, yet the package is not there.
UPS will initiate a trace and use its various internal tracking sources to locate the package.
This will involve contacting the driver and the local UPS facility for more information.
UPS prefers to deal with the shipper due to the fact they were the person/business that made the initial order. The shipment contract is between the two.
And while you can contact UPS yourself, in the case of a missing package the shipper will be more effective.
You should also tell the shipper that you have looked around the house and asked neighbors, as these are steps that UPS will want to confirm.
As the search continues, you will be reliant on the shipper keeping in good contact with you. You can also check the tracking number for updates.
If it reaches the stage where the shipper needs to make a claim through UPS, the shipper may start to make arrangements for you to receive a replacement product rather than wait for the outcome.
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Check with USPS for Your Package
While this may sound counterintuitive, one final step you can take after receiving a “Delivered Front Door” update is to contact USPS with details of your address to see if they have your package.
The reason for this is that UPS uses USPS for the final mile of delivery, (i.e. they use USPS drivers to drop the package at your door), on services such as UPS SurePost.
If USPS was responsible for the final delivery and for some reason, the package has remained with the driver or is back at the post office, UPS may have updated the tracking incorrectly by mistake.
In other words, UPS considers the package to be delivered when really USPS has it.
5 Steps to Help Prevent a UPS Says Delivered But No Package Situation
There are a few steps you can take to help prevent packages from going missing after receiving a UPS “delivered front door” update.
Let’s take a look…
1. Use Signature upon delivery of UPS services
This may sound obvious, but using a UPS service that requires a signature upon delivery will prevent a “delivered front door” and the package from going missing situation.
A signature creates a trace.
If you are not there, the UPS driver will not be able to receive a signature and deliver. If they leave it with a neighbor, there will be signature evidence that the driver did so.
While it does mean you will need to organize a redelivery or visit a local UPS store to retrieve your package, it also means it won’t be going missing from your front door.
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2. Provide a Secure and Obvious Delivery Location
To make delivery easier for the UPS driver in terms of theft prevention and bad weather, you could install a Dropbox.
Clearly, this is dependent on your property, however, a lockable, fully installed box on your porch or by the front door that can accept parcels will make a big difference.
If a box is not possible, see if there are other ways you can create a safe package drop-off location on your property when you are not home.
Essentially this will mean the UPS driver will no longer need to search for areas to leave the package on your property, (or simply by the front door where it can be stolen).
The package will not need to be left with a neighbor either.
3. Use Clear Delivery Instructions
Another proactive step to help prevent receiving a delivered front door update and the package from going missing is to leave clear delivery instructions with UPS.
You can often do this when making your initial order with the shipper, (in eCommerce situations where you have bought a product online).
They will then leave these instructions with UPS when ordering the shipment.
Another way to leave clear delivery instructions is to sign up for UPS My Choice. This is a free service that allows you to manage all UPS deliveries scheduled for your address.
Through this, you can add special delivery instructions even after the package has left the shipper. You can also add alternative address delivery or request that the package be left with a neighbor.
All of this will help prevent unexpected issues upon delivery, such as packages going missing.
4. Schedule Deliveries or Request Pick-Up
By using your tracking number and calling UPS, or logging into the UPS My Choice service mentioned above, you can schedule delivery times and/or request that you pick up the package from a local UPS store.
Again, this is all about preventing the need for the package from being left at the front door unattended.
You can schedule delivery for a time you know you can receive the package personally.
You can also prevent all threats of porch theft, loss, or delivery to the wrong address by picking it up from your local UPS store.
Yes, this does require more effort on your part, but the peace of mind makes it worthwhile. Especially if you live in an area where packages go missing frequently.
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5. Send Packages to Your Place of Work
If the situation works for you, you could have packages delivered to your workplace rather than your home address.
Outside of COVID lockdowns, many of us are at our work addresses for 40 hours or more a week.
Having your UPS packages delivered there will help prevent them from being left by the front door all day, and all the risks that come with that.
You can safely accept packages at work, (or organize for reception or the mailroom to do so on your behalf), and take them home when your shift ends.
A spin-off from this if you live in an apartment or condo with an entrance reception or office is to have UPS packages sent there instead.
Make arrangements with the property manager etc, to see if packages can be delivered there first, however.
No one likes receiving a UPS “Delivered” update, only to find that the package is not there.
However, as you will have seen from this guide, there are a number of reasons why this may have happened and steps you can take to retrieve the package.
There are also preventative steps you can take.
When you take all of this into account, it is not such a dreaded update after all.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂