Is porch piracy a retailer responsibility?
Since November 23, I have been receiving weekly email warnings about package theft at my apartment building in New York City. The notes read, “The holidays are approaching and package thieves will be out in even fuller force than usual.”
The notes called out related infractions, such as buzzing people into the building without asking who is ringing the bell and holding the door for strangers. Residents have been urged to collect packages “immediately” after delivery or send them to their workplace or local locker facilities if unavailable. Requiring a signature is recommended. The building’s management writes, “Your packages are your responsibility to maintain and account for, not the building staff and super.”
A recent USA Today article aimed at homeowners, “11 Ways To Protect Your Packages From Porch Pirates,” suggests installing a video doorbell that can send alerts to phones when a package arrives or has been moved. Adding a separate outdoor security camera to catch a thief in the act, motion-sensor lighting and smart lockers were also recommended.
Non-tech solutions offered included putting deliveries on hold when away, asking neighbors for help and having deliveries sent to friends or workplaces.
A recent ValuePenguin survey found that 35 percent of Americans have had a package stolen. The majority of porch piracy was found to occur at single-family homes (62 percent) and apartment buildings (23 percent). Only 17 percent of package or delivery theft victims in the past year reported the theft to police. Sixty-two percent resolved their claim with the seller and 30 percent with the carrier.
UPS, FedEx and USPS enable recipients to file claims but assert that, once a package is delivered to the right address, it becomes the property and responsibility of the receiver.
Most retailers don’t have official policies on stolen, lost or damaged packages, but many appear open to offering a replacement or compensation for most losses. Amazon’s “A-to-Z Guarantee,” for instance, even helps resolve delivery issues from third-party marketplace sellers. Amazon writes on its website about the guarantee, “It covers both the timely delivery and condition of your items. If you’re not happy with either and can’t resolve the issue directly with the seller.”
- 11 ways to protect your packages from porch pirates – USA Today
- 35% of Americans Have Had a Package or Delivery Stolen — And Most Don’t Report It to the Police – ValuePenguin
- 2022 Porch Pirates: Stolen Holiday Package Study – InsuranceQuotes
- Worst Metro Cities for Package Theft for 2022 – SafeWise
- A-to-Z Guarantee – Amazon
- How to Take Action When Porch Pirates Steal Your Packages – Better Homes & Gardens
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should retailers hold consumers more accountable for stolen packages from doorsteps or apartment lobbies? What solutions do you see to reduce porch piracy?