Whether you are waiting for a package to arrive or you have shipped it out to a customer or family member, it can be stressful to wait for it to be safely delivered.
Get your tracking record and go to your local post office. They will put the package on a geo-locator to see exactly where it was scanned in and retrieve it from there. Depending on whose fault it is, you might be eligible for a refund from the seller or the post office. If you entered the wrong address by mistake, you can use the USPS Package Intercept service.
When your package is finally delivered, what happens if you can’t find it? What do you do if it ends up delivered to the wrong address?
What Happens If USPS Delivers to the Wrong Address?
If USPS delivers your package to the wrong address, you need to alert them right away. But before you do so, there are a few things you can try.
1. Check the Delivery Status
The first step is to make sure that the delivery status is listed as Delivered. Sometimes it makes sense to wait for 1 day to see if the package gets delivered because the tracking information might be not accurate.
It’s also a good idea to contact USPS at 1-800-275-8777.
2. Look Around
Then, go back outside and look around. Check any porches, the garage area, other doors to the home. If you have a fence, your package might be on the fence, or it could be off to the side of the front door.
3. Ask the Neighbors
Next, you might want to ask your neighbors if they received the package by mistake.
If somebody else received your package, chances are they will either drop it off at the post office or mark the package as Return to Sender so that the post office can return it to you.
4. Contact the USPS
If you still aren’t having any luck, you need to contact USPS via 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777). Your package should have been scanned in at the location where your package was delivered, so the post office should have the geographical coordinates.
If they delivered it to the wrong address, they can often find out where they delivered it.
In some cases, the USPS can retrieve the package and deliver it to you. In other cases, they may not be able to retrieve it. If that happens, you can file a claim.
5. The Wrong Address
However, there are other factors to consider. If you or the seller entered the wrong address, this could be a different situation and you will need to research the problem.
This includes something as simple as a wrong zip code or street number. We will address this situation shorty.
Who Is Responsible If the Package Is Delivered to the Wrong Address?
In determining who is responsible for a package being delivered to the wrong address, there are several factors to consider.
Check the Tracking
The first thing to do is to check the tracking and the receipt. Check the tracking information to find out when and where the package was delivered. Make sure that it isn’t there at your address, and check with the post office to make sure that they delivered it to your home.
Check the Address
You need to look at the receipt to see the recipient’s address. If this address is incorrect, you may have found the problem.
First, look back at the order to make sure that you entered your address correctly, or if you are the shipper, make sure that you shipped the package to the address listed by the buyer. The address needs to be exact to ensure delivery.
- Buyer’s Mistake
If the buyer made a mistake, the buyer is responsible for the lost package. The seller isn’t required to reimburse or replace the item.
- Seller’s Mistake
However, if the seller made a mistake in printing a shipping label, the seller is responsible and will either replace or refund the buyer for the item.
- Post Office Mistake
If the mistake was made by the post office, the shipper can file a Missing Mail Search and an Insurance Claim. However, the shipper needs to have insured the package.
Otherwise, there are certain types of mail services that carry some insurance. The post office will pay $100 for Insured Mail, Registered Mail, and Priority Mail Express, $50 for COD Mail, and up to $100 for Priority Mail as long as you have your receipt.
What to Do If Your Package Was Delivered to the Wrong Address
If your package was delivered to the wrong address, the first thing to do is to contact the post office. No matter what the reason is for the wrong address, the post office needs to locate the package and redirect it for you if possible.
The post office usually has the location where the package was scanned for delivery, and they can try to retrieve the package. If they are unable to retrieve your package, you can file a claim.
If you purchased an item, you should contact the seller. They will have to file the claim.
The problem arises if you entered the wrong shipping address. Whether the buyer or seller entered the wrong address, you can’t file a claim with the post office if they delivered the package to the address on the shipping label.
In that case, it is between the buyer and the seller. The person who made the error is liable for the cost.
What to Do If You Entered the Wrong Address for Delivery
Realizing that you or your customer entered the wrong address for shipping can be a nightmare. If you are fortunate enough to catch this mistake before the package is delivered, you may be able to fix the problem.
USPS has a service called Package Intercept. As long as the package hasn’t been delivered and was shipped with a tracking number, USPS will try to locate it and redirect it to the correct address. There is a Package Intercept fee and additional postage, but you can often resolve the problem.
If the package has already been delivered, you need to hope that the person who receives it returns it. You can contact the post office to see if they can help, but there isn’t a lot that they can do.
What to Do If You Receive Someone Else’s Package
If you receive someone else’s package in the mail, the best thing you can do is return it to the post office.
If it was meant to be delivered to your neighbor, you can take it to them, but if you have no idea who the person is, take it back to the post office or mark it “Return to Sender” and send it back. This way, the package will have a chance of being delivered to the intended recipient.
Can You Keep the Package Delivered to the Wrong Address?
If you receive any mail that is addressed to someone else, it is illegal to keep it. It doesn’t matter if it is shipped to your address; it is the recipient on the label that matters. It is actually a felony to throw it away or keep it.
The federal government considers this tampering with mail. There are a number of reasons for this law. People receive confidential documents with sensitive information, and it could be used to steal someone’s identity.
However, it is still a crime when you unintentionally throw away mail that was misdelivered or keep someone else’s package.
If you receive someone else’s package, you need to write “Return to Sender” on the front and put it back in your mailbox or drop it off at the post office.
How to Complain About Incorrect Mail Delivery
If you want to file a complaint about incorrect mail delivery, you have several options.
Do it In Person
You can go to your local post office and speak to the postmaster, or the station manager. Let them know what happened, and they will take care of the problem. You can also contact your district postal consumer and industry affairs office if the postmaster isn’t helpful.
Another option is to call the USPS 800 number (1-800-275-8777) and make a complaint. You can go to the USPS website and use their “Email Us” form. If you want to go further up, you can file a complaint with the USPS Office of the Inspector General.
The important thing is to consider what you are complaining about. If it is an ongoing problem that is the post office’s fault, you may want results. If it is a one-time situation, you may want to let them know what happened.
As you can see, there are a few reasons why your mail can be sent to the wrong address. Regardless of whose fault that is, you need to make sure to look around properly, ask your neighbors if they got your package by mistake, and let the post office know about your situation.
Always double-check the address before sending out the package.
Martha had a chance to work for such major companies as USPS and FedEx, where she gained a lot of experience and learned quite a few nuances when it comes to handling mail and packages. Now she is a freelance writer who specializes in the logistics industry.