Who Do Packages Get Lost in Transit?

Who Do Packages Get Lost in Transit? According to estimates, up to 2% of packages are lost in transit in the United States. While it is not a huge number in the grand scheme of things, there is a non-zero chance that your package might get lost one day. Why do packages get lost in transit and is there anything you can do to prevent this?

There are many reasons why packages get lost during transit. Let’s take a closer look at the most common ones and figure out whether at least some of these reasons are preventable.

Shipping label issues. Shipping label issues are probably the most common reason for package loss. They include incomplete or erroneous address, poorly printed shipping labels (too pale and/or smudged), shipping label damage, and shipping label loss. Lucky for you, the most common reason is also the easiest one to avoid. Here is what you need to do to ensure that your package doesn’t get lost due to shipping label issues:

  • Make sure that both addresses, the sender’s and the recipient’s, are correct. The correct sender’s address is important because undeliverable packages normally get returned to the sender. However, if the sender’s address is incorrect or missing, they are flagged as unclaimed. For the sender’s point of view, such packages get lost.
  • Make sure the shipping label is high-quality and the barcode is scannable.
  • Make sure the shipping label is securely affixed to the package and protected from the elements.
  • Place a backup shipping label inside the package in case the label on the package gets severely damaged or lost.

Customs issues. International packages may get delayed or even confiscated by customs if there are errors or inconsistencies in the customs documents. These packages are not lost per se, but it may take quite a lot of time, effort, and money to get things sorted out. To prevent such situations, you need to look up the rules and regulations of the destination country and make sure that all required documents are in order.

Misdelivery. Sometimes packages get delivered to the wrong person due to erroneous shipping labels or human error. Of course, people are supposed to return packages that are not intended for them, but it doesn’t always happen.

Human error. During transit, packages get handled by multiple people: post office employees, processing facility employees, drivers, mail carriers, etc. One of them can make a handling or tracking error (for example, misdirect or misplace a package, have it crushed by putting heavy items on top of it, etc.), resulting in package loss.

Accidents or inclement weather. It is relatively rare, but traffic accidents, airplane crashes, etc. sometimes do happen, and packages may get damaged in the wreck. In inclement weather, containers may fall off the cargo ship, resulting in lost packages. This is why shipping insurance exists. Most packages are covered for a certain amount, unless you choose the cheapest shipping option with no tracking, and you can purchase additional insurance if the items in your package are expensive or hard/impossible to replace.

Damage. Package can get damaged in transit for a variety of reasons, and if the package is too damaged, it can be neither delivered to its destination nor returned to the sender.

Theft or unauthorized access. Unfortunately, sometimes packages do get stolen. In rare cases, they are stolen by the carrier’s employees: warehouse workers, delivery drivers, etc. Packages can be also stolen from delivery trucks or when they are left unattended on the recipient’s doorstep or in communal areas.

If the estimated delivery date has come and gone, and you suspect that your package has been lost in transit, you can file a claim with your carrier. The carrier will search for your package, typically starting with the last sorting facility where it was scanned. Keep in mind that the process can take quite long because carrier will have to go through thousands of packages. If the package is found, it will be delivered to the addressee or returned to the sender. If the package is not found within a set period of time, it will be declared lost, and you will receive compensation if your package was insured.