Parcel Has Been Left on Doorstep and Is Now Missing

Ordering goods from Amazon & Co. online to your home is wonderfully easy and convenient these days. But unfortunately, parcel deliveries often cause trouble. It’s not uncommon for packages to be left on our doorstep when we’re not at home—and, in the worst case, to disappear.

In this article, we clarify the most common questions surrounding this case. You will get an overview of your rights and obligations as a parcel recipient, and learn when and how you can claim damages.

Is the Parcel Carrier Allowed to Simply Drop Off Packages Without Permission?

It is a fact that—regardless of the delivery service—the parcel delivery service has the obligation to actually deliver your delivery to you. Without your permission, messengers are not allowed to leave your orders anywhere around your house—neither in front of the door, nor in a supposedly “safe place” such as the stairwell of a high-rise building.

Dropping off a package at the neighbor’s is legal

Neighbors are an exception. If you have not expressly prohibited delivery to them in advance, this type of delivery is permitted. This is regulated by the general terms and conditions of parcel services.

“Neighbor” does not necessarily mean the direct neighbor, but can also be a person who lives several houses or floors away, as stated in the terms and conditions of UPS. Neighbors can always refuse to accept parcels for personal reasons because there is no legally binding acceptance in this country. Attention: The parcel service must inform you in writing where your parcel is by leaving a note in your mailbox.

Definition of Successful Parcel Delivery

In the case of parcels, the notation “successfully delivered” does not necessarily mean that you must have signed for the mail receipt itself. Unless there are separate agreements, the following possibilities are considered successful delivery: 

  • You yourself have acknowledged receipt of the parcel.
  • You picked up the parcel at the parcel store.
  • A neighbor voluntarily accepted your parcel.
  • The parcel was left at your desired location with your written permission.

Who Is Liable If My Parcel Was Left Outside My Door and Has Disappeared?

If the courier has simply left your parcel without your written permission, the legal situation is pretty clear: the parcel service is responsible for the loss, not you. This also applies if the parcel was left in the hallway of an apartment building.

Some delivery companies even go so far as to make their parcel delivery staff liable themselves by making them contractually liable and often reducing their wages in the event of loss.

Important: The Liability of the Seller

Now, however, we live in a world where not everyone admits their mistake right away, either. Sometimes it is also unclear whether the messenger really made a mistake during delivery. Contactless delivery without a signature makes proof even more complicated, which some black sheep among parcel recipients have been taking advantage of for some time. This has also made delivery companies more skeptical. 

If you want to save yourself the trouble of asserting your claims against the parcel service, you should at least try to do so with the seller of your goods. Usually, the seller is responsible for the shipment of the goods—until the delivery is completed. If your goods are lost during delivery, you can claim damages from your online shop. However, the regulation of the sender’s liability does not apply if a private person is the sender.

Delivery Permits Make the Recipient Liable

The situation is different if you have given the delivery service a written drop-off permit. Sometimes it may seem easier to opt for this than to have to go to the parcel store the next day. But in this case, you are liable yourself if your package was left outside the door and should have disappeared. Therefore, think carefully about whether and where you want to have your shipments dropped off. 

If the Neighbor Leaves the Package in Front of Your Door

In this case, things get tricky. If your neighbor accepts a parcel on your behalf, but then drives away and leaves it on your doorstep, you may be able to hold him liable. This is because by accepting it, he has a duty of care to hand it over to you. However, the question is whether you really want to pull the wool over your neighbor’s eyes, even though he acted out of pure friendliness and ignorance—probably not. 

Is It Possible That the Delivery Person Stole My Package? Where Else Could It Have Gone?

If your package from DHL or another delivery service is not at the drop-off location, it is not impossible, but rather unlikely, that the parcel carrier stole your package. Because in times of surveillance cameras and other technical helpers, he will rather not risk losing his job in the minimum case.

Therefore, keep as calm as possible in the face of any annoyance. These procedures could shed light on the matter:

  • Look in other typical places around your house where it could be (patio, basement stairs, etc.).
  • See if there is a message in the mailbox from the messenger for delivery to the post office.
  • Ask your neighbor if they have received your package. 
  • Post a parcel search notice on the bulletin board of the apartment building where you live.
  • After 1-2 days, ask at the nearest parcel store if your package has been dropped off.

If the package still cannot be found, it is best to contact the sender and ask them to contact the parcel service. Liability issues can then be clarified—and you can claim your damages.

What to Do If the Parcel Is There but Has Been Left Damaged?

If you hold a damaged package in your hands, you must point this out to the messenger immediately upon delivery. If you notice the damage to the goods only after you have opened the package, you should submit the complaint in writing to the deliverer. In this case, you as the recipient or the sender can do this.

A Secure Alternative: The Smart Parcel Box From Parcelsea

If your parcel has been left at the door and has disappeared, you can make a claim. But let’s face it: the whole thing costs a lot of time and nerves, while the outcome of a complaint is often uncertain. The better way is to search for an alternative right away, with which you can spare yourself such trouble in the future.

Parcelsea’s smart parcel box is one such alternative. It accepts your deliveries securely and contactless at any time of the day—you don’t even have to be at home for that. Only the unfilled compartments can be opened by the letter carrier. As soon as your parcel is placed in one of the three available compartments and the door is pressed shut, it locks automatically and can only be opened by you by entering a code.

You can then enter this code manually or send it to your parcel box while on the move, for example, to have a trusted person take out the parcel. 

More Details and Features of the Parcel Box From Parcelsea:

  • As soon as a parcel has been delivered or taken out, you will automatically receive an SMS on your smartphone.
  • The parcel box from Parcelsea is secure, has a straightforward handling and comes without an app or other bells and whistles. 
  • It has an integrated cooler that can store up to 5 shopping bags of fresh produce until you get home from work. 
  • It impresses with its modern design and is completely weatherproof—even temperatures from -25 °C to 60 °C outside cannot harm it. 
  • Flexible pricing with a one-time purchase or a monthly rental of a fair €15 per month makes the Smart home service affordable for everyone. 

You’re tired of parcels being left in front of your door and then disappearing and would like to order the parcel box right away? Click here to go to the online order form. If you have any further questions, our team will be happy to help you by phone or e-mail .