Help! My delivery was not on Target

When Kevin Williams’ delivery goes missing, he asks Target for a refund. Is that fair?

Question: I ordered a cordless phone system and memory card from Target.com. After a couple of weeks passed, I checked the status of the order and the tracking information showed that it was delivered to the post office in my neighborhood.

When I placed the order, I was under the impression that the order would be delivered to my door, just like some orders were done in the past. If I knew that the order would be sent to the post office, I would have never ordered the items, because that post office has thieves.

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The post office in my ZIP code was on the news because a few workers were caught on camera stealing people’s packages and sometimes leaving packages in their personal vehicles, then listing the items as delivered. No one in the neighborhood trusts that post office with any packages that may be deemed valuable.

I spoke with a lady at Target who said she was a supervisor, and told me that I can’t get a refund because there were orders in the past that I called to say I did not receive. I tried to explain to her that the post office is known for theft, and if I place an order and do not get the items that I paid for, how is that my fault?

Why should I be punished for not getting items that I paid for? The tracking shows that my order was sent to the post office, not my address. I do not live at the post office. I went to the post office on three separate occasions about this order and each time they gave me the runaround by saying they don’t have it, even though I provided them with a printout of the tracking information that says it was delivered to the post office.

I called Target thinking I would get some help and they turned their backs on me because of past issues with the post office. I would like to get help on this matter as I feel this is completely unfair. No one seems to want to help me. Any help would be greatly appreciated. — Kevin Williams, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Answer: Target should have delivered the phone and memory card to you, as promised. Target didn’t tell you it would send your package to your post office. In fact, it only warns that the Post Office may hold packages if you don’t have a post office Box and they don’t provide street delivery. “Contact the Post Office for any held items,” it adds.

That’s a wishy-washy kind of warning, kind of like, “Some restrictions apply.” What you really want to know is, “Will they deliver to my address?” And by your account, you had every reason to believe they would.

The second issue was the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” problem. You say Target’s records suggest that previous items have gone missing and that the company compensated you. I’m not sure why you would order anything from Target again. You can’t blame the store for being suspicious of any future orders that go missing.

I suggested you put your complaint in writing, and you did.

“I tracked your order through UPS and USPS and show your order was delivered to your residence,” a representative wrote. “Target considers this a successful delivery.”

The representative added that it had investigated the alleged theft of your merchandise, “and we won’t be issuing a refund,” it concluded. “If you believe your items were stolen please file a report of theft with your local police department,” Target advised.

I believe you. I think you didn’t receive the items you ordered, and I thought you deserved a better answer. It’s not entirely clear to me where the item was shipped, why it wasn’t tracked, and why Target doesn’t insure the packages it delivers via mail or UPS. You deserved answers.

Sadly, neither of us will get any from Target. I contacted the company repeatedly on your behalf, but it didn’t respond. I’ve recommended you file a complaint in small claims court against Target to recover the value of your missing package, and that’s what you’ve decided to do. Good luck.

This article was first published on July 6, 2015.

28 thoughts on “Help! My delivery was not on Target

  1. With the holidays just past us, front-porch package thievery was in the news a lot.
    One of the suggestions offered was to check with neighborhood small businesses such as drycleaners, delis, beauty salons, etc. to see if they would be willing to accept packages for their regular customers. A customer could have a package delivered to the business (instead of his/her home); the business would let the customer know when the package arrived and could be picked up there, instead of leaving it unattended for any passing no-goodnik to snatch from a porch or hallway.

    Maybe the OP could consider this next time he wants to order something online, since it’s obvious he can’t trust his local USPS branch. (Actually, my local USPS bulk mail facility isn’t much better … several of its employees just got sent to prison last week for package ‘diversion’.)

  2. The fact that he’s claimed refunds from Target for missing packages several other times would make me suspicious too. The one time that Target messed up my order, they gave me the item for free – $70 value. They were more than helpful.

    1. @Travelnut – typical “gambler’s dream”. But you are not the only victim of it. Even judges do fall for this. There is nothing suspicious in those separate and rather independently random events. Please do not try to bring a rational order to random events. In order to become suspicious would be if this was the only address on that street that gets packages stolen from the “porch”. But even then one could say that it must be the neighbors who take his packages.

  3. Assuming that every fact represented in the story is 100% true, it seems like the post office is the liable party here, and not Target. I cannot imagine what Target would have done that would cause the post office to hold the package, or how it would have known to ship the package there unless that was the address provided at the time of the order. Since the OP had a history of missing packages, Target may have required a signature for delivery, which may have tripped things up. Whatever the case, suing Target in small claims court for shipping the package as ordered (and it seems tracking proves that they did) may not have a positive outcome. I’m not saying the OP should just pay up and shut up, but maybe the post office is a better target (ha!) for legal action.

    1. For the value in question, it probably will result in the OP getting their money back. Not because it is necessarily deserved, but because I would highly doubt that target will bother fighting the claim.

      1. I’m sure you’re right. But I’d be upset if Target sued this man for money and failed to ship him any goods. And so I can’t countenance suing Target for having shipped the goods and letting the (apparently criminal) post office off the hook.

    2. Presumably, from what was stated, the customer requested the package be delivered to his residence. Target instead delivered to the Post Office, which would not be fulfilling the order per the customer’s request. Why would the post office be liable for Target’s shipping error? Target could have refused taking the order or the customer’s money, if they considered him ‘unreliable’.

      1. I guess anything is possible, but for this to be the case, a live person on Target’s end would have to have reviewed the order, checked the delivery address requested, decided that delivering the order to that address was not in Target’s best interest (for some reason), looked up the customer’s nearest post office, and manually changed the entry in the system to a new delivery address. This seems unlikely to me, and I can’t think how it benefits Target to do this.

        1. ““I tracked your order through UPS and USPS and show your order was delivered to your residence,” a representative wrote. Target considers this a successful delivery.”
          Apparently Target did NOT ship it to his local post office.

        2. FedEx does the same thing. I believe that UPS and FedEx are merely third-party shippers the USPS uses for some of its deliveries, at least that’s been the case with several packages I’ve received via USPS.

          1. No. It’s a separate service that UPS and FedEx partners with USPS to provide – not the other way around. You choose the service through UPS or FedEx (Surepost or Smartpost respectively). I live in a town where we don’t have door-to-door delivery within city limits – PO Box is required. So many people have been bitten by Surepost and Smartpost. It stinks when a retailer indicates that they’re using UPS and then use UPS Surepost when you’ve not included your PO Box. Here’s some info on UPS Surepost: https://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/track/sp_definition.html

      2. “I tracked your order through UPS and USPS and show your order was delivered to your residence,” a representative wrote. “Target considers this a successful delivery.”
        How does that indicate the package was delivered to the post office and not his residence??

        1. The package was delivered to his post office by UPS with instructions for them to deliver the package to his address. This is a service offered by both UPS and Fed Ex which in many cases allows delivery to addresses that UPS and FedEx don’t normally have access to (The Post Office delivers everywhere) and can save the merchant a lot on shipping costs.

          I believe what the OP was wanting is to have UPS handle the package delivery all the way to his door leaving the Post Office out of it.

  4. I know this is an old article and I too would be interested in the final outcome. Target is unlikely to yield, as there have already been previous issues.

  5. I can answer the “why Target doesn’t insure the packages it delivers via mail or UPS” question. They undoubtedly use UPS Smartpost, which is a cheaper than regular ground service offered by UPS where they dump the package at the post office for the final delivery. Fed Ex also has a similar service. I detest them both, and unfortunately, it is not always disclosed by the retailer that they are using this service.

  6. It would be interesting for me to learn the zip code of Kevin Williams’ post office. My daughter and her family live in Brooklyn zip code 11231. Several birthday and holiday gifts that we have sent to out granddaughter have never been delivered even though tracking shows them as arriving at the local post office. My son-in-law has made complaints to the post office manager at 11231 and they have fallen on deaf ears. We now use Fed-Ex Ground to send gifts to Brooklyn.

  7. Why in the world would he not have filed a written complaint with the U.S. Postal Service? After all, that is a part of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service does, is investigates thefts of U.S. mail. One can even file a complaint online. I cannot believe Mr. Williams did not take that step, especially since he states this has happened several times.
    I can understand Target’s reluctance to pay for merchandise it shipped to him because of past losses. But, who really knows if there was actual theft or not.
    Many packages delivered by the post office are trackable and when the postal carrier delivers the package the barcode on it is scanned with a hand scanner and that shows it was delivered to the address on the package, along with the date and time. Theft is high around the holidays and his package could well have been stolen after it was delivered. There have been cases where a postal carrier has stolen letter mail and packages, but it seldom happens. All the more reason to complain to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

  8. If you are concerned about your customers not receiving the merchandise you send them or stating that they haven’t received it, send it insured with signature required or deliver to addressee only. Then you have the name of ho it was delivered to, the signature and the date and time.

  9. If Target is accepting online orders for home delivery, it needs to deliver the items to the home. This is quite a ridiculous concept … deliver my package to the local post office so I can go down there and stand in line for 40 minutes to be told they don’t have it? Why would Target ship this way?

  10. The next order this guy needs to make is a security camera for their front porch. Also, get together with your neighbors and head to the police station about this post office problem.

  11. One add on. UPS and USPS have a deal for the “last mile” delivery – and this if good. Amazon finally made USPS part of their delivery. This is excellent. Now despite being robbed naked of money USPS managed to become 21st Century outfit. The postmaster can pinpoint the very GIS/GPS location of the package drop off point.
    Of course it still does not prevent packages to grow legs.
    Many a time I have been delivered a package by UPS and FedEx and left behind the garage. This happened to one company 6 times in a row as they tried to deliver. Fortunately they had a smart and educated Loss Prevention specialist who did not go into accusatory mode like the Target’s in the above story. See the problem was that I do not have a garage. Finally I asked the company to deliver using USPS and sure enough I had the package. On the other hand even with new technology I received several USPS email telling me that the mailing is my mailbox – and none was there. Stolen? not. The Postmaster identified the houses on similarly named street in the same zip code area and send them letters requesting return of miss-delivered stuff – even though every house on that street is occupied by MD’s, JD’s and alike – nothing came back. I guess they are all too busy.
    So the next time Target or anyone blacklists you (and mind you – the retailers participate in collectively maintaining such a list) fight back – take them to Court, where the rule of law applies (most often) and not the :gambler’s dream” prejudice.

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