Help! My delivery was not on Target

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By Christopher Elliott

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 Target delivered it to the post office in my neighborhood.

When I placed the order, I was under the impression that Target would deliver it to my door. If I knew that Target would send it to the post office, I would have never ordered the items, because that post office has thieves.

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.

Unjust punishment

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 Target sent my order 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. Each time, they said they don’t have it, even though I provided them with a printout of the tracking information.

Calling Target with the expectation of assistance, I found that they turned their backs on me due to 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. Please help me. — 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.

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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. (Related: Help! My Bed Bath & Beyond order is missing in action.)

I suggested you put your complaint in writing, and you did. (Here’s our guide to resolving your consumer problem.)

“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.”

Silent responses

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. My advocacy team and I contacted the company repeatedly on your behalf, but it didn’t respond. You’ve opted to file a small claims court complaint against Target, as advised, to recover your missing package’s value. Good luck.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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