UPS lost my package! Is Amazon’s resolution fair?

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By Christopher Elliott

After UPS loses Vanessa Armendariz’ return package to Amazon, she can’t get her money back. Whose responsibility is this? And should she have to pay for someone else’s mistake?

Question 

I purchased three items from Amazon that I returned via UPS. UPS has admitted to losing my package in transit and said they will refund the money to Amazon. But Amazon has to file a claim first.

Amazon is refusing to help me file that claim and will not give me my money. I have been very stressed over this whole situation because I need the money. I have asked Amazon if I could send them proof of pickup and they said no. Can you help me get my $334 back? — Vanessa Armendariz, Odessa, Texas

Answer

You shouldn’t have to lose $334 because UPS lost your package. A large company like Amazon has systems to deal with lost returns. As you noted, it would need to file a claim with UPS to recover the cost of the items lost. 

But to be clear, this wasn’t your fault, and you should not have to pay a dime.

How to avoid a lost Amazon package

How do you prevent the loss of a package? Your options are limited. 

  • Make sure you have the correct return label when you bring the package to the UPS store. 
  • Take pictures of the package, just in case you need to show someone proof that you tried to return the items. 
  • Always get a tracking number from the carrier. 

Without a tracking number, a consumer has a very weak case if the package goes missing. Keep a careful record of everything, which will allow you to quickly build a convincing paper trail and fill out any necessary claims. (Related: Amazon didn’t receive my return package. What should I do?)

Don’t just slap a label on the package and drop it in a box — especially on a high-value item. That’s just asking for trouble.

International Citizens Insurance helps expats, travelers and anyone far from home find the right insurance plan. Our knowledgeable agents will help you find the best plan at the right price and be your advocate for the life of your policy.

How to file a claim with UPS

You can also file a claim with UPS, which might have accelerated the refund process for you. Here are the steps to filing a UPS claim:

Do it as soon as possible

Contact UPS as soon as you discover a missing parcel. For domestic claims, you have one year from the date of delivery or attempted delivery to file a claim. For international claims, you have one year from the date of delivery or attempted delivery, or from the date of export, whichever is later. (Related: I shipped a computer with UPS. It arrived in pieces. Now what?)

Collect evidence

Gather all relevant documentation, including your UPS tracking number, invoice, and photos of the missing items. (Related: I returned my defective hard drives to Amazon. What’s this $546 restocking fee?)

Select the type of claim

UPS offers several types of claims, depending on how the shipper sends the package. UPS allows you to declare a specific value for your package up to a certain limit, and they will be liable for that amount in case of loss or damage.

File a claim

You can file a claim online or by calling UPS Customer Care at 1-800-PICK-UPS (1-800-742-5877) for domestic claims, or 1-800-782-7892 for international claims.

Wait for it

UPS will review your claim and approve or deny it. Claims take anywhere between 10 and 30 days. (Related: UPS missed my delivery. Can I get a refund?)

You can also choose to work directly with the merchant, which is what you did.

What delayed your claim with Amazon?

It’s unclear what was holding up your claim. But there’s a way to release the hold. I publish executive contacts for UPS and Amazon on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. A brief, polite email might have nudged them into action. I also have some useful strategies for resolving your next consumer complaint on your own, which might have helped you fix this on your own.

Also, check out my ultimate guide to Amazon returns.

I contacted Amazon on your behalf. It looked into your case and quickly refunded two of the three packages and offered a gift card to cover the third.

Did Amazon offer Armendariz enough compensation?

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About this story

We have been getting slammed with Amazon cases like these for months. They’re immensely frustrating to our readers and I’ve begun to wonder if Amazon is doing enough to address this problem. My solution? I’ll write about it. I’m grateful to our entire advocacy team for helping me resolve these difficult cases. Also, many thanks to Dustin Elliott for the art. These stories just wouldn’t be the same without his illustrations.

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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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