If you haven’t had it happen yet, get ready because its coming. Whats coming is a message from a buyer asking what happened to their package. You will go check the tracking number and it will say the package was delivered. It may of been delivered a day ago or a month ago but you will run into a situation where the tracking number says it was delivered none the less. On eBay you have a bit of protection from this as you will usually not be required to issue a refund and it will not count against your selling metrics (although the buyer can still give you negative feedback. On Amazon you are really out of luck here, unless you paid for signature confirmation you are on the hook with regards to this item.
Whichever platform you are using I would recommend sending the buyer a message with a few suggestions on what to do before offering up a refund. We all want to believe that people are honest but we must be honest with ourselves and not be naive. It is just as likely, if not more likely, that the package was indeed delivered and the buyer just doesn’t know it or that the buyer is a scammer then it is that the package was lost or stolen by the Post Office.
Most packages that get lost will never be scanned as delivered they will make it to a USPS distribution center and the tracking will end there. Or it will be scanned as “Out for Delivery” (meaning it is on the mail carriers truck) and never receive the final “Delivered” scan.
Below is a form letter I would recommend sending to any buyer who says a package was not received when the tracking number says it actually was delivered.
I am sorry to hear you have not received your package. We request that you try checking a few things on your end:
Please verify this is your current mailing address because this is the address on the order.
Please check with other members of your household to see if anyone may have put your package aside.
If you live in an apartment complex, please contact your rental office to see if they are holding your package there. Some packages won’t fit in your mailbox so carriers will often leave packages at a manager’s office for safekeeping.
Try calling your local post office with the tracking number (XXXXXXXXXXXX) and ask them if they can assist you further. Sometimes they have more information than what we can see online. They may even have your package on hold for you. If they have a postmaster at your local post office, ask to speak with him/her first.
In the meantime, I will file a loss/theft report with the US Postal Inspector. They can be very helpful in finding missing packages within the postal system due to theft/fraud/misdelivery. The case number for this incident is, XXXXXXXXX.
Thank you for your patience!
This letter is meant to serve a few purposes. First we are trying to track down this package. It is actually quite common for packages to be picked up by another family member without another family member knowing. And from time to time the Post Office will make mistakes. I have had packages of my own scanned as delivered on Saturday when I didn’t actually get them until Monday. Just last week I received someone else’s package. In that case they likely won’t receive their item for an additional 2 days after being scanned as delivered. So by stalling for a few days you may also be giving the package time to show up.
The last paragraph is really the most important in regards to weeding out a possible scammer. No matter what the item is, if the person is trying to scam you they will likely be scared away by you starting an investigation over the incident. Not many people would risk mail fraud charges over their eBay/Amazon scam. In addition, someone who truly believes their package was stolen would welcome you taking the time to notify the Post Office of the loss/theft. I always include the case number so that the buyer knows you are not bullshitting.