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If you’ve been Flexing for any length of time it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get that dreaded “customer complaint” email.
You can’t help but roll your eyes because you know what’s coming, the dreaded “Amazon package not received” claim. You know you delivered it. You double checked the address. You even took a picture of the package, what more do they want?
It’s easy to get defensive when you get these emails because a majority of the time, you feel as though Amazon is accusing you of thievery. BUT… these emails are not meant to be personal, they’re just business.
Amazon Package Not Received: Common Causes
If you happen to get an email like this, it’s helpful to know the date of the delivery. You can look back at your records and see the area to which you delivered.
From that point forward you’ll know to be extra vigilant in that area the next time you roll into town with your lanyard and safety vest.
So what causes this dreaded delivery message, and what can you do about it?
Let’s take a deep dive into why this may happen, and what to do about it if you find yourself on the receiving end of an Amazon package not received email.
There are many ways packages go missing after delivery but the most common and likely culprit is the “porch pirate.”
These thieves are best described as crafty and opportunistic. They drive around in neighborhoods preying on unsuspecting packages waiting happily for residents to arrive.
Higher end apartment complexes are favorite haunts for porch pirates. When these thieves spot a package, they’ll usually drive a short distance down and drop off a passenger who nonchalantly walks along the sidewalk. Then, once they reach the package, they’ll snatch it up and, just as smoothly, dive into that same vehicle.
Stolen packages are an important issue to address, especially now since peak is approaching. Peak is a thief’s favorite time of year, packages are abundant and the colder temperatures keep people indoors, making the thief less likely to be caught.
Expect to see more reports of porch pirates in the news and at your DC.
If these thieves see any opportunity, they’ll take it and that includes following you while making your deliveries. This is more common with marked delivery vehicles like UPS or FedEx but it could just as easily happen to a Flexer.
Some of these porch pirates have made a thriving business using merchandise they’ve stolen off porches. The items appear on Offer up, Let it go, Facebook, and maybe even as a third party seller on Amazon. It’s very hard to determine from pictures an item stolen from a porch or a personal belonging of the seller.
So, it’s not a crime easily solved unless the thief is caught red handed. If caught, the penalties are quite lax so there’s very little deterrent to not continue stealing packages. Some penalties can be described as a minor hassle.
In truth, the penalties for a driver, no matter which type of warehouse they drive for, with too many “Amazon package not received” complaints are more significant than the penalties for the thief.
Some customers have taken it upon themselves to defend against porch pirates by leaving “bait packages” out specifically for an unwitting thief to take. These packages are usually filled with some terrible prize such as dog feces or dead mice. A few crafty customers have managed to rig the package to spray the contents all over the thief.
Police will also leave “bait packages” with some random item in it so the thief doesn’t suspect it may be bait but inside the item will be a GPS tracker.
Another way packages go missing is a mistaken address. We all hate to admit mistakes, but sometimes they happen.
You may not even realize you’ve made a mistake and sometimes it’s really not your fault. The GPS pin may be in the wrong location or the customer didn’t provide the entire address.
That said, it’s always in your best interest to double check and if you’re unsure, look up the address on Google or call the customer. In addition, use a reliable GPS like Google Maps or Waze.
Then there’s probably the most frustrating and angering reason a package goes missing, a dishonest customer. In May 2017, three people from Indiana were accused of scamming Amazon out of 1.2 million dollars worth of products which they sold on the black market.
Dishonest customers will claim the package was never received but in truth, they just want a replacement for free – two for the price of one! There’s usually no consequence for the customer unless it becomes a pattern but for the Flex driver, the consequence may be deactivation.
Your Best Defenses
Your first line of defense against “Amazon package not received” complaints is to be aware of your surroundings. If you consistently see the same vehicle passing you, and it’s not another Flex driver (it happens), you might consider retracing your steps to see if packages have, in fact, gone missing.
If you notice there are packages missing, and you’re rather certain it has not been received by the customer, report it to the police. To aid in their investigation, give the authorities any pictures or dash cam footage of suspicious vehicles.
If you’re unable to retrace your steps and you notice a suspicious vehicle, take a quick lunch break. Porch pirates get bored easily and will likely not be willing to wait out your meal.
Considering porch pirates will follow delivery vehicles, don’t make it obvious you’re delivering packages. If you have signage marking your vehicle, you may want to consider only using that for routes where you feel it is safe.
The best way to defend against porch pirates, wrong addresses, and dishonest customers is to hand deliver the package to the customer. It’s not always possible but definitely recommended.
If the customer is not present, your responsibility is to do your best to make the package less noticeable to porch pirates. That may require some degree of creativity.
Smaller envelopes easily fit under doormats. Boxes can be wedged behind planters or decorations. Even putting a package under a bush can be a reasonable alternative to setting a package in a place where a thief gets an easy score. Disguising packages in a white trash bag is also an interesting way to prevent packages from being stolen. Thieves rarely will take the time to investigate trash bags on a porch.
If the back door is easily accessible, you might have the option of leaving a package there. If you choose this option, be sure there are no dogs or other hazards that would make it unsafe to deliver to the back door. If there are “no trespassing signs” or locks present on gates, never enter a customer’s back yard.
Apartments require the most time and work to prevent packages from going missing and you’ll inevitably have returns when delivering to apartments. Some apartments have private entrances away from view of the street. Package thieves usually stay away from those complexes. Thieves also want easy access and an easy getaway so third floor apartments are usually safe deliveries provided the others on that floor are honest.
If you have a package to deliver to an apartment that will obviously be visible to anyone walking or driving by then it’s best you bring the package to the leasing office. Not all complexes accept packages on behalf of tenants, but many do.
You might even call in advance to see if the office accepts packages or keep a list of “package friendly” apartment complexes. Some complexes have package lockers to help prevent package theft. If you deliver to a locker or the office, be sure to leave a note on the tenant’s door letting them know where their package is.
If the package will not be safe at the door of the residence and the leasing office will not accept the delivery, you’ll have no other option than to return the package to the DC.
There are times where you can take a chance but too many “Amazon package not received” complaints will result in deactivation.
You also have the option to use signature confirmation for delivering packages. To activate this feature, just select “Doorman or Receptionist”. You’ll enter the name of the person receiving the package and require a signature.
This is a great way to defend against the dishonest customer.
Deactivation for “Amazon Package not received” complaints
If you find yourself deactivated for getting too many package not received complaints, there’s a few things you need to know.
This is one thing that cannot be stressed enough, keep your own records. You can track records any way you like… I personally keep a notebook in my vehicle.
If you have any strange delivery issues, write it down. If a certain area seems more shady than normal, make note of it. If the family dog has absconded with the package, call support to let them know and record the occurrence in your notebook. (Yes, that has happened.)
Keeping records ensures that you have accurate, reliable information to fall back on to make your case stronger that you actually delivered the package. This is essential for Amazon Flex reactivation.
If you get an “Amazon package not received” complaint and it coincides with one of your records, provide the information to support.
Providing essential information increases the changes that they may remove the complaint from your record. It’s always worth a shot. Many people have reported having these complaints removed from their summary.
If you’re deactivated for too many “package not received” complaints, submit a respectful and detailed appeal using your personal records and any additional information that may be helpful to your case.
These complaints are only counted for the previous 500 deliveries. If it is a recurrent issue and continues even after winning a deactivation appeal, there will be very little you can do.
What do you think the best way to avoid an Amazon package not received notification is? Let us know by dropping your thoughts below!
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.