What do I do with UPS packages that aren't for me?
November 9, 2004 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Today the UPS guy dropped off some ground packages at my door. Problem is, they for the former occupant of the house, not me. I shouted after him that the packages weren't for me, but he couldn't be bothered to stop. (He HAD to have heard me.) I don't know how to contact the former occupant to tell her I have her packages, and I don't know the new address to tell UPS to send them to. I tried looking on the UPS webpage, and it isn't much help. They don't look like anything vital (a small package each from Target.com and Amazon). What should I do with these things? Hang on to them a few days and see if the former occupant comes knocking on the door? What if she never claims them?
posted by Shoeburyness to Grab Bag (20 answers total)
Call UPS with the ID or tracking numbers and tell them to come back and get them, they were delievred in error.
posted by tristeza at 12:53 PM on November 9, 2004

Call UPS and tell them the packages they delivered are not for you and have them pick them up. It's not in any way your responsibility that you don't know how to reach the former occupant.
posted by jessamyn at 12:54 PM on November 9, 2004 [1 favorite]

Technically, these companies are required to pay return postage, so as long as they're under a pound you could easily write "NO LONGER AT THIS ADDRESS" in black marker and throw 'em back in the mail. Odds are UPS will then have to notify whoever mailed them of the screwup, lest they sit in a warehouse unclaimed for all eternity.

If you think that's harsh, look at it this way- you could have easily just taken the stuff. So consider throwing them back in the mailbox an act of generosity.

On a side note, if two packages came from two different retail companies, there's a good chance your previous tenant had an event (birthday, etc.) in which people mailed him gifts. There'd be no way s/he'd have forgotten to change his/her own address twice during an online order, right?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:11 PM on November 9, 2004

The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago. After going to the UPS web site, and not finding anything, I looked at the package again, and I noticed a phone number on a label in the top left-hand corner. I called it, and eventually spoke to the addressee's friend, who called the addressee, who called the sender. The sender sent me a return label in the mail. I stuck the label on and dropped off the package off at UPS, on my way to work. Sounds like a pain, and it was, but not a big pain. It's what I would want somebody else to do, if I spaced out my address with mail order.

It would be worse if you are not near a UPS depot, but I think some of those little 'Mailboxes'r'Us'n'Things' type places, also accept UPS drop offs. However you might get asked for a collection fee if UPS pick up; I would double-check with UPS that this will not be the case.
posted by carter at 1:11 PM on November 9, 2004

Definitely do not open them up to see if there's anything good in there. I say that because I would be very tempted, personally. However, it would be wrong.
posted by luser at 1:11 PM on November 9, 2004

Don't you have to sign for UPS packages? You do in Canada.
posted by dobbs at 1:25 PM on November 9, 2004

1. Do NOT toss this in the mail with "return to sender" on it. The USPS will only return mail that they originally delivered. The USPS also will not (anymore) handle mail over 1 lb dropped in a mailbox.

2. Do NOT open the package. UPS will not handle this as a return if it's been opened, or will at least get bureaucratic on you.

3. Look in the phone book for your local UPS depot. Call them. Explain the situation and tell them you want them to return it. They should do so.

If you can figure out how to get in touch with the sender, a la Carter's scenario, and are willing to go to the trouble, that's probably the fastest way to get it to the intended recipient, otherwise returning it to the sender via UPS is the best route to go.

dobbs: UPS will "driver release" packages if they think it is safe to leave it without a signature. Most of my UPS deliveries are dropoffs without a signature.
posted by adamrice at 1:52 PM on November 9, 2004

You don't have to sign even in Canada. UPS left $1000 worth of SD media in my unsecured mailbox last week.
posted by Mitheral at 1:56 PM on November 9, 2004

The guy at our local UPS facility (U.S.) said they require a signature if you live in an apartment complex (ours is gated). Had to go there several times to pick up wedding gifts sent to us via UPS because we were always at work when they delivered. Not sure if this is true everywhere, though.
posted by DakotaPaul at 2:23 PM on November 9, 2004

(Continuing the off-topic thread: UPS left a $1200 camera plus accessories on my front porch. What gives?)
posted by rafter at 2:47 PM on November 9, 2004

UPS seems very odd about their having to sign/not having to sign policy. I live in a locked-entrance building, and sometimes I find packages in the foyer, sometimes outside my apartment door, and sometimes I get the little sticker that I have to sign and leave for the next day. There seems to be to rhyme or reason to it. But anyway, yeah, call UPS and tell them they need to come get this stuff.
posted by JanetLand at 3:10 PM on November 9, 2004

Speaking from personal experience, if you report something missing, they will never, ever leave a package on your doorstep or with a neighbor again.
posted by smackfu at 4:48 PM on November 9, 2004

Not super relevant, as the solution is still "send it back to UPS," but you can buy Target stuff from Amazon, on the same order/checkout page as Amazon merchandise. Not to say this was Amazon's fault, but my guess is they bought a few things off of Amazon for the first time since moving, and they didn't notice the shipping address was old. Particularly if they had to enter a new billing address and just assumed that the shipping address would change too.
posted by rorycberger at 5:02 PM on November 9, 2004

2. Do NOT open the package. UPS will not handle this as a return if it's been opened, or will at least get bureaucratic on you.
Why? looking at the fact if you kept it and denied recieving it, they would be sol.
posted by thomcatspike at 5:02 PM on November 9, 2004

This is not a helpful answer, but since it's been answered, what the hell. UPS just leaves stuff under my doormat, so does fedex, although 20% of the time they want a signature. This goes even for very large items. I had a computer delivered and they put it on my stoop with the mat on top. Try to picture a box 3 feet on each side with a doormat on top. What's the point in that?
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:00 PM on November 9, 2004 [1 favorite]

The guy at our local UPS facility (U.S.) said they require a signature if you live in an apartment complex

Huh. My apartment complex's manager accepts packages for me, except when the release says specifically the addressee has to sign for it. Sometimes, they'll just drop them off wherever. UPS left a great big computer box in my open, publically accessible stairwell(!!) once. I guess they figure it's Dell's problem if it gets stolen.
posted by calistasm at 8:28 PM on November 9, 2004

I used to do a lot of UPS shipping for my business. Signature/no signature is driver discretion unless the package is sent signature required.

calistasm: Most shippers ship FOB shipping point, meaning you own it as soon as it leaves their door. If it was stolen, it would have been your problem.
posted by AstroGuy at 9:12 PM on November 9, 2004

RustyBrooks: I hope nobody stepped on it by mistake.

Here in NYC (at least in the apartment building where I live) we have the opposite problem: they never deliver the packages. We will get a third notice saying that if we don't pick up our package it's going to be sent back, when we've never gotten a first or second. Even when someone's been home all day, so we know they never tried to deliver. This has happened three or four times in the past two years.
posted by papercake at 6:14 AM on November 10, 2004

Why? looking at the fact if you kept it and denied recieving it, they would be sol.
UPS doesn't care who is SOL. They delivered the package to the address on the box. However, both UPS and the USPS consider the opening of a package to be acceptance of delivery, even if you never signed for it. If you want to return something and not pay for the shipping, don't open it.
posted by adamrice at 7:08 AM on November 10, 2004

I called UPS and they are going to send someone by tomorrow to pick up the packages. Given the nature of the "or current resident" catalogs I get with her name on them, I wasn't tempted to open. It's probably an ornament about some dead relative "spending Christmas with Jesus this year", or the like.
posted by Shoeburyness at 8:00 AM on November 10, 2004

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