What if My Buyer's Package Gets Lost?

If your buyer’s package gets lost in the mail, you have several options for providing them great customer service to help mend a negative experience: 

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Communicate with the buyer

The first step toward resolving any issues is to communicate openly about the order status through Messages.

Be sure to let the buyer know of any tracking updates or any communication you receive from the carrier or insurance provider. Provide shipping documentation to help the buyer and carrier locate the package. This might include tracking numbers, copies of any shipping labels, or documentation about the package itself.

If the package was delivered but the buyer can’t find it, consider asking them to check in with another member of the household, or their office if it was delivered there.

If they’re trying to find the package at their local post office, provide them with any shipping documentation you may have to help them locate the item. Encourage them to check in with a neighbor as well. 

If you end up opening a claim with the shipping service, keep the buyer informed about any progress. 

Open a claim 

The next step is to open a claim with the shipping carrier as soon as the option is available. Generally, the seller does this on the buyer’s behalf.

First, contact the shipping carrier and try opening a missing mail search request, if possible. If the package was not insured, this may be your only recourse.

If a package is not insured but is confirmed lost through a missing mail search, you may be entitled to a refund of the shipping costs by the shipping carrier. Be sure to check your carrier’s policies to find out what your options are.

If you didn’t purchase insurance, check whether the shipping method you used includes insurance or coverage automatically. If so, contact the shipping carrier to open a claim. (If you purchased FedEx SmartPost postage on Etsy, you will begin your claim on Etsy.)

If the package was insured, the next step would be for the seller to open a formal claim with the shipping insurer.

If you use Etsy Shipping Labels and purchased insurance, you can begin the claim process through Shipsurance: 

  1. On Etsy.com, go to your Shop Manager
  2. Go to Orders & Shipping.
  3. Choose the order with the insured label. 
  4. Choose the … icon to the right.
  5. Select File Insurance Claim.
  6. You’ll be directed to the Shipsurance website to fill out the remainder of your claim form. 

Send a replacement or refund

Etsy doesn’t hold sellers responsible for items that are lost in mail. However, if you’re able to, consider sending a replacement item or a refund for the order. Sending a replacement or a refund can build customer satisfaction, which can help your business succeed in the long run. 

Best practices for future orders

  • Be sure to review any Messages you receive from your buyer prior to shipping their order. They may have provided an updated shipping address, or attempted to coordinate delivery through another service with you. You can add a private note to the order if you need to keep track of important details, or you can use progress steps in the Orders & Shipping section of Shop Manager to organize orders that require changes.

  • Consider disclosing the shipping carriers you use for your deliveries on listing pages and in shipping profiles. Buyers may know they have issues with some shipping carriers, and if they know this information up front, that can help prevent issues later.

  • While there may be an extra expense depending on the shipping method and shipping carrier used, consider including tracking and insurance with all your shipments. Buyers may be more enticed to order if they know they’re protected. If this isn’t a sensible option for your business, consider reaching out to buyers who purchase particularly valuable items from you to arrange these services on a case-by-case basis.


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