Amazon Package Arrived Open and Empty: 3 Crazy REason’s why?

Here’s what to do when your Amazon package arrived open: If your Amazon package arrived open and items are missing and/or damaged, then you should contact Amazon.

They might not resolve the issue directly, but they will redirect you to the carrier and/or the police as needed. Ultimately, the resolution varies case by case, but there are actions you can take.

So if you want to learn all about what you can do when your Amazon package arrives open, then this article is for you. Let’s get right into it!

What Options Do You Have if your Amazon Package Arrived Open and empty?

It’s not a fun scenario. You check for a package you are expecting, and when you see it, the box or envelope is open.

When that happens, there are three possible outcomes. The package is open but everything is fine. Items are damaged. Items are missing.

Depending on the scenario, the best resolution will change, so I’ll break this down bit by bit.

Amazon Package Arrived Open and Empty! Boxes on the ground empty.

#1 When the Amazon Order Is Open but Fine

This probably seems pretty obvious, and you’re welcome to skip to the next section. But, I’m trying to be thorough, so let’s cover it all. Amazon delivers millions of packages a day.

It’s virtually inevitable that some of those boxes are going to be damaged in the process, and you might be on the receiving end in such a scenario.

So, you might check your porch to find that you have an open box from Amazon.

You pick up the box, check the contents, and miraculously, everything seems just fine. No items are missing.

No items are damaged. Sure, the box was put through the wringer, but unless this order was just an excuse to get a nice new box for your cats to play with, there’s not a lot that you need to do.

If the items are fine, you don’t need to open a return ticket or worry about anything at all. Consider yourself lucky!

If you want to know why the box is open, there are a lot of possibilities, but three are more common than the rest.

The first is just damage. Not all boxes have the same journey, and it’s definitely possible for a box to be damaged to the point of opening up before it gets to you.

The second possibility is that it was deliberately opened by the carrier. This does happen sometimes.

Using USPS as an example, there are times when they will open boxes to confirm the contents. It’s basically a safety and compliance procedure.

Now, when this happens, they’re supposed to reseal the box, but perhaps your box wasn’t resealed with the care and attention it really deserves.

The third possibility is that someone was trying to steal your stuff, but they got spooked and left before getting to the goodies inside of your box.

As we all know, porch pirates are a real problem. You might have narrowly missed being a victim.

A young beautiful woman accepting a package from a delivery man

#2 Items Are Damaged

It’s nice that there are cases where a box arrives open and your stuff is fine, but that’s not really the expectation, is it?

What do you do if the open box has damaged items in it? For starters, you can assume that the box is open because it was damaged en route.

We’re looking at a scenario where everything is there, but it’s not in ok shape.

So, we can rule out theft. Regardless, your stuff is damaged, so you need resolution.

Amazon has an entire system in place for this.

The good thing about delivering millions of packages every day is that it forces them to have an efficient way to respond to the issues that inevitably arise. 

Here’s what you do. First, contact the seller.

Now is the time that I remind you that Amazon is really a whole bunch of sellers managed at a single website.

Amazon itself does sell a ton of items, so they might be your seller. But, a lot of individual stores sell items through Amazon. If that’s the case, you need to contact the individual seller.

In either case, your purchase history should be able to take you to the correct seller.

From the order history, there’s an option to return or replace items. Select it and follow the steps.

You might only have an option to return it, or you might only be able to replace it. Either way, the process is intended to resolve your problem and get undamaged items to you.

In some cases, you might actually get a refund instead of the items you want. When you go through the steps, the seller will be contacted.

You might be asked to return the broken items, but regardless, you should be informed about the resolution.

Either new items will be shipped, or you will be issued a refund. It’s largely up to the seller as to how this goes.

If you want a refund rather than new items, you can specify that when you contact the seller. If they refuse a refund, you can try to escalate through Amazon customer service.

#3 Items Are Missing

There’s still another scenario to cover.

What if your open box is empty? In this case, it’s likely that your item was stolen.

There are still actions you can take, but this scenario has more unhappy endings than the previous one.You really have three options here, and you might be best served by choosing a combination of them.

As you might have guessed, you can contact Amazon and file a claim.

There are no guarantees that you will get a refund or replacement item.

If Amazon carried out the delivery themselves and failed to follow delivery instructions, you might have a case, and you might get a refund.

If not, then Amazon is not going to assume liability for stolen items, and they probably won’t help much.

Amazon does keep records of orders and shipments, so you might be able to use those records when you discuss things with other parties.

But, Amazon is usually only going to compensate you if the missing item is their fault.That brings us to the carriers. It’s kind of the same story here.

They’re only going to compensate you if it’s their fault that the package was stolen.

So, if you requested that someone sign for the item, and they just drop it off without a signature, then you have a real case, and they are more likely to take care of you.

But without such instructions, you might be on your own. There is a chance that the item is insured. Delivery insurance is usually covered by the carrier.

So, you’ll want to contact whoever actually delivered the item for insurance.

If the item is covered in the case of porch theft, then you’ll get the payment according to the insurance rules.

Usually, insurance covers the value of the item and not shipping costs, but the specifics will vary by case.

Your last option is the police. You can report the theft to the police, and you probably should.

There is no guarantee that you will get any solid resolution, but when thefts are properly reported and tracked, then police, politicians, and even companies like Amazon can use the information to try to strategize around large-scale problems.

The police do investigate mail theft. So, this won’t be completely ignored. But mail theft can be tough to solve, so there really are no guarantees on how this will end.

What If It’s a Scam When the Amazon Package Arrives Open?

There’s actually a scam that involves empty Amazon boxes. As with any scam, it’s a little weird, but I’ll walk you through it. Here’s how it usually plays out. You order something from Amazon. All of that is normal.

You process the payment, you get a notice that the package has shipped, and it’s all good. Whenever your package finally arrives, it’s empty. You have cardboard and air. That’s it.

So, you contact Amazon and try to resolve the situation only to find out that the seller is no longer available.

They’re gone, and they’re keeping your money. Amazon puts a lot into a place to try to prevent this kind of thing, but it does still happen.

The good news is that if you ordered through Amazon, they have purchase protection, and you can very likely get a refund.

The bad news is that sometimes these scams are run on sites that look like Amazon, but they aren’t actually Amazon.

In that case, contact the company that manages the card you used to pay for the purchase (like Mastercard or Visa or whoever).

If you report the fraud, they can usually refund your money. While we’re on the topic of scams, it’s worth mentioning that this one can also go in the other direction.

Sometimes, buyers wrap up an empty box and put it on their own front porch. They then report that the shipped item didn’t arrive.

The idea is to get a refund from Amazon and keep the item that actually was shipped. Again, Amazon has systems in place to try to prevent this behavior.

I just wanted to mention it because empty box scams are a strange part of a world that exists with Amazon.

What If It’s the Wrong Amazon Order?

Out of everything we’ve discussed up to this point, there’s still one possibility that hasn’t been covered.

What if it’s just a mistake? Amazon handles billions of packages every year.

It’s a pretty big operation, and sometimes mistakes really do happen.

It’s entirely possible that someone at the fulfillment center had an off moment and taped up an empty box to send to you. Whoops! 

If this happens, the resolution process is still the same. Contact Amazon and let them know that you have an empty box.

It’s probably worth mentioning to them that the box was taped up but your item(s) was missing.

They’ll do their Amazon things, and there are good odds that you can get a refund or have the item reshipped.

If it’s possible to confirm that Amazon messed up on this one, then they’ll eat the cost and make it right.

Also, let’s remember that Amazon doesn’t pack all of the items you can order from the website.

Some Amazon listings are individually operated stores. So, the mistake can happen on their end too.

Ultimately, the resolution process doesn’t change. Contact Amazon.

Amazon will get in touch with the seller. Most likely, you’ll be offered a refund, or the item will be shipped again (and hopefully correctly this time). Ultimately, I have no power to guarantee outcomes for you.

This is just how Amazon customer service usually works. Individual results may vary.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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