USPS Says Left With Individual but No Package: What to Do?

Here’s what it means when USPS says a package was left with an individual:

If USPS claims that the package was left with an individual but you didn’t receive the package, then a mistake was made during the delivery process.

You can contact USPS and/or the sender of the package to try to rectify the situation.

If you believe laws have been broken, you can contact the authorities.

So if you want to learn all about not having received a package but USPS claiming they left the package with an individual, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s get right into it!

USPS Says Left With Individual but No Package: What to Do?

What Does the Message “Package Left With Individual” Mean?

Before we get into missing packages and restitution, let’s first clarify the message that is being conveyed by USPS.

Typically, the message says something along the lines of “Package left with individual.”

You might see variation, but this is the gist.

As you can imagine, this message is trying to tell you something rather specific.

The person in charge of the delivery released the package to another human being.

We’ll get into what to do if you don’t have the package a little later, but there are a few things you can glean from this message.

First, USPS is under the impression that the delivery was successful.

The courier physically delivered the package, and a human being received it.

You won’t get this message if the package was dropped off on your doorstep or otherwise delivered without a physical recipient.

You also won’t get this message if the package was returned to the postal office.

USPS has marked the package as delivered.

The second thing you can assume is that the package is in your area.

Unless the wrong local post office is updating this message, you know that the package was delivered by your local office, meaning that at least until the final step, the package was in the right place.

Lastly, since you’re using USPS tracking to see this message, you know exactly which package is in question.

The tracking should have your name and the sender’s name on it, so there should be no mystery as to what was delivered.

Should You Have Your Package?

Based on everything you just read, the answer is self-evident.

If the package was left with an individual, then it should be well within your possession.

Let’s consider a few likely cases where this actually works as intended.

First is the roommate scenario.

Whether you live with family or not, if you have roommates, they might be home when the package is delivered.

They might answer the doorbell, and the postal worker leaves the package in their hands.

When this happens, the package is inside of your home, so it should effectively be in your possession.

A second common scenario is when you have something delivered at work.

Presumably, you work with multiple people, so anyone present at your workplace might receive the package.

Still, the theory is that they will get the package to you (since it has your name on it), and the package still ends up in your hands.

The third situation involves living in a multi-family dwelling (like an apartment complex).

Perhaps your complex has an office.

Instead of delivering the package to your door, it is instead delivered to the office, and someone there receives it.

Still, the package has your name on it, so the person at the office should let you know, and you ultimately still get your stuff.

Even if you’re not in one of these common scenarios, there’s a simple bottom line.

If you see this update and have no idea where your package is, then something went wrong.

What Should You Do if You Don’t Have the Package? (5 Options)

Now, we can get into potential remedies.

The idea is that USPS is telling you they dropped off the package with someone.

You’re saying that there is no package.

There’s one quick conclusion.

It’s unlikely that the package was stolen.

Since someone physically received the package, you’re probably not dealing with porch pirates here.

In a less-likely scenario, the postal worker could be lying about the dropoff, but that will be covered in the steps below.

The first thing you want to do to resolve this kind of situation is ensure that you really don’t have the package.

#1 Ask Around

So, start by asking around.

If you do have roommates, they’re your first bet.

Ask if anyone received a package.

If they did receive it and forgot to tell you, then you found an easy solution.

If the package was delivered to an office, the same technique applies.

Ask around and see if anyone knows about it.

Definitely start with a receptionist, if your workplace has such a position.

If those things don’t work, then you can ask around your area.

You can ask your neighbors if maybe they received a package of yours by mistake.

These things do happen sometimes.

If you’re in a less common scenario, still ask anyone who conceivably could have received your package.

The most important thing to remember is that if USPS really did hand your package to someone, it’s no longer in their possession.

They can’t exactly correct the delivery at that point.

Even if it’s inconvenient, the easiest resolution is to find the person who actually has the package and get it from them.

#2 Contact USPS

If and when asking around fails, then you have a more complicated problem.

Again, we’re assuming that USPS isn’t lying, and the package really was delivered.

The problem is that we don’t know where it was delivered.

So, your next point of order is to talk to them and see what they know.

It’s important to note that you should start with your local post office.

As I said before, this message suggests that the package at least made it to your local post office, so they actually have the most direct knowledge of what happened, and they have the most direct ability to remedy the situation.

USPS has a nice tool that you can use to find your local office and contact them directly.

You can also go in person if you prefer.

It’s really up to you.

If USPS is able to determine what happened, they might be able to fix the situation.

Sometimes, that comes in the form of reimbursement.

Other times, it could be that the wrong update was sent and they actually have your package after all.

In that case, they can simply deliver what they owe you.

Depending on the situation, USPS might not prove fully helpful.

That might be frustrating, but you’re not out of options yet.

#3 Contact the Sender

If USPS couldn’t sort it out, then the next step is to contact the sender.

For the most part, you get packages from two sources: businesses and people you know.

I’ll address each separately.

Let’s start with businesses.

We’re assuming you ordered this package from a business, and they used USPS for delivery.

If you didn’t receive the package while USPS claims they delivered it, then you can contact the business you ordered from.

Explain the situation, and they can open a claim.

Typically, businesses will insure their packages, so if it isn’t delivered, they can make the claim, and USPS will reimburse them for the package.

They can then resend it.

You get the inconvenience of time lost, but ultimately, the goods should make it to you.

If you’re getting the package from a personal contact, then things are a little less certain.

Any priority mail comes with some insurance on it, but that may or may not be enough for the missing package.

If the sender did insure the package, then they can go through the claims process too.

Ultimately, they can resend things, and you’re only out of time.

The bigger problem arises if they sent something with personal or sentimental value.

Then, the item might not be replaceable.

You should still claim any insurance that is owed, but you ultimately don’t get your item back.

It’s unfortunate, and for such an item, this is probably where the story ends.

#4 Make Delivery Arrangements

If you are expecting another package, then this is a good time to make new delivery arrangements.

Basically, you want to avoid running into the same problem again, so you can arrange to pick up the package from your local post office.

If you have a secure place to leave the package, you can arrange for that.

There are a ton of different options, so work with USPS to figure out what feels best to you, and go with it.

One recommendation I have for you is to insist on insuring the next package.

Any mistake that can be made once can be made again, so maintaining insurance is a good idea.

#5 Involve the Authorities

This is a bit of a last resort, and it won’t apply to every situation.

But, if you think illegal activity has taken place, you can contact the authorities.

Investigating the USPS is not always a simple matter, but there are steps you can take.

Presumably, you already opened a claim with USPS, and that’s a good start.

It documents the grievance.

From there, you can try contacting local authorities.

Ultimately, they cannot investigate a U.S. federal division like the USPS, but they can point you in the right direction.

For the most part, USPS is internally investigated, but you can go around your local center.

You can report the situation here, and that will give you some chance of recourse.

At this point, there are no guarantees, but this is usually the best path forward.


  • 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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