That's exactly what happened to Rachelle Schwartz, who says the shipping box that should have contained her birthday present was, in fact, empty.
"It had different tape on the outside of the box," Schwartz told ABC11. "I've bought many iPhones - there was no cellophane wrap on this. So I had a feeling there would be no phone inside, and there was no phone inside."
Knowing there are threats to packages left unattended, Schwartz even had the package sent to a UPS Access Point at the Customer Service Center at 4000 Atlantic Avenue. She said a manager lamented that this was not the first time this had happened, and encouraged her to call Apple and her credit card company.
A UPS spokeswoman confirmed the company is investigating the matter. In a statement to ABC11, she said, "Meeting our service commitments is UPS's first priority. We have escalated this matter to our Customer Relations team, which is working directly with the customer. Package theft is rare. However, when it does happen, consumers should file a police report and contact the shipper. UPS works closely with law enforcement."
According to UPS, should customers have concerns about the security of their residential deliveries, they have options:
- Have the shipment sent to where they are - not where they aren't. In other words, if they are at work during the day they can have packages delivered to where they work. They can also choose to have things sent to a relative or neighbor who is home during the day.
- They can tell the driver where they would like UPS packages left, for example, in the shed in the backyard, or behind the garage, etc. UPS drivers can enter that information into their handheld computers for future deliveries.
- Consumers can sign up for the free UPS My Choice service that gives consumers more control over their residential deliveries.
UPS My Choice sends a text message or email when their packages are on the way. With the UPS My Choice mobile app, package recipients can redirect their packages to nearby UPS Access Point locations for pick-up at a more convenient time. UPS My Choice members can even set a preference to have all their packages delivered directly to a UPS Access Point location, instead of a UPS driver attempting a delivery to their home.
UPS Access Point locations are convenient retailers such as delis, grocery stores, dry cleaners, florists and The UPS Store locations with evening and weekend hours. Nearly 9,000 UPS Access Point locations throughout the U.S. provide about 78 percent of U.S. consumers an alternative to home delivery that's within 5 miles of their residence.
People can also consider using mailbox services at their local UPS Store. These centers can serve as a "mailroom receiving agent" and offer a real street address, secure 24-hour access (at participating locations) and email or text notification when you have a package waiting. Unlike the Post Office, The UPS Store can accept packages from all carriers.
Still, that's exactly what Schwartz did when it came to receiving the package with her new iPhone. She said now she'll only pick up large purchases direct from the store.
"I'm very nervous because I have other packages being delivered for the holidays," Schwartz said. "I'm nervous about packages left that need to have signatures or left at my house."