What Happens to Abandoned UPS Packages?

Abandoned Packages In Storage

Are you tired of waiting for your UPS package for the last seven days? Confused! Irritated! Only to find abandoned? Do not worry – file a claim. If it does not solve the issue, learn what happens to the abandoned UPS packages.


UPS packages get abandoned for various reasons. Some of them are:

  • Theft
  • Incorrect address
  • Custom issues
  • Miscommunication
  • Recipient unreachable

In such situations, these packages are usually:

  • Auctioned
  • Re-Exported
  • Discarded
  • Donated
  • Claimed

How about understanding each point thoroughly?

Here’s a comprehensive guide to knowing UPS package abandonment. We’ll discuss in detail what happens to these goods when you claim, auction, scrap, or discard them.

What Is UPS Package Abandonment?

With over 97.2 billion dollars in revenue in 2021, the United Parcel Service is one of the top courier and packaging providers. Despite the groundbreaking record, packages get abandoned. What is package abandonment?

Here’s an example for better understanding:

A customer ordered a product from some XYZ company. Now, UPS calls the company to inform them that the customer denied paying for the COD order. Shipping it back to the company may incur an additional cost of $300.

In such situations, companies abandon the package instead of paying a hefty sum.

So, abandoned packages are discarded orders. They are neither delivered to the customers nor sent back to the senders.

Other Circumstances of Abandoned Packages

Handcart Laden With Packages

There are many situations where packages go missing, remain undelivered, or get abandoned. Some of the circumstances are:

Weather Conditions

Natural calamities of harsh weather conditions may affect the transport facilities causing delivery delays and package abandonment.

Custom Issues

Violating rules, missing papers, permits, licenses, and lengthy documentation for customs can delay the process and leave the customer irritated and angry.

Busy Seasons

From Halloween to Christmas, the busiest seasons may lead to package abandonment situations.

Incorrect or Missing Address/Phone Numbers

Any errors in the delivery address, phone number, or unreachable customers can create confusion, and packages stand as abandoned.

Product Damaged

Customers may deny a parcel when a damaged product gets delivered due to the use of old boxes and poor labeling.

What Happens to Abandoned UPS Packages?

We are aware that millions of UPS packages are dispatched to their desired destination across the globe every single day. When the packages arrive at your door, it is a pleasure. On the contrary, you feel sad when it is delayed or abandoned.

You must be wondering what happens to these abandoned packages. The shipper and the consignee get a notice to claim the product within a specific timeframe when UPS track down the missing/stolen packages.

If none of the parties show interest, the package gets disposed of with due permission from customs. Recording the detail of abandoned packages is vital before the disposal of goods. Every detail is put on record before disposing of the goods. Let us delve deeper.


Auction is one of the best ways to deal with abandoned UPS packages. Do you remember the 2021 TikTok video of Stephanie? The one (@caloriequeen14) who bought 100 unclaimed packages worth $1 each and shared the mysterious boxed items.

  • The freight forwarder or UPS is liable for all the expenses and may request customs to sell abandoned UPS packages.
  • Customs organizes auctions.
  • The proceeds from the auction help to settle the auction bill, transportation and storage costs, import duty, freight, and other charges.
  • If the profits from the auction fail to meet the expenses, UPS may claim it from the sender or take legal steps.
  • The sender/shipper is refunded any extra profit remaining from the auction.
  • If the sender is unavailable, the proceeds go to the state treasury.


Destroyed The Abandoned Packages

When all attempts to dispose of the abandoned goods are in vain, UPS seeks permission from customs to destroy the goods under their supervision.

  • Must check the paperwork flow to ensure hassle-free disposal of goods.
  • No monetary dealings when abandoned goods get destroyed.

Do you know a fact that abandoned goods can be intentional as well? Sometimes people use deceitful ways to get rid of metal scraps, e-waste, plastics, and other low-priced junk that results in abandoned goods.

Re-Export/Resell to the Third Party

The freight forwarding companies like UPS may sell abandoned goods without hassle to the third party willing to buy them.

The location may be the same or different. In the case of selling abandoned packages in another country, the third party is liable to pay for the re-export expenses. Such sales proceeds can cover the expenditure of the freight forwarder.


Apart from discarding, shipping companies may also donate abandoned goods as charity. Storage of goods can be troublesome and expensive.

Deciding to donate abandoned goods for a cause can help the shipping companies get rid of the goods preventing additional expenses.


Claiming A Damaged Package

The consignee may claim the abandoned or lost goods and raise a complaint sharing all kinds of details like:

  • Contact details
  • Invoice
  • Photo documents
  • Reference and tracking numbers
  • Identity proof
  • Products description

Now, claim with UPS online or in person and wait for ten days. If the package is in transit and not yet abandoned, you will receive it within the timeframe.

If not, you’ll receive a loss/damage notification letter outlining their findings about the package. Finally, you get reimbursed for the missing package through electronic fund transfer or paper checks.

On the other hand, you may return abandoned goods if the shipper is willing to take them back. However, the consignor/shipper has to reimburse all the expenses borne by the freight forwarder.


You may be disappointed with the service or lose a precious package, but you may always re-order the missing product.

Did the answers ease your worries about abandoned packages? I’m sure you are relaxed. Whatever happens to abandoned packages, your money is safe when claimed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Buy Abandoned Parcels?

You may legally buy abandoned parcels from GovDeals, Craiglist, Amazon, Home Depot, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, BlueLots, SwapMeets, and Poshmark. They often sell unclaimed mystery packages.

What Happens to Lost Packages Tracked?

The products under $25 are recycled or disposed of. The packaging identity becomes challenging without contact details. Therefore, it is abandoned, auctioned, discarded, donated, and recycled.

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