What if Amazon can’t deliver?

If nobody’s at your delivery address when the Amazon courier arrives, then it’s not the end of the world. Wherever possible, they’ll just pop you package through the letterbox. And if they can’t do that, depending on your delivery preference, they’ll attempt to leave it in your preferred safe or secure place – or deliver it to a neighbour.

When this happens, Amazon will send you an email to let you know, and you can simply pick up your parcel at your convenience. It’s pretty straightforward really. But from time to time, you may find that your parcel has been returned to Amazon because it’s ‘undeliverable’ (i.e. they were unable to get it to you) – and you’ll have to place another order to get the items you want.

In this article, we explore the different reasons why this can happen – and give you a few tips to help you avoid getting in this situation.

1. Incorrect address

Firstly, you should always check (and double check) that your delivery address is correct and up to date. If your address is incorrect, it’s likely that your parcel will be returned to Amazon by the courier – or the recipient who’s received it by accident. Make sure you keep the Address Book up to date on your Amazon account.



2. Incorrect address format

It’s possible to enter your address in a format that Amazon’s system doesn’t recognise. In this case, your parcel may be handed to a courier who is then unable to deliver to your address.

3. Failed delivery attempts

If a courier can’t deliver the first time, they’ll usually make at least one other attempt before they give up. And if they still can’t get your parcel to you, they’ll return it to Amazon.

4. Refused by recipient

If you’ve ordered a gift for someone and they’re not expecting it, they may think it’s a mistake and can refuse to accept it. When this occurs, the person paying for the gift will be refunded and notified by email. To make sure you avoid this situation, it’s wise to inform the lucky recipient so they know that something’s on the way – even if it spoils the surprise a little!

5. Illegible address

It’s rare, but possible, that address labels can become difficult (or even impossible) to read in transit. Rather than guessing and accidentally delivering to the wrong address, the courier will return the parcel to Amazon instead.

6. Damaged in transit

Occasionally, parcels can be damaged as they’re making their way to you. In this case, the courier  may return it to Amazon without trying to deliver it to you, so you don’t receive damaged items.

Remember to set your preferences

You can change all these ‘Unattended Delivery’ preferences when you order. Here’s how you do it:

  • When you reach the checkout, click ‘Change’ next to ‘What if I’m not in?’ for your delivery address.
  • A pop-up window will appear, and is where you nominate a preferred neighbour or choose a safe delivery place from the drop-down list.
  • If you select ‘No special preference’, the courier will leave a calling card telling you how to collect or receive your order.
  • If you wish, you apply these preferences to all future orders.

It’s a really good idea to keep these up to date, just in case you ever need them. And remember, some orders aren’t eligible for unattended delivery (for example, items with an age restriction).

Need to contact Amazon?

The Amazon customer service team is in charge of handing delivery enquiries. So if you’re unsure about what’s going on with your order then get in touch. This is usually done online via the Amazon website, although it is possible to contact them by phone too. They can help you reschedule a delivery, request a redirection, or answer any other queries you may have.