Online shopping and delivery have become a massive business, with fast moving goods meaning it can be the case that your package gets lost. But what does “Package Delivered to Recipient Address Release Authorized” mean?
That message is shown when a package is released for delivery as a signature wasn’t required. It won’t show up when a package has been signed for. It is an administrative line to reveal that a package has been delivered according to the rules.
Let’s look at how FedEx’s system works, what “release authorized” means, what to do with missing or wrongly delivered packages, and generally how to lodge a claim with FedEx. We’ll also consider whether you can keep a package sent to your place by mistake.
What Does “Release Authorized” Mean?
It means the shipper didn’t pay for signature service and the package was delivered, or the package was delivered without requiring a signature, which is the default method. The release is from FedEx, and it was authorized as a signature wasn’t required.
Many shippers want the signature service, but don’t want to pay for them. They will thus try to trick FedEx into making it into a signature delivery by putting it into the special instructions field, but FedEx won’t do it unless signature service was paid for.
So while your package may have ‘signature required’ on it, FedEx won’t require you to sign it if the label doesn’t actually require it or it’s clear that signature service wasn’t paid for.
Instead, they will deliver the package, sometimes just leaving it at your residence or front door. You may notice a note online for your delivery that says something like, ‘Left at the front door of recipient, release authorized. No signature required.’
Otherwise, if the release has been authorized, this means that the sender has explicitly notified FedEx that a signature is not required for delivery and the package has been delivered to the address without incident.
What Is a Signature Release for a Package?
FedEx Signature Release is a service offered by FedEx that offers a higher level of security, safety and also provides a type of order delivery confirmation. The package won’t be released until a signature is obtained from the residence it is supposed to be delivered to.
Signature release means you can secure your domestic and international shipments for an added fee. Now FedEx will require the recipient to sign for the package and if no signature is obtained, the delivery driver doesn’t release the package.
This means that if no one is home, FedEx won’t just leave the package on your doorstep. In essence, this is a much safer way to have important or expensive items delivered to your place.
Once signature release has been added and paid for and FedEx has taken custody of the package, the service can’t be added or modified after the fact due to security concerns.
If you leave a note for the delivery driver giving permission to leave the package without a signature they will follow this. The note must reference the tracking number, delivery address, and name and signature of the person signing.
It’s probably worth putting your cell phone number down as well in case there are some other requirements the delivery service has to comply with.
It may be the case that FedEx will take the package to the nearest FedEx center and leave a notice for you to come collect the package. You’ll likely need to bring identification and the notice but follow instructions as they’re laid out on the notice.
What to Do if FedEx Says Package Delivered but No Package?
First, go to FedEx’s tracking page and enter your tracking number or reference number.
Select Manage Delivery, then Report Missing Package.
Follow the next steps and enter your details, submit it, and you’ll get a case number.
This will then set FedEx into motion to do an investigation to work out what happened with the package, including them liaising with the driver and enquiring about proof of delivery and chain of custody to get to the bottom of what happened.
It’s worth having a good look around as FexEx may have tried to leave the package in a safe place out of sight. If the numbering on your house is confusing or there are many residences near you, try contacting neighbors to see if it was delivered there by accident.
This is why CCTV or products like the Ring doorbell can come in handy, as they will record movement near your door and so you should be able to capture the delivery and, if applicable, any other mischief such as a porch pirate stealing it.
Sometimes you may have received information about the package delivery service such as the courier themselves, and you can contact them for an update. This is not the most reliable method, but at least they can give you a hint as to where they put the package.
Finally, it’s not uncommon for a package to be marked as delivered even though it has not yet been delivered, but you may still find the package arrives in the next 24 to 48 hours.
In the end, the key is to act quickly. The longer a package is unaccounted for, especially if marked as delivered, the harder it is to locate it and get it delivered to you correctly.
If FedEx thinks it was delivered, and you don’t contact them until long after the fact, they quite rightly are going to assume it was delivered correctly and are going to have a hard time helping you locate the package.
If FedEx Delivered to Wrong Address, Can You Keep It?
There’s no law against keeping a package that arrives at your residence if it has your address on it. However, if it is not addressed to you, as in it has a different recipient, or the address is wrong, then it is illegal to keep it.
Opening someone else’s mail is a felony in the United States, and lying about it will also be counted as fraud. You should try and return the package immediately to the carrier that delivered it.
If you’ve ever had online shopping not arrive at your place, you know the frustration that comes with having a package misplaced or even stolen.
You should try and return the package to a FedEx drop off location nearby if it was delivered by FedEx, or attempt to deliver the package yourself if it is a nearby address or neighbor.
You can contact FedEx via their website and a virtual assistant will ask for the tracking number and then give further instructions on how to return the package. You can also call their support lines to get further instructions.
If a business sends you unsolicited goods it can attempt to recover them within three months. Otherwise, it’s yours.
Keep in mind that it is going to be hard (and not worth it for most authorities) to prove that you intentionally opened a package that was not yours, especially if they don’t have any proof that it was delivered to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s the morally right thing to do.