In the US, shipping companies often have relatively limited ways for you to get your package and if you don't jump through the proper hoops they don't give you your package. While I understand why they do this from a security perspective, I'm curious what laws you would actually be breaking if you simply picked up your package and walked out the door or took it off the truck.

Assuming you have already paid for the package and don't intend to scam the shipper or the vendor in any way, what, if any, laws would you be violating by removing the package against the shipping company's will?

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    At the very least, probably trespassing. This may also depend on the shipping terms, if it is FOB Destination, the shipping company technically "owns" the package until it arrives at your door, so could be theft too. It really depends on the shipper, the contract terms, and your purchase terms.
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 20:11
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    @RonBeyer FOB is only relevant in marine transport - its unlikely the OP has access to the docks.
    – Dale M
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 22:37
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    @DaleM Not true in the United States, FOB is often used in domestic shipping terms even if the shipment is not traveling by water. Internationally this is true, but US domestic carriers and shippers use "FOB" terms within the US.
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 1:09

1 Answer 1


Its not yours until its delivered

When delivery happens depends on your contract with the seller. In addition, risk may transfer from the seller to the buyer at a different time from delivery.

The International Chamber of Commerce has published Incoterms to standardize both delivery and risk transfer times in international contracts and the terms are commonly used in domestic contracts.

So until the buyer has taken delivery, the goods belong to the seller and taking them is theft.


Regardless of who currently owns the property, the carrier is its bailee and is responsible to the owner for its care and protection. That may mean they have to protect it from the owner.


You can't enter another person's property without permission even to claim your own property.

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