A month ago, I bought a custom Macbook on eBay for around $1600. Both I and the seller have exceptional feedback ratings, and for extra protection, I paid with PayPal.
The laptop was shipped promptly to my home address with signature confirmation through USPS and a delivery attempt was made (while I was home, strangely enough), but no notice was left -- the tracking information was just updated with "recipient unavailable." No big deal, I'll catch it next time.
The following day, the same thing happens. No note, just an update on the tracking information pops in while I'm sitting on the sofa a few feet from the front door. Weird, but okay, I'll just request a redelivery at a day that I know I'll be around to just wait around on the porch or something maybe? I schedule it to be delivered a few days out.
The following day, which is not the day I've scheduled, the ghost-carrier pings my phone again -- except this time, the notification says the package has been delivered. I'm home, so I hop outside and, uh, there's nothing in the mailbox, nothing on the porch, nothing in the bushes.
More than a little concerned, I call up the local branch and let them know that I just saw this update that came in like fifteen minutes ago, that I'm home, and no package is here. I check the signature confirmation slip online that says the package is signed for by someone who does not live at this address and is also not a neighbor. More concerning, though, is that there is no signature or written address on the scanned slip -- there's just a vertical drawn line through both fields. Awesome.
At this point, I give the eBay seller a heads up. Sometimes packages show up later, mysteriously, but since this was an expensive item, I wanted to be openly communicative. I also wanted to let the guy know that I wasn't planning to file an Item Not Received case or anything crazy, I just, you know, didn't get this thing.
A few days later, I file a case with the USPS to investigate this package -- they're pretty friendly, but not super helpful. I send the seller another message with the case number so he can stay in the loop and he responds by explaining he's not responsible because the tracking number shows this package as delivered, which I find preemptive, but understandable. I check up with the USPS a few days later who have no new information, but suggest the seller files an insurance claim for the item. This needs to be done in 60 days, they say, so we should probably get that rolling.
This is where things get dicey. On the signature confirmation slip, I notice the item has only been insured for <$500. It doesn't say the amount, it just literally says <$500. This is weird to me, considering the expense of the item, but I message the seller to request an insurance claim regardless. He says he'll call the post office, and I'm super thankful and I feel a bit better.
A few days later the seller explains his cat was sick and wound up in the ER. He wasn't able to call the post office, but he will. I wish his cat well -- I have an old cat myself -- and check in with him later that week. The seller says he has filed a claim, but I confirm with the USPS and they assure me over the phone that no claim has been made. Awesome. I message the seller *again* to double check, and he confirms he's filed an insurance claim that will take 6-8 weeks to process. I email the USPS and request confirmation that a claim has been made on this tracking number, and they write back the following day clarifying that no, there is no claim on this item, thanks, have a great day.
TDLR: I'm out $1600 and about 30 days into the purchase of this thing that has disappeared. I worry that filing an INR with PayPal will conclude the case without refunding the purchase because the tracking number shows "delivered" even if there is no recorded signature or, uh, package. Further, the package is insured for substantially less than the value and purchase price, so even if it is covered by the USPS, it will not be the full amount. How do I handle this?