Can I Cancel a USPS Shipment? (Your Full Guide)

Whether you mixed up two packages or are just having some buyer’s regret, there are times when it would be really convenient to cancel a USPS shipment.

But does USPS allow you to cancel a shipment? I’ve been wondering the same thing, so I decided to research the matter. That said, here’s everything I discovered!

Can I Cancel a USPS Shipment?

USPS doesn’t offer a shipment cancellation option. However, you can refuse delivery or use USPS’ Package Intercept service to have an item returned to the sender. Refusing a package is free, whereas Package Intercept costs $15.25, plus any additional postage fees. Also, USPS allows you to cancel shipping labels before they’re used.

If you’d like to learn more about how to refuse a package, intercept a package, or cancel a USPS shipping label, then check out the rest of my research!

Can I Cancel a USPS Shipment That’s in Transit?

Unfortunately, USPS doesn’t offer an option to cancel a shipment that’s already in transit. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to accept a shipment you no longer want.

That said, there are two ways to do this: by refusing delivery and by using the Package Intercept service.

Further, refusing delivery means the item gets sent back to the sender after delivery occurs.

On the other hand, intercepting a package means the item gets held at the post office or sent back to the sender before going out for delivery.

How Do I Refuse Delivery On a USPS Shipment?

If you want to refuse delivery, write “Refused” on the package or envelope. Then, either put it back in your mailbox or drop it off at the nearest post office.

As long as you haven’t opened the item, USPS won’t charge you for return postage.

That said, the tracking information won’t be accurate if you refuse delivery. Instead, the USPS system will list the package as “Delivered.”

Said another way, you won’t be able to verify that the item makes it back to the sender.

So, if you don’t mind taking a risk (or if the shipment isn’t worth much), you can send the package back and hope for the best.

Otherwise, pay for a new return label that comes with a tracking number. That way, you’ll know for sure that the package makes it back.

What Is USPS Package Intercept?

What Is USPS Package Intercept?

For a fee, USPS offers a service called Package Intercept. With that, this service lets the sender or the recipient stop delivery or redirect an item that hasn’t gone out for delivery yet.

Then, packages can either be held for pickup at the destination post office or be returned to the sender.

Additionally, most domestic mailpieces with a tracking number or extra services barcode are eligible for Package Intercept.

That said, this includes Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class mail with additional services.

With all this in mind, here are some items ineligible for Package Intercept:

  • USPS Marketing Mail products and periodicals
  • Items addressed to a Commercial Mailing Receiving Agency
  • Items redirected to a PO Box
  • Non-Mailable items, items with surface-only transportation markings, such as Label 127, Surface Mail Only, or items bearing other hazardous materials markings, such as Consumer Commodity ORM-D

However, Package Intercept is not available for international, APO/FPO/DPO addresses or mailpieces requiring a customs form.

How Do I Intercept a USPS Package?

You can only make Package Intercept requests online.

Therefore, follow the steps below if you decide to intercept a USPS package:

  • First, verify that your shipment is eligible for Package Intercept.
  • If your shipment is eligible, submit your interception request online using your account.
  • After submitting your request, USPS will provide you with an estimated total (intercept fee plus estimated Priority Mail postage, if applicable).
  • Then, USPS will attempt to intercept and redirect the shipment.
  • If the shipment is intercepted, your credit card will be charged the $15.25 Package Intercept fee plus any applicable postage.
  • Finally, your shipment will be redirected to the original sender or held at the local Post Office for pickup.

Keep in mind that USPS does its best to intercept packages, but it makes sure to note that this is not a guaranteed service.

In other words, you may still receive the package, despite USPS’ best attempts. 

Can You Cancel a USPS Shipment and Get a Refund?

As mentioned above, you can’t technically cancel a USPS shipment. Still, if you refuse delivery or return an intercepted package to the sender, you may be eligible for a refund.

Ultimately, if (and how much) money you get back is something you’ll need to negotiate with the sender.

If you’re concerned about getting a refund, it may be a good idea to accept the package and pay for return shipping, which gives you the assurance that the sender receives it and processes your refund.

Can I Cancel a USPS Shipping Label?

As a sender, there may be times when you need to cancel a USPS shipping label purchased online through Click-N-Ship. For example:

  • You decide not to ship your package after you have created your label.
  • You were not able to print your label before 11:59 PM on the Ship Date.
  • You find an error in your label after it has been printed (e.g., printed with no barcode, wrong ship date).

If any of these apply to you, you can cancel a shipping label and request a refund. Furthermore, labels are eligible for refunds within 30 days of the label creation date.

Also, labels are eligible for refunds if:

  • A barcode scan event does not show up in the USPS system.
  • A refund has not been previously requested or processed for the label.

To know more, you can also see our posts on whether or not USPS shipping labels expire, what are USPS shipping zones, and if you can track USPS packages without a tracking number.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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