FedEx, USPS, UPS – all three shipping companies have their similarities, with copious locations, competitive rates, and the ability to deliver coast to coast.
In fact, FedEx and the United States Postal Service are more than competitors; they’re actually partners, contracted to work together on various services since 2001.
But with this longstanding partnership, does FedEx take USPS? The answer is below.
Does FedEx Take USPS In 2023?
While FedEx and USPS do not share shipping duties beyond their contractual agreement, FedEx occasionally handles USPS mailings that have ended up in their custody. More likely, FedEx will hold USPS mail for them to come retrieve. The two shippers, however, are not interchangeable and cannot be used as if they are.
To learn more about this decidedly complex relationship between USPS and FedEx, what happens if you make an accidental USPS drop off in a FedEx dropbox or if FedEx will deliver USPS boxes, keep reading!
Are FedEx And USPS Connected?
The confusion that arises with whether FedEx takes USPS or not likely stems from their existing partnership.
This partnership was in place in 2001, when FedEx won the contract with USPS that gave the latter access to the former’s domestic and international air fleet.
What FedEx got in return was access to the Postal Service’s wide-ranging local delivery services.
Did you know that USPS is legally bound to deliver to every address in the U.S., no matter the road conditions, weather conditions, any of it?
That’s going to be appealing to FedEx, who made the Postal Service’s rural access the crux of their SmartPost service.
However, in March 2021, FedEx stopped its SmartPost service and dropped this part of its partnership with USPS.
What Happens If You Accidentally Put USPS Package In FedEx Dropbox?
Note that FedEx is not beholden to USPS; they don’t have to deliver packages meant for USPS that got placed accidentally into a FedEx dropbox.
However, there are anecdotal occasions where FedEx has gone ahead and delivered the package.
Other likely outcomes are:
- FedEx alerts USPS that they have a package meant for their service and then holds the package for someone from USPS to come grab it
- FedEx might even reach out to you (if you have an account with them, they could possibly look up your contact info) and let you know about the mix-up
Whatever happens, don’t worry – it is not FedEx practice to just toss out boxes that have found their way to the wrong shipper.
That said, though, you should not treat FedEx and USPS as interchangeable shippers – they most certainly are not.
Can You Make A USPS Return With FedEx?
I found an instance from Reddit a few years ago where the company – in this case, 23andMe – actually encouraged the customer to drop off the return USPS box at FedEx!
Now one caveat, before you go putting all your returns in FedEx dropboxes; this was back when USPS and FedEx collaborated on FedEx Smartpost.
Smartpost is no longer functional as of March 2021, as FedEx dropped that part of their partnership and rebranded their local delivery as FedEx Ground Economy.
That means that even the SmartPost hubs, the packages’ last destinations before being handed over to USPS, are gone.
So it’s very likely that USPS returns can no longer be returned via FedEx, or the returns will take much longer, because FedEx has to turn the parcel over to USPS a different way.
Will FedEx Deliver USPS Boxes?
If you’re asking, can you use a USPS box to ship via FedEx?
Yes, so long as all vestiges of USPS, like labels and addresses, are removed or covered.
But will FedEx actually treat a USPS box like a FedEx shipment?
According to the site SurvivalFreedom.com, no. According to some anecdotal evidence I have found – maybe, under very special circumstances.
However, I think the best assumption is that FedEx will not deliver a shipment made for USPS. While the two share some services, they otherwise operate individually.
Furthermore, it’s actually illegal for anyone other than the resident and the postal carrier to put anything inside the mailbox at any given residence.
FedEx carriers are not going to be out there committing federal crimes regularly.
Mix-ups can happen, but if you try to treat FedEx and USPS as interchangeable companies, you will end up sorely disappointed.
Will FedEx Deliver A USPS Label?
FedEx most likely will not deliver a package with a USPS label.
FedEx is a company with a bottom line – and they aren’t going to make any money doing the Postal Service’s work for them.
Your best-case scenario is that FedEx will get the package to USPS, and your recipient will experience a bit of a delay as a result.
To know more, you can also see our posts on whether or not USPS reuse tracking numbers, if USPS is a government agency, and if USPS forwards other RIS & government mail.
FedEx does not make a practice of handling USPS mailpieces, although there are anecdotal stories of them doing so.
Much of the confusion surrounding the two shippers and their supposed interchangeability likely stems from their existing partnership.