USPS may be a shipping titan, but considering USPS facilities handle 429.9 million pieces of mail a day, it’s no wonder things occasionally go awry!
A common concern is when your package seems to be going the wrong way on the tracking feature- so why does this happen, and is there anything you can do?
USPS Package Going Wrong Way In 2023
Your USPS package could be going the wrong way due to an internal shipping mistake, which means your package will have to be rerouted back to you when it reaches a new facility. Additionally, your USPS package might give the impression of going the wrong way, but it is instead being sorted or re-routed in a facility that might be further away.
If you want to better understand why your package is going in the wrong direction and when being patient just won’t cut it, read on!
How And Why Do USPS Packages Get Sent The Wrong Way?
Because of the sheer volume of mail and packages USPS handles on a daily basis, there are bound to be errors.
A very common issue that customers notice is their package going the wrong way on the tracking feature.
This could be due to an error or could be entirely in line with normal operating procedures.
The types of errors that can result in a package going the wrong way are issues like mail being sorted into the wrong bin, the wrong barcode being attached to the package, a poorly written address that was hard to read, or other such issues.
If your package is going the wrong way due to an error on the part of USPS, don’t worry!
These issues are typically sorted out pretty quickly, and once the mistake is caught (if it hasn’t been already) your package will be redirected back to the proper route and arrive one to two days late.
Another reason your package could be going the wrong way is because of the “hub” system USPS uses.
The “hub” system is the same general idea as the hubs airlines use for flights.
For example, if you were to want to fly from Austin, TX to Honolulu, HI you would likely have a layover in LA, despite the fact that it’s really no closer to Hawaii than Austin is- that’s an airline hub, which helps airlines manage flights more efficiently.
USPS does the same thing with packages- sometimes, your package gets sent to a hub facility before actually making it to you, and sometimes the nearest hub facility isn’t exactly in your direction.
This results in your package seeming to go the wrong way while in transit, when in fact it’s going to the hub facility for processing and to get sent to you faster.
The use of the USPS hub system helps keep local post offices from getting overwhelmed with mail, especially those in high-density population areas.
So when in doubt, just give your tracking information a day or two to see if your package ends up moving a lot closer to you!
What Do You Do When Your USPS Package Is Going The Wrong Way?
Since there are a wide variety of reasons your package could be moving away from you rather than towards you on the tracking feature, it’s always best to be patient.
If your package is going in the wrong direction due to an error, it will likely be caught quickly when the next facility reaches it.
If your package is going in the wrong direction because it’s on its way to a hub facility, then there’s nothing amiss with the route at all and you can plan to receive your package on time.
So, overall, the best thing you can do is give your tracking information 24-48 hours to update.
If after waiting 24-48 hours your package hasn’t moved, or worse, has continued moving in the wrong direction, it’s probably a good time to reach out for help.
When you need help with a package going the wrong way, your best bet is usually to call USPS Customer Service at 1-800-275-8777, or you can visit this page of the USPS website to find more options better suited to you.
You can also contact your local post office and see if they have any information for you.
Whenever reaching out for help with a package, be sure to have your tracking information on hand because that’s how they’ll locate your package and be sure they have the right information.
To know more about USPS, you can also read our posts if USPS packages are insured, USPS delivered to the wrong address, and whether or not USPS delivers to door.
USPS packages occasionally get sent in the wrong direction, sometimes due to human or mechanical errors and sometimes because of USPS’ “hub” systems.
If your package seems to be moving in the wrong direction on the tracking feature, the best thing to do is to wait a couple of days.
Most issues such as the mail being loaded onto the wrong truck or if your package is going to a hub facility in the opposite direction will be resolved in a couple of days and the package will get back on its way to you.