When you’re impatiently waiting for your online order it can sometimes feel like you’ve got one eye on the mailbox and one eye on your tracking information. Then, all of a sudden, you see the tracking information update to “Delivered.” But there’s no package outside!
You may feel like you’re going crazy, but it’s not you. USPS’ tracking system is mostly accurate, but there are times when it fails. So, if you’re worried about a missing “delivered” package, then keep reading this article to find out more of what I learned!
Why Does USPS Say Delivered But There’s No Package?
A package that’s marked as “Delivered” but is missing could be the result of a USPS scan error, or that the mail carrier put the package in a hard-to-see location or accidentally delivered it to a neighbor. However, if neither of these situations is the cause of a missing package, contact your local post office to retrieve your package’s location.
Keep reading this article to find out why USPS hasn’t delivered your package, what you should do if your package has not been delivered, as well as other useful facts and tips!
Why Is My Package Not Here But It Says Delivered?
If your tracking information says “Delivered” but there’s no package to be seen, one possible answer is that USPS’ GPS system has prematurely marked your package as “Delivered.”
Therefore, you’ll likely see your package the next day, so be patient and keep an eye out for it.
If your package is missing, however, it may also be the case that it was delivered by a substitute mail carrier who doesn’t know your preferred delivery spot.
In order to confirm, check around your mailbox, in the bushes, under stairs or anywhere a package might be left.
As well, it may be worth asking your neighbors if they received a package with your name on it, because if a mail carrier is unfamiliar with a route, they may mix up apartment or building numbers.
What Should I Do If My Package Isn’t Here But It Says Delivered?
As mentioned in the previous question, USPS delivery vehicles use GPS. This can cause a package to be marked as “Delivered” prematurely.
In most cases, all you need to do is wait another business day for your package to arrive.
However, if you’ve waited more than a day, checked around your property, asked your neighbors and you still don’t have your package, it’s time to contact your local USPS post office.
You’ll want to speak to the head postmaster or the manager on duty, as they should be able to contact the mail carrier on your route to find out what’s going on.
However, if USPS is unable to help and the package still doesn’t show up after 7 days, contact USPS to file a Missing Mail claim. You can file at your local post office, online or by calling USPS Customer Care at 1-800-275-8777.
A Missing Mail claim triggers postal workers to start a detailed search of every step your package went through between drop-off and supposed delivery.
In most instances, missing mail cases involve packages that were scanned but never put onto a vehicle for delivery or that were overlooked for one reason or another.
Therefore, starting a Missing Mail request resolves these issues and gets the package where it needs to be.
Does USPS Mark Packages As Delivered Before Delivering?
In most cases, USPS doesn’t mark packages as delivered before delivering them.
Still, postal service audits have found various “scan errors” that cause undelivered packages to be marked as “Delivered.”
One error starts as soon as a package is scanned into the USPS system, and if an employee scans a package using the “Delivered” setting (rather than the “Accepted” setting), then a package will be marked as delivered even if it was just put in the mail.
Another type of scan error occurs when a mail carrier scans a package as “Delivered” at a location other than the designated delivery location (e.g. house, business or apartment building).
If a carrier scans a package as “Delivered” at a location other than the delivery point—before delivery is even attempted—a customer would see the package status as “Delivered” or “Delivery Attempted” even if no action was taken.
Unfortunately, scan errors are more common than you’d think.
For example, one USPS audit revealed that 191 out of 1,100 packages had been scanned as delivered but were still in the delivery unit waiting to be dropped off.
Why Does USPS Show My Package As Delivered If I Just Shipped It?
There are a couple of reasons why a USPS tracking number might show a “Delivered” status, even though you just created the label or shipped the package.
One reason you may be seeing this message is because USPS has used a recycled tracking number.
To check if the number is in fact recycled, look up the details of your tracking number. If your tracking number is recycled, you will usually see a destination and delivery time that do not correspond to your package’s origin or destination.
As well, a recycled tracking number may also include a note stating that the label is “Archived.”
Recycled tracking numbers happen because of the high volume of shipments sent through USPS. With more than 20 million packages delivered every day, it’s not uncommon for USPS to recycle some tracking numbers.
Therefore, if you think you’re dealing with a recycled tracking number, the best thing you can do is wait.
Once the post office scans the label, the tracking information will be updated to reflect the correct information.
Another reason your just-shipped package says “Delivered” is that USPS scanned your package incorrectly.
If USPS’ scanner was set to “Delivered” instead of “Accepted” during the scan, the tracking information will show your package as delivered.
Unfortunately, this means the tracking number won’t update with subsequent scans of the label.
However, a USPS customer service representative should be able to provide you with updates by checking their internal tracking database.
You can either call USPS customer service at 1-800-877-8339 or stop by your local post office to have them look into your tracking information in more detail.
There are many reasons why a USPS package may be marked as delivered and yet still be missing. For example, a package may be prematurely scanned as delivered and all you need to do is wait another day for delivery.
It’s also possible the package was placed in an unusual location or delivered to a neighbor. If none of these apply to you, then checking with your local post office and eventually filing a Missing Mail claim may be your next step.