What Does Exception Mean at UPS? (All You Need to Know)

Shipping services like UPS provide a wide variety of modern comforts and tools, one of the best (and best known) of which is the tracking tool.

However, even the UPS tracking tool sometimes gives you notifications like “exception” that you may be unfamiliar with- so what does exception mean, and what can you do about it? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!

What Does Exception Mean at UPS In [currentyear]?

“Exception” is a UPS tracking notification stating that your package’s delivery date has been changed. The address being unreadable or missing information, the shipment being damaged, the label being altered or missing, etc are all possible exceptions in [currentyear]. If you received an “action required” notification, reach out to UPS as they may require more information from you.

If you’ve received an exception notification from UPS or just want to know more about how to avoid or deal with a delivery exception, be sure to check out the rest of the article for more useful facts!

What is a Delivery Exception at UPS?

A delivery exception is a tracking notification that notifies the recipient of a package that their package has been delayed.

On the UPS website, a delivery exception is defined as a package being “…in the UPS network, but there was an unexpected error that may result in a change in the scheduled delivery date.”

Typically, the reason for the delivery exception will be listed in the “Shipment Progress” section of the tracking details page on the UPS website, which can be found here.

UPS will also automatically update the delivery date based on the current information about the exception to help keep you in the loop about when your package will arrive and if there are any further issues.

What are the Different Types of Delivery Exceptions at UPS?

There are many different reasons delivery exceptions occur: customs delays, federal holidays, inclement weather, damaged and missing labels, and even someone not being available to accept the package.

Whatever the reason for the exception, almost all delivery exceptions are one of four types of exception, and each exception has different things you can do to resolve them.

1. Incorrect or Damaged Address or Label Exceptions 

Incorrect addresses or damaged labels are one of the most common types of delivery exceptions, and the incorrect/damaged information leads to your courier being unable to actually deliver the package.

In order to avoid an exception due to an incorrect address or damaged label, be sure to double check your address and make sure any labels that you attach are secure and easy to read.

2. Increased Demand Exceptions

2. Increased Demand Exceptions UPS

Increased demand exceptions typically occur around the holidays, when companies like UPS are handling more packages than usual.

The best way to avoid any delivery exceptions due to increased demand is to be thorough when shipping your package- be sure all of the information is legible and correct.

3. Loss and Damage Exceptions

While there’s no such thing as a fun delivery exception, loss and damage exceptions are arguably the most frustrating of their kind.

Loss and damage exceptions occur when your package has been damaged or lost while in transit, and while they aren’t common, they do happen.

While there’s nothing you can necessarily do to avoid an accident like this happening, it’s important to be patient with your courier if this does occur.

4. Pick up/Delivery Exceptions

Pick up exceptions occur when a courier is having a hard time finding the address

listed as the pick up location- this applies only when you’re the one shipping a package.

Delivery exceptions are relatively common, and happen for a wide variety of reasons such as inclement weather, bad traffic conditions, or the recipient being unavailable to sign for the package.

You can avoid pick up exceptions by scheduling pick ups from a clear, easily accessible address, but unfortunately there is not much that you can do to avoid delivery exceptions.

What Does Exception Action Required Mean at UPS?

If you receive an exception notification that also says “action required,” you should be prepared to contact UPS.

Typically, exceptions that require action on your part have to do with missing or incorrect address information or if the courier is having a hard time locating you.

Either way, UPS is requesting you to reach out so that the exception can be resolved.

If you have a UPS My Choice account, which you can make for free here, you can typically provide any necessary information through your account.

However, if you prefer to speak to someone over the phone, you can call the UPS customer service line at 1-800-742-5877 and let them know you’re calling about a delivery exception.

How Do I Resolve a UPS Exception?

If you receive an exception notification from UPS, the most important thing is to not panic!

While it can be stressful to know that something has happened that could prevent your package from arriving when it should, most delivery exceptions tend to resolve themselves within a day or two.

The only time you should be worried about needing to resolve an exception yourself is if UPS gives you an action required notification or if your exception has to do with incorrect, missing, or illegible address information.

Either way, you can visit the UPS contact page here and reach out to someone via the online chat or the customer service hotline to help resolve any issues.

To learn more, you can also see our posts on UPS shipping restrictions, if UPS delivers to door, if UPS updates tracking.


A delivery exception is a tracking notification UPS sends you when your package has run into some unforeseen circumstance that may prevent it from arriving on it’s original delivery date.

There are four different types of delivery exception: incorrect/damaged address or label, increased demand, pick up/delivery, and loss/damage exceptions.

If your exception notification says that there’s action required, it means that UPS needs you to reach out to help provide more information so that your exception can be resolved.

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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 QuerySprout.com.

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