What Does Return To Sender Mean FedEx? (+ Other Common FAQs)

As much as the company might want to deliver every package that enters its mail stream, there are times when FedEx is unable to do so and has to return packages to the sender.

There are many reasons why this happens, and I’ll review several of them in this article. So, if you’re confused about what’s going on with your FedEx package, make sure to keep reading!

What Does Return To Sender Mean FedEx In 2024?

Return to sender is a term used by FedEx to describe packages that could not be delivered and returned to the shipper as a result in 2024. Packages may be returned due to an incorrect address, a refused shipment, or a damaged box. FedEx also returns packages not picked up within seven days of receipt.

To get even more information about why packages are returned to the sender, read this entire article!

What Does It Mean When It Says “Package Returned To Sender”?

In order to understand why FedEx returns packages to the sender and what to do if this happens to you, it’s essential to understand what this term means.

That said, return to sender is a standard policy postal companies employ when they cannot deliver a package.

Further, there are many reasons why a package may be considered undeliverable. Some examples include:

  • The address is incorrect or doesn’t exist
  • There is insufficient postage
  • The recipient has moved without providing a forwarding address
  • The recipient refuses the shipment

Also, if an item cannot be delivered for any of these reasons, it is usually sent back to the person whose name appears on the return address.

Why Does FedEx Return Packages To The Sender?

There are several reasons why FedEx returns packages to senders. So, let’s take a closer look at some of them here.

1. The Recipient Was Not Located At The Address Provided

FedEx returns packages to the sender when the recipient cannot be located at the given address.

That said, this could happen due to the sender providing the wrong apartment number, the wrong spelling of the street name, or the wrong zip code.

In some cases, FedEx’s software can correct these mistakes and get the package where it needs to go. However, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, FedEx cannot correct the address. Other times, the recipient has moved, and FedEx cannot locate a forwarding address.

If either of these situations occurs, there’s a good chance that the package will be returned to the sender.

2. Item Was Unclaimed By The Recipient

If a package requires a signature for delivery and the recipient is unavailable, FedEx will either re-attempt delivery or redirect the parcel to a pickup location.

Usually, recipients will make themselves available for the next delivery attempt or make the trip to pick up the package.

However, there are plenty of cases where the recipient never attempts to collect the package, which results in the item being returned to the sender.

3. Item Refused By The Recipient

3. Item Refused By The Recipient FedEx

It may sound strange, but there are times when a recipient refuses to accept a package delivery.

That said, this could be because they changed their mind about the purchase, because they think the package was delivered in error, or because the package is damaged.

Whatever the reason, if a recipient refuses a package, it gets returned to the sender.

4. Recipient Could Not Provide Valid Proof Of Age Identification

Packages containing certain items (especially alcohol) require the signature of someone aged 21 years or older for delivery.

Usually, this takes the form of a government-issued photo ID, such as a passport or driver’s license.

So, if the recipient cannot provide this information (whether because they’re underage or don’t have a form of ID), FedEx will return the package to the sender.

How Do I Return A FedEx Package To Sender?

If you’re the sender and need to cancel an Express shipment, FedEx makes it easy to get the package back to you.

That said, to do so, log in to your FedEx account, go to the tracking page, and follow these steps:

  1. Enter your tracking number
  2. Select “Manage Delivery,” then “Return to Shipper”
  3. Use the “Reason for Return” dropdown menu to select why the package is being returned (e.g., undeliverable address, suspected fraud, wrong item sent, recipient changed their mind)
  4. Click “Continue”
  5. Enter your contact information (if FedEx needs to reach you)
  6. Click “Submit”
  7. Note your case number, then click “Done”

Also, if you need a FedEx Ground package sent back to you, contact Customer Support online.

How Long Will FedEx Hold A Package Before Returning To Sender?

If FedEx makes a delivery attempt but cannot deliver the package (e.g., a signature is needed), then the package is usually held at a FedEx Office location or a third-party retailer.

Fortunately, recipients are informed of the hold location via the door tag and FedEx’s online tracking platform.

Once they have this information, they are expected to pick up the package in a reasonable amount of time.

Further, this time is about seven days for packages sent through FedEx Ground and FedEx Express.

Then, if the recipient has not claimed their package within this time, FedEx will return the item to the sender.

What Happens If My FedEx Package Is Returned To Sender?

If a FedEx package is returned to the sender, return charges will be assessed to the sender.

Also, these fees are applied in addition to the original charges unless the shipment was undeliverable due to the fault of FedEx.

Additionally, the sender may have to pay other charges incurred by FedEx when returning the package, such as duties, taxes, and storage fees.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on what does undeliverable mean at FedEx, does FedEx take USPS, and depot scan meaning at FedEx.


There are several reasons why packages get returned to their senders. For example, it could be the result of an incomplete address, a delivery refusal, or a damaged package.

While it’s not always possible to avoid having packages returned, you can minimize the risk by double-checking addresses, informing recipients about deliveries, and staying on top of package pick-ups.

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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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