USPS provides a convenient tracking number on packages so you can keep an eye on your purchases- but why does it stop updating, and how do you get help?
Here’s what I’ve found out about the reasons your tracking number can stop updating and what you can do to fix it!
Why Is USPS Tracking Not Updating?
USPS tracking numbers may not be updated because of issues caused by inclement weather, the package not getting scanned, or the package being delivered to the wrong address. It’s recommended that you verify that you have the correct tracking number, wait 5 days to see if your tracking number updates, and then contact USPS for help.
There’s so much more to understand about why your tracking number isn’t updating, how frequently it should be updating, and what you can do about it, so read on to get all the facts!
How Do I Make Sure That I Have the Right Tracking Number?
Having the correct tracking number is critical to being able to keep an eye on your purchases before they arrive.
To make sure you have the right tracking number, be sure to look at the USPS shipping receipt and the confirmation email you received from USPS.
USPS tracking numbers are typically 20-22 digits long and do not contain any letters, only numbers.
If you are using USPS Express Mail, your tracking number will be 13 characters long and will begin with two letters and end with “US”.
Your tracking number can also be found on the orange slip USPS will leave on your door if you missed a package or on the sales receipt if you bought insurance for a package.
How Often Is USPS Tracking Updated?
Your tracking number is updated when a postal worker scans the package when it arrives at a new facility or is loaded onto a truck.
Once a package is scanned, it can take up to 24 hours for the system to update the tracking number with the new information.
However, one thing to note is that tracking updates can take longer than 24 hours if there are bad weather systems, such as a snowstorm preventing the package from being moved safely or if the facility the package is in is understaffed or at max capacity.
On the flip side, your tracking number can also update more frequently if transit or the tracking system is moving faster than usual.
Additionally, if your package is traveling a longer distance, it’ll make more stops, which means there will be more tracking notifications and updates.
Lastly, if your package isn’t ordered from a location too far away, it may only update once or twice before it’s delivered.
How Precise Is USPS Tracking?
USPS tracking numbers update every time your package reaches a new facility or is loaded onto a truck.
While it’s precise in the sense that it tells you which facility the package is in or which facility the package is traveling to, it does not allow you to track every movement of the package in real time.
What Can You Do If Your USPS Tracking Number Isn’t Updating?
It’s recommended to wait at least 5 days before attempting to contact USPS about tracking since there are system delays and several factors that go into tracking, but if your tracking number hasn’t been updated in over 5 days or is overdue, it’s a good idea to ask for help.
One option you have is to contact USPS Customer Service directly. You can do this by phone by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS.
Be sure to have your tracking number handy, so you can accurately report which package you’re looking for. From here, USPS will typically have an update for you within 24-48 hours.
You can also contact someone about your tracking number not updating by sending an email to the email address found on the USPS website.
If you prefer to speak to someone face-to-face, you can also visit your local post office and ask a postal worker about what’s going on- again, be sure to have your tracking number with you as they’ll need it to find information about your package!
How Long Before A USPS Package Is Considered Lost?
If your tracking information hasn’t been updated within 7 days since you reached out for help with tracking your package, the package is then considered lost.
If you have a lost package, you can submit a Missing Mail Search Request here.
Be sure to include as much information as possible about the package, such as the sender and recipient’s mailing address, your tracking number, and the contents of the package to help USPS locate it.
What Happens If USPS Delivers To the Wrong Address?
If your package was delivered to the wrong address, the best way to find out and recover your package is by calling your local post office and asking to speak to the supervisor.
Since the scanners mail carriers use have a GPS attachment, the supervisor should be able to see where the package was delivered according to where it was scanned during the delivery.
If the package wasn’t scanned, however, there’s not much that can be done unless the recipient of the package calls USPS to report the package being delivered to the wrong address.