Tips on what to do about delayed or missing packages

Hi all,
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and all shipping carriers are experiencing heavy, unprecedented delays in delivering packages this year, given the increased holiday traffic, global supply chain issues, and the ongoing pandemic.  I've included a few insights here to address common questions and tips here for tracking your deliveries:

What if I got a notification that my package was shipped, but the USPS tracking information still says "Accepted" or "Label Created"?

USPS tracking is often not updating immediately, so this doesn't mean that your package hasn't shipped yet!  It likely means that the package has been dropped off at the post office but not yet scanned, or it's been scanned but not yet updated in the system. Check back in a day or two—it will often have updated by then. That said, sellers have found that sometimes tracking will even jump from "Accepted" to "Delivered," adding to the continually unfolding mystery of 2020/ 2021!

What if my package should have been delivered by now, but it's still in transit?

  1. Take a deep breath! I know it's really frustrating to not have your packages delivered on time, especially around the holidays, but small businesses and postal workers are really doing their best to get your packages out and delivered to you.  The good news is that it's unlikely that your package is lost—most likely it's just taking a longer time (and a more roundabout route) to get to you. 
  2. Turn on text or email notifications from the USPS tracking page. You can do this on on the same page that shows your tracking information.  No one's quite sure why, but many small business owners agree that turning on notifications seems to give some packages an extra nudge to get moving!  At least it can't hurt, right?
  3. Call your local post office.  I wish there was more we could do on the seller's end, but unfortunately, sellers only have the same tracking information as you do once your package is in the hands of the USPS.  If tracking says that 1) your package was delivered but you don't see it, 2) it's being held at your local post office, or 3) it's unable to be delivered, your local post office will have the most information.  They will often be able to talk to the actual postal worker who works your route to get on-the-ground updates.  
  4. After you've done all three, let the seller know if you're still having issues!  Again, I wish I could do more (and trust me, I'm also anxiously checking tracking updates on my end), and I know other small business owners do too, but we don't have more information or control than you do once your package is with USPS.  But if you've done all of the steps above and you're still having issues, send the seller an email and they will probably do their best to help you troubleshoot. One of the perks of buying from small businesses is that there is a real human on the other side of your emails, willing and eager to help!

What if USPS says my package was delivered, but I don't see it? 

  1. Check / ask around. It's possible that your package was misdelivered to a lobby/back door, or to a neighbor.  Check other possible delivery locations in your building or ask your neighbors if they received a package meant for you.    
  2. Wait 2 days, then call your local post office. It's very possible that your package was prematurely scanned by USPS before it was actually delivered.  I'd give it a day or two to see if USPS delivers it (they often do!), and if not, again, the most helpful thing is to contact your local post office. They should be able to talk to the postal worker who works your route and see where it was actually delivered versus scanned.  
A note on package theft: Package theft is on the rise in some places. That's also a possibility if your package was left on the doorstep or in an unsecured place.  If you suspect this is the case and your building has security cameras, you can try checking the footage and filing a police report.  

What if my present will be delivered after Christmas?

I found this advice from @prettybyher to be helpful, so sharing it here:
1. Print a photo of your gift and wrap that image up so that the recipient still has something to open.
2. Once your gift is opened, proudly share how you shopped small this year and have helped your favorite small businesses survive and thrive in 2021 and let them know that the physical gift will arrive soon. 

I hope that this was helpful!  Please have patience with the small businesses who are creating and shipping out your presents, and with the mail carriers who are delivering them to you and your loved ones!  We are doing our best in these chaotic times. And thank you for supporting us small businesses this holiday season. 

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published