Can I Refuse a Package?

Learn about the proper way to refuse a package from USPS, UPS, and FedEx, and what proof you need to provide as the recipient
can I refuse a package
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Have you ever wondered if you can refuse a package you no longer want? Maybe you placed an order for an item and purchased it somewhere locally before it arrived. Perhaps you bought two of something by accident. Instead of waiting to print a return label and send a box back to the original shipper, you may be able to refuse a package from USPS, UPS, and FedEx during delivery.

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You Can Refuse a Package by Telling the Carrier You Don’t Want It & Providing the Tracking Number

Refusing a package is as simple as telling your local USPS/UPS/FedEx worker that you are not accepting delivery. That said, you’ll also need to provide proof that you are the recipient of the package you are refusing before your local carrier will accept your instructions.

On top of telling your local carrier you don’t wish to accept delivery, you must also provide the tracking number of the package. In these scenarios, USPS, UPS, and FedEx require you to provide the tracking number as proof that you are, in fact, the recipient to whom the package was addressed in the first place. If you don’t give them the exact tracking number of the package in question, each of these carriers will still move forward with delivering it.

Refusing a Package Typically Only Works If You Are Present During Delivery

Typically, the only way to properly refuse a package is to do so in person while your local USPS/UPS/FedEx worker has come to deliver it. You can’t refuse a box remotely by calling one of these carriers. However, if it’s still relatively early in the transit process (i.e. the box is not on its way to your address for final delivery), you may be able to intercept or reroute the shipment for a fee.

If you know you won’t be at the delivery address when your local carrier is coming to drop off the package, you can also leave a note on the door (or fence, mailbox, etc) where they typically make deliveries. In the note, you can write that you wish to refuse delivery of the package, and you’ll still need to include the tracking number of the box you don’t want. However, this method doesn’t always work, as local carriers aren’t guaranteed to see your note. Sometimes the note can come off of wherever you placed it, too, due to inclement weather and other reasons.

Don’t Sign for the Package If It Requires a Signature

Lastly, if your package has a signature confirmation attached to it, do not sign for the package if you wish to refuse it. Signing for a package is legal proof that you accepted and confirmed delivery. Once you sign for a package, you won’t be able to give it back to the carrier; at that rate, you’ll need to print a return label for the box and ship it back to the original sender yourself.

Learn more about how signature confirmation for packages works.

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