Since the Postal Service delivers so many packages (tens of millions per day), it’s inevitable that some problems occur. Sometimes you’ll find yourself wondering why your package is delayed….and sometimes, though it’s not exactly common, you’ll run into situations where USPS says your package is “Delivered” but it isn’t anywhere at your address. This guide goes into detail about how this can happen every so often, and what you can do when you’re wondering where your package is.
Table of Contents
- Sometimes USPS Packages are “Delivered” but Aren’t There When You Look For Them
- Places to Check When Your Package is Nowhere to Be Found
- If the Package is Actually Missing
- Some Steps You Can Take if USPS Loses Your Package
Sometimes USPS Packages are “Delivered” but Aren’t There When You Look For Them
We hate to say it, but sometimes USPS drops off a package that isn’t anywhere around your address. It’s a frustrating feeling to know USPS delivered your package, even though you can’t find it. Unfortunately, there isn’t any recourse you can pursue with the Postal Service, since the built-in insurance included with Priority Mail shipments doesn’t apply to any packages USPS marks as “Delivered.”
That said, if the sender purchased third-party insurance, they may be able to file an insurance claim and reimburse you, in turn. So, you should always let your sender know that you can’t find your package…but before you do that, you should check a few other places.
Places to Check When Your Package is Nowhere to Be Found
Before you go sending a flare into the sky, we suggest checking a few other places around your address to potentially locate your missing package. Most of the time, letter carriers place packages in an unexpected area at the delivery address; maybe they can’t access the front porch for whatever reason, or there’s a vicious guard dog that won’t let them into the gate (yes, this happens!). A few places you can look for your package are:
- The front door
- The back door
- Inside your mailbox or a cluster of collection boxes
- In your apartment building’s common area or package storage room
- A neighbor’s house
In our experience, it’s worth it to take the time to check some other not-so-obvious places. You’d be surprised how often people find “missing” packages when they do!
If the Package is Actually Missing
If your recipient still can’t find your package, we’ve included links for how to proceed with USPS as well as the two other major carriers (UPS & FedEx) below:
- USPS: File a missing mail search request with USPS (sometimes your recipient can find their missing package by visiting their local Post Office or speaking with the letter carrier for their address; if the package is missing, you may be eligible to file an insurance claim with USPS if you purchased an insured service such as Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express)
- UPS: File a claim with UPS for a lost or damaged package
- FedEx: File a claim with FedEx for shipments that are lost, damaged, or have missing contents
Some Steps You Can Take if USPS Loses Your Package
When you’re certain that your package is MIA, there are some steps you can take if USPS loses your package. We’ve laid those out below.
First and foremost, you should contact USPS before you do anything. We suggest visiting your local Post Office or try speaking with your letter carrier who services your address; if anyone could provide some insight into the delivery, it’s your letter carrier!
File a Missing Mail Search
Another option is to submit a missing mail search request with USPS. Since USPS recycles old tracking numbers every 6 months, sometimes USPS marks packages as “Delivered” by mistake. This is a fairly rare occurrence, but it’s worth it to double-check! In cases like these, submitting a missing mail search can “kick” the tracking number into gear in the USPS database, and populate the tracking number with more updated tracking information.
Ask USPS for the GPS Coordinates
Did you know that USPS keeps GPS information for every package that they deliver? Each time the Postal Service gives a package a final delivery scan, its database captures precise GPS information! So, a more last resort option to find your missing package is to call your local Post Office (or walk in) and ask for the GPS location scan information. When you give them the package’s tracking number, USPS will be able to tell you the GPS location where they scanned and delivered the package, down to a 6-foot radius. This just might be able to help narrow down your search area!