FedEx Delivery Exception | What It Means & How To Handle It



Everybody expects their packages to arrive on time, but there are certain situations that cause your delivery date to be delayed. Unfortunately, a delivery exception is bound to happen eventually if you get packages delivered regularly. So, what exactly causes a delivery exception and what can you do to fix it? It can be caused by a number of different things, and it can actually happen at any point along the way. We will explain everything that you need to know about exceptions in this article, and we will also tell you how to handle these situations to ensure that you get your package as quickly as possible.


What Is A FedEx Delivery Exception?

So, what is a delivery exception? A FedEx delivery exception is anything that causes your delivery to be delayed. It might simply be delayed to the next day or it could be delayed for several days depending on the specific issue. It means that even though the shipper may have shipped your FedEx package on time, the delivery will take longer than expected. These circumstances are unforeseen as FedEx Home and FedEx Ground will always do everything they can to make sure that your package arrives on time. However, when a delivery exception occurs, it is usually outside the control of the carrier.

A delivery exception will generally always result in an updated expected delivery date on your tracking status. Sometimes, it might take a few hours or even a day to get an updated date. FedEx might need to assess the exception and determine how long it will take to clear the issue before updating the delivery date. In some cases, they might be able to get your package back on track and delivered on the originally scheduled date. However, an exception will usually cause a delay of at least a day in the delivery of your item.

You might even see a “PMX” exception code when you open the FedEx tracking page on This means that an exception occurred in the PM timeframe. Generally, this means that the volume of deliveries was so high on that day that the driver was unable to get them all delivered before the end of the day. So, how late does FedEx deliver? The official delivery cutoff time is 8:00 PM although they often deliver later than this during the busy season.


Shipment Exceptions For Other Carriers

FedEx is not the only carrier who sometimes has a late shipment due to unforeseen circumstances. Each carrier can handle things a little differently, and sometimes you might need to take action in order to get your package delivered. Here is what you need to know about delivery exceptions with some of the major shipping services out there.



A UPS shipping exception occurs when your package encounters an unforeseen event that might delay delivery. It could be due to an unreadable address, damage to the package, or even inclement weather. Typically, UPS will attempt to redeliver the package as soon as possible. However, make sure that you check your tracking number frequently. If you notice that the status has changed to “Action Required,” then you or the shipper will need to contact UPS to provide additional information to complete the delivery.



The postal service most often encounters delays due to incorrect addresses or high volume around the holidays. While USPS is not known for providing the most detailed tracking information, you will generally see the exception status when you attempt to locate your tracking number. Again, check the status frequently so that you always have the latest update on the whereabouts of your item.



Sometimes the exception status from DHL might look a little different from the other carriers. You might see something to the effect of your package being “on hold.” This usually signals a shipment exception, and it means that DHL is attempting to recalculate your delivery date based on the information that they have about the exception. You should see a new delivery date within a day or so, and most exceptions do not delay your package by more than a few days.


Common Causes For Delivery Exceptions

So, what causes your item to be delayed and when do these exceptions occur? There are several things that can cause an exception, and they can happen at any point in the shipping journey. Here are the most common reasons that you might encounter a shipping exception.


— Missing Or Damaged Shipping Labels

Label damage is an extremely common reason for a delay. If the shipping label becomes damaged and unreadable, then the carrier cannot determine where the package is supposed to be delivered. It is possible that the shipping label could be ripped off entirely as it moves through the machinery in the sorting facility. In this case, you or the shipper would need to contact the shipping company to provide the correct shipping address or missing documentation so that they can get the package back on its way to the destination.


— Extreme Weather Conditions

Sometimes, the weather simply makes it too dangerous for the delivery drivers to do their job. This could happen while the package is in transit through the carrier’s infrastructure or on the delivery route to your home. Most weather events are fairly short lived, and the package is generally delivered within a day or two. However, in the event of a catastrophic situation like a natural disaster or wildfire, then you should contact your carrier to determine your options for pickup.


— Recipient Unavailable

This most often happens when you need to sign for a package. If the driver arrives and no one is home to sign for the package, then they must place the package into an exception status and continue on their route. They will usually leave a note at the delivery address with instructions for rescheduling the delivery or picking up the item.


— Federal Holidays

If your delivery date falls on a national holiday, then most carriers will not be running and making deliveries that day. This can create an exception, but it is an easy one to deal with. The package generally will just be delivered the next day instead. In this case, there is no need to contact the carrier or check for frequent updates on the tracking status.


— Delays In Customs

If you have placed an order that is coming from another country, then customs can often add a lot of unexpected time to the schedule. Your carrier will do their best to provide an accurate delivery time, but customs might take longer to release your item than the carrier had anticipated. Customs delays are always a risk with international shipping, so online shoppers should be aware of this situation when ordering items from outside the country. This can especially be a problem for ecommerce businesses who fulfill their orders using overseas suppliers.


— Interference From Animals

Believe it or not, animals can cause a delay on your shipment. More often than not, this happens when there is a dog or wild animal at the recipient’s address that prevents the driver from being able to get out and deliver your package. The delivery attempt is unsuccessful because they cannot safely exit the vehicle. Animal interference most often occurs once the package is on the FedEx vehicle for delivery. They will usually attempt redelivery the next business day, but you can always contact customer service to determine other options available to you.


How To Handle A Shipment Exception

When your scheduled delivery is delayed by a FedEx shipment exception, you do not need to do anything in most cases. Most of the time, your package will be delivered on the new delivery date without any involvement on your part. However, there are occasions when you might need to contact the carrier. Pay particular attention to the details on the tracking information. Those details should provide information about the cause of the delay and tell you whether you need to take action. If you are unsure about the cause of the exception or what you need to do, then you can always contact the carrier’s customer service team and explain the situation. They can tell you exactly what you need to do. You might have the option to pick up the package from a local facility or simply wait and get home delivery a day or two late.


Ways To Avoid Delivery Exceptions

There are a few things that you can do to help ensure your packages are delivered on time. If you are the shipper, you should first ensure that a proper shipping label and barcode have been affixed to the package. If the label is handwritten, make sure that it is clearly legible to avoid any confusion. As a recipient, make sure that you are at home on the scheduled delivery day if a signature is required. Also, make sure that any pets are inside or in a fence so that the driver can safely exit the vehicle and complete the delivery. If action is required on your part to clear an exception, you should contact the carrier as soon as possible to keep the package moving along and avoid long delays.


The Bottom Line

Delivery exceptions are no fun, but they are bound to happen on occasion. Your tracking status will usually provide details about the cause of the delay, and most of the time, you do not need to take any action. However, if you do need to provide additional information to the carrier, then do so right away. This will help ensure that the exception is cleared and your package gets delivered as soon as possible.


Frequently Asked Questions


How do I fix a FedEx delivery exception?

Most of the time, there is nothing that you need to do to fix a delivery exception. Most exceptions are cleared by the carrier and your package continues on its way. However, in the case of a missing or damaged label, you will need to contact FedEx to provide them with the correct address and information for them to make the delivery.


What does it mean when your package has a delivery exception?

So, what does delivery exception mean? This means that your package has encountered an unforeseen event that is likely to delay delivery past the estimated delivery date. This could be due to a number of reasons from weather to wild animals. Keep a check on your tracking status to see an up to date delivery estimate for your item.


Will FedEx attempt to redeliver my package after a delivery exception?

Yes, most of the time FedEx will attempt to redeliver the package after an exception. Once redelivery has been attempted a couple of times, then they will usually not attempt to deliver it anymore. They will hold the item for about a week at their local facility. If you do not contact them and schedule a pickup, then they will return the item to the sender.

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