USPS Package Not Moving | 8 Reasons Why & How To Fix It
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When most people order items from online businesses, they are constantly checking their tracking number for shipping updates. Once your item is In Transit, it typically moves along for delivery pretty quickly. However, sometimes your USPS package might appear to stop moving. So, what happens when the postal service stops moving your package through their infrastructure? Many times, the package is still moving but just taking a little longer than expected. However, there are a few things that can stop your package from moving. Some of those reasons are temporary and clear quickly, while others are more serious. Here are eight reasons why your package might not be moving and what to do about it.
Why Is My USPS Package Not Moving?
Have you checked your USPS tracking number multiple times and gotten no update? After a few days with no updates, you are probably wondering, “Where is my package?” You can infer that your package has stopped moving. Here is what might be causing it.
— Inclement Weather
Inclement weather is a common cause for a USPS delay. This is particularly common in the winter months when ice and snow prevent the U.S. postal service from moving mail through their infrastructure. The weather may prevent trucks from traveling on the roads or planes from taking off. Usually, your package will start moving along again within a day or two. As soon as the weather conditions clear, then USPS will be able to get their transport vehicles moving again.
— Incorrect Or Incomplete Address
An incorrect or incomplete address can cause your package to get stuck in transit. As your package moves, it must go through several sorting facilities. Each facility routes the package to the next facility based on the address and ZIP code on the package. If the address is incorrect or incomplete, then it will cause problems with delivery. It may get stuck at a sorting facility because the postal service is unable to determine where to route the package. They may need to contact the shipper to obtain the correct details for the package.
— Problems With Customs
Customs clearance is known to slow down packages, and it can sometimes cause your package to stop moving for quite some time. International mail must pass through customs, and it is usually a smooth process. However, the COVID pandemic has increased clearance times, and the mail service can have a hard time clearing customs if there is anything odd about your package. Sometimes, this hold-up can last for weeks before your package starts moving again. So, if you notice that your tracking is not updating, it could be due to customs issues.
— Lost Package
Although most mail items make it safely to their destination, the United States Postal Service sometimes has missing packages. Perhaps a box falls off a truck, or a package gets lost in a sorting facility. Whatever the reason, your missing mail item will not get scanned once it is lost. This will make it appear that your item is not moving when you look for tracking updates. Many times, the package is found and scanned, and it starts to move along again. However, you will have to file a claim for a lost package with USPS if it is not located.
— Damaged Package
If the status updates on your package tracking appear to stop, it might be because your package has been damaged. Accidents sometimes happen, and packages can get damaged in equipment at sorting facilities or when being loaded onto a truck. If the damage is minor, then your package will likely continue moving along. However, if the damage is more severe, then the postal service might have to contact the shipper to notify them of the issue.
— Improper Postage
The United States Postal Service will not deliver your mail without the proper postage. This applies to both packages and any other piece of mail. In some cases, your package might be returned to the sender. Other times, your package may be held until the proper postage is paid. In this case, your package will stop moving until the postage issue is resolved. Once the proper postage is paid and attached, then it will begin moving again. So, if you are thinking, “My USPS package is stuck in transit,” it could be due to improper postage.
— Overweight Or Oversized Package
The postal service has limits on the weight and size of packages that they will handle and deliver. If your package weighs more than 70 pounds, then you will need to use another carrier like UPS or FedEx. Normally, the mail clerk at the post office will not accept the package if it exceeds this weight. However, if it somehow slips through the cracks and makes it into the post office infrastructure, it will probably get stopped along the way. The package will stop moving, and the post office will hold it until the shipper picks it up.
— Package Contains Prohibited Items
There are certain items that cannot be shipped through regular mail delivery. For instance, alcohol can never be shipped with USPS. In addition, certain classes of service like media mail must not contain items that do not qualify for that particular service. If the post office inspects a package and finds out that it contains prohibited items, then the package will be stopped. You will notice that the updates in the tracking system stop, and you will likely have to pick up the package from the post office.
Additional USPS Tracking Details
So, what other status messages might you see when there are delivery problems? Here are a few of the most common ones, along with what they mean.
— In Transit Arriving Late
The “In Transit Arriving Late” message means that your package has encountered a delay that will make your delivery date later than expected. USPS shipping delays can be caused by something like bad weather or an equipment malfunction at a distribution center. Most of these delays get resolved within a day or two, and your package is typically delivered within the extended delivery timeframe. In rare cases, the package gets lost and never makes it to its destination.
— No Delivery Access
Whenever you see the “No Delivery Access” status, it usually means that delivery was attempted but could not be completed. This delivery exception occurs because the postal service was unable to access your mailbox or final delivery location. It could mean that you have a gate at your home that was closed, or perhaps a vehicle was blocking your mailbox. Usually, the delivery will be attempted the next day again.
— Delivery Status Not Updated
Most of the time, this message means that your package did not get scanned appropriately. It might even mean that your package has already been delivered, but the mail carrier simply forgot to scan the package upon final USPS delivery. The scan might also have been missed when the package was loaded onto the truck and going out for delivery. This message is usually not a cause for concern, and you should generally see your package within a day or two.
— How To Get Your Package Moving Again
It is not uncommon to go several days without a status update to your tracking information, especially if your package is traveling a long distance. However, if it has been more than a week without any updates, then it is time to head to your local post office or call USPS customer service. Provide them with your tracking number so that they can research what is happening with your package. They can usually tell you the cause of the problem, and it might require something on your part to get the package moving again. Perhaps you need to pay for additional postage or provide the post office with the correct address.
In very rare cases, your package might be totally lost. In that case, you will need to file a claim with the post office for a lost package. We will discuss how to do that in greater detail in the next section.
Filing A Claim With The Postal Service
If you are using a standard retail ground shipping service or regular first-class mail, then you do not get a guaranteed delivery time. This is a best-effort service, and it could take more than a week for your package to arrive. If it takes longer than that, you do not have many options. Hopefully, you purchased insurance on the package so that you can file an insurance claim to recoup your money.
However, if you are using a guaranteed service like Priority Mail Express, then you can contact USPS as soon as the package is late. This service offers a money-back guarantee on delivery time, and you are entitled to a refund of your postage if the package is late. Filing a claim with USPS is easy, and you can file the claim easily through USPS.com. You should know that you will need to file a separate claim for package insurance and a refund of your postage. You can get all the details on the time periods for filing claims on the USPS website. If you are waiting on a package from eBay or Amazon, then the seller will typically just issue you a refund and work with the USPS on filing the claim.
The Bottom Line
If you do not see any updates on your USPS tracking status for several days, then your package may not be moving. It could be due to a number of different reasons like a damaged shipping label or bad weather. Most delays will clear on their own within a few business days, but you might have to contact the post office if you see no updates after a week has passed. They can track down the issue for you and walk you through the process of filing a claim if necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I be worried if USPS tracking hasn’t updated in 3 days?
It depends on the current status message. Maybe you are wondering, “Why is my USPS package still in transit?” However, if you see the “In Transit” message for three days, that is no cause for concern. It often takes longer than this for packages to move through the infrastructure to your local post office. However, if you see the “Out for Delivery” message for three days, then you should be worried. With most status updates, you should contact the post office if you have not seen a change after a week.
What if my package is not on the USPS website?
If your tracking number is not found on the USPS website, it could mean that they have not received your package from the shipper yet. Give it a couple of days, and try looking for your tracking status again. If the package is still not found, you should contact USPS customer service to help resolve the issue.
Will USPS contact me if my package is not moving?
Generally, USPS will not contact you if your package is not moving or experiencing USPS delivery delays. It might take a couple of weeks before USPS realizes that the package is stuck somewhere. You should monitor the tracking updates on your package and reach out to USPS if the package has not moved after a week of inactivity.