We all know how frustrating it can be when we’re waiting for an important package that seems to be taking forever to arrive. What’s even more frustrating is when you receive a notification that your package has been delivered when it hasn’t actually arrived.
Today, we’re going over all of the common reasons why this happens and exactly what you can do if this happens to you.
If your packages are being delivered through USPS (the United States Postal Service), you can view tracking information anytime on USPS.com or through Informed Delivery if you have signed up for that service.
At each stage of the shipment process, your package will be scanned within the USPS network so that you can see exactly where your package is and when you can expect to receive it.
When a package is delivered, it’s scanned a final time by a USPS delivery worker and marked as delivered on your tracking details. Unfortunately, there are some situations in which your package will be marked as delivered even if you have not received it. Below are the three most common reasons why this happens.
1. The package was left at the wrong address
One of the most common reasons why you might receive a delivery notification for a package that you haven’t received is that it was left at a neighbor’s house or other nearby address by accident. USPS workers are humans just like the rest of us, so they can make mistakes during their route. If you’ve been told that your package was delivered despite not seeing it on your own doorstep, try checking with your neighbors.
It’s also possible that your package could have been delivered to a different address due to your shipping address being provided to USPS incorrectly. For example, if someone sent you a package but didn’t realize you recently moved, they could have delivered it to your former residence instead.
2. Your package was accidentally scanned early
Another common reason why this happens is that your package may have been incorrectly scanned as “delivered” despite the fact that it’s still in the delivery truck.
This can happen as postal workers are sorting through dozens or even hundreds of packages in their mail trucks each day. If your package was scanned on accident, you might receive a delivery notification a few hours or even a couple of days before you actually receive the package.
3. Your package may have been stolen
Unfortunately, another very common reason why people receive delivery confirmations for packages they have not received is because parcel theft has become a big issue in recent years.
Although we hope this is not the case, it’s unfortunately very possible that your packages may have been stolen if you live in an area where your porch is visible and accessible by passersby.
What To Do When You Don’t Receive Your USPS Package
Check With Your Neighbors
The first thing you should do if you haven’t received your allegedly delivered package is to check with your neighbors. Especially if you live in a densely populated area, it’s very common for postal workers to accidentally leave a package at the wrong doorstep.
If you can, try checking with the neighbors living around you to find out if one of them may have received your package by mistake.
If you have a PO box, ask a postal worker at the post office if the package is being held behind the counter or was accidentally placed in someone else’s box.
Wait A Few Days
According to the USPS, one of the best things to do when you first suspect that a package has gone missing is to simply wait a few days for it to show up. Because packages sometimes get scanned as “delivered” early by mistake, there’s a fairly good chance you’ll receive your package within 24-48 hours if you get an incorrect update about it having been delivered.
Check With Your Local Post Office
If a few days have passed and you still haven’t received your package, try checking in with your local post office to find out if they have any information. It’s possible that your package is being held there due to delivery problems. And if not, they might still be able to let you know where it is.
Check Your Security Camera
If you suspect your package may have been stolen off of your property, try checking your security camera footage (if you have a security system).
Porch cameras are very helpful these days for catching mail thieves who unfortunately steal packages off of people’s porches.
File A Missing Mail Claim
Finally, if you have not received your package after several days and you haven’t been able to get any answers, you can report your package as missing on USPS.com here.
If the missing mail search doesn’t turn up any answers, you can always file a claim for reimbursement through USPS by clicking here.
Tips To Prevent USPS Delivery Problems
Although not all of the suggestions below will help in the event of packages inaccurately marked as “delivered,” they are generally good tips to follow to ensure smooth delivery through USPS.
Use Signature Confirmation
The best way to avoid delivery issues with your USPS shipments is to use USPS Signature Confirmation.
This service requires USPS delivery workers to acquire a signature from the recipient of a package at the time of delivery. If a signature cannot be attained, the package will be brought back to the nearest USPS hub and another delivery will likely be attempted the following day. If neither delivery attempt is successful, the recipient will be notified that they can pick up the package from the post office within 15 days. After that window has passed, the package will unfortunately be returned to sender.
Signature Confirmation must be requested and paid for by the person who sends the package. If you are receiving a package from a friend, family member, business associate, etc., you can kindly request that they pay for Signature Confirmation when sending your package. This typically costs less than $4 per package.
Make Sure Your Address Is Up To Date
If you’re having trouble receiving your mail, one of the first things you should do is check to make sure that your shipping address is up to date in all of the important places.
Make sure that anyone sending you packages knows your current address, and make sure that whenever you order something online, you have updated your current shipping address with the online retailer.
Make Sure Your Property Is Accessible
On occasion, you might receive a tracking update from USPS that says “no access to delivery location.” This means that the USPS delivery worker was unable to access your property and/or mailbox for some reason, which prevented them from delivering your mail.
If you live in an area that’s difficult to get to, make sure that you keep your roads, driveway, etc. as clear as possible so that your USPS delivery driver can deliver your mail.
Get A Porch Camera
These days, many people have decided to invest in porch security cameras to help root out mail thieves. If a potential thief sees that you have a security camera next to your front door (or wherever your mail gets left), they may be less likely to steal from your location.
Porch cameras can also help you identify suspects in the event that your mail is stolen.
Get To Know Your Neighbors
While it might seem overly simple, getting to know your neighbors is a great way to prevent avoidable mail delivery issues.
If your neighbors know who you are, they can bring your mail and packages to you if anything of yours ever gets delivered to them on accident. They can also keep an eye out for mail thieves when you’re not around or even bring your packages inside to keep them safe if you’re expecting an important delivery when you’re away.
Does USPS take pictures of deliveries?
No. While USPS does photograph all mail pieces that travel through their network, they do not ask postal delivery workers to photograph packages upon delivery.
Can a USPS package be delivered without being scanned?
Yes. While this shouldn’t happen, it sometimes does.
Will USPS leave a package at the door when no one is home?
Yes. Most USPS shipping and delivery options do not require signatures or other delivery confirmations, so packages will get left at your address regardless of whether or not someone is there to receive them. The only exception to this rule is if the sender paid for Signature Confirmation.
Is USPS responsible for lost packages?
Yes. If you suspect your package has been lost, you can search for it and/or request help here. If the USPS is unable to locate your package after a certain period of time, you can file a reimbursement claim here. If you sent your package with Priority Mail Express Shipping, you could also qualify for a refund for a lost package. Unfortunately, refunds are not distributed automatically and are not offered for standard shipping or Priority Mail. For information on how to apply for a refund, click here.