USPS Delays and What You Should Understand

For the past 8 months the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been posting alerts on their website, reminding us that they are constantly working, and are still not operating at 100%. This alert does not seem to have an expiration date and yet some people are still confused as to why mail in the United States has been consistently inconsistent with delivery times and tracking updates. Since I get asked some of the same questions repeatedly, I decided to list a few things that I have noticed & learned over the past months from ordering, shipping, and speaking with USPS employees.

  1.  Tracking Numbers are not provided for First Class Mail: I was told by a USPS employee that the numbers on First-Class Mail shipping labels are NOT tracking numbers. Feel free to confirm or debunk this by contacting the USPS here. This was news to me since I have been tracking First Class packages for a number of years.
  2.  First Class Mail Tracking Updates are not Mandatory: Since tracking numbers are not technically assigned to First-Class Mail, it is not mandatory for USPS to update the location status of the package. (this explains why tracking updates on some packages are delayed or incomplete, see examples below)
  3. There is no Guaranteed Mail Processing Time Frame: Dropping off mail at any post office does not guarantee same day or same week processing  (this also leaves the tracking status in limbo, see examples below)

For those that are unclear, after your package has been dropped off at the post office, there will be no tracking update until the post office decides to scan the package. This could be before it leaves the drop off station or after it reaches the destination station. The following examples show some of the issues that have arised.

40 days no update in route to Philadelphia
Tracking updated only when packaged arrived in destination city.

Shipping label created December 3rd.
Package updated January 4th, 8th, 11th. 

https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input?qtc_tLabels1=9400128206334165625757

Over 20 days no update to New Jersey

Tracking updated only when packaged arrived in destination city.
(buyer could assume package was never shipped, possible claim & refund)

https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction?qtc_tLabels1=9400128206334172455651

One Month to Deliver a  Package Two Hours Away
Tracking stopped on December 14th, started  again on January 6

https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction?qtc_tLabels1=9400108205496880970390

Illinois to North Carolina  Time to Deliver: 26 days

No tracking update for 18 days.
This was an item bought through ebay and could have easily been used to get a refund being that the item was 15 days past the delivery date. Being that I was already aware of the postal service issues, I waited because it was at no fault of the seller.

https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction?qtc_tLabels1=9400108205497421821430

International Tracking Status Unknown, Package delivered.

https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction?qtc_tLabels1=UA934833484US

A person could easily assume package has been lost. Buyer confirmed it had been delivered.

International Shipment Delivered Full tracking Details

https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input?qtc_tLabels1=LZ275355348US

A USPS employee told me that the tracking status stops when it leaves the United States and there is no way to track it in another country. This shipment condratics that statement. What is does confirm is the inconsistency with international tracking, it varies by location.

Shipped December 18th, Still in transit

https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction?qtc_tLabels1=9200190164917331444778

Tracking status unknown as of January 19, 2021

22 days to leave the country

Shipped December 12th, Still in transit.

https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input?qtc_tLabels1=UA931545824US

Accepted by USPS on Jan 6, 2021.
Tracking stopped on Jan 8th, 2021

https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input?qtc_tLabels1=UA931969531US

Tracking status unknown as of January 19, 2021

In one of the examples posted is a shipment that was delivered two hours from its drop off location. There were no tracking details for over 8 days and the total time it took to reach its destination was 30 days. During that time, other packages were delivered across the country within 3 days. Delays are unexpected, but they shouldn’t be because for the past 8 months, the United States Postal Service has made it perfectly clear that they are not operating at 100%. The website currently states “ALERT: USPS IS EXPERIENCING UNPRECEDENTED VOLUME INCREASES AND LIMITED EMPLOYEE AVAILABILITY DUE TO THE IMPACTS OF COVID-19. WE APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE.” This means they are doing more work with less people.

Tracking Numbers FYI

This is how your order is delivered to the USPS.

  1. Shipping label & packing sheet is printed.
  2. Ordered items and packing sheet are placed in the appropriate packaging and sealed.
  3. Shipping label is placed on package.
  4. Package is placed in the drop box at the post office.

Until your package is processed and the location of your package is updated, this is all you will see:

As someone who recently waited 20+ days to receive an item that was due to arrive in 4 days, I know how it feels to see no activity however, jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst doesn’t make the wait any shorter. If there is a delay with your package being delivered by the USPS and you are diligent with knowing where it is beyond the information that is mentioned in this article, you will need to contact the USPS. If you decide that this is not satisfactory and no longer wish to wait, you have the option to request a refund.

Returning A shipment After a Refund

If you receive a refund for a shipment  in route that has been delayed by the USPS, it is your responsibility to return the package after it has been delivered. This is accomplished by NOT opening the package, writing return to sender on the front of the package and placing it in your mailbox with the flag up or dropping it off at your local post office. If for some reason you open the package, seal it immediately and proceed with the previous instructions.

This post was written to explain tracking inconsistencies and why some mail is moving slow through the USPS. This is not to be confused with any other process. Assumptions will not change the truth about current mail issues or what’s going on with your package. Keep in mind, RestoMod 忍者 does not track your shipments and has no influence or control over the USPS mail.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this message.