Why was my package returned to me?

What to do when USPS® or UPS® marks a shipment "Return to Sender"

Updated over a week ago

Dealing with a Return to Sender package is never any fun 😓

There are several reasons why USPS or UPS may return a package as undeliverable:

  • The address was incomplete or incorrect

  • The package information didn't match what was entered on the label, and the postage owed was not charged through the USPS APV System

  • The recipient declined the package

  • The package was awaiting pickup at the recipient's local Post Office or UPS Access Point, but the recipient never picked it up

  • The mail carrier or UPS worker had trouble accessing the address (locked gate, closed business, etc.), or the recipient was not known to live at the address on the label

To find out why a package may have been returned, the first place to check would be the USPS or UPS tracking pages 🔍 For USPS packages, oftentimes USPS will include an update explaining why the shipment was returned, like this:

For UPS, you will see a "Returned to Sender" graphic indicator when you enter the tracking number into the UPS tracking portal.

If you don't see an update like the above examples, your next option would be to wait for USPS or UPS to deliver the package back to you 👍 When they do, either carrier should include some notes (either paper, sticker, or handwritten) on your package indicating what the issue may have been.

Do I have to pay for a package marked Return to Sender?

USPS Packages:

In nearly all cases for USPS, you won't be forced to pay for packages returned to you. However, you will in the case of some USPS Ground Advantage packages under a certain weight.

  • USPS Ground Advantage packages under 1 lb (1 pound) marked Return to Sender don't have free returns. They will have postage due when USPS picks up the package or when it's dropped off at the Post Office to be returned

  • USPS Ground Advantage packages over 1 lb (1 pound) marked Return to Sender have free returns

UPS Packages:

Unlike USPS, UPS applies surcharges when they return all packages to the original sender. These surcharges will come as carrier adjustments applied to your label.

Here are some of the UPS surcharges applied to packages marked Return to Sender:

  • Delivery Intercept

  • Return to Sender - Phone Request

  • Return to Sender - Web Request

  • Undeliverable Return

Can I get a refund for a returned package?

Unfortunately, neither USPS nor UPS offers refunds for returned packages 😢 They consider the job done, since they transported the package all the way there AND back. However, our team is always happy to research your situation and help get things sailin' in the right direction!

NOTE: If you intercept a package and choose to have it returned back to you, USPS will charge you a $17.00 intercept fee plus the cost of any postage for the return. UPS will also impose a surcharge onto your Pirate Ship account, plus the cost of any additional postage. The UPS "Delivery Intercept" surcharge is $18.60 and will appear as an adjustment on your individual shipment page.

Any questions? Hit the blue chat button to get in touch with our Support Crew 😃

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