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Why does my USPS label have an old tracking number?
Why does my USPS label have an old tracking number?

Learn why you might see existing tracking data for a different package when you enter your tracking number on the USPS website

Updated over a week ago

Since USPS recycles tracking numbers, you might come across a case when USPS assigns an old tracking number to your label. This might cause you to see existing tracking information that isn't for your package when you enter your tracking number into the USPS tracking portal, but there's a rational explanation for this 😅

USPS displays old tracking data sometimes when they accidentally recycle tracking numbers too soon

USPS recycles tracking numbers every 120 days or so, and any tracking data is typically wiped after that time period. However, sometimes the Postal Service recycles a tracking number sooner than they should, which causes the data assigned to that tracking number to last for a longer period of time 🙈

Your tracking status might not update once USPS scans your new label

In the Postal Service's system, old tracking data typically gets overridden when USPS scans in a new label with that tracking number. So, when USPS scans your label, any existing tracking data assigned to that number should theoretically be wiped clean, and your package's information will take over. However, this isn't always the case.

Keep an eye on your shipment in Pirate Ship to follow along with the tracking

When these fringe cases pop up, the best way to track your package is to keep an eye on your shipment page in your Pirate Ship dashboard. Your package's tracking data will update in your dashboard as it travels, even though you and your recipient won't be able to see updates on the USPS website. The good news is, if your recipient asks about the package, you can share the tracking data that you see in your Pirate Ship dashboard 👍

Unfortunately, this old tracking data on the USPS may affect the processes of filing an insurance claim and starting a missing mail search with the Postal Service, since the information technically shows that your package has already been delivered (or that it has a different status).

We know this can be frustrating, and we're working with USPS on a solution...but if you find yourself in this situation in the meantime, you can always chat with us if you need some help navigating 😉

Have any questions? Chat with us by clicking the blue button at the bottom-right of your screen - we're here to lend a hook!

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