Your package may say out for delivery, but then fail to turn up. This could happen because the driver has misplaced it in the van, it has been mis-scanned, or something has gone wrong. You should check the tracking information again, and see if it gets delivered the following day.
If your USPS package says that it is out for delivery, you may spend the whole day waiting eagerly beside the door, only to find that you have no package. What’s happened? Where is your parcel? This is very frustrating, but there are a number of explanations for it. In this article, we are going to explore what may have gone wrong and what you should do about it.
What Does Out For Delivery Mean?
“Out for delivery” is the phrase USPS uses to tell you that your package is with your mailman. This should mean that it will be delivered to your house during the day, up to 5 p.m. It may not be delivered with your normal mail, but it should still arrive before 5 p.m. that day.
If you have been watching the tracking information, you have probably seen plenty of other similar messages, but this is the relevant one that lets you know your package is close at hand. Make sure you pay attention to it so that you know your package will be delivered and there is somebody to take it.
However, sometimes this message shows up and no package follows – what then? Let’s find out.
How Long Should I Wait?
USPS aims to have all deliveries made before 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday. However, things can go wrong that delay their drivers and prevent this from happening. For example, a driver may get stuck in traffic, or there might be an accident. Bad weather could take the trucks off the road for a while, or route changes could alter the delivery.
If your driver has a lot of deliveries or they take longer than anticipated, this can also slow things down.
Therefore, you shouldn’t immediately assume your package won’t be delivered if it hasn’t reached you by 5 p.m. It is possible that the driver is simply late. At this stage, the best thing to do is continue waiting.
The later it gets, the less likely your package is to arrive, but you will probably not be able to report it as undelivered on that particular day, so waiting is the best option. By the time you know the package is not going to show up, your local post office is likely to be closed.
It is quite likely that your package will be delivered the following day, but you should check in with the post office when it opens the next morning.
Why Wasn’t My Package Delivered?
There are many different reasons that your package may not have been delivered, and the action you will need to take depends a bit on the reason for the lack of delivery.
Reason One: Driver Delays
If the driver got too delayed to finish their route by any of the possibilities mentioned above (weather, heavy traffic, route changes, accidents), the package will be returned to the post office at the end of the day. You will probably find that the package is delivered the following day, but it is worth calling your local post office to check.
Reason Two: The Delivery Failed
Alternatively, it may be that delivery was attempted, but the driver was unable to deliver it for some reason. If the driver could not find or access your property, or was unable to get a response for a package requiring a signature, the delivery will fail.
You should get a slip to tell you about this, but the tracking information should also update to reflect the fact that a delivery was attempted. This lets you know there is a problem, so you can get in touch with your local post office to solve it.
Reason Three: Wrong Delivery
Another possibility is that the package was delivered to the wrong address. The tracking information should tell you this, because it will show as delivered. If this occurs, you should check the package has not been left in any hiding spots near your home before assuming it has been mis-delivered.
Next, talk to your neighbors and see if the package has been given to someone local. If not, you can contact USPS and request that they look into the mis-delivery. They may be able to retrieve the package.
Reason Four: The Package Has Been Misplaced
Your package may have been scanned as “picked up” by the driver at the local post office, but then got misplaced. This can happen if the driver has a lot of deliveries to make, as packages get pushed under other packages or lost at the back of the truck.
Hopefully, your package will be found when the driver returns to the depot, and redelivery will be attempted the following day. However, if this does not occur, you should get in touch with your post office.
Reason Five: Package Theft
If your package says it was delivered but you have not received it, it’s possible it has been stolen from your mailbox or safe spot. A neighbor may have picked it up, so it is worth asking around before you contact USPS. You will need to file a claim for the package if this occurs, and request a replacement from the sender.
It is possible for your package to say “out for delivery” even when it has been delivered, because the system sometimes takes time to update. That’s why it is worth checking your mailbox and other safe hiding places even if your package does not say that it has been delivered. Although the scanning system is usually reliable, glitches do occur.
Reason Six: Misdirected Package
This is one of the very common reasons for a packaging saying “out for delivery” but not arriving. It has been scanned at the local post office and sent out for delivery, but ended up in the wrong mail truck.
Different trucks service different areas, so unless your package ends up on the right truck, it cannot be delivered. Until it is returned to the depot at the end of the truck’s route, nothing can be done to correct this, but hopefully it will end up on the correct truck the following day.
Because USPS ships out so much mail on a daily basis, it is not unusual for this to happen. It may be worth calling your post office when the trucks have finished their routes to see if they can locate the parcel, but if you wait, it is likely that it will be delivered the next day.
Is My Package Lost?
Not necessarily, no. There are many reasons for packages not to be delivered even once they are out for delivery. Although this is frustrating, you should not assume that your package has been lost.
However, if you are concerned, you can contact USPS and see if they are able to locate the parcel for you. Hopefully, they will be able to do so.
Where Is My Package Now?
It’s hard to know exactly where your package is if it has not been delivered as expected. It may be back at the USPS office, with a neighbor, on a delayed truck or the wrong truck, hidden in a safe spot near your home, or lost/stolen.
In general, your package will be somewhere safe, so you should try not to worry about it. It will probably turn up again fairly soon.
When Will The Tracking Update?
The tracking information is your best friend when it comes to finding your package, but if it is just staying on “out for delivery,” it can be pretty frustrating. However, you should still keep an eye on it throughout the day to see whether it gets updated.
You may see it swap to a number of different options, including:
- “Receptacle blocked.” This means that your mailman was not able to access your mailbox for some reason. This could be because of a parked car, bad weather, local work, or almost anything else that prevents the mailman from getting to the box.
- “No Access.” This is similar to the above message, but means your mailman could not access the property. If it is gated or you have a dog outdoors, make sure that USPS can safely access your home.
- “Notice Left.” This means that USPS has attempted to deliver, but failed. It may be that the package requires a signature and nobody was available, or that they couldn’t find anywhere safe to leave the package.
- “Delivered.” This message indicates that USPS has left the package somewhere. Check your mailbox and safe spaces, and ask family members and neighbors if anyone has taken a package. Look by your back door, inside your porch, and underneath things. The package may be quite well hidden to prevent theft. Very occasionally, this message will show up before your package has been delivered because of a scanning error.
These are the four commonest options you will see. If your package is returned to the depot, you may see a message that reflects that it has reached your local delivery center.
Sometimes, however, you will not see any update at all. This is frustrating, but don’t worry. The most likely explanation is that your package has gone back to the local center, but they have not yet scanned it. It should be re-scanned the following morning, and hopefully your tracking will update then.
What Should I Do Next?
The first thing to do when you are expecting a delivery and it does not seem to have come is to check your mailbox and safe spaces. Next, ask family and neighbors if anyone has it. Wait a while and check the safe spaces again.
If the delivery does not arrive and it says that it has, contact your local post office. If your tracking remains on “out for delivery” without ever updating, you will probably need to wait until the following day before doing this.
When you contact USPS, give them your tracking number, explain what message you have seen, and discuss what has happened. They may be able to locate your parcel for you and get it dispatched, or you might be able to collect it yourself to avoid further issues.
If the package is not delivered or located by the following working day, you may wish to file a Missing Mail Search claim with USPS. You can do this via their website, a week after your package goes missing. That is a frustrating amount of time to wait, but it gives USPS time to locate and deliver the parcel if it has simply been misplaced.
If your package cannot be found and delivered, check whether it was insured. If it was, you can claim a refund from USPS, and they should reimburse you according to the terms of the insurance that was purchased.
When your mail says it is out for delivery but does not come, the only thing you can do is wait. A great number of things can go wrong on this final leg of the journey, and your best option is to see if the package shows up later. If it doesn’t, you will need to get in touch with USPS to figure out what has gone wrong.
Waiting in for a delivery is a headache even when nothing goes wrong – it can take valuable hours out of your day, preventing you from running errands and scheduling your day as you please. If something goes awry, you may find that you have wasted an entire day for no reason. This is highly frustrating for anyone.
The Virtual Mailbox service overcomes this issue. It allows mail to be delivered to you at any time, whether you are at home or not. You can then check the service when it’s convenient for you, rather than for your mailman. If you are having problems with mail deliveries, it is well worth considering this service.