The only thing worse than waiting for your USPS package to be delivered is watching the tracking, seeing it “frozen” the next town over, and wondering when it’s going to start moving towards your doorstep again.
Waiting for a package to arrive from the USPS can feel like it takes a lifetime, especially if you’ve already seen the “Out for Delivery” message pop up in your tracking info. And while lots of people are able to sit back, relax, and wait for their package to inevitably find its way to their doorstep there are plenty of folks that want to get their hands on that package ASAP.
Is there anything people can do to get their hands on packages faster, even when USPS lets them know that the packages out for delivery? Can someone really intercept a package intended for delivery without throwing a monkey wrench into the mix? What happens when package intercept is initiated through the USPS and how should someone go about doing this the right way?
While, believe it or not, you might never again have to worry about waiting for that package to start moving through the USPS infrastructure again – especially if you want to “intercept” your package and go grab it yourself!
This is all made possible thanks to a couple of really cool changes made to the way that the Post Office was reorganized into the Postal Services back in 1971.
Combine that reorganization with much more efficient modern logistics and tracking tools and you’ll be able to intercept your package and (hopefully) get it home a whole lot faster than you might have been able to otherwise.
Now, the same time, we can tell you that you’ll be able to intercept your package 100% of the time.
As you’ll learn in just a moment, sometimes tracking information that you’ve been provided isn’t as accurate or as useful as you hoped it would be.
Sometimes – because the post office is filled with humans just like us, humans that make mistakes – your package or parcel might not get scanned somewhere along the way. It might even be closer to your door (if not already delivered) even though it hasn’t yet updated on the tracking website!
What we cover all of that and more in depth below.
Let’s jump right in!
Is Your Package Held Up By the USPS?
The very first thing you’ll want to do is use the tracking information you’ve been provided from the USPS to see where your package is in the first place.
There’s more data in this tracking set up their most people pay attention to, and a lot of it is really important to focus on when considering a package intercept.
For starters, that tracking information is going to let you know exactly who is responsible for transporting that package from one point to the next inside of the USPS infrastructure.
Most people that purchase something online or have something shipped via USPS just assume that is going to be USPS handling it from start to finish.
Sometimes that’s the situation for sure. But other times other shipping partners – all kinds of shipping partners, even – are responsible for moving your package closer to you before getting into the USPS infrastructure at the “last mile”.
Other times you might have a company like FedEx handle almost all of the transportation of your package right up to your local post office where it gets handed over to the USPS, sitting in your PO Box or driven out to your home from there.
This is hugely important to know because you have to be certain that the USPS actually has your package in their infrastructure to hold or intercept for you in the first place.
After all, if your package is being handled by DHL or FedEx the odds are pretty good that a phone call to the USPS isn’t going to do you much help to get that package held back, slow down, or intercepted.
Before you do absolutely anything else just make sure to confirm that your package actually is currently being handled by the USPS.
Tracking Info Breakdown – What You Need to Know
The next thing you need to do is figure out where your package actually is during the transportation process right now, this very minute.
Your tracking down from the USPS website is going to show all kinds of different notifications and different pieces of relevant information, but you’re really looking for the most up-to-date location data you can find.
Not only do you want to know where your package was last scanned along its journey, but you also want to know whether or not that scan was an arrival scan, a departure scan, or an in transit scan.
Arrival scans (obviously) mean that your package has arrived at a specific USPS facility. There’s a good chance that if you contacted that facility directly and asked them to hold back your package for intercept they’d be able to track it down in their warehouses and help you out.
A departure scan, though, means that your package has already moved through that facility and is on its way to the next one – and unless you know what route your USPS package is traveling or what the next stop in the chain is, you’re probably going to have to wait until a new arrival update is made.
In transit scans of the most nebulous of the bunch and easily the most frustrating to deal with as well.
In transit could basically mean anything and everything. All it really says is that your package is moving, and usually you get this when a third-party carrier is moving your package, when a package scan hasn’t been made already, or when the information just hasn’t been updated currently.
It’s also important to remind you that your package isn’t being scanned independently or individually every time it moves through a USPS facility.
Your package gets scanned individually when you drop it off (that’s when the tracking information is created and attached to the package itself), but then it’s added to a huge pellet of other packages to be moved around the country as well.
That whole pallet is given a scanning code that ties into each and every one of the pallet package codes as well, allowing for the USPS workers to scan a single code and have it update the information on all of those packages at the same time.
Every now and again, though, for one reason or another the USPS might not have tied your package code to that pallet code.
Sometimes the pallet code doesn’t match with your package code.
Sometimes your package doesn’t get scanned as part of a pallet, either.
Sometimes there’s software glitches that sort of mess things up in one of the USPS facilities along the way, and a whole batch of codes are given “In Transit” notifications just to show that the pallet is moving – even if more detailed information is available.
At the end of the day, you’ll want to make sure that you are using the tracking information to find out exactly where your package is (or where it is most likely to be next) so that you can make the decision to intercept or have a package held for you.
Can You Pick Up a Package from USPS Before It Gets Delivered?
Right out of the gate, you should know that it’s not only possible to pick up a package from USPS before delivery is initiated (or completed) but that it’s actually super simple and straightforward to make happen, too.
The USPS understands that there are a lot of people out there across the country willing to meet USPS halfway (and sometimes more than halfway) to get their hands on their packages just as soon is reasonably possible. Some folks are even willing to drive down to the local USPS facility or post office bright and early in the morning (sometimes before the sun comes up, even) to head a package off before it gets loaded onto a truck and sent out for delivery.
Most of the time popping down to the post office and picking up a package before it goes out for delivery is a very straightforward (and easy to pull off) kind of process. It’s something that millions of people do all over the country each and every week, too!
And that’s why the USPS has instituted two different options when you want to get your hands on a package before USPS delivers it to you. You can either go with a package intercept or you can go with a package hold.
The cool thing about the solutions is that they give you a lot more control and a lot more freedom about how to get your hands on your package.
Let’s get a little deeper into the ins and outs and the nuts and bolts of those services right now.
How to Start the Package Intercept Process
The package intercept process is designed to make it easier to control how packages are delivered.
This service is only available on domestic shipments, only available on packages that have not been sent out for final delivery, and on packages that haven’t yet been delivered already.
With Package Intercept from USPS, instructions are sent from the intended recipient to the USPS to either hold the package for pickup at a specific location or to initiate delivery at a new destination, too.
This service is available for letters (sent via a bunch of different USPS services), packages and parcels, as well as “flats” – provided these services from the USPS have tracking codes. After all, the USPS is going to need to be able to track that piece of mail or that package to find its current location throughout their infrastructure. If that can’t happen, the intercept cannot be initiated, and the package is going to have to go along its merry way until it arrives at its ultimate destination.
One of the coolest things about USPS Package Intercept is that it is super affordable, and that customers only have to pay for the intercept shipping if they are actually able to intercept the package in the first place.
If packages are not intercepted in time (usually because the USPS wasn’t able to make those changes before the package moved on to the next stop) the Package Intercept the will not be charged at all.
It is super simple and straightforward to start. All you really have to do is reach out directly to your local post office and initiate a redirect/intercept or you can do most of this online, too.
The intercept basically reroutes your package before it goes through the final delivery stage to an address or a location that you have chosen. You can do this (for a fee) with letters, packages and parcels, flats, and any other piece of USPS postage that includes tracking information.
There are a couple of restrictions to Package Intercept that customers will want to be aware of, though. One of the big ones is that packages larger than 108 inches in length or girth (combined) cannot be intercepted at all. Foreign packages (either sent into or out of the country) cannot be intercepted, either.
Fees are going to vary on a case-by-case basis, but you usually don’t have to spend a lot of money to make this decision – even at the last minute.
Just remember that the fee is totally nonrefundable!
What About a Package Hold?
A service individuals are going to want to be aware of when looking to intercept a package before delivery is the USPS hold for intercept service. Placing a hold on your package is different from a package intercept, and that you aren’t going to be rerouting it to another location but are instead going to be holding it at the next location along the delivery routes.
Customers that take advantage of the USPS hold for intercept service are going to be able to tell the USPS (via email or text message) to hold a package at an approved facility until someone arrives to pick it up. This is particularly useful if you order things from a company or a website that uses a similar transportation route almost every time and you can anticipate what the next step in the delivery process is going to involve..
Let’s say, for example, that every time you order from Amazon you know that your package is going to be routed through the Tampa, Florida post office – and you live close enough to pop down and grab your package there if you don’t want to wait another day. Well, all you would do is initiate a package hold for the Tampa, Florida stop along the way and that tells the USPS to put that package aside for you at that specific location.
Most of the time, this feature is used when tracking information updates that a package has arrived at a local or regional sorting facility nearby but hasn’t yet made it to the last post office along the way before it goes out to be delivered. People that live near these facilities can initiate a hold right then and there, and as long as they get the hold in before the package moves through that facility and finds its way to the next location that hold is going to go into place.
All someone has to do after that is arrive at the facility within a couple of days (usually within between 48 to 72 hours), show ID that matches the name on the package itself, and then claim that package directly. You can go that day that it arrives, couple of days later, or at your earliest convenience. You’ll obviously want to call ahead and make sure that your package actually is there (especially if you live far away) but it’s a great way to have more control over getting your packages faster.
If a package hasn’t been claimed after 24 hours a quick notification will be sent out, as well as after 48 hours and then after 72 hours. Those that have placed a USPS hold for intercept on Priority Mail Express items are going to be notified after three days have passed.
All in all, this is a super easy to use service for those that live close by to a regional processing facility (or are willing to travel to that processing facility) and want to expedite the delivery process a little bit. It’s also great for people that are traveling that won’t be able to be at home to accept a package for a couple of days but can swing by a USPS facility to scoop it up.
Can USPS Packages Be Picked Up If A Delivery Was Missed?
If you believe that your package delivery was missed (for one reason or another) you may be able to initiate an intercept, requesting the USPS hold your package for you until you can come down to the post office and get it yourself.
Most of the time the USPS will attempt to redeliver packages the next business day, but if there were issues with delivery that precluded them from dropping off on the first day those same issues may make it challenging for them to drop it off the following day, too.
In those cases, quick called the post office to asked them to hold your package for you until you can get there later on at night or early the next morning is usually all it takes to clear things up.
Where Do I Pickup Packages That Have Been Intercepted?
Packages that have been intercepted can either be picked up at your local post office, at a USPS distribution center, or at addresses that they have been rerouted to.
Picking up packages at a USPS distribution center is the most challenging of the bunch, as certain distribution centers will not allow the public to gain access to those facilities.
This is why it’s important to call ahead, to really figure out how to best handle the logistics of getting a package before it gets delivered, and squaring away all of the little details before you drive down to a distribution facility or post office and expect your package to be produced almost out of thin air.
Can USPS Tell Me Where My Package Is Before I Initiate An Intercept?
One of the questions you’ll want to ask any postal employee before initiating an intercept attempt is where your package is at that particular point in time.
If your package is being delayed at a distribution center, for example, it may make all the sense in the world to intercept that package and go pick it up yourself – especially if the holdup guarantees your package will be delivered for another day or two (maybe even longer than that).
If, on the other hand, the USPS tells you that your packages out for delivery right now (this very moment) – and you know that the mail arrives in just a few hours, if not even sooner – you may not want to initiate an intercept at all.
Most people are going to want to make a decision on intercepting a package at least a day or two before the intended delivery day.
Any closer than that (like the day of delivery, for example) and initiating this process will almost always cause more headache and hassle than anything else.
Will USPS Leave My Package Somewhere Other Than The Delivery Address?
By and large the USPS isn’t going to be all that interested in delivering your package to any other address than the one that has been printed on the shipping label itself.
There are some exceptions, though.
For example, you can certainly ask that your packages held at your local post office (behind the counter) for you until you are able to pop down to the post office and pick it up yourself. There aren’t a lot of postal employees in the USPS they’re going to deny those kinds of requests.
Secondly, you can request that your package is dropped off at a different location at your intended delivery address.
Maybe instead of having your packages dropped off underneath your mailbox or at your front door you ask that they be slid into the breezeway, dropped inside the garage, or tucked away behind a bush.
Most USPS mail carriers will do everything they can to accommodate these kinds of requests. They want to make sure that you get your mail and packages and have to deal with as little headache and hassle as possible doing so.
The one thing that the USPS (generally) will not do is run your package clear across town for no extra postage whatsoever.
These kinds of intercepts can sometimes) be initiated online or at the post office, but customers will almost always have to pony up a bit of extra cash to cover the intercept fee and the extra postage (when applicable).
Important Details to Remember
At the end of the day, there are a lot of opportunities for you to reroute, redirect, or hold your packages when you want to pick them up before they go out for delivery.
As we touched on earlier, the overwhelming majority of people that are going to want to take advantage of these tips and tricks are sick and tired of watching their packages get lost in the machine – sometimes held at the next post office over for a couple of days (if not longer) for no real reason whatsoever.
If that situation has started to happen to you more frequently (and it’s happening to everyone a lot more often nowadays) the ability to either intercept or hold your package at a location is a game changer.
Never again do you have to worry about your packages slipping through your fingers or being excessively delayed with these approaches!
Try Out US Global Mail Today for a New Mailing Experience
At the end of the day, though, there is a much easier way to better manage all of your packages and all of your mail – and that’s by taking advantage of a US Global Mail virtual mail account. If you are just flat-out tired of the way that the USPS works and operates – and it’s not hard to get frustrated with this operation these days, even though postal workers are putting in the time, energy, and effort to make things better – you can always choose a more modern mailing experience.
US Global Mail is the industry leader in the world of virtual mail (with more than 20 years of experience in the business) & a top-tier solution in this industry. It is one of the best and most frequently recommended virtual mailbox services you’ll find anywhere in the United States today. Customers of US Global Mail enjoy a true modern mailbox experience that is stress and hassle free.
Not only do you get a real physical street address to use permanently from here on out (instead of a PO Box address, which limits your mail delivery options quite a bit), but you’ll get so much more as well. The address that you get, can receive packages from all shipping carriers (UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL etc) and not just exclusively the USPS (which is the case with a PO Box.)
All packages are accepted with a digital photograph of the box taken and sent to customer email addresses the moment that the package arrives. This creates not only a chain of custody for those packages, but also produces a notification system that lets you know your package has arrived and is ready to be picked up or forwarded to any address of your choosing.
The fact that US Global Mail digitally scans the outside of every envelope, package, and parcel you get immediately upon receipt – and then upload that information to you instantly, and in real time – is a huge bonus.
Now you’ll know exactly what you have coming in the mail the second it arrives, all without having to pop down to the mailbox to find it empty (or worse, filled with junk mail).
Secondly, you can take advantage of mail scanning solutions that digitize your documents and pieces of mail for your access straightaway – all in a 100% secured and encrypted backend.
Add in the fact that you can also have your checks automatically deposited in your bank accounts, can accept packages from all major shipping companies in the United States, and can have all of your mail physically forwarded to any address of your choice through US Global Mail dashboard (including overseas) and it’s not hard to see why so many people love this organization.
For more info and details about these services, contact US Global Mail directly or check out their website today.