The United States Postal Services (USPS) is responsible for moving hundreds of millions of pieces of mail and packages every day, shuffling them across the country to their ultimate destination.
And while this organization does a great job 99% of the time, every now and again something goes a little sideways.
Unfortunately, this means that millions of packages every year are either delayed, damaged, or outright missing. Most of the time this happens with no warning, aside from noticing that your USPS package isn’t moving through the system the way it should be.
To better help you understand why a USPS package not moving situation is happening for you specifically we’ve put together this detailed breakdown down.
Below we cover things like:
- Why your package may not be moving through the USPS system
- The kinds of USPS tracking info updates you’re most likely to spot when something goes wrong
- The expected USPS delivery windows for (most) USPS shipping services
- What to do when your package hasn’t arrived as expected
… And more!
Let’s jump right in, shall we?
USPS Package Not Moving – What’s Happening with My Package?
If you have going to notice that your package has slowed down through the USPS system, or that your tracking info isn’t updating any longer, it could be for a variety of different reasons.
Before you get too anxious, though, just know that it’s not at all uncommon for packages to get “stuck” somewhere between their origination address and their ultimate destination.
In fact, it might be fair to say that more than half of all packages moving through the USPS platform end up getting stuck, slow down, or delayed somewhere along the line.
USPS usually does a pretty solid job of speeding things up on the backend to account for these delays. But sometimes your package just isn’t going to make it when they said it would originally.
Here are just a few reasons why you might be dealing with a USPS package not moving situation right now.
Domestic packages usually have less friction flying through the USPS infrastructure, but for one reason or another packages coming in from overseas – or packages heading out to international addresses – can get slow down and delayed in Customs.
Some packages may even require special documentation or other details before they can get cleared. This could cause your package to start moving through the USPS system for sure.
Address issues are a very common culprit behind packages being delayed and not moving on to their next destination – mostly because what that next destination is supposed to be is unclear!
This is why it is so hugely important to take your time when filling out your address details.
Not only do you need to be sure that the shipping address you’re sending this package to is accurate and the information complete (and spelled correctly), but you need to square away the return address info as well.
The only thing worse than having a package stuck and not moving in the USPS system because of a bad delivery address is a package that goes missing because the return address was incorrect or inaccurate, too.
Don’t let that happen to you!
International Shipping Delays
As we highlighted a moment ago, packages that are coming into or going out of the country are regularly subject to all kinds of international shipping delays – some may have nothing to do with customs, too – that you won’t have to worry about with domestic packages.
If you’re expecting packages to arrive from overseas, or are hoping to send packages around the world via USPS, you’ll want to give yourself as much “lead time” as possible.
The bigger the buffer between when your package absolutely must arrive and when you send it the happier you are going to be!
Weather and Traffic Delays
Bad weather conditions – including severe storms, natural disasters, high winds, flooding, etc. – can all contribute to your packages being delayed as well.
It doesn’t even have to be horrific whether to throw a monkey wrench in the situation, either.
A lot of rain out of nowhere, a lot of snow out of nowhere, or unseasonable weather can all cause traffic backups that lead to your packages being delayed at least a day or two.
Your packages with the USPS will stop moving when everything else on the road does!
Package Was Lost in the Shipping Infrastructure
This is a dreaded scenario to be sure. Thankfully it is a relatively uncommon situation that most folks don’t have to worry about.
The USPS does absolutely everything they can to account for every single package that they are entrusted with. Sometimes, though, things go a little bit sideways and packages get lost in the shuffle, misplaced, or flat out mismanaged.
It doesn’t take long for the USPS to notice these kinds of things, though, and they will start to search for your package as soon it is discovered to be missing.
Sometimes packages are found relatively quickly and then expedited through the USPS infrastructure. Sometimes it takes a little longer and a delay is inevitable.
Every now and again, though, a package is lost completely – and that’s something that will cover how to handle in just a moment.
Package Was Oversized or Overweight
Packages that are heavier, bulkier, or larger than the USPS expects – or larger than they are used to handling – may cause unexpected delays.
Sometimes these packages require a couple of extra hands on deck to get them through the USPS infrastructure. That’s inevitably going to slow things down quite a bit – and it’s going to slow things down every step of the way for that package, too.
If a package is really oversized really overweight it may be sent back to the sender for extra postage or with the recommendation to use a different shipping services to get it to its ultimate destination.
Postage Was Incorrect
This is a lot less common today than ever before, thanks to all of the shipping calculator options out there – many of them available 100% free of charge.
At the same time, if there is a postage problem with your package the chances are pretty good it’s going to be slowed down, maybe even stopped, and won’t be able to move through the rest of the USPS shipping infrastructure until the proper postage has been paid.
USPS Tracking Info
The tracking information provided to you from the USPS is going to clue you in big time to the what’s happening with your package every step of the way.
Here are a couple of USPS tracking details you’ll want to look for if your package has stopped moving, tracking updates that should shine at least a little bit of light on the subject for you.
Delivery Stats Not Updated
This is probably one of the more vague tracking updates you can get from the USPS when your package slows down or stops moving, but it does tell you that the USPS still has your package, knows where it is, and just hasn’t delivered it yet.
The item may be ready for delivery but delivery usually hasn’t been processed yet (or even attempted).
This tracking information update will tell you that delivery was attempted for your package but the USPS mail carrier was unable to access the mailbox, the front door, the driveway, or where the package usually gets dropped off and received by the USPS customer.
Parked vehicles, emergency responders, inclement weather, tracking problems, and a whole host of other issues can cause a “Receptacle Blocked” problem that has to be contended with.
No Delivery Access
No Delivery Access is very similar to the “Receptacle Blocked” message we just highlighted a moment ago. If you get this message just know that the mail carrier has attempted to deliver your package but was unable to for a variety of reasons and that delivery will be attempted again as soon as possible.
Delivery delayed may pop up in your tracking information as well, especially if you’re dealing with bad weather in the area or unforeseen circumstances at the local USPS facilities slow down and delayed your package.
The next tracking update you get will indicate that your package has begun moving through the USPS infrastructure again.
USPS Expected Delivery Windows
As a general rule of thumb the USPS tries to make sure that packages sent via specific services they offer arrive within a scheduled delivery window.
Even if your USPS package appears to have stopped moving (at least according to tracking) it may still be on its way to you. You shouldn’t consider your package delayed until the following delivery windows have elapsed and there still no package at your door:
First Class – 1 to 3 Business Days
Priority Mail – 1 to 3 Business Days
Priority Mail Express – 1 to 2 Calendar Days
USPS Retail Ground – 2 to 8 Business Days
Media Mail – 2 to 8 Business Days
Bound Printed Matter – 2 to 8 Business Days
Parcel Select – 2 to 9 Business Days
Parcel Select Lightweight Parcel – 3 to 10 Business Days
Reach Out to USPS Customer Support If Package is Still Missing
If the delivery window for your USPS shipping option has elapsed and your package has still not arrived – and your tracking information isn’t updating – it’s a good idea to get a hold of customer support.
USPS customer service is available on a 24/7 basis (every single day of the year) just by dialing 1-800-275-8777.
Of course, if you want to speak to someone in person about your package and why it isn’t moving you can also pop down to your local post office and speak to employees there directly.
These employees will need your name, your tracking information, and any other details you can provide about the package that is delayed or just not budging.
They’ll be able to use their USPS backend systems to figure out exactly what’s going on, and if they can’t figure that out for you right away but they’ll start an investigation.
No matter what you’ll get your hands on the information you need just by speaking to these postal employees, either over the phone or in person.
Filing a Claim and Getting a Refund with USPS
Packages that have had significant delays going way beyond the traditional delivery window may need to be considered lost/stolen – and that means you need to file a claim with the USPS to get your money back for both the items missing and your postage.
Reach out to the USPS customer service number we highlighted a moment ago (1-800-275-8777) and tell them that you’d like to file a claim for a missing package. You can also start this claim online via the USPS.com website or at any local USPS postal office.
At the end of the day, though, the claims process is relatively simple and straightforward and will be completed in short order.
US Global Mail Makes Managing Your Mail Much Easier
If you are looking for a better way to manage your mailbox – not just packages you are expecting, but all of your mail – you’ll want to consider signing up for a Virtual Mailbox account with US Global Mail.
An industry leader for more than 20 years now, US Global Mail has a legendary reputation in the Virtual Mailbox space.
Not only do they offer affordable and feature-rich services, but they also offer a variety of features that no other virtual mailbox (or traditional mailbox) service offers, either.
We are talking about things like:
- A permanent physical street address you can use no matter how often you move in the future for all of your mail and package needs
- Having all of your mail instantly scanned, digitized, and sent to you directly the moment that it arrives in your mailbox
- Gaining access to mail forwarding services at up to 80% off of traditional retail prices to addresses (almost) anywhere around the world
… And that’s just the beginning!
To learn more about US Global Mail and the Virtual Mailbox services they provide visit their website or contact customer service today.