Understanding The Meaning Of “Returned To Original Sender” For USPS Packages

departed shipping partner facility usps awaiting item

Have you ever tracked a package and seen the status say “Delivered to Original Sender”? This can be confusing if you were expecting the package to be delivered to you. Seeing this status leads to a lot of questions about what it means and what happens next. This article will explain what “Delivered to Original Sender” means, why you may see this status, and what you can do about packages returned to the sender by USPS. Keep reading for answers to common questions about USPS packages returned to their original sender.

What does “Delivered to Original Sender” mean for USPS packages?

The status “Delivered to Original Sender” means that the United States Postal Service attempted to deliver your package to the recipient, but was unable to complete the delivery. So they returned the package to the original sender, which is you.

There are a number of reasons why USPS may not have been able to deliver your package and had to return it. The tracking status indicates that they brought the package back to the post office and it is now with the original sender again.

Why would USPS return a package to the original sender?

There are several common reasons why usps might return a parcel or package to the original sender rather than delivering it to the intended recipient:

  • The recipient refused delivery of the package. They may have rejected the package at their door or refused to pick it up from the post office.
  • The recipient’s address was incorrect, incomplete or illegible. The postal service could not confirm the address to deliver to.
  • The recipient’s mailbox was full or blocked so the package could not be left safely.
  • The recipient no longer lives at the address and mail could not be forwarded.
  • The package required a signature confirmation upon delivery which was not able to be obtained.
  • Customs forms were missing or incomplete for an international package.
  • The package was unclaimed after a certain period of time on hold at the recipient’s local post office.
  • The package was damaged and could not be delivered in its current condition.

So in summary, if there was an issue delivering your package to the intended recipient, usps will return it to the sender rather than letting it go missing or be abandoned.

How do you know if your USPS package was returned to sender?

There are a few ways you can find out if your usps parcel or package was returned to you as the original sender:

  • Check the usps tracking status online – it will show “Delivered to Original Sender” when returned.
  • Look for a tracking update notification by email or text informing you of the return.
  • Monitor your own mailbox and front door for the package being redelivered to your address.
  • Contact usps customer support and ask about the status of your package being returned. Give them the tracking number.
  • Visit your local post office with the tracking number in hand and ask postal workers to trace the package.
  • Look for a notice from usps informing you the package is being returned and stating the reason why.

So be proactive about tracking and verifying the status of your shipments. That way you can quickly know when a package is on its way back to you as the sender.

How long does it take for a USPS package to be returned to sender?

Once usps has decided to return a package to the original sender, how long does it take to get back? In most cases, a usps package returned to sender takes about 3-15 days. However, times can vary depending on these factors:

  • Where the package was originally mailed from and where it is being returned to. Cross-country returns take longer.
  • How soon the post office realized the delivery issue and initiated the return. Later interceptions slow things down.
  • Whether the package was eligible for Priority Mail’s expedited return service.
  • Any logistics issues or weather delays impacting transportation back.

To get a better idea of when to expect delivery, check the usps tracking status and look at the detailed tracking history. This will show when the package was marked as returned and the days in transit since then. USPS aims to get returned packages back to the original sender as soon as possible.

Can you reroute a USPS package being returned to sender?

Yes, if you learn soon enough that your usps package is being returned to you as the sender, you can contact usps and request it be rerouted instead to an alternative address. Here is how to reroute a usps package:

  • Call usps customer support as soon as you’re notified of the return and provide new delivery instructions.
  • You may be able to change the shipping address online via USPS Package Intercept.
  • Fill out a change of address form with usps before the parcel is delivered back.
  • If already returned, simply repackage and resend to the new address.
  • Pick it up at your local post office’s hold location instead of having returned.
  • Pay usps to redirect the package to another address or recipient after initially returned.

So you have options to intercept and reroute a returned package. But act quickly, ideally before the parcel is delivered back to your address.

What happens when a USPS package is returned to sender?

Here is a summary of what typically happens when usps returns a package to the original sender:

  • The package will be marked “Return to Sender” and shipped back to the address indicated.
  • The local post office holds it for pickup or redelivers it if it fits in your mailbox.
  • You may receive a notice informing you of the return and reason.
  • The package’s status will update to “Delivered to Original Sender” when back.
  • If unclaimed after 15 days, the package is treated as undeliverable.
  • The original shipping fee is not refunded when packages are returned.
  • You can resend the returned package again or request a refund/credit if defective.
  • Customs and import fees may still be owed on international returns.
  • Perishable or dangerous goods may be disposed of instead of returned.

So be sure to monitor your mail diligently if awaiting an important return delivery.

How can you prevent USPS packages being returned to sender?

There are some steps you can take when mailing packages to help prevent items being returned to you as the sender by usps:

  • Verify the full and correct shipping address before sending.
  • Use USPS address lookup tools to validate details.
  • Include both recipient contact info and sender details inside the box.
  • Ensure customs forms are properly completed for international packages.
  • Pack with care to avoid damage and include padding to protect contents.
  • Select signature confirmation or insurance when mailing valuable contents.
  • Redirect package quickly if notified recipient address is invalid.
  • Give recipients delivery alerts so they anticipate the arrival.
  • Inspect your shipped boxes for any flaws indicating return risk.

While not foolproof, being diligent can maximize successful package delivery and avoid returned to sender situations.

What can you do if a USPS package keeps getting returned?

If you find that usps keeps returning your package to you as the sender, even after multiple resend attempts, here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Double and triple check the complete shipping address and verify with the recipient.
  • Look for any error with the zip code – just one digit off can cause returns.
  • Call usps to validate the address in their system and make corrections.
  • Request a package hold at recipient’s local post office for pickup.
  • Pay usps to try redelivery or package forwarding solution.
  • Ship to recipient’s workplace address or P.O. box instead of home.
  • Require a signature confirmation upon delivery.
  • Inspect the box and contents thoroughly for any issues.
  • Get new shipping labels printed clearly in larger fonts.
  • Finally, make contact with the recipient to resolve why they cannot receive packages.

With some persistence and investigation, you can get to the bottom of what’s causing the failed deliveries.

Key Takeaways: Packages Returned to Sender by USPS

In summary, here are the key things to remember about USPS packages returned to the original sender:

  • “Return to Sender” means delivery attempt failed and USPS sent it back to you.
  • Common reasons include refusal, undeliverable address, blocking, expiration.
  • Check tracking status and delivery notices to be aware of any returns.
  • A typical USPS return to sender takes 3-15+ days in transit.
  • Try to intercept the package and reroute before return when possible.
  • Upon return, you can resend, request refund or credit if defective.
  • Prevent returns by confirming addresses, packing well, and requiring signatures.
  • Troubleshoot persistent returns by inspecting labels, verifying details, contacting recipient.

Hopefully this overview dispels some of the uncertainty around the “Return to Sender” process. Be diligent with tracking, validating addresses upfront, and following up quickly on delivery issues or returns. With care taken on the sending side, most USPS packages will arrive smoothly at their intended destination.

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