USPS Awaiting Item After Shipping Label Created? Here’s What It Means and What To Do

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Have you sold an item online and dropped it off at the post office, only to be puzzled when tracking shows “Shipping Label Created, USPS Awaiting Item”? This ambiguous tracking status can be confusing if you don’t understand what it means. This article will explain what this tracking message signifies and what steps to take if your package seems stuck in limbo.

What Does “USPS Awaiting Item” Mean?

When you see this tracking status, it means that the USPS system sees that a shipping label was created for your package, but the postal service has not yet received or scanned the item itself. So your package is still making its way from you to the post office facility.

There are a few reasons why you may see this tracking message after creating a label:

The Seller Printed the Label But Hasn’t Dropped Off the Package Yet

If you just printed the shipping label but haven’t tendered the package to USPS yet, then of course it will show as “awaiting item.” USPS can’t scan an item they don’t physically have. The package needs to be handed over to postal workers before the tracking status will update.

There Was a Delay Between Label Creation and Initial Scan

Simply creating a label doesn’t mean USPS has your package in-hand. There is often a gap between printing the label and your mail carrier picking up and scanning the item. It takes time for the package to start moving through the USPS logistics network before that first scan.

The Item Was Dropped Off But Not Yet Scanned

If you already left your package with USPS but tracking has not updated, it’s likely because the barcode has not been scanned at an acceptance facility yet. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. There can be a 1-3 day delay between drop-off and the first scan.

So “shipping label created, USPS awaiting item” essentially means USPS sees a label was made, but cannot verify physically having possession of the package yet. This status will usually update once the the item enters the mail stream.

Why Has My Package Not Been Scanned at USPS Yet?

If you already tendered your package to the post office days ago but the tracking still says “USPS awaiting item,” you may wonder what’s going on. Here are some possible reasons for the delay:

Human Error at Drop-Off Location

A postal clerk may have forgotten to scan your item when you handed it over. Without that initial acceptance scan, tracking will not update. Or the scanner could have failed to read the barcode. Staff oversight and technical glitches can prevent packages from getting scanned.

Item Mishandled at Transit Hub

USPS processes an incredible volume of mail and packages daily. Despite best efforts, some items get overlooked in transit hubs. Your package could be sitting at a distribution facility unscanned. It may take a few days to work through the system before tracking updates.

High Volume and Staffing Shortages

Postal service workers face immense pressure handling peak volumes amid nationwide staffing shortages. Mail and packages may experience processing delays. Swamped facilities struggling with limited capacity and resources could lead to items getting temporarily missed.

Weather Events or Transportation Delays

Inclement weather, trucks breaking down, and other transport issues can slow movement of packages. Your item may be stuck awaiting transport to the next facility until operations resume normal pace. External shipping delays out of USPS’s control can hinder scanning timelines.

The good news is that your package is likely still making its way safely through the postal network. The tracking status falling behind is generally not a major cause for concern.

How Long Until USPS Scans My “Awaiting Item” Package?

So how long should you expect to see the unhelpful “shipping label created” status before USPS finally scans your box? Most packages get that initial acceptance scan within 1-3 days of drop-off. However, it could take up to a week in some cases.

Here is a general timeline of when USPS should scan your package after creating the label:

  • Same day scan: If you hand your package directly to a postal clerk, it should get scanned right away while you wait. However, drop boxes and home pickups likely won’t get scanned until reaching a facility.
  • By 1 day: If you dropped off in late afternoon, there’s a chance processing overnight will hit the 24 hour mark.
  • 1-3 days: You should see the first scan hitting a facility within 72 hours typically. This is the average time the system seems to take.
  • 3-5 days: Still no scan after 3 days is slower than expected but not unheard of during high volume periods. At 5 days with no updates, contacting USPS may be wise.
  • 5-7 days: Rarely it may take a full week before that initial acceptance scan. Weather or events slowing the distribution network could push arrivals this long.
  • Over 7 Days: If a week has passed with your tracking still stuck on “label created,” definitely reach out to USPS about your package’s status.

While most packages should get moving within 72 hours at most, some do fall through the cracks. If you’re nearing or past the 1 week mark, it’s time to start investigating.

What to Do If USPS Has Not Scanned My Package

If you’re worried because USPS seems to be awaiting your item far longer than makes sense, take action by:

  • Confirm the correct package tracking number – Make sure the tracking number you’re checking corresponds to the shipment in question.
  • Visit the local post office drop off location – Kindly ask clerks if they recall seeing your package or can provide any insight on potential issues.
  • Check if tracking updates overnight – System lag may not update scans until overnight processing concludes.
  • Contact USPS customer service – Open a missing mail search or package intercept request. Provide as many specifics about the shipment as possible.
  • Contact the shipper – If you purchased the item from a retailer, let them know USPS seems to have lost the package and see if they can assist.
  • Wait a few more days – Unless urgent, give the system another 72 business hours in case the package turns up delayed.
  • Consider replacing the package – If too much time has elapsed with no updates, go ahead and arrange to ship a new one.

With over 40 million packages shipped daily in the US, it’s inevitable some will fall between the cracks. But USPS has good systems in place to locate and recover misplaced items. Take heart that your package will likely resume tracking soon.

When to Worry About a Missing USPS Package

Seeing “shipping label created” indefinitely can raise some concerns about the fate of your package. At what point should you consider a parcel potentially lost by USPS? Here are warning signs to watch for:

  • No scan after 1 full week – 7 days without any tracking movement often means an issue
  • Wrong tracking number – Triple check it matches your exact shipment number
  • No further USPS assistance – They cannot offer additional help locating your parcel
  • Irreplaceable contents – Items are sentimental or time-sensitive

Use your best judgment assessing each situation. A month-long tracking gap spells more serious trouble than say 3-4 days. If damage or loss presents hardship for you or the recipient, escalate urgency accordingly.

While the majority of temporarily wayward packages do eventually recover, some end up unfound. Don’t hesitate to push the postal service into deeper investigation when you suspect real trouble.

Steps to Take if USPS Lost My Package

When it becomes evident your package is likely lost for good by USPS, you can:

  • File an official claim – Submit compensation request for value of lost contents
  • Contact the seller – Ask them to replace damaged goods or refund cost
  • Dispute charge – Work with your bank/card company to chargeback payment
  • Consult an attorney – If significant costs involved, consider hiring lawyer

How smoothly and quickly this gets resolved depends on how responsive and helpful the shipping parties act. Expect to provide documentation like receipts and photos plus thorough details surrounding whole situation.

Getting USPS to payout claims or sellers to replace lost items can become a frustrating battle. Just stick to the facts and escalate pressure tactfully until someone makes the situation right. Don’t let your package disappear without proper restitution.

Key Takeaways

If nervous seeing your USPS tracking stall on “shipping label created,” keep this context in mind:

  • Status just means label printed but package not scanned yet
  • Average 1-3 days for new packages to get first acceptance scan
  • Multiple common reasons explain initial tracking delays
  • Up to 7 days before USPS pickup/receives item is still reasonable range
  • Contact USPS if no scan after 5-7+ days to escalate search
  • At 1 weeks+ missing, consider contingency replacement plans
  • Persist until satisfactory resolution if package deemed lost

So try not to panic the next time you see labels created but USPS still awaiting your item longer than expected. Odds are in favor of the package turning up on its own within several days. But if tracking remains stalled indefinitely, take prompt action to get the matter resolved!

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