What Does “Pre-Shipment” Mean for Your USPS Package Delivery?

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Have you ordered a package that seems stuck in pre-shipment? The “pre-shipment info sent” status can be confusing if you don’t know what it means. This comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know about USPS pre-shipment and what it means for your package delivery.

When you are eagerly awaiting an order, a package tracking status of “pre-shipment” can be frustrating. You want to know where your item is and when it will arrive at your doorstep. This status makes it seem like your package is stuck or delayed somewhere in the shipping process.

While pre-shipment does mean your item has not yet made it to the postal facility, it does not necessarily mean there is an issue. There are a few reasons why your tracking may show this status for a few days before moving forward. Keep reading to learn what exactly pre-shipment means and when you can expect your package to start moving.

What Does “Pre-Shipment” Status Mean for USPS Packages?

The pre-shipment status indicates that the shipping label was created and the package information was submitted to USPS, but the item has not yet been received by the post office. This typically means:

  • The seller has created and printed the shipping label, but hasn’t handed the package off to the postal service yet.
  • The package is still with the seller awaiting collection by USPS.
  • The package may still be in the seller’s possession or at their facilities.
  • USPS is waiting to receive the parcel from the shipper.

Essentially, pre-shipment means the process has started, but your item is still making its way from the seller to the post office. It has not been picked up or scanned into the USPS system yet.

Why Hasn’t the Seller Brought My Package to USPS Yet?

There are a few reasons why a seller may print a label but not immediately drop off the package at USPS.

Batching Orders

Many sellers will print labels for multiple orders at once, but only make 1-2 trips to the post office per day. If your order was placed after their last batch, it may sit in pre-shipment until the next batch is taken to USPS.

Weekends and Holidays

If you bought an item on Friday, the seller may not get it shipped out until Monday. USPS does not do residential pickups on Sundays. Post offices are also closed Sundays and holidays, so no packages can enter the USPS network those days.

Custom Order Processing

For made-to-order and customized items, the pre-shipment phase also includes the seller actually creating your item. This additional production and processing time means it takes longer for the order to be ready to hand over to USPS.

Volume of Orders

During peak sales times like holidays, some sellers get overwhelmed with orders. If they are backed up with hundreds of shipments to get out the door, your package may be awaiting its turn for a USPS scan.

How Long Does “Pre-Shipment” Last?

Most orders should move past pre-shipment within 2-3 business days if you are located in the United States. For international orders, it may take 3-7 days to move forward.

However, there are a few circumstances where an order may get stuck in pre-shipment for longer:

What If My Package Stays in Pre-Shipment for Many Days?

  • Severely Backordered Seller: If the seller is very behind on orders, it may take longer for yours to ship out. Check their processing time and contact them if it has been significantly exceeded.
  • Inventory Issues: Sometimes sellers realize they are actually out of inventory after selling an item. This can delay fulfillment while they wait on more stock.
  • Damaged Goods: If your item was damaged or missing pieces, the seller will need to repair or replace it before shipping.
  • Lost Package: There is a slight chance the package was lost between the seller’s location and USPS pickup. The seller may need to resend it.
  • Invalid Address: If you made a typo in your shipping address, it may have been returned to the seller undeliverable.
  • Other Reasons: Severe weather, customs delays (for international orders), and other factors could potentially delay pickup or scanning.

If your tracking has shown pre-shipment for more than 5 business days with no update, it’s time to investigate further.

What to Do If Your USPS Package Stays in Pre Shipment

Here are some tips on how to handle a package that seems to be stuck in pre-shipment purgatory:

  • Check the estimated processing and shipping times on the product page – has this time been exceeded? If so, reach out to the seller.
  • Contact the seller through the platform you ordered on and ask politely if there are any delays or issues with your order.
  • Compare the shipping address you gave with your actual address – typos could delay delivery.
  • Look up the seller’s policies on their shop site regarding processing times and communication. Adhere to their policies as you attempt to contact them.
  • If the seller is unresponsive after multiple attempts over several days, you may need to consider canceling and issuing a refund through the platform.
  • For expensive or critical items, you can file a missing mail search request with USPS after a certain period of time.
  • As a last resort for non-delivery, you can make a complaint to the platform or payment processor. This usually requires messaging the seller first.

While pre-shipment delays of a couple weeks are not unheard of, most issues can be resolved by contacting the seller. Make sure to keep communication polite and understanding on both sides.

Common “USPS Pre Shipment” Questions

Is my package lost in the pre-shipment phase?

Unless you get confirmation that the package was lost or damaged before acceptance by USPS, it is unlikely to be fully “lost” in pre-shipment. It may just be delayed at the seller’s location or in transit to a postal facility.

Will pre-shipment delay my delivery date?

Yes, packages typically take 1-5 days in pre-shipment before being scanned by USPS on acceptance. Any time in pre-shipment will push back the estimated delivery date by at least that long.

Can I pick up my package from a post office instead of pre-shipment?

No, consumers cannot retrieve a package from a post office until it has been scanned by USPS. It needs that first acceptance scan before it is in the USPS system and eligible for pickup.

If a package is express or priority mail, will it get out of pre-shipment faster?

Not necessarily. Pre-shipment speed has more to do with the seller’s processes and USPS pickup schedule than the service level like Priority or Express. These services speed up transit once accepted by USPS.

Does pre-shipment mean the label was created but the order hasn’t shipped?

Basically, yes. The seller has prepared the label, but hasn’t given the package over to USPS yet, so it is still awaiting shipment.

Get Your Package Moving Past “Pre-Shipment”

Hopefully this guide has helped explain what the pre-shipment status means and why your package may be stuck there. While it can be frustrating to see no progress, try to be patient with sellers – they likely have high volumes of orders this time of year. If you don’t see movement in a few days, politely follow up for status. With good communication, you should be able to get your package moving… or locate it if it has gone astray. Monitor that tracking number closely and don’t hesitate to ask questions!

Key Takeaways:

  • Pre-shipment means the label was created but USPS does not have the package yet.
  • The package is still with the seller, awaiting handoff to USPS.
  • It should move past pre-shipment within 2-5 days in most cases.
  • If it takes much longer, kindly contact the seller for updates or next steps.
  • With cooperative communication, most pre-shipment issues can be resolved quickly!

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