What Is UPS Overgoods and What You Should Know About Them

UPS overgoods refer to packages that become separated from their intended recipient during transit for various reasons. Understanding what overgoods are and why they occur can help you properly handle the situation if a package you shipped or were expecting to receive becomes lost.

What Exactly Are Overgoods at UPS?

UPS overgoods, sometimes called lost goods or undelivered packages, are items that have become separated from their packaging or shipping label during transit through the UPS transportation network. This results in the package essentially becoming “lost” within the UPS system because it can no longer be accurately tracked or routed to its intended destination.

Overgoods can occur for several reasons. Packages may simply fall out of their outer shipping box or envelope in UPS trucks or facilities. Improper packaging can also cause items to become dislodged. Labels can peel off if not securely attached.

Additionally, if a package is damaged during shipment, the contents may spill out or become exposed. UPS employees make efforts to identify and consolidate these overgoods when discovered, but sometimes they slip through the cracks.

Why Do Overgoods Occur and How Often?

Given the immense volume of packages UPS handles daily, overgoods are an unfortunate but inevitable reality. UPS delivers around 20 million packages per day. With this level of volume passing through their network, even very small margins of error can result in thousands of overgoods.

Some key factors that commonly cause overgoods include:

  • Improper packaging by shippers
  • Damage during transit and handling
  • Old shipping boxes that become unsealed
  • Poorly affixed or weak adhesive labels
  • Multiple small items shipped together that get separated

Overgoods occur every day throughout the UPS system but represent only a tiny fraction of overall package volume. UPS diligently strives to minimize overgoods through package handling training, facility monitoring, and containment protocols. However, some level will always persist given the scale of their operations.

What Happens to Overgoods in UPS Possession?

When overgoods are identified within UPS facilities or vehicles, they enter a containment process. Packages without labels are directed to the overgoods area. Workers attempt to determine the nature of the overgoods and identify clues about the shipper or intended recipient.

Ideally, intact shipping labels allow overgoods personnel to reroute packages onward toward their destination. Labels indicating a specific UPS Access Point may allow the package to be forwarded.

If unable to quickly determine needed routing information, overgoods are consolidated and transported to regional UPS Mail Innovations facilities for further processing. Additional efforts are made here to correctly identify and handle overgoods.

How Can You Recover a UPS Overgood or Lost Package?

If you shipped a package with UPS that never reached its intended recipient, or are missing an expected delivery yourself, an overgood situation may have occurred. Here are key steps to take:

  • Contact UPS and supply all available shipment details – tracking number, ship date, destination, contents, etc.
  • File a formal claim with UPS if they are unable to resolve the issue.
  • Provide a detailed description of the overgood for identification.
  • Check back regularly for status updates on overgoods search.
  • Be patient as overgoods research and handling can be time intensive.

Depending on the circumstances, if an overgood is able to be recovered you may receive the found package or UPS may return it to the shipper. Unfortunately, some overgoods are never located or are damaged. Compensation is situation-dependent.

Helpful Tips to Avoid Overgoods Issues

While some overgoods stem from unavoidable factors in UPS transit, proper packaging and labeling by shippers can help minimize risks:

  • Use new, sturdy boxes in good condition for shipping items.
  • Utilize quality packing materials like bubble wrap and air bags to secure contents.
  • Seal boxes thoroughly with strong tape or adhesive.
  • Attach labels carefully and use pouch labels for extra security.
  • Clearly label with name, addresses, and tracking information.
  • Consider UPS Access Point delivery for valuable shipments.
  • Insure valuable items in case of overgoods situations.

Understanding the realities of overgoods at UPS and taking key precautions will help ensure successful deliveries and allow proper handling if packages do become lost.


  • UPS overgoods refer to packages separated from recipients during transit
  • Leading causes include damaged boxes, spilled contents, lost labels
  • Overgoods enter containment process to attempt to identify and re-route packages
  • Shippers must contact UPS with details if an item becomes an overgood
  • Careful packaging and labeling is important to avoid overgoods issues

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