What To Do If Your Package Gets Stuck at the Sorting Center

dpd parcel delayed due to unexpected issue
dpd parcel delayed due to unexpected issue

Have you ever had a package get stuck at the sorting center with no updates for days? It’s a frustrating situation when you eagerly await your delivery only to see it delayed at the distribution facility. This article will explain why packages get stuck in transit and provide tips on how to get your shipment moving again.

A package getting stuck at the sorting center is a common issue that thousands of shipments face each day. With so many parcels flooding into USPS facilities, some are bound to be misplaced or mis-sorted. While most eventually get back on track, it can result in annoying delays.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to get your package unstuck from the sorting center and back on its way. This guide will walk through the main reasons packages stall and what to do about it. Keep reading to learn how to get your stalled shipment moving again!

Why Do Packages Get Stuck at the Sorting Center?

Shipments can get stalled at the sorting facility for a variety of reasons:

Incorrect Addressing or Labeling

If the shipping label on your package has the wrong address, zip code, or doesn’t meet USPS requirements, it can cause hangups in processing. Make sure you enter the full delivery address accurately when purchasing postage.

Equipment Failure

Problems with USPS sorting equipment due to malfunctions or damage can cause packages to get stuck. Power outages or delays in scanning parcels through machines may result.


With millions of packages passing through sorting centers daily, some get placed on the wrong conveyor belt or put in the incorrect bin. This routing error slows delivery until sorted properly.

Customs Clearance Delays

International packages may sit longer while going through customs verification and duties payment. The process can vary by country.

Inclement Weather

Bad weather like snow, heavy rain, or natural disasters can force sorting centers to close or operate at limited capacity. This leads to backup and stalled shipments.

Increased Volume

During peak times like the holidays, more packages flood USPS facilities. The spike in volume strains resources and may cause packages to be misplaced.

What to Do If Your Package Is Stuck at the Sorting Center

If your shipment gets caught at the distribution facility with no scans or status updates, take the following steps:

Confirm the Last Scan Location

Check your tracking number on the USPS website to identify exactly where the package was last scanned. This helps pinpoint where it has stalled so you can take appropriate action.

Contact USPSCustomer Service

Calling USPS at 1-800-ASK-USPS allows you to speak with a representative who can investigate the status. They may provide more details on your package’s exact location and why it’s delayed.

Visit Your Local Post Office

Talking directly with staff at your neighborhood post office gives you a chance to explain the situation and get updates. They can contact the distribution center to help locate your package.

File a Missing Mail Claim

If there are still no tracking updates after several days, you can file a claim with USPS at 1-800-275-8777. This alerts them to find and re-route the delayed parcel.

Request Package Intercept

As a last resort, you can schedule a USPS Package Intercept if the item has high value. This stops normal processing to rush locating and returning your package.

Why Packages Get Stuck in Transit After Leaving the Sort Facility

Even after departing the sorting center, there are a few reasons your shipment may stall en route to its destination:

Incorrect Address

If the recipient address you provided is inaccurate, the carrier can’t complete delivery. Double check it matches their confirmed delivery location.

Extreme Weather Conditions

Severe storms, heavy snow, or other acts of nature can close roads and delay the mail carrier from reaching your address. Your package will be reattempted after conditions improve.

Missort During Transport

A mistake during the sorting process may route your package to the wrong postal truck headed to a different area. It will get rerouted once the error is caught.

Return to Sender

If the recipient refuses the package or the carrier can’t access the delivery point, they will return it to the sender address on file.

Tips to Prevent Packages from Getting Stuck

While stalled parcels are often unavoidable, you can take some preventative measures to avoid sorting and transit delays:

  • Provide complete delivery addresses with correct spelling, apartment numbers, and zip codes.
  • Write addresses clearly and label appropriately following USPS requirements.
  • Ship using faster, priority services like Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail.
  • Avoid mailing during peak seasons when volume strains postal operations.
  • Check tracking frequently so you can catch any irregularities right away.
  • Add insurance or signature confirmation to protect high-value items.
  • Pack properly and include customs forms for international parcels.

When to Take Further Action on a Stalled USPS Package

As a rule of thumb, you can start to worry if your package shows no tracking updates for:

  • 5 or more days past expected delivery for domestic shipments
  • 10 or more days past expected delivery for international packages
  • 72 hours with no scans after departing the sorting facility

At this point, it’s reasonable to take extra steps like contacting USPS or submitting a missing mail search. Don’t hesitate to escalate your case if something seems off with the routing.

Be Patient but Proactive With Stuck Packages

Dealing with a package stalled at the sorting center or in transit can be stressful. But having the right information helps you take action to get it moving again.

Remember that the majority of delayed parcels eventually reach their destination, even if several days late. Allow some leeway in delivery timeframes, especially around holidays.

But don’t just wait indefinitely on a package with no tracking movement. Utilize USPS customer service, missing mail claims, and package intercept options to get unsatisfactory situations resolved.

By understanding common reasons for stuck packages and how to engage USPS, you can get the issue corrected with minimal frustration. With the right follow-up, you can get that eagerly awaited delivery back on track!

Here are key takeaways on managing stuck packages:

  • Confirm the last tracking scan location to identify where it’s stalled.
  • Contact USPS customer service for status help and next steps.
  • Visit your local post office if the package seems stuck near your zip code.
  • File a missing mail search after several days missing.
  • Try a USPS Package Intercept if the item is high value.
  • Allow extra time around peak seasons but follow up if abnormally delayed.

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