Why Your USPS Package Gets Stuck in a Loop & What To Do

isc los angeles ca usps

Packages getting stuck or looping within the USPS network is an annoying and common issue for many eBay sellers and online shoppers. But why does it happen, and what can you do about it? This article will explain the main causes behind USPS package looping and provide actionable tips to get your stalled shipment back on track.

What Causes USPS Packages To Get Stuck in Transit?

There are a few key reasons why a USPS package may get stuck in a loop between facilities:

  • Incorrect address or labeling – If the shipping address or barcode is inaccurate, the package can’t route properly. Misreads of smeared labels are common.
  • Package sorting equipment failures – Sometimes a package gets jammed or misrouted in the automated sorting machinery at a USPS plant.
  • Tracking system errors – The USPS scanning and tracking system can glitch, showing loops that don’t really exist.
  • Weather or natural disasters – Severe weather and natural disasters can cause major delays in processing and transportation.
  • Holiday volumes – During peak seasons like Christmas, high mail volume can bog down processing.

Why Does My USPS Tracking Show the Package Going In Circles?

If you see your package bouncing between the same two or three USPS facilities on the tracking details, it likely means:

  • The package is stuck in a sorting loop within that specific plant.
  • There’s an address error and USPS keeps rerouting it back to the facility to resolve.
  • The tracking system is lagging or experiencing errors.

Don’t panic yet if you see some looping. Packages can occasionally get caught in USPS processing loops for a day or two, then break free and resume their route.

How Long Before a Stuck USPS Package Is Lost for Good?

If a package is looping or stuck in one spot for over a week with no delivery scan, it’s considered lost by USPS. The mail system isn’t designed to keep mail circulating indefinitely.

You can file a missing mail search request if a package hasn’t updated in over 7 days. USPS will attempt to track it down within the system and get it back on track.

Does USPS Eventually Deliver Stuck Packages?

Yes, more often than not, a temporarily stuck USPS package will make it to the intended destination. The USPS processes and delivers over 470 million pieces of mail every single day – so a small share getting briefly stuck in transit is inevitable.

As long as the address is valid, a stuck package will usually shake loose once it reaches the local post office responsible for the delivery zipcode. USPS has procedures to intercept looping packages.

Can I Pick Up a Stuck USPS Package Myself?

Unfortunately customers cannot pick up stuck packages themselves from USPS facilities. Even the sender cannot just stop by and grab it – that’s against USPS regulations.

Your only options are to either keep waiting for USPS to deliver, or request a missing mail search and potentially a refund from the sender.

How to Get a Stuck USPS Package Moving Again

Here are a few useful tips to get a stalled package back on the right track:

  • Have the shipper confirm the address – Make sure nothing got mistyped or misread in the shipping details.
  • Ask the shipper to submit a search request – The USPS search can’t be initiated by the recipient, only the sender.
  • Call USPS customer service – An agent can escalate the issue within the shipping facility.
  • Contact the local post office – The local office may be able to pull the package or expedite it.
  • Be patient but persistent – Keep checking tracking daily, and follow up if no updates occur after a week.
  • Consider opening a case on eBay – If it’s an eBay purchase, you can open an “item not received” case after the expected delivery date passes.

When to Give Up and Refund a Stuck USPS Package

If a package seems permanently stuck or lost after 2 weeks of looping with no delivery, it’s reasonable for the sender to process a refund and replace the missing contents.

USPS only retains undeliverable packages at their facilities for 15 days maximum before returning them to the sender. So after 14 days in limbo, it’s safe to assume the package is lost in transit. Just make sure to communicate clearly with the recipient.

Key Takeaways on USPS Package Looping Issues

While packages getting stuck in loops, jams and sorting gaps is annoying, it’s ultimately a rare issue considering USPS handles nearly half a billion packages annually. By confirming addresses, contacting USPS for help, and requesting official searches, most temporarily waylaid packages eventually get back on track and make it to their final destination. Just stay diligent and proactive in keeping things moving.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *