What Is Processing Exception USPS? (Knowledge + Solution)

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You printed the shipping label, sent the package to your carrier, and waited for the tracking status to show ‘delivered.’ Seems reasonable?

But instead, the status showed ‘delivery exception.’ Now, you’re confused and have no idea about what to do next.

Do you know what’s the worst part?

There’s no way to get rid of delivery exceptions. So, if you are a business or an individual who ships a ton of parcels, it’s a must know.

With every passing day, delivery on time is becoming the only metric both customers and eCommerce businesses care about when it comes to online shopping and deliveries.

If you already didn’t know about it; this raises some questions, such as: 

  • How long does a USPS processing exception take?

  • What exactly does Delivery Exception mean?

  • What can be the unpredicted conditions that cause its delay? 

  • What can you do if your package has been labeled a “processing exception”?

In today’s blog, you’ll get all your questions answered plus, we’ll guide you through every type of exception for every famous courier company and help you solve it ASAP!

What Is A Delivery Exception?

To put it simply, a delivery exception occurs when an unexpected event causes a shipping carrier to change the delivery date. Very broad statement, isn’t it?

So, as a result, either your carrier alert customers or your shipping exception updates with some unexpected delay.

It’s a great lesson to learn, you should always keep your eye on your tracking info to take action timely. If you don’t already know, click here to visit our Usps tracking tool

It happens mostly because of environmental factors, customs delays, or the receiver’s absence. But we’ll cover different types of delivery exceptions encounters in detail further…

However, delivery exceptions don’t always mean ‘late delivery’, sometimes this happens because of obstacles from your end. Either way, you have to face this inconvenience and frustration.

Why Are USPS Deliveries Delayed?

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If we just talk about USPS, their infrastructure is huge, on average they deliver whopping 143 billion pieces of parcels to at least 160 million unique addresses in a single year.

We’re not even talking about all other courier companies yet. Things can go from good to bad pretty fast.

In our case, we’re only talking about the Usps processing exception. It can be triggered by many variables, some of which are:

  • Mail volume fluctuations

  • Worker availability

  • Weather

  • Road or traffic conditions

  • Carriers unable to find delivery locations

  • Absence of receiver (over the age of 21 or without ID)

  • Parcels were wrongly addressed or only partly addressed

  • Packaging prohibited logos or advertising (icons featuring alcoholic products)

But sometimes you might get extremely unlucky, and your shipping label might get damaged so, now it would be stuck until it can be sent back to a return address.

We’ve written a brief article on “how to file a missing or damaged package claim on USPS”.

5 Most Common Types Of Delivery Exceptions

The ability to ship a package across the country (or across the globe) in a few days is revolutionary. We tend to take it for granted. Here are 5 most common reasons for delivery exceptions:

  1. Damaged labels or incorrect addresses

  2. Damaged items

  3. No signature

  4. Inclement Weather

  5. Customs delays

Now, let’s dig deep…

#1. Damaged label or Incorrect Address

Like the topic is self-explanatory, If the shipping label is a damaged or incorrect address, they’ll instantly let you know and ask for a corrected address.

If this happened midway through delivery, like the mentioned address is partially wrong or your shipping label gets damaged; this would result either in the package being returned or delivered to the wrong address.

We’ve written a separate article explaining how to prevent labels from damaging, wrong addresses, and issues, do read it.

But to make it short, you should print out shipping labels rather than writing them. And as a rule of thumb double-check shipping addresses.

Even a small error in the postal code or apartment number can cause delivery issues. And let us tell you something, you’ll be still charged for the package return.  

#2. Damaged, Missing, undeliverables Items

Sometimes, cases occur when courier transportation was at fault despite being careful and taking safety measures, you will be notified of the loss exception.

So if an accident occurs in transit, most carriers usually put the shipment on hold. The missing, undeliverables, or damaged parcels would then be returned along with the damaged ticket.

But on your side, to minimize delays and the risk of damage in transit, pack your parcel, and don’t be a cheapskate in packaging material.

#3. No Signature Or Pickup Delivery exceptions

Nowadays, packages are being stolen from doorsteps. Now, courier deliveries require a signature as a precaution for highly valuable items from the recipient.

However, this will cause a delivery exception if nobody is present at the delivery time. If the delivery wasn’t received or refused, they will take it back and attempt delivery the following day.

To reduce this pickup exception, just let them know via email or encourage the receiver to track their packages with a tool like AfterShip, this way they can make sure they’re home when their package arrives.

#4. Extreme Weather Or Holidays

Delivery exceptions happen mostly due to holidays. Not only does your mail gets delayed due to peak holiday load, but even courier services also face drastic fuckups.

Severe weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards, which is less likely but can cause a delivery exception, there’s a chance that packages will be delayed or go missing. So, be ready for it.

#5. Customs Delayed

Customs delays delivery exception only occurs when you ship internationally.

You need to understand, in this case, the courier company isn’t at fault. Customs is a fully government-regulated service for goods in each country.

To safeguard yourself, make sure you pay proper duties, and fees along with proper documentation to speed up the process. Contact your carrier to get what is required as customs documentation.

Processing exception Outcomes – 3 General Delivery Exceptions

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After processing exception status updates on tracking information, there are 3 types of outcomes that are expected in any courier company case.

#1 Late Parcel delivery exceptions

On average, delivery exception delays are shorter than other issues, 90% of the time packages would be delivered the next day.

#2 Package will be returned

Consider this the harshest you can be punished through courier delivery. If the package wasn’t delivered or refused due to a reason like an incorrect address or damaged label, the package may be returned to the sender.

This would also happen in a partial wrong address, zip code, or even the wrong apartment number of the receiver.

So, be extremely careful. And please, don’t forget to add the return address, at least it would reach you back.

#3 Nothing would happen, parcels will be delivered on time

This is the rarest but sometimes, you’ll see exceptions it would be only a proactive notification, and if your package is likely to be delayed for any mentioned reasons, it will be shown on time anyway.

To us, it feels like free anxiety.

But we’ll recommend you to still let know the receiver what happened because no one knows if it is false or not.

 How To Effectively Deal With Usps Processing Exceptions?

Generally, keep your eye on the package status. To know the appropriate average time, check the mail class of the package, a priority mail express delivery must be delivered within 1-2 days.

However, first-class mail takes 1-5 days to deliver the package. If you’ve exceeded this many days, it’s time to report.

Fill out the Help Request Form available on the USPS website.

If the package got lost in transit, you have 2 options:

  1. In the case of Priority Mail Express, they offer a money-back guarantee through which you can get a refund.

  2. A claim can be filed if the package included insurance. This is especially useful if the package was damaged in transit. But it has criteria, you can read them here.

How Long Does A USPS Processing Exception Take?

It is hard to tell because the reason behind the exception can be anything we talked about. So, there’s no precise time unit given by USPS.

But to solve this issue, USPS offers a service called ‘USPS Text Tracking’, and you’ll get status alerts of their packages. To know more, click here.

After signing up, you’ll get the following updates: 

  • Expected delivery updates

  • Day of delivery updates

  • Available for pickup

  • Delivery exception updates

FYI: To save some bucks, send a text to 28777 (2USPS) with your tracking number, and a keyword. By this, you’ll get alerted when the status has that defined keyword. 

Now, let’s see how you can solve processing exception issues with some other courier companies.

FedEx Delivery Exceptions

FedEx faces this mainly because of excessive package volume. But like Usps, they also have an alert system in place, just sign up for FedEx alerts.

Thanks to the alerts service, the package receiver will be notified in the case of a delay in delivery by tracking information.

But sometimes, tracking updates can indicate delivery exceptions too. For example, If you get an update that says “No scheduled delivery date at this time,” this means FedEx doesn’t have the package yet, or that there has been a delay.

UPS Delivery Exceptions

UPS tracking update you may receive like “Exception: Action Required”, this is Ups way of telling you’re stuck in an exception.

Again, we’ve told you above how and what causes it, just correct it when UPS asks you by alerting status update.

For other delivery uncontrollable circumstances exceptions, you can visit Ups service alerts on their website.

2 Things eCommerce Business Can Do

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In contrast to the individual, an eCommerce business has to ship hundreds of packages a day. So, dealing with and keeping track of each parcel is close to impossible.

But there’s a solution available that would ease a little pressure you might face while dealing with exceptions:

1. Bulk Order Status Tracking number

Apps like CSV Auto Fetch and ShipStation can assist you in tracking order statuses for each package you ship.

Now, all tracking codes would be in one location, so you can keep them organized and be the first to know about exceptions.

2. Notify Customers

This is another headache. Dealing with customers and telling them that there’s a delay you’re taking care of the situation is a hectic task. Why not use a bulk notifier instead?

This will also win customers’ attention and make them feel that you haven’t forgotten about them.

You can use an app like Attentive to automatically send SMS based on tracking data updates. You can also use Klaviyo to send real-time email updates.

But if you want to make your updates social, Facebook Messenger is also another way.

FYI: By this, you can also open new marketing revenue because these emails would have a high open rate.

Final Words On “Processing Exception Usps”

Doing shipping nowadays you need to expect the unexpected. Between natural disasters, damaged items, and customs delays anything can go wrong.

However, if you know what to expect from different carriers and how to handle it, it won’t cause a major problem.

If you have faced shipping issues related to any courier and struggled to find a solution, just subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated with the latest information.