Undelivered package

Undelivered package

First of all, what is an undelivered package? Any shipment which cannot be delivered to the destination due to different circumstances is considered undelivered. We have briefly mentioned them at the end of the article and covered the topic in another post.

Generally, nonmailable packages are returned to the sender. But, if for any reason the sender will not or cannot receive it, the courier company will hold onto a parcel for a while so that the owner can file a claim. However, they cannot wait indefinitely.

So, if the delivery is not possible and the package still remains unclaimed, after a determined amount of time (which varies from one company to another), the company will deem the package undeliverable. The way the courier companies or postal services might handle the undelivered package depends on the type of mail or the content of the package.

In most cases, the letters are shredded. In the case of packages, one of the following measures can be taken:

  • If the courier company or postal service determines that the content of the package has a high value, it can be priced and sold at an auction.

  • If it contains items of commercial use such as food, cosmetics, cleaning products – they might as well be donated,

  • But, the shipment will be destroyed if it has no obvious value or if it contains items that are forbidden.

These are general scenarios. However, there are no ways to be sure of what happened with the undelivered package or in case it went missing. Sometimes it can even happen that the staff of the courier or postal services provider will share the content between their members. Nevertheless, this is rather an exception than a case that occurs often.

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Regardless of what measures are taken by the courier company or postal service after the decision is made, it is harder to claim the shipment back. In most cases, courier companies try to bring the package back to the sender. If the shipment is handled by the postal service and there is no address written on the shipment, they will most probably try to track down the sender. This is handled on a case-by-case basis, therefore the time necessary to trace the sender will vary.

If they don’t manage to do so, the last resource is to dispose of the shipment.

A package can be considered undeliverable for many reasons. We enlist few of them here:

  • Insufficient postage– this happens mostly when using postal services which require stamps. If the right amount and value of stamps is not purchased for the letter or the shipment, the postal office will not send the shipment to the delivery address,

  • It is addressed to a non-existent recipient – this usually happens if the street’s name was recently changed or if the delivery address is located in a newly build neighborhood or a new residential area,

  • The delivery address is incomplete or incorrect,

  • If the person to whom the package is addressed to refuses to receive it – make sure you inform the recipient about the delivery of the package,

  • If any extra charges applied and the addressee or the person who made the order refuses to cover them,

  • If the package contains items that are forbidden to be sent.


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