Although the letters are similar, USPS and UPS are completely different enterprises. Which got us wondering, can you drop off a UPS package at USPS?
We looked into it and this is what we found..
What Should I Do If I Accidentally Drop A UPS Package Off At USPS?
All delivery services advise customers to always provide a return address for anything you send. This makes it possible to return packages to you (if they go astray). Apart from making sure you do this, the only other thing you can do is wait until your first tracking information turns up.
Sometimes, no information turns up at all. Customers have reported long and frustrating searches for UPS packages they have accidently dropped off to USPS. Despite enquires made at a local Post Office, there is no trace of the package.
Unfortunately, USPS won’t have any information about your parcel. This is because the UPS tracking system can’t be read by USPS scanners. Therefore, you can only submit inquiries and explanations to UPS.
This article takes a look at what happens when we drop UPS packages into the USPS delivery system: what happens to them and why, and what you can do about it.
Can You Drop A UPS Package At USPS?
USPS only accepts a UPS package if it is a UPS Mail Innovation package. If your UPS package is not a UPS Mail Innovation package, you may not drop it off at USPS.
If you’ve accidently put your package into the wrong mail system, there’s no need to worry. According to USPS, it happens all the time. As soon as you realize your error, contact both USPS and UPS (or FedEx) and explain the situation so that your package can be tracked down.
Does USPS And United Parcel Service Work Together?
The United States Postal Service and United Parcel Service are not the same business. They do the same thing but they’re totally separate organizations.
However, USPS and UPS are services which often dovetail. This means that your delivery might use both services throughout its journey from you to the receiver.
But when you place a package with tracking for a certain system (for example UPS) into the USPS system (which uses completely different tracking numbers), then USPS cannot “read” your package. This means they can’t “move” it either. It cannot be officially received and scanned so that its delivery status can be uploaded to you.
This kind of very human error can only be fixed by human workers. And this happens all the time. USPS workers report misplaced packages arriving every day, and one of the main reasons for it is that USPS and UPS look confusingly the same!
What Happens If I Drop A UPS Package Off At USPS?
One USPS worker said that the big carriers, such as USPS, UPS, and FedEx have a kind of historic “gentleman’s agreement”. This means that there’s no official policy out there, but there is a courtesy code.
Each carrier hands back the packages not intended for their system. (This is necessary because each carrier cannot read (scan and update) each other’s package barcodes.)
What happens to your package depends on the facility it ends up at. The largest and busiest USPS outlets will end up with the most misplaced packages. At the parcels stack up, a staff member will alert the correct carrier to send a courier over to pick them up.
Each depot will have a different way of handling and communicating this sort of interruption.
This process can become so regular, that apparently couriers from each shipping service make regular package “retrieval” trips.
In smaller depots, staff members have to alert other carriers, UPS, for example, that there are parcels for them at USPS which need to be picked up. Then UPS need to send someone over to collect them. Whether they do this daily or weekly is up to them.
Sometimes, USPS will simply hand the stray packages to UPS delivery drivers when they stop by on regular business anyway. USPS workers report having seen delivery drivers empty USPS collection boxes, find UPS packages, and simply place them into a nearby UPS Drop Box.
It’s important to remember though, that if this happens, your package delivery will be delayed, and the delays will vary from location to location.
How Do I Submit An Enquiry To UPS?
UPS have a File a UPS Claim page for consumers who have “a problem with a package.” You’ll need to sign in to your UPS account to complete the process.
UPS say that “you can start a UPS claim within 60 days of the scheduled delivery for packages that have been lost or damaged…” You will have describe in detail the reason for the lost package.
Even though you are entirely responsible for misplacing the package, UPS still may be able to help with the problem.
The claim process will ask you to:
- Provide details about the package – you will need to provide the tracking number and details about the recipient.
- Let UPS know your role in the claim – this means your “relationship” to the package (sender, receiver, third party).
- Provide additional documentation – this refers to tracking numbers, receipts, invoice and/or purchase orders.
- Submit the claim – you’ll receive confirmation immediately. Then you’ll be able to check the progress of the claim on your claims dashboard.
UPS also have a handy online tracking bar. You can submit your tracking numbers here to receive information regarding the location of your items. If this information has not been updated even once since dropping off your package, it means UPS has not received it.
Remember that there will be a delay while USPS finds and hands your package over to the correct carrier. If you’ve allowed for a delay and there’s still no update, you will have to contact both UPS and your local Post Office.
Dropping UPS packages into the USPS postal system by accident is surprisingly common. While there is no official resolution process to follow to retrieve your package, most items will find their way into the right delivery system eventually.
Usually you will have to put up with a delivery delay, and occasionally packages have disappeared through human error.
As a rule though, United States Postal Service staff and United Parcel Service staff are happy to work together by handing errant packages back to the correct service.