Have you been refreshing the USPS tracking page and not seeing any updates? Perhaps wondering how accurate the USPS tracking is since your parcel doesn’t seem to be moving…
We looked into how accurate USPS tracking is, and this is what we found…
How Accurate Is USPS Tracking?
The first thing you’ll see when you open the USPS website is a tracking bar. This tracking system is central to The United States Postal Service and they stand by its reliability and accuracy. USPS tracking is very accurate with real-time tracking updates. In fact, USPS tracking is correct 95% of the time.
This article looks at the USPS tracking service: what it is, how it works, where to find it and how you can use it to locate your parcels and mail items.
What is USPS Tracking?
Postage tracking is the process of locating mail and parcel post items across the duration of a delivery. Tracking was developed to aid delivery by monitoring items, predicating arrivals and informing of delays.
Tracking works by identifying and recording each piece of mail as it passes through delivery points, providing the sender with proof of delivery and preparing the receiver with time of delivery.
USPS tracking provides “end-to-end” tracking and is available for most domestic mail products that are large enough and which are addressed to domestic locations.
An associated tracking number is entered into the USPS tracking page to find the current status of that item (and other delivery information). Tracking does not guarantee delivery (though it does record failed deliveries) and there is no added cost for tracking on most USPS mail.
How Does USPS Tracking Work?
Once you’ve paid the postage on your packages at the post office (or online), USPS tracking is automatically activated. The tracking number is on your receipt and is made up of a series of numbers under the barcode.
It’s important to remember that USPS cannot track or locate an item without that tracking number.
That label will be scanned multiple times throughout the journey (or the “mailstream”). It may be scanned by USPS or by a shipping partner, such as FedEx or Amazon.
It starts with the first electronic notification of the tracking number and ends when the item is delivered and picked up, an action which is also recorded. Throughout this process, you can access this tracking information in a variety of ways.
How Do I Find Tracking Information For My Parcels?
The type of information available to you depends on the type of mail service (or add on service) you purchased. However, regardless of whether you are the sender of receiver, you can find information the following ways:
- Online – by using the USPS website tracking tool
- Text – by sending a text to 28777 (2USPS) with your tracking number
- Smartphone – by downloading the USPS Mobile app for iPhone and Android.
- Phone – by contacting USPS directly by phone
- Automatic updates – by entering the tracking number on the USPS website and clicking on “text and email updates.” Once the item is delivered, the notifications will stop.
If you aren’t receiving any updates at all, check the email address you used, and check that updates are not in your spam folder.
Does USPS Update Package Tracking?
Scanning information is updated throughout the day as soon as it becomes available. Updates are not made at the same time each day, and packages are not all updated at the same time.
The timing of updates depends on deliveries being on time, staffing levels being adequate, and on the volume of mail at any one time.
USPS advise customers to check tracking information regularly as updates can be made at any time.
How Often Does USPS Update Tracking?
Every time the USPS tracking barcode of your parcel is scanned, you will receive an update related to your shipment. The information should include address of delivery and expected date and time of the delivery
As soon as this information becomes available, you can access it with your tracking number. Remember that delays to updates can be caused by:
- Availability of staff
- Amount of mail
- Traffic conditions
- Road conditions
- Unforeseen events of any kind
Does USPS Update Package Tracking On Weekends?
Package updates seem to depend on delivery schedules being met, delivery hubs being open and scanning centres being staffed. It also depends on which carrier has your stuff and whether they actually deliver on weekends.
All this means that you probably won’t receive delivery updates on the weekend. But that doesn’t mean your packages are stalled or lost; it just means that the updates have not been made yet.
What If My Package Has Not Been Delivered?
USPS advise that if your item has not arrived, check the delivery service you used. You can find this by entering the tracking number and looking up Product Information.
Then look up the Delayed Mail Standards to find the definition of “late mail” for your service. For example, if you used Priority Mail, you’re asked to wait 5 days from date of mailing before submitting a query. And if you used USPS Retail Ground, you’ll need to wait 14 days from date of mailing.
If your tracking information shows an “Alert,” this means a delay of some kind has occurred. In this case, go to Service Alerts for current information on postal facility service disruptions and the causes. This page is updated constantly.
After the required number of days has passed to place your item in the “delayed mail” category and your tracking information has not changed, it’s time to contact USPS directly.
How Accurate Is USPS Tracking?
The accuracy of USPS Tracking is entirely dependant on its usage. In other words, the tracking information will be accurate and regular if there are staff available to scan the packages, the information is updated regularly and your mail is able to physically get from place to place.
The efficiency of electronic tracking is still very dependent on human work, which is a good thing.
Want to learn more about USPS? Check out our related post to learn if USPS accepts FedEx returns, does USPS deliver at night and does USPS ship internationally.
Postal tracking has become increasingly commonplace and is now an expected feature of all delivery services. USPS tracking is available at no extra charge for most shipping services.
It will provide you with information about the location of your packages as soon as that information is scanned into the system.
USPS has an easy to find tracking bar on the website you can use to locate your items.
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