The other day I ordered a package and every time I checked my USPS tracking number, it stated it was in ‘pre shipment.’
What exactly does pre-shipment mean? We looked into it and this is what we found…
Why Is My USPS Package Still In Pre Shipment?
If your USPS delivery package status is “in pre shipping”, it means your item has been packed with shipping label attached but has not yet been received by the postal service that will deliver it to you.
This article takes a look at “pre shipping”: what it means, why it happens, and what you can do when you receive a pre shipping alert on your package.
What Does Pre Shipment Mean?
Pre shipment refers to the “location” of a package at the very beginning of its journey from merchant to buyer. The term refers to online orders, which have a longer process to get through than conventional mail, which is simply sender to receiver.
When you make an online order for something, the process for the item begins once you’ve paid for it. Your item will become a “pre shipment” as soon as the merchant has generated the USPS shipping label for your package.
However, this doesn’t mean that your item has been shipped – or that the USPS actually has your item. This is a situation where electronic information gets ahead of itself! UPS have a similar package status for parcels ready to go but not yet “gone”. Their message reads “UPS Shipping Label Created”. This format is possibly a little clearer.
Your item will remain in pre shipment during its entire warehouse checkout time and during its journey by any other carrier to an USPS outlet. It will remain in pre shipment until it is received and scanned by USPS and begins its final journey to you.
Your package status refers to any stage of this beginning process, including when your item is actually at the Post Office but not yet scanned.
Why Do Some Packages Stay in USPS Pre Shipment For So Long?
There are a range of reasons for package pre shipment complications. It’s important to remember that the term actually refers to the entire time before it gets to the Post Office.
This means that even if another carrier has your package (such as FedEx or UPS), and is in transit with them, it will still be “pre shipment” according to USPS. This is because it hasn’t yet reached them (for the final stage of its journey).
And this means that pre shipment delays will often have nothing to do with USPS.
How Long Do Packages Sit In USPS Pre shipment?
Your packages can remain in the pre shipment stage for any amount of time. This is because the delays are occurring before your item has even reached a USPS outlet.
Consumers have reported pre shipment waiting times of anything from 24 hours to 12 days.
The usual carrier delivery delays can occur as your package makes its way to USPS. These include weather and road conditions, traffic issues, availability of drivers and the volume of mail to be delivered.
However, consumers have reported another reason they believe can cause pre shipment delays: the merchant can print a USPS shipping label any time. However, this doesn’t mean your item is ready to ship.
Delays at the warehouse level all contribute to a longer “pre shipment” time, which again, is nothing to do with the USPS.
What Do I Do If My Packages Are Stuck In Pre Shipment?
If you want to find out where your packages are during the pre shipment process, you’ll need to ask the company you bought them from. While most of the larger companies should have some information for you, consumers have reported smaller (or overseas) companies failing to respond to enquiries at all.
If you’ve made an international order for something, your pre shipment time will be longer than for domestic purchases anyway. Consumers advise that air and surface freight are subject to even more delays than domestic shipping.
Some buyers believe that some companies may wait until they can fulfil an order quota before the shipment itself goes into transit.
It is also possible that your “pre shipment” may be waiting for an actual product to become available (or to arrive from somewhere else). In this case, the “pre shipment” notification is more of a confirmation of your order rather than an alert that your product is about to be shipped.
When this happens, all you can do it wait – or make an enquiry to the merchant and wait. The USPS can only give you the information they have received.
Want to learn more about USPS? Check out our related posts to learn if USPS buys back unused stamps, does USPS ask for ID, and can a USPS tracking number be fake?
A package that sits in “pre shipment” is a worry, especially when after a couple of days your delivery notifications tell you it’s still there.
But it’s important to remember that your item may actually be in transit – it just hasn’t arrived at a USPS outlet yet.
In other words, your shipping label has been generated, but not yet received and scanned by USPS.
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