There are only a few things as frustrating is finding out that the post office has lost your mail or packages. And while this definitely doesn’t happen all the time, it happens with enough frequency that people have to prepare for this inevitability. Thankfully, though, it is possible to plan around losing packages with the USPS – particularly if you pay close attention to the details that we highlight below. As long as you steer clear of busy mail seasons and move forward only with reputable senders you’ll have a lot less to worry about.
All in all, though, there is a process you can quickly move forward with if your mail hasn’t yet arrived. The USPS will go out of their way to help make sure that your packages and parcels arrive at their final destination (your doorstep) as long as you alert them to the issue personally.
Let’s take a little bit deeper into what that process looks like!
Double Check the Status of Your Mail
The very first thing you are going to want to do if you’re nervous that your mail has gone missing through the USPS system is to check the tracking information again. Sometimes we get a little bit impatient – especially when we are eager or excited about another package hitting our doorstep – and just don’t give the USPS enough time to update their system. Plenty of folks check tracking information the second that they receive it from there sender (including the author of this guide!). Unfortunately, if you check too early (and then continue to check early and often) the odds are pretty good that you’re going to start to feel like your package is missing in the USPS system when nothing could be further from the truth.
Sometimes you get tracking information about a package that hasn’t even shipped yet, for example! It’s important that you give your package a couple of days to start moving through the USPS infrastructure (unless of course you paid extra for priority, next day, or same-day delivery). Keep checking that tracking information periodically – once or twice a day, no more frequently than that – for a couple of days before you get nervous. If, however, after a couple of days you’re not seeing any update to your tracking information (especially if you have overshot your delivery window) it’s not a bad idea to move on to the next step in this guide.
Contact Your Local Post Office Directly
The second that you start to think that your package has been lost somewhere within the USPS infrastructure it’s important to reach out to your local post office directly. These are your “front-line workers” that can help you track down exactly what’s going on, so long as you provide your tracking data and information. When you visit your post office, explain to them your situation and let them know that you think your package has been lost somewhere. The USPS workers will almost always request your tracking information, your name, and your address and will dive into their own USPS computers and backend.
A lot of people think that the USPS has the same kind of tracking information that we have and no more, but that’s not exactly the reality of the situation. There are a couple of other data points that the USPS officials can use to figure out if your package is simply slowed down from delivery or if it really has likely been lost in translation somewhere along the way. The USPS worker helping you should be able to let you know exactly what’s going on, and at the very least they should be able to let you know where your package was last in the USPS system.
From there they can either contact that USPS facility directly (which many of them offer to do, and it’s not a bad idea to take them up on the offer) or they can provide you with the contact information yourself. Either way, this is going to help you pinpoint things a little better than you might have been able to on your own. Reach out to the last point of scan that your package made it to in the USPS system and see if there is anything officials there can help you with. Sometimes they will even go into the warehouse, track down the pallet and then your package specifically, and give it a priority bump to get to your doorstep faster. If, on the other hand, your package really has been swallowed up by the USPS infrastructure monster – and this (regrettably) happens with some frequency throughout the year – you’re going to have to take a couple of extra steps.
Contact the Shipping Agent
The first thing you’ll want to do is contact the shipping agent that sent your package out and confirm that they are seeing the same kinds of issues on your tracking that you are. They will be able to do things on their end to determine when and where your package went out, how long it has been missing, and how to best proceed. Sometimes these professionals will want to contact USPS directly – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes they are able to use their relationships with USPS (especially if they are a volume sender) to move things along a little faster. If, however, it is confirmed with the shipping agent that your package has been lost it’s time to talk about a replacement or a refund. This is a conversation you’re going to want to have straight out of the gate.
Submit a Missing Mail Request Online
The next piece of the puzzle is to actually contact the USPS Customer Service department directly and tell them that you would like to submit a missing mail search request. This process can be completed by visiting the MissingMail.USPS.com website – though you’ll have to sign into your USPS account or register a free one to get started.
From there you’ll have to go through the actual Missing Mail request process online, a process that is super simple and straightforward and should take about two or three minutes to knock out. The cool thing here is that you can take your time filling out your request, too. You can get your request ready to go and then save it as a draft for up to seven days before you finalize and submit it. Just know that while you can submit this kind of Missing Mail search request at your local post office it’s a much – MUCH – better idea to do it online if you have the chance. Things just move a lot faster when you submit it as an online request, for one reason or another.
Here are a few of components of the Missing Mail search request that you’ll want to be aware of, too.
Confirm Filing Window
To file for Missing Mail with the USPS you have a “window of time” to be eligible for this kind of search procedure. The earliest that you’re going to be able to file this application, for example, is seven days after the original date of mailing. That basically means that you have to wait at least one week after your package was originally mailed to have it be considered “missing” with the USPS officially. The longest you can wait is 365 days after the original mailing date, or one year to the day from the date that your mail originally left the sending location. Obviously, it’s a good idea to do this as early in the process as possible. The earlier that you get the search for your missing mail going the better chances you have on your package actually getting found, after all!
Get Your Records Together
The second thing you’ll need to do is make sure that you have all of your records ready to rock and roll. You’ll need to include information about your name, your address, the package that you are looking for, tracking information attached to the package itself, and the address of the sender that zipped your package out to you in the first place. Get all of this information in these records together before you start the filing process and you’ll be able to move through it a lot faster than you might have been able to otherwise. As long as you have that documentation and records on hand you really shouldn’t have all that much to worry about when it comes to getting the claim filed correctly.
File the Claim
The last piece of the puzzle here is to simply file the Missing Mail claim with the USPS and hope that they are able to scour the last known location to find your package for you quickly. There are going to be a couple of different notifications on your USPS account to let you know where your claim is in the process, including:
Accepted – This basically means that your Missing Mail filing has been accepted by the USPS and they are going to go through the inventory search process from here.
Mail/Package Found – This is great news, and a status indicator like this shows that the package has actually been discovered, retrieved, and is either being rewrapped or repackaged and mailed to you directly
Expired – This status indicator lets you know that the search form itself has gone past its expiration date, and you will no longer be able to hunt for matches for your package in the USPS system going forward
Rejected – A rejected status basically indicates that you already have a Missing Mail request in the system or that your application has been rejected for other reasons you’ll need to contact the USPS directly about
Canceled – You only ever see this status if you decide to cancel the Missing Mail request personally on your end of things
What If My Mail Shows Up Later?
If you’re missing package shows up at some point in the future that’s great news, and you don’t have to do anything whatsoever on your end! The delivery notification will automatically be uploaded into the USPS administrative backend, override the Missing Mail request, and confirm throughout the system that you have actually gotten your package after all. Obviously, you could even go back into the USPS system and tell it that you are good to go and Cancel your request – but there’s really no need to even go through that extra step if your package arrives all on its own.
US Global Mail – A Smarter Modern Mailbox
Of course, if you are tired of dealing with the USPS when it comes to your mail and your packages – and with the way things have been going with the USPS recently you certainly wouldn’t be alone – you might be looking at alternatives to the post office. That’s where US Global Mail comes into play.
Very much a modern take on the traditional mailbox, US Global Mail is the industry leader when it comes to virtual mailbox solutions. So much more than a traditional PO Box, you get a permanent street address you can use forever with your US Global Mail account, can have all of your mail and packages be redirected through this service – including from other shipping companies the USPS does not accept – and so much more.
In fact, the virtual mailbox service benefits that digitally scans and forwards your mail are two of the most popular reasons people have been switching to US Global Mail at such a breakneck pace recently. If you are interested in learning a little bit more about everything that US Global Mail has to offer, or just want to see what kinds of services might fit your needs best, visit their website today. You can also contact them directly (via email or phone) and have one of their top-tier customer service agents answer all of your questions personally while walking you through all of the advantages of becoming a US Global Mail customer moving forward.