Trying to decipher USPS tracking info can feel like trying to read Latin sometimes.
Sure, the US Postal Service has definitely stepped up their game when it comes to tracking packages accurately and consistently. Not to mention sending much more detailed and accurate information to their customers.
At the same time, though, some of the tracking status updates – like “USPS Delivered to Agent” updates, for example – are anything but easy to understand.
Below we run through what this specific update means, what it tells you about your package and how close it is to arriving at its ultimate destination, and what you need to do – if anything – to make sure that your package arrives exactly when you hoped it would.
Let’s get right into it, shall we?
USPS Delivered to Agent – Who Are These Agents?
Every single day, millions of pieces of mail are handled by the USPS – including a decent amount of packages that are going to be delivered to addresses where people either aren’t home or are otherwise unable to receive that package personally for one reason or another.
And while there are plenty of places in the US where leaving a package on the front step coming from of the garage, or up on the porch isn’t a problem at all, we’ve all seen stories on the news of people stealing packages that are left unattended, too.
For this reason, the USPS has really stepped up when it comes to delivering or handing off packages sent to specific individuals to authorized agents.
Usually these authorized agents are family members or household residents that are able to receive packages on the behalf of other individuals, though sometimes we are talking about dropping packages off at other locations (like shipping lockers, for example).
You might even have your package dropped off with a neighbor and get the “USPS Delivered to Agent” update!
There are some obvious advantages to having your package handed off to these kinds of agents, but there are some drawbacks as well.
We’ll cover those in just a moment, but remember this – agents are basically anyone other than the intended and addressed recipient for a package that the item has been left with by the USPS.
Why is My Package Getting Handed Off to an Agent?
As we highlighted just a moment ago, the majority of the time that this message pops up it’s going to be directly related to an individual not being home or at the address where a package was sent to them but someone else was, and they received the package on their behalf.
Most of the time this is going to be a family member or household member that has absolutely no trouble receiving a package for someone that lives at that address on their behalf.
Sometimes, though, the package may be left with neighbors or dropped off at storage lockers as we alluded to earlier.
This is done because the USPS wants to make sure that packages arrive on time, that they get dropped off where they were supposed to be delivered (at the right address), and that they aren’t just being left around outdoors and unattended – particularly in areas where package theft has been a major problem in the past.
Can I Request My Package to Get Delivered to an Agent?
Though you aren’t going to be able to expressly request that your package gets delivered to an agent of yours (which would be handy on days where you knew you weren’t going to be around to pick up a package you expected that day), there are some options available for you to better control your delivery timeline and who/when that package arrives.
For example, you can tell your local post office about people that you trust to receive packages on your behalf (individuals that can act as an agent in the future).
You might want to tell your local post office that anyone living at your home is an authorized agent to receive your packages, but you might also want to tell them that there are a couple of neighbors that you trust and are particularly friendly with that could be agents as well.
For obvious reasons it’s a good idea to make sure that you are only ever recommending agents to the USPS that you trust and that you know will take care of your package for you.
It’s also a good idea to try and keep your list of authorized agents as small as possible. It’s never a bad idea to have at least one authorized agent on your street or neighborhood that doesn’t live at your home (just in case no one’s home at the time your package arrives) – but you don’t want to authorize the entire street to take packages on your behalf.
Other than that, though, the only way you’re going to be able to control where your package is delivered is by using the Package Intercept delivery services that the USPS makes available.
You’ll have to pony up a premium fee to take advantage of USPS Package Intercept, but you will be able to have that package delivered elsewhere (to your work address during business hours, for example, so that you don’t have to worry about agents receiving your packages) or have your package held temporarily at your local post office for in person pickup.
Those are some pretty slick tools that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with. Jump on the USPS website (www.usps.com) and check out all of your options as well as a couple of brief tutorials to walk you through how to make the most of the services.
Benefits of USPS Delivering to an Agent
The biggest advantage of using USPS agents to receive packages on your behalf is that you’ll have a lot more peace of mind knowing that your packages are in safe hands when you aren’t home and aren’t just sitting outside unattended on the porch or in the driveway.
You’ll be glad to know that the USPS employees and mail carriers that hand these packages off to authorized agents aren’t going to do so willy-nilly or on their own volition, either.
These professionals are only going to deliver packages to agents that can be trusted (usually only to agents that have been authorized), not just anyone and everyone.
The other big benefit you’ll get out of the USPS delivering to an agent is that your delivery timeline isn’t going to get screwed up, either.
Sometimes when the USPS attempts delivery but no one is home to receive a package they are going to leave a little yellow notice on your door, letting you know that they attempted to drop your package off and are going to reattempt the next day.
That might not be a huge problem for those that will be around the next time the USPS comes by with their packages.
For time sensitive items, though, it would be nice to know that they aren’t going to be “bumped” even just another day – or worse – over the weekend – simply because USPS didn’t want to leave the box unattended.
Drawbacks of USPS Delivering to an Agent
On the flip side of things, there are definitely some drawbacks and downsides to the USPS delivering to an agent – especially if you weren’t aware of the fact that they were going to do so or if they handed something off to someone claiming to be an agent when they weren’t.
To be totally clear, there is no real ID authentication or verification process when USPS mail carriers are dropping off a package and delivering it to an agent.
The mail carrier isn’t going to ask for ID and isn’t going to “run the numbers” to make sure that the person claiming to be the agent you’ve authorized is in fact that individual.
As we highlighted a moment ago, the USPS (generally) doesn’t just hand boxes over to anyone and everyone. But if someone is on your doorstep your answers your door and says that they are an authorized agent to receive your package, the odds are pretty good the USPS is going to hand it over – and that may or may not become a problem moving forward.
The Great News – Your Package Has Been Delivered (Or is Really Close to Getting Dropped Off)
The good news – the great news, really – is that when you see this message pop up in your tracking information it means that your package has either already been delivered or is about as close to being delivered as it gets without actually physically being at your home (and in an agent’s possession).
This isn’t the kind of message that you’re going to see pop up when your package first starts to move through the USPS infrastructure.
It isn’t a message you’re going to see as your package jumps from one processing facility to the next.
No, this message means that your package is either about to be handed to your agent or has already been handed off and is going to be sitting there waiting for you just as soon you arrive.
Getting confirmation that your package has been safely and securely dropped off is always something great to see in our tracking info.
What If There’s a Delay?
In very rare circumstances the USPS tracking information that you’ve been provided may tell you that your package is about to be handed off to an agent of yours or that it has already been delivered to an agent even if that’s not completely accurate.
Like anything else, the USPS tracking system is prone to bugs and glitches every now and again.
You might get this tracking information pop up well before your package is actually headed out for its final delivery run, usually when the USPS employees loading individual mail carrying vehicles scan items and load them into the back of the vehicle itself.
If, on the other hand, you have received this message and a day or two has gone by than the odds are pretty good that something is wrong – and that unauthorized agents have taken your package (or something else has caused your package to be delayed).
In those situations it’s a good idea to reach out to USPS customer service just as soon as you have an opportunity to do so.
Jump on the phone, pop over to www.usps.com for online support, or drive down to your local post office and see what’s happening. They’ll be able to clue you in better than anyone else!
Does the USPS Confirm ID Before Handing My Package Over?
We touched on this briefly a moment ago, but it definitely bears repeating:
The USPS is going to do their level best to make sure that only authorized agents except packages on your behalf, but they aren’t going to be checking IDs like a college bar does at the door.
If someone answers your door, responds that they are an agent or can receive packages for you, and looks the part than the odds are pretty good that your package is going to be handed over.
If, on the other hand, little alarm bells are going off in the minds of USPS employees when they ask if the individual at your address is an agent, the odds are good that they are going to hold your package for you at your local post office and reattempt delivery the next day.
US Global Mail – The Ultimate Modern Mailbox Solution
Of course, if you want to be 100% certain that every single package you have being sent to your home or office is safe and secure (even when you aren’t able to physically receive those packages when they are dropped off) you’ll want to check out US Global Mail ASAP.
The premier virtual mailbox service for more than 20+ years now, US Global Mail really does offer the ultimate modern mailbox solution.
As a member of this service you’ll get a permanent physical mailing address you can use to have packages sent through USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, and more (something you can’t do with a PO Box) – and that permanent address will stick with you even if you move, regardless of how often you move, too!
All packages delivered are digitally scanned immediately upon arrival with instant notifications sent to you to alert you that they have shown up.
You’ll see (real time) these packages as they arrive, confirming their delivery for yourself but also knowing that they are going to be stored in safe storage lockers until you decide how you’d like to pick them up or have them forwarded to any address on the planet (up to 80% off of standard shipping costs).
Sound too good to be true?
It isn’t – and (believe it or not) those benefits are just barely beginning to scratch the surface of all you’ll enjoy when you choose to join up with US Global Mail.
For more information visit the US Global Mail website today or contact their customer support!