What does return to sender usps mean on tracking number?

So you want to know the latest destination of your package and what you saw on your tracking information is return to sender usps, that is to say the delivery company is usps.

The next thing that will pop into your head will be;

What does that mean.

If you looking at the shipping term, you will see that the meaning is very clear and everyone will probably understand what the shipping terms means. But the question being asked is why such occurred, why I’m seeing usps return to sender on my tracking information.

This is what I will explain to you article and what you should do if you fancy having your item delivered to you.

Lets continue.

What is usps return to sender on tracking number?

USPS return to sender means that a package has been marked to be returned to the shipper or sender because usps couldn’t have the package delivered to the recipient because of some reasons which includes not being able to locate the recipient house, the package was already damaged, failed delivery, etc. 

return to sender usps

However, there are more to know when it comes to return to sender usps tracking information.


The shipping term is very clear and easy to understand, your package has be marked to be returned back to the sender or probably the buyer, but where the problem lies is why such is happening.

Related Posts:

Why returning the package back to the sender, and the reasons I’ve already explained below.

Return to sender USPS reasons

The followings are the major reasons why you have return to sender usps on your tracking number.

1. The item has been damaged

One of the major reason why a product will be returned back to the sender is when the delivery company sees that the item has already been damaged prior to reaching their sorting center.

In the case of usps return to sender, usps will never deliver an item if they found out that there’s a damage to the item or the package itself and they are not the cause of the damage.

The truth is, mostly the delivery company will never send the item which has been damaged to the recipient cause they might be blamed for it, instead they will return it back to the sender or straight to the country of origin.

2. USPS couldn’t locate your address

Most times when a delivery company can’t seem to locate the address of a recipient, they tends to drop the item to any of the nearest local post office.

Now in the case of usps and return to sender usps, once they tried to locate the destination address of the package but couldn’t, the delivery will deemed to be a failed one and in turn will have the package returned back to the sender.

However, this isn’t applied to all delivery company as some will return the package back to the sender or shipper.

This is why it is recommended to give an address that can be located or better still use the address of any of the nearest local post office if you’re living in a remote environment.

3. USPS couldn’t contact the recipient

This is another major case when it comes return to sender usps on tracking number, USPS on multiple occasions tried every possible means to reach out to the recipient but all to no avail especially if the package requires a signature from the recipient.

Once USPS tried up to three times times to have your item delivered to you but couldn’t deliver your item because they can’t seem to contact you, they will return the item back to the sorting facility and from the sorting facility the item will be sent back to the sender or shipper.

Based on my own experience. 

I’ve experienced this before where a delivery personnel claimed to have tried to reach me on multiple occasions but failed and instead he returned the package back to the sorting center.

When i contacted the seller and the seller tracked the item and further contacted the delivery company, they claimed to they tried to deliver my package but I wasn’t available and the item requires a signature.

But the truth is that I was home all throughout the days I saw my package was out for delivery.

The truth is the delivery personnel never came to my house to deliver my item because my house is pretty much far or outskirt of the town, and what he did is to scan the item failed delivery.

This is what some of the delivery personnel do especially if you are living in a remote environment or outskirt of the city.

4. Unclaimed package

If after receiving a package to be delivered to a recipient buy after several tries the delivery failed and no one called to reschedule a delivery or claim the package, usps will automatically return the package back to the sender.

6. The recipient rejected the package

This is another popular return to sender USPS reasons, the recipient rejected the package from usps delivery personnel upon delivering the package to the recipient.

This may be caused by the fact that the package was damaged and the recipient rejected the package, wrong address or maybe the recipient know nothing of the package.

Other return to sender USPS reasons includes if the recipient is deceased, Incomplete, illegible, or incorrect address, no postage, etc.

What to do after seeing return to sender usps

If you didn’t request for your package to be returned to the sender, you need to take an action immediately else your package will be sent back to the sender.

Upon checking your item and you saw return to sender usps on your tracking number, what you should be thinking is the next step to take and which is to immediately contact the delivery company which is usps as to know why your package will be returned to the sender.

This is if usps didn’t specify the reason why they are returning your package back to the sender and mostly usps don’t specify the reason for return to sender. And this is why most people get confused upon seeing return to sender usps on their tracking number.

Depending on the situation, usps might explain the situation and if possible they will try to deliver to package to you if the case was because of failed delivery on multiple occasions.

This is usually the case or the delivery personnel trying to reach you or deliver the item but couldn’t because of one reason or the other. Once you called usps customer service or the delivery personnel, they will this time come and deliver your package or sometimes drop it off at the local post office and request you should go there and pickup your item.

Another thing to do is to contact the seller especially if the delivery company or usps has already returned the item back to the sender or the seller.

If you still fancy to have the item, kindly request the sender or the seller should resend the item using another delivery company instead of usps, if not wait and get your full refund of the money you paid for the item.

USPS returned to sender for no reason

Kindly note that usps hardly explain the reason for usps return to sender on a tracking number, but sometimes calling the customer might be of helpful as to know why your package marked return to sender.

Don’t expect usps to update on your tracking number or tracking information for return to sender USPS reasons but instead you will have to give them a call and request for an explanation as to why such occurred.

USPS return to sender tracking

As long as your tracking number states return to sender usps, you can no longer further track the return to sender unless you have to contact the delivery company or the sender itself to know if the package has been returned or not.

If a package is returned to sender can you resend?

A seller can resend a returned package but it will be according to the recipient request, if not the seller will only refund the recipient the full amount paid for the item.

If after seeing return to sender on your tracking number but you really want to have the item, just contact the seller if the delivery company already returned the item, and request for the seller to resend the item.

Who will pay the cost of return to sender?

Return to sender is done for free as both the recipient and the sender won’t pay any fee at all. However, if you as the recipient is returning the item in your own will, you the recipient will have to pay the cost of returning the item back to the sender.

This usually gets worse if you are returning the item to a seller from another country.

For example, you received an item and upon opening it you saw that the item has already been damaged or there’s a fault with the item.

You are not satisfied at all with the product and you chose to have it returned back to the sender. In this type of situation, you will have to pay the cost of sending the item back to the sender, the online store or the seller.

But if an item is marked return to sender, and which means you as the recipient didn’t receive the item, you won’t bear the cost of having the item returned back to the sender or the seller.

How long does it take for package to be returned to sender?

It usually takes a maximum of 15 working days for package to be returned to sender if no one comes forward to claim the package. 

The likes of usps will wait for a good 15 date for the package to be claimed before returning it back to the sender. Other delivery services like dhl, FedEx, EMS will wait for a maximum number of 10 working days after they must have tried to deliver the package, called the recipient but all to no avail, the will have the item returned to the sender.

Will I get a refund after return to sender?

Definitely you will get your refund as long as the package is in a good shape and also in time frame of return policy, you should expect to have the full amount refunded into your account once the sender or seller has confirmed to have received the package.

This is where I come to the conclusion on what does return to sender usps mean on tracking information and what you as the recipient need to do especially if you didn’t request for the return.

About Kennedy

I'm Amaechi Uchenna by name, a mobile tech enthusiast who love writing articles about tips and tutorials especially relating to gadgets.

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