Global shipping giants such as FedEx and UPS have a spiraling network of distribution/fulfillment centers all over the world. Despite that, not all packages reach their destinations on the committed time.
Nearly 16 percent of all FedEx and UPS packages fall short of their specified delivery time. Such instances leave a sour experience and a negative impact on those brands. A study by Capgemini reveals that almost 48 percent of customers switch to another shipping carrier when they experience an unsatisfactory delivery.
Another study by Tedmondo shows that 80 percent of online shoppers want a same-day delivery from their retailers. E-commerce companies and shipping carriers are scrambling to keep up with such high customer expectations. As of now, only 56 percent of retailers have geared up for same-day delivery. Others at least need to ensure delivering orders at the committed time.
In this article, we will break down the most common reasons cited by FedEx and UPS when a shipment has to be returned.
- The recipient was not located at the address provided. The item was returned to the sender.
The first reason for returning a package is that the recipient could not be located at the given address. It may happen due to a wrong apartment/suite number or wrong spelling of the street name.
Some of the common reasons for incorrect address correction include:
- Correction of the street number and the package is on the way to the new address.
- The apartment number is either incorrect or missing. This may result in delayed delivery. FedEx/UPS is trying to update the address.
- The recipient’s address is updated. The package is delivered to the new address.
- The incomplete address is resulting in delayed delivery. Carriers are trying to update the address.
- Incorrect address. The recipient has moved.
FedEx and UPS can prevent these issues related to address by standardizing the process of updating address during generating labels with an auto-correcting software.
- Item was unclaimed by the recipient. The item being returned to the sender
Even when FedEx and UPS attempt to deliver orders on time, it may not happen due to customers. Many times, recipients are not available at the given address at the time of delivery.
Many customers often reschedule the delivery or offer to pick it up from the closest distribution center. However, in the cases of perishable items such as food items or wine, carriers need to take extra care to make sure the item remains intact.
Here are a few common reasons for a delivery delay due to customers:
- According to the recipient’s request, the package is on hold for pickup. The pickup needs to complete within 5 business days.
- The recipient has moved to a new address. The carrier will deliver the package to the recipient’s new address.
- As per the request by the recipient, the carrier has rescheduled the delivery date.
- No adult recipient is available at the address during the delivery.
Besides, due to a longer waiting time, a customer is more likely to cancel or return the order. This is particularly worrisome for e-commerce businesses. Besides losing shipping costs, a negative delivery experience is likely to affect your brand perception.
- Delivery attempted. Card left indicating where the item can be picked up
If the recipient is not available at the mentioned address, the carrier may leave a delivery attempt notice. Based on the delivery attempt notice, the recipient can request a new delivery.
While making a new delivery request, the recipient needs to enter the tracking number, email ID, and phone number.
If the recipient has not received a delivery attempt notice, he/she can postpone the delivery before an attempt. For further assistance, you can contact FedEx or UPS so that they can make a new delivery arrangement.
- Item refused by the recipient. The item being returned to the sender
The first delivery attempt has failed due to the recipient’s refusal to accept the item. The recipient can choose from four delivery change options: Will call, Delivery to a different address, Reschedule delivery or Return to Sender. If the recipient refuses to accept the package and chooses the last option, the item will return to the sender.
- The item was returned to the sender. Incomplete address
FedEx and UPS generate a huge profit due to address corrections. When a retailer puts an incorrect address while creating a shipment, the carrier will try to correct the address for a hefty fee. Or else the item will be returned to the sender.
Within the US, FedEx and UPS also evaluate this fee if the address is a P.O. Box ZIP code or P.O. Box number. Besides, if your package carries an address correction fee, the free or on-time guarantee is no longer effective.
FedEx/UPS Address Correction Cost:
- For FedEx, the cost is $17.00 per package.
- For UPS, the cost is $15.90 per package.
- The item was returned to the sender. Valid proof of age identification not provided
A recipient needs to provide one of the following identifications to receive a package from FedEx or UPS:
- Provide a photo ID issued by the government, such as a passport or driver’s license. The complete name on the ID should match the one on the package label.
- Provide a photo ID, such as a passport, a driver’s license, along with a package release code provided by the shipper (if required).
If the recipient wants someone else to collect the package on his/her behalf, the person needs to carry a valid government photo ID or any other photo ID with the full name. Besides, a tax bill, utility bill, or bank statement with the full name and address will also require.
Besides, a document containing the shipment/order details, along with the recipient’s name, shipper name, shipping address, and tracking number is also valid as the ID proof. Notifications can be in the printed form or sent on a smartphone.
- Final Notice. Item will be returned to sender if not collected within 10 days
A secure FedEx or UPS location will hold a package for up to 10 days.
After 10 days, the package returns to the sender as “unclaimed” from a postal station. Often postal stations get overburdened and may have less efficiency, which could take a month to return the package.
- The item on hold at a secure facility; contact Customer Service
Sometimes parcels may be “on hold” for various reasons. For example, if a package arrives late at a depot, and may have missed its connection. Besides, the shipment may also be waiting for a connection that is not going to leave until later in the day. For any shipment delay due to these reasons, the recipient needs to contact customer service.
- Item cannot be delivered; more details to be provided
FedEx and UPS consider some items “dangerous,” as they contain hazardous materials.
The items that FedEx and UPS label as “Restricted Items” are below:
- Hazardous materials, dangerous goods, and radioactive materials.
- Lithium-ion and lithium metal batteries.
- Inflammable, corrosive, or gases.
- Biological agents or etiological agents, which may trigger a human disease.
- Microprocessors, microchips, computer chips, CPUs, and mobile telephones.
- Fresh food.
- Cut or uncut gems.
- Sulfides, residue, items for industrial preparations such as silver powder and silver termination paste.
- Pharmaceutical products.
- Archaeological artifacts, artwork, and antiquities.
- Retail tobacco products.
- Tranquilizing guns and ammunition.
- Business temporarily closed; item on hold
A large-scale issue may result in the suspension of shipping for an indefinite period. For example, during the first half of 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak surfaced, shipping businesses across the world came to a halt. It was mainly due to the regulation of social distancing and prevent the spread of the disease. Once the lockdown was lifted partially, FedEx and UPS are continuing to operate in the areas where local authorities allowed.
Both FedEx and UPS suspended their money-back guarantee during the pandemic until further notice. These carriers have also suspended the requirement for signature for most shipments.
- The recipient’s addressing error is found; trying to correct. Possible delay
If an error is found in the customer’s address, efforts to correct it may take some time.
As a retailer, you need to keep in touch with the FedEx Customer Service for correcting the address. You can dial 1-800-463-3339. You need to pay a service charge for correcting the address.
If you are the likely recipient, you can provide additional information about the destination address by calling FedEx Customer Care at the same phone number mentioned earlier.
On some occasions, such packages go to a PO Box. The FedEx facility where the package goes will ask for an ID, address proof, and a signature to retrieve it.
In the case of UPS, once a package is identified due to an address error, you can rectify it yourself on the UPS website. You can change the city, suite, zip code, or floor, but not the number and street name. These packages will go back to the sender.
You can also get your address updated by calling UPS Customer Service at 1-800-742-5877.
- The item was re-routed because of a processing error. Potential delay
A processing error could be anything starting from labeling to a scanning error. For FedEx and UPS, such packages are often re-routed to the original sender or to another facility for correction; it will result in a possible delay in shipping.
As the retailer, if you are keen to know the latest status of the package, you need to contact the shipper to expedite the matter, or else the customer may cancel the order.
- Notice card left indicating where and when to pick up the item
If the package was booked through the FedEx website, the pickup timings would display in the “My Pickups” tab. If the booking happened through a FedEx Representative or the automated phone system, similar times would show.
Generally, UPS leaves a UPS InfoNotice for the recipient that they missed the person when trying to deliver or pick up a package. Check your UPS InfoNotice to find out which boxes have checks and see the details on each section.
How does ShippingChimp solve this predicament for eCommerce?
ShippingChimp facilitates easy returns with the help of a self-serve dispute logging portal within a brand’s website. Shoppers may request returns by visiting the brand’s portal and mentioning the reason for the return. Once a request is logged, eCommerce business receives the request on their ShippingChimp dashboard. All a customer support agent has to do is approve the request and notify their logistics team. Read more about ShippingChimp’s returns portal here.