Does USPS Lose Packages? 7 Common Questions (Answered)

The US Postal Service is one of the biggest and most reliable shipping companies in the United States and the world, as it ships to all states and even internationally.

On average, they process and ships 425.3 million mail pieces daily.

However, just like all other companies, USPS could be better. Not all deliveries are fulfilled, and sometimes, packages go missing.

Let’s look at how often USPS loses packages and how reliable it is overall:

Here’s the Percentage of Packages that USPS Loses:

USPS processes and ships millions of mail pieces daily. Out of this number, about 3% go missing and end up irreparably lost, which happens for several reasons. While that percentage does not sound like a lot, that is still 4.38 billion lost packages and mail yearly.

How Reliable is USPS Compared to Other Mail Carriers?

UPS and FedEx are two of the most reliable carriers in the US. However, USPS is still reliable.

UPS and FedEx have even partnered with USPS for some of their deliveries.

FedEx SmartPost and UPS SurePost are shipping services that utilize the on-ground transportation services of USPS for faster deliveries.

This partnership between USPS and the two private mail carriers helps meet delivery deadlines, especially during peak season. This keeps everyone, especially the customers, happy.

In the past, USPS was notorious for delayed shipments and misplaced packages.

However, their service has significantly improved over the years. USPS has become more reliable with its increasing delivery success rate.

Despite its reputation in the past, USPS is now one of the most consistent mail carriers worldwide. With over 400 million pieces of mail processed daily, USPS has a delivery success rate of 97% and up.

How Does USPS Lose Large Packages?

USPS can lose large packages.

One of the most common reasons that USPS loses large packages is when the shipping label falls off or becomes unreadable.

When not attached properly, the shipping label can lose its adhesion and fall off.

It is impossible to deliver and track a package without the shipping label.

Also, liquid spills or weather damage can leave a shipping label smudged and unreadable.

Do Shipping Labels Need To Be Waterproof? Find out more here!

A lot of things can happen while a package is in transit, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

So as the customer or shipper, you are responsible for packing your items properly and attaching the shipping label securely to minimize errors and prevent your package from missing.

How Long Before a USPS Package is Considered Lost?

Different mail classes have different time frames for delivery, so the number of days before a USPS package is considered lost may vary.

Generally, it is 7 to 14 days from the date of mailing before a package can be considered lost.

If the mail piece was shipped through First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Priority Mail Express, it is considered lost if it has not arrived within 7 days from the date of mailing.

So if 7 or more days have passed and you haven’t received the item yet, you can initiate a missing mail search request.

If the mail piece was shipped through Domestic Registered Mail Service, Retail Ground, Parcel Select, or Parcel Select Lightweight Services, you would have to wait for at least 14 days before submitting a search request for missing mail.

Does USPS Refund Lost Packages?

If you paid for insurance for the package, you might file a claim to get a refund amount equivalent to the item’s value.

You may also use the insurance to file a claim for damaged packages or if some of the contents go missing.

The claim may be filed by either the shipper or the package recipient. When filing a claim, you should have the original mailing receipt.

The claim must be filed within 60 days from the date of mailing.

The claim can only be filed if the package was reported missing. So before you file a claim, you have to first initiate a search for missing mail.

USPS reviews all claims. If USPS has immediately determined that the customer is entitled to a refund of $1,000 or less, it will be immediately issued with a no-fee money order or cash.

Otherwise, it may take days before the claim is approved, and by then, the refund will be issued as a check or as a credit to the USPS account of the customer.

If the customer did not purchase insurance for their package, they could only file a claim to cover the shipping cost.

Does USPS Refund for Returned Packages?

Sometimes a package may be returned to you. It may be because of a failed delivery, and the recipient did not pick it up at the post office.

It may be because the recipient refused to accept the package or because the address was incorrect.

USPS does refunds for returned packages, but it depends on the reason why the package was returned.

If a package is returned due to the fault of USPS, then they may resend it at no extra cost. You may also ask for a refund with “Service Not Rendered” as justification for your refund request.

If the maximum number of delivery attempts was made and the package was returned to you due to discrepancies on your end or the recipient’s fault, you are not entitled to a refund.

Want to know more about USPS Redelivery? Find out more!

Will USPS Refund for STOLEN Packages?

Sometimes, a package appears as “delivered” in tracking, but the recipient has not gotten anything.

One common reason for this is mail theft.

It happens a lot in the United States. Packages left unattended on the front porch can get stolen.

If your package was insured, you could get a refund if it gets stolen. USPS will refund you the shipping cost and the value of the stolen items.

If you did not get any insurance on your package, then there is not a lot that can be done. You can initiate a Missing Mail Search, and if it has been determined that the package is lost, you can file a claim to cover only the shipping cost.

Any claims should be filed within 60 days from the date of mailing.

Are Standard USPS Packages Insured?

In case your package goes missing or is lost, it’s always good to get it insured.

Insurance for your package can give you peace of mind and prevent any monetary loss on your end.

Standard USPS packages are not insured unless you are shipping through Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express.

When sending packages through most USPS services, insurance is not automatically included. However, you can purchase insurance as an add-on with coverage of up to $5,000.

Are USPS Packages Insured Automatically? Find out more in our article here!

The cost of insurance for your package depends on the item’s declared value.

Below are the costs for getting insurance based on the item value:

  • Value of up to $50 – $1.65
  • Value of $50.01 to $100 – $2.05
  • Value of $100.01 to $200 – $2.45
  • Value of $200.01 to $300 – $4.60
  • Value of $300.01 to $5,000 – $4.60 + $0.90 for every $100 or fraction thereof

If you are shipping your package using Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express services, it will automatically be insured for up to $100.

If the item’s value exceeds $100, you can purchase more coverage to get it fully insured.

Here is how much it would cost:

  • Value of up to $100 – insurance is free
  • Value of $100.01 to $200 – $0.75
  • Value of $200.01 to $500 – $2.10
  • Value of $500.01 to $5,000 – $2.10 + $1.35 for every $100 or fraction thereof

While USPS is one of the most consistent and reliable mail carriers, they have lapses and hiccups, just like any other company.

It may not happen often, but packages can go missing and not be retrieved anymore.

This is why it’s best to always get your packages insured to prevent any loss in terms of money and resources.


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