USPS Tracking Not Updating? Here’s Why

Postal workers rushing to make a delivery

Feeling overwhelmed with all the USPS tracking statuses? You’re not alone. USPS shipment tracking is not updating during transit – what went wrong?

As a direct mail automation & bulk mail service, we understand the importance of knowing what USPS status codes mean for your post. We help track thousands of pieces of mail a day.

If your order shipped but the USPS tracking is not updating, you can use USPS services to track it. You will receive a unique ID for a package or envelope, called a “tracking number,” which you can use to follow the package’s path online during transit. This is an invaluable tool that allows you to check on the status of your package at any time. 

So, where is your package? Unfortunately, sometimes there is a problem, and you will find that the USPS shipment tracking is not updating. There are many reasons why the USPS tracking system does not work, which we will explain in the following guide.

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Possible reasons behind USPS tracking not updating

Your tracking is updated when a postal employee scans the package, when it arrives at a new facility, or when they load the parcel onto a truck. So why is not the USPS shipment tracking not updating?

Once they scan a package, it can take up to 24 hours for the tracking system to update the ticket number with the new information.

These are some of the major factors that could be responsible for USPS tracking not updating:

Two letters displayed as moving in fast motion

Bad weather conditions can disrupt USPS tracking

If the USPS tracking is not updating, it may be because the information was not updated due to inclement weather. Weather can cause your mail or package to be slower to reach the next station.

When shipping across the country, it must pass through several stations in different regions and cities with varying weather conditions. Bad weather can also cause barcodes to become damaged and therefore not able to be scanned.

Package not scanned or updated

You may be wondering why your package has not been scanned even though it’s already on its way to its destination. It could be because the barcode is not easy to scan. A barcode may be too light or blurry. They can also smudge or get torn during handling. Although the post office can enter barcodes manually, sometimes shipping time is tight, and they do not get scanned.

Due to damage, barcodes can sometimes be read on the first scan but not on the second or third attempt. The label contains routing information, so it is likely on its way to its destination and will arrive on time.

Understaffed facilities and a high volume of shipments can also affect updates, and it’s not uncommon for the USPS to skip scanning packages when time is short. The first scan may occur upon arrival at a regional hub near the final destination.

Package lost somewhere

The USPS considers a package lost if tracking information has not been updated in seven days. If you are concerned that your tracking number is not updating and the package has been lost, you can place a missing shipment search with USPS.

Update delayed by the carrier

If the USPS tracking number is not updated, it may be due to two reasons caused by the carrier. The first is that the person scanning has finished their shift. In this case, they put your package in the truck or take it back to the distribution center. Do not worry! It will be delivered to you the next day.

In addition, unexpected circumstances, such as a truck malfunction, flat tire, or driver’s illness, can also cause a delay with delivery status updates.

Your package has been delivered without a delivery status update

If your package last had an “Out for Delivery” update and it hasn’t changed in the last few hours – or days – it’s not a bad idea to check around your home to see if the package has already arrived and just has not been updated as delivered yet.

It may be that your package or envelope has already been delivered to your address (or the intended recipient).

Why is my USPS package not moving?

During the holidays, USPS facilities are typically at maximum capacity and may experience congestion that results in USPS shipment tracking not updating.

It may not even be your package or envelope causing the delay, but a “pre-stored” mail piece that is preventing your mail from being updated, scanned, and shipped to you. If your package is not yet on its way, it will probably start moving again soon.

When will I get a USPS tracking update?

The USPS typically updates your status within 24-48 hours. When tracking your package, you should have your tracking information ready. To understand how often USPS tracking updates, let us look at how USPS shipment tracking works.

USPS provides a tracking number for each shipment. The tracking number is located on the USPS shipping label and is updated with each scan. Tracking keeps the recipient informed of the shipment’s progress.

While USPS shipment tracking is updated each time your package reaches a new facility or is loaded onto a truck, you cannot track the package in real-time as you can with other carriers. If the package travels a long distance, it will make more stops and be updated more frequently. If the package is coming from a location not too far away, it may only be updated once or twice before it is delivered.

What can I do if my USPS tracking number isn’t updating?

If your status does not change within 48 hours, you can contact the USPS through their website. However, we recommend waiting five days before contacting the USPS.

If the tracking number still has not been updated on the USPS tracking page, contact the postal service directly. You can proceed as follows:

Check your USPS tracking number

If the USPS tracking information does not update for days, you need to ensure you have the correct tracking number. Below is a list of places you can check the number:

  • USPS shipping receipt
  • The proof of purchase (if you purchased insurance)
  • The confirmation email from USPS
  • The bottom, peel-off portion of the shipment label
  • The back of the orange piece of paper if you missed the delivery

Contact USPS customer service

The easiest way to get help is to call the USPS service hotline at 1-800-275-8777 for answers and information on any tracking update questions. You can also call technical support at 1-800-344-7779 or delivery tracking at 1-800-222-1811. This official USPS telephone number will connect you with someone who can help you get proper and accurate information. If your tracking status is not updating for more than a week, make sure to call one of the USPS hotlines.

Go to the post office

You can also stop by your local post office in person to get accurate information about your package delivery. This is often the best way to get answers – because you can talk to someone face-to-face. If you’re not ready to go to the post office, you can always call them. You can find the phone number of your local postal service office with a simple Google search. Just make sure you call the local number and not the USPS hotline.

Wait a few days to get tracking details

Have you ordered something that has not been updated in a few days? If so, it’s best to wait another day or two to see if your package arrives. However, this might not be the best option if your item is time-sensitive. If you are patiently waiting for something important, it’s best to contact USPS customer service or visit your local post office for more information. 

In summary, if your USPS tracking is not updating, use the USPS text tracking feature, call customer service or visit your post office to check when should your mail arrive.

How long does it take for USPS to update tracking after drop-off?

If you dropped off your package and have not received an update yet, it’s probably because it has not been scanned by the USPS yet. If you drop off your parcel after hours, the Postal Service will not scan it until the next day. It may also not be updated after you drop it off because it’s in the queue at a USPS facility, or the postal workers who scan the packages did not get around to it that day. If they did not scan, it would take a few days for the first scan to appear and mark the package as “In Transit.” 

USPS tracking not updating: final thoughts

Are you concerned that USPS shipment tracking is not updating? USPS is usually very good at sending tracking updates. Tracking updates may not be in real-time, but they are rarely late or incorrect, and there is rarely cause for concern. If tracking is not updated, make sure you have entered the exact same tracking number. USPS has a tracking number for each shipment, so you must use the correct number. If the problem persists, there may be a problem on the carrier’s end.

Missing Mail Search Requests will sometimes result in an update to tracking scans, but it’s always best to contact your local post office for an update. Your local post office is the best source of information when tracking scans are not available. So visit them and ask how it can help you with tracking updates if you have concerns about the delivery status of your parcel.

Are you marketing or looking to generate more leads?
If you’re a direct mail marketer, then tracking your mail campaigns is crucial for successful performance.

That’s why we have developed easy-to-use real-time direct mail tracking. So, if you’re building a direct mail campaign in the United States or Canada, arm yourself with the best direct mail solutions by creating your free account today.