The USPS is a federal mail service that has been operational since 1971, although its roots go back much further.
Over the decades and even centuries, the organization has been able to reach millions of addresses within the United States.
Although they primarily focus on delivering mail, they’ve since started handling small packages, too.
If you have a package on the way via the USPS and it isn’t moving, then you may wonder why.
Here are eight reasons why your USPS package isn’t moving and what you can do about it.
USPS Package Not Moving (Reasons, What To Do)
1. Slow Tracking System
The USPS isn’t the highest-funded mail carrier organization in the country.
They tend to keep things together with glue and tape, so to speak.
Because they don’t always have the best funding, they’re not always able to purchase the most sophisticated software.
That makes some of their technology rather slow and problematic.
This impacts the movement of your package because tracking doesn’t always update in a timely fashion.
For example, to get updated tracking information, the USPS worker has to scan the item.
They usually scan it when they’re delivering it, sorting it, or when it arrives in a facility.
While the USPS worker may have scanned the package, the system may be experiencing a problem.
Perhaps it’s full of junk and needs a reboot.
Maybe it’s having problems connecting to the Internet.
Whatever the reason, if the hardware and software are malfunctioning, then your tracking information won’t be updated in a timely fashion.
As a result, it looks like your package isn’t moving when it actually is.
The system, itself, is just having problems or encountering errors causing it to look like it isn’t moving.
If someone manages to fix the problem, then you should see an update on your tracking.
Sometimes your USPS package doesn’t appear to be moving because of the low-budget software or hardware that is in use.
2. Damaged Bar Code
Another reason your USPS package might not be moving is because of a damaged bar code.
A USPS worker can’t scan the bar code if it’s damaged.
Since they’re unable to scan it, the system will never receive an update.
Without that update, your tracking remains the same.
It doesn’t make any progress.
Depending on the extent of the damage, it’s even possible that the USPS worker may need to send the package back to the supplier.
The bar code contains necessary information like delivery coordinates.
Without that information, it’s impossible to know where to send the package.
Since the USPS worker often has to send the package back to the seller, your tracking information will show that it isn’t moving.
You may even get a notification that the seller had to cancel your order.
There are a few reasons why a bar code might become damaged during transit.
One of the most common is when it’s exposed to bad weather.
Rain, especially, can leak into the label and harm the ink, making it bleed.
Rain can also cause the label to become soft and start to peel away.
Another common reason behind a damaged bar code is when it isn’t attached to the package properly.
If there are edges that stick up, then it can rip off during transit.
All it takes is one box rubbing against it to rip up the bar code.
Even if only one part of the code is missing, the package is unable to continue moving forward.
Your USPS package may not be moving forward because the bar code has been damaged.
3. Poor Weather
Another reason why your USPS package might not be moving is because of poor weather.
While most rain and snowstorms won’t keep the USPS from delivering, there are instances when the weather becomes too extreme.
For example, if there’s a tornado, a hurricane, a tsunami, or even an extreme thunderstorm, then there’s a chance that the USPS worker may need to wait for it to pass.
A tornado is especially dangerous to drive through.
Even after it’s passed, there may be power lines on the road, trees blocking the road, or other debris that makes it impossible for the USPS worker to proceed.
Since they’re unable to move forward until the roads become clear, your package won’t be moving anywhere.
Hurricanes are another dangerous type of weather that can keep your package from moving.
The problem with a hurricane is that it can sometimes last for an extended period.
If it’s a particularly large one, then it could take a few hours before it clears the area.
Like a tornado, there’s a chance that debris could block the roads.
The USPS worker may need to wait until officials clear the roads before they continue with their routes.
This puts a delay on your package as well as every package scheduled to be delivered before yours.
If the delay is substantial enough, then it could take a day or two for your package to get moving again.
Finally, an extreme thunderstorm can cause a USPS worker to pull to the side of the road and wait it out.
When the rain comes down heavily, it can be impossible to see through the windshield.
To ensure they’re safe, some USPS workers may pull off to the side of the road and wait until the storm ends.
Extreme thunderstorms also tend to bring down trees and other tall objects.
If those block the road, then the USPS worker has no way of delivering the package to its next checkpoint.
Your package may not be moving within the USPS network due to poor weather.
4. Failure To Scan
In most cases, a USPS worker will always scan the package before sending it off to its next destination.
However, there are instances when the worker will not scan it.
For example, if the bar code has damage or is too blurry, then they’re unable to scan it.
There is a chance that they can manually type in the bar code, but that can take a lot of time.
USPS workers are usually in a rush since they have many mail items and packages to deliver in a day.
They don’t have the luxury of extra time to manually input every bar code.
Because of that, they may choose simply not to scan it.
Instead, they’ll just deliver it to the next checkpoint and let them handle it from there.
At some point along the delivery line, someone might have the time to manually enter the bar code.
When that happens, the tracking finally gets updated, and you can see it moving.
Another reason a USPS worker might not scan the bar code is that they’re simply busy.
Even if the bar code is fine, some workers may be under such a time crunch that they don’t have the extra few minutes to scan the package until it’s delivered.
If this happens, then your package won’t show that it’s moving.
Instead, you’ll suddenly get a notification that it’s delivered.
Finally, the worker may be having problems with their scanner.
If the package is on the move in a USPS truck, then finding a spare scanner isn’t always an option for the driver.
Since they’re not able to scan, the system will never receive an update, and it will seem as though your package isn’t moving.
Your USPS package may not look like it’s moving because the USPS worker isn’t scanning it.
5. Lost Package
An unfortunate reason why your item might not be moving may be because the USPS lost the package.
On average, the USPS delivers and processes 425.3 million mail pieces a day.
That’s a ton of mail and packages.
Because of the large quantity, it’s not uncommon for packages to sometimes get lost.
They might fall off the truck at some point along the route and end up at the facility.
It could go unnoticed during one of the deliveries to a regional facility and end up going back to the seller.
Unfortunately, it’s even possible that a worker could steal a package.
Whatever the reason, there’s a chance that your USPS package isn’t moving because it’s lost.
The USPS uses different timelines for different types of mail to determine when it’s considered lost.
If you know that your package has a Priority Mail Express label, for example, then the USPS considers it lost after seven days.
At that point, if your package still isn’t moving, you should contact USPS to see what’s going on.
Since they lost your package, there’s a good chance that you won’t ever get it.
While the USPS will work hard to try and trace it back to its last-known location, due to how busy the organization is, it can be very difficult to hunt it down.
There’s a good chance that someone put it on the incorrect truck.
It could end up across the country.
That’s if they can even figure out where it might be.
In most cases, the package may end up being completely lost since no one is scanning it.
Your USPS package may not be moving because it got lost.
6. End Of Day
While your package may have been moving throughout the day, you may notice that it stopped around 5 or 6 p.m.
This is likely because the worker finished their shift.
The USPS runs on federal time.
This means that they work standard business hours.
While some post offices open and close a bit later than regular business hours, in most cases, USPS workers aren’t supposed to work beyond them.
There are some changes to those rules on certain days, like during the holidays.
However, once 5 or 6 p.m. hits, in most cases, the worker’s shift is over.
If they didn’t deliver your package by then or reach the next facility, then they won’t scan the package.
Instead, they’ll wait until the next day when their shift starts again to scan it.
This can make it seem like your package isn’t moving anywhere.
In reality, it’s just the end of the workday for the USPS worker.
Most likely, you should see the package move again when the next shift starts.
Sometimes your package isn’t moving because a worker has finished their shift.
7. Truck Malfunctions
Because the USPS can’t always afford to buy new trucks, they often must keep using the ones they own.
The problem is that older trucks tend to break down faster.
This can make it seem as though your package isn’t moving.
That’s because it’s unable to move since the truck has broken down.
When a USPS truck breaks down, there are a few things that can happen.
The first is that the mail deliverer will get another truck.
If the USPS can afford to have a spare truck sent, then the worker will be able to transfer their items to the new truck and continue on their route.
The second thing that can happen is another USPS worker will take on the deliveries for the broken truck.
In this case, you may not see your package move because the second driver now has to cover two routes.
They may not have the time to scan your package to update the tracking.
They may not even be able to get to that point since they have double the work to do in the same amount of time.
If they’re unable to finish, then your package won’t get an update.
Finally, if there isn’t a spare USPS truck and no one can take on the route, then the USPS worker may need to wait until the next day for the truck to get repaired.
In this case, they have nothing to update with your package, so it looks as though it isn’t moving.
Your USPS package may not be moving due to a truck breakdown.
A final reason why your package may not be moving is that it’s a holiday.
The USPS observes federal holidays.
Those days include:
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Presidents’ Day
- Memorial Day
- Juneteenth National Independence Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Veterans Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
On these days, the USPS is not in service.
Since it isn’t in service, there’s no one working to move your package along.
If your package isn’t moving, then there’s a chance that it could be due to a holiday.
What To Do If Your USPS Package Isn’t Moving
If you’ve noticed that your USPS package hasn’t moved in a few days, then you may start to feel concerned.
In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about.
However, if you want to ensure that your package is alright or want to get some information about it, then there are a few things that you can do.
Here’s what you should do if your USPS package isn’t moving.
Sometimes the best thing you can do if your package isn’t moving is wait.
There are always many potential reasons why it isn’t moving.
At the very least, you should wait a week before contacting the USPS.
If the package still hasn’t moved during that time, then it’s time to try some of the other following actions.
2. Contact The USPS
After you’ve waited a week, the next best thing you can do is contact the USPS.
You should try contacting the post office that first handled the package as well as the office that it’s going to.
Between both of those offices, you might be able to get some information.
For example, the final office that’s supposed to receive the package can tell you whether they ever received it or not.
If they didn’t receive it, then there’s a chance that the problem occurred with one of the offices or facilities that the package visited before it.
If you call the first office that handled your package, then you can find out if they ever handed it over or if they even received it from the seller.
There’s always a chance that the seller hasn’t even given it to them yet.
Contacting the USPS is a great way to glean some information about the situation.
3. Submit A Claim
If the USPS tells you that they lost the package, then you can submit a claim.
Submitting a claim basically means you get money back if you had to pay for shipping and handling.
You can submit a claim through the USPS website.
It’s worth holding onto any receipts you have for the purchase of the item and shipping costs, as well as any information you have regarding tracking.
You’ll need to submit the tracking receipt, at the very least, to prove to the USPS that you spent money on their services.
Not every claim will get accepted and the USPS can also partially accept a claim.
Still, if you want your money back, then it’s worth submitting a claim to the USPS.
4. Contact The Seller
To ensure you don’t have to buy the item again, you’ll also want to speak with the seller.
You can inform them that you never received the package.
It’s worth saving the tracking information and submitting it to them.
In most cases, the seller should either give you a refund or resend another item to you free of charge.
This also informs the seller that they need to submit a claim with the USPS, too.
If your USPS package isn’t moving, then it’s a good idea to contact the seller to make them aware of the situation.
5. Check The Weather
It’s also worth checking the weather before you contact the USPS.
If you can trace the route that your package is taking, then you can determine if it’s passing through any bad weather.
If so, then you can get some idea as to why it may seem like your package isn’t moving.
The bad weather is likely causing a delay.
By checking the weather, you can check off one possible reason why your USPS package isn’t moving.
The USPS handles millions of pieces of mail and packages each day.
While this means they’re usually efficient and great at what they do, it also means that sometimes things fall through the cracks.
By understanding the reasons above, you can make a simple decision regarding what to do if your USPS package isn’t moving.