When you need to order something, or you want to ship something to someone else, you want it to arrive as quickly and as safely as possible.
There are many different shipping companies and carriers, and most of them provide very similar services.
DHL is a German logistics company that serves over 200 countries.
DHL specializes in international shipping and is used by many online and eCommerce shops because it is fast, reliable and affordable.
As with any carrier, DHL can experience problems, and your package may not arrive on time.
One of those problems is called a delivery exception.
What Does Exception Mean DHL?
When DHL has a package exception, it means that the package is temporarily stuck in transit for an unexpected reason.
The reason can vary, and most of the time, the package is not lost but will be delivered as soon as the issue is resolved.
The type of issues and the severity of that issue determines how long the package may be stalled.
A delivery exception does not always mean the package will arrive late, but it is an alert that appears in the tracking information so the recipient and sender can be prepared in the event that the exception does result in a late delivery.
The tracking number will be updated as the package moves through the exception and up until it is delivered.
Any other issues that occur during the shipping process will also be noted in the tracking information.
What Are Some DHL Exception Issues?
Packages often travel a long way and go through a lot of different processing centers and even different carriers.
Exceptions can occur at almost any point along the delivery process.
Exceptions can occur at the processing center, during the sorting process, or in the physical delivery process.
While any interruption to the delivery process can be considered an exception, there are some exceptions that are more common than others.
1. Bad Weather
One of the most common causes of DHL exceptions is bad weather.
Bad weather can come out of nowhere, and while most of the time it only causes slight delays, if there is severe weather along the delivery route or in the delivery or pickup area, it could cause the package to be delayed by several days.
Things like tornados, hurricanes, and floods can completely prevent the package from being delivered.
Although mail carriers often work around the weather the best they can, there are times when there is just no way to move the package.
2. Staff Shortages
DHL is well-staffed, but there are certain things that can lead to a staff shortage.
Illness, bad weather, problems within a facility, and strikes are some common reasons.
If there are not enough staff members to sort, process, and deliver packages, the delivery process slows down.
Sometimes this can result in an exception.
The package could move more slowly through the DHL system and result in delays.
DHL is usually very on top of things when it comes to keeping enough staff members and ensuring they are performing their jobs properly, but it’s always a possibility that such an issue can arise.
3. Federal Holidays
Depending on when you try to ship your package, a federal holiday may fall during the shipping time and lead to an exception.
DHL does observe all major federal holidays and does not work or offer services on these days.
If these holidays fall on a Friday or a Monday, it could mean your package doesn’t move all weekend and is stuck with an exception until the next business day.
Companies and individuals can avoid these types of exceptions by checking the delivery schedule and calendar and shipping during a time that will not interfere with a holiday.
4. Delays At Customs
Since DHL handles so many international packages, it means they must all pass customs before they can be accepted into the country where they will be delivered to the recipient.
Customs can take a long time, depending on the type of package you are sending or expecting.
Customs delays can be avoided if you have the right paperwork if your package is properly labeled, if the weight is accurate, all tariffs are paid, and all certification is in order.
These things are the responsibility of the sender, but if they are not completed properly, it can result in an exception that affects the recipient.
Customs delays can be very short or very long, and sometimes customs can even refuse a package if it seems suspicious or doesn’t meet all the requirements.
5. Missing Label
DHL packages have labels that include the recipient’s information so the delivery driver knows where to take the package as well as the return address in case the package cannot be delivered.
Packages go through a lot in the sorting and processing portions of their journey.
They are often stacked, slid around on floors, moved over conveyor belts, passed from person to person, packed on airplanes and trains, and exposed to the elements.
Labels are usually just paper and are taped onto the package.
It’s easy to see how they could become damaged and unable to be read or how they could fall off a package and go missing.
A missing label means a delivery driver won’t know where to take the package.
It will typically be kept at a DHL facility until the label can be located.
In some cases, the package may still be delivered to the recipient, or it may be returned to the sender.
In rare cases, the information for both the recipient and the sender is missing, and the package will not be able to be delivered.
It may then be discarded or sold as undeliverable mail.
6. Nobody Available To Receive The Package
Some packages require someone to sign for them.
In order for the package to be delivered, there must be someone home at the recipient location to take the package from the delivery driver and give an electronic signature that says it was delivered.
Electronics, valuables, jewelry, certified mail, and other high-value items usually require a signature.
A DHL driver will attempt to deliver the package several times before taking it back to the DHL facility.
The recipient will have a period of time where they can pick up the package from the facility at their own convenience.
If they do not pick it up in time, it will be sent back to the sender.
Does Delivery Exception Mean I Won’t Get My Package?
A delivery exception does not necessarily mean that a package will not come at all.
Most DHL packages are eventually delivered, even with one or more exceptions.
It can mean that your package delivery will be delayed.
The type of exception and the number of exceptions can have a big role in if and when the package is delivered.
DHL makes it a point to ensure all packages are delivered in a timely manner, but they can’t always get every package to the recipient on time.
If you notice an exception, you can monitor the tracking information or even contact DHL to find out if they know when the issue will be resolved and when you can expect to receive the package.
Sometimes the tracking information will indicate an exception but will also give an updated expected delivery date.
What Are The Outcomes Of A Delivery Exception?
There are four different outcomes you can expect when you find out that your package has an exception.
The package will either be delivered on time, delivered late, returned to the sender, or considered lost and neither delivered nor returned.
There’s no way of knowing what the outcome will be until DHL updates the tracking number and references the exceptions.
If the exception was caused by something simple, it might only cause a slight delay in the delivery process.
The DHL carrier may still be able to deliver the package on time as long as there are no other delays.
If there is a serious problem that has caused the exception, such as a weather emergency or a lost label, it may not be possible to deliver the package on time.
DHL will likely update the tracking number with more information about the expected delivery date and the reason for the exception.
Sometimes there are big delays in the delivery process.
If the package is not lost but is held up due to a lost label, bad weather, issues within the company or if it is stuck in customs, there is a good chance it will eventually be delivered, but it may not be delivered on time.
Sometimes DHL will be able to estimate a new delivery time for the package and provide it when they update the tracking information.
Sometimes an exception can mean that a package is delayed for a day, or sometimes it can be delayed for several weeks.
It’s not always clear how long the package will be delayed for DHL.
Once the package is located and back on track, DHL will update the tracking to tell you when you can expect it.
It may be stuck in transit or customs for some time before it updates, and there’s not much the recipient or sender can do at this point other than wait for the tracking number to be updated.
In rare cases, there will be a major issue that has caused the exception.
The tracking number may simply say there is an exception, but it may result in the package being lost or not being able to be delivered.
If the label of the package is lost, there may not be a way to deliver it to the recipient or even return it to the sender.
There are some ways DHL will still try to identify the package so it can continue on its route to the recipient.
If the package can’t be delivered, it could take some time before the sender or recipient is told of this.
The tracking number may just continue to show an exception and provide no information.
This could be because DHL simply doesn’t know where the package is and is hoping it will turn up.
After some time, they may consider the package lost and change the tracking information to reflect that.
If the package is lost, it could still show up, but it’s not likely.
Do Other Carriers Have Delivery Exceptions?
All major carriers have exceptions, and the exception reasons are usually the same.
Some carriers may cite other reasons for exceptions, depending on the areas where they deliver to and the areas where they have facilities.
Almost all carriers also handle their exceptions the same way and offer the same outcomes.
In some cases, a carrier will reimburse a sender or recipient for some or all of the shipping charges if the package does not arrive on time due to an exception.
DHL will offer a complete refund of the shipping cost if your package is delivered late.
The policies around exceptions, how they are handled, and when the tracking is updated can vary by company.
What Should I Do If I Have A Delivery Exception Notification?
When you see that there is an exception on your package, there’s not much you can do.
It’s really up to DHL to update the tracking information and ensure the package gets delivered on time.
If you feel the need to take action, there are some things you can try.
As soon as you find out your package has an exception, you should contact DHL to find out more about it.
You call the company during normal business hours, provide the tracking number and ask for information about the exception and how it will affect the delivery date.
Most of the time, DHL will be able to tell you where the package is, why it has an exception, what type of exception it is, and what it means for the package.
Sometimes they are not able to provide a lot of information.
They will be able to tell you if it is stuck in customs, why it is stuck there, and how long it could be stuck.
They will also be able to give you an updated delivery time and date or estimate it for you.
If you were the person who sent the package or happen to own an online store and want to ensure your package arrives on time, you may want to contact your customer and let them know that you have checked on the package and that the problem is due to a delay with the DHL service.
You can also offer any other information you know about the package exception.
If you know an updated delivery date, you can pass it on to them.
You can also remind them to check the tracking information and provide it to them if they don’t have it.
It’s also a nice idea to ask them to let you know when the package has arrived and even offer to reimburse their shipping costs if the package does not arrive on time.
If the package cannot be delivered at all, you may offer a refund for the full cost of the product and shipping costs.
If you are waiting on your package to arrive and see that it has an exception but can’t see a reason or an updated delivery date, you can reach out to the company you purchased the item from or the person who shipped it.
They may be able to provide you with information about the item and when it will arrive.
You can also request a refund if you don’t think the package will arrive in time or if you don’t want to wait and would prefer to order a replacement from another company.