The No. 1 Reason Your Package Says It’s Delivered When It Hasn’t, Ex-USPS Worker Says

Once upon a time, Americans had to wait weeks to months for their mail to be delivered by horse-drawn carriages and steamboats. Fortunately, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has managed to speed up the process over the years. And now, we’re able to track our packages online from the time we place an order to the moment our postal carrier is supposed to arrive. But it’s hardly a foolproof system: Sometimes this tracking information will list a package as delivered even if we know a USPS worker hasn’t shown up to our door yet. As it turns out, there may be an explanation. Read on to find out why some packages get marked as delivered before they’ve arrived.

So why was your package preemptively marked as delivered? According to those who’ve worked for the USPS, it seems to be a result of the agency’s scanning process. In a Quora threadPatty Byars, a former USPS mail carrier from 1999 to 2003, said that postmasters will check to make sure all parcels and mail have been scanned at the end of each day. This results in the possibility of somebody having “scanned it as delivered instead of attempted,” she wrote.

“There are many different scenarios that could have happened but the main thing is it didn’t get sent out with your carrier somehow and everything that has a barcode must be scanned by close of day,” Byars explained.


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