DHL Returned To Shipper: Factors Responsible, How To Reduce It & Who Bares The Loss

Like its name suggests, the DHL returned to shipper update means your package has been returned to the sender. There are different reasons for this action. Common ones include delivery attempts and failure to pick up the item at the nearest ServicePoint. 

However, there are times when customers initiate the return process themselves. This occurs when the item received is damaged or does not look like what was ordered.

Whichever factor is responsible, knowing how long the process takes and what comes next is crucial. This guide answers these questions and more. But first, what does “DHL returned to sender” mean, and why does it occur? 

What Does “DHL Returned to Shipper” Mean?


“DHL Returned to Shipper” is a tracking update that describes a package or shipment that arrived at a DHL facility or customer’s destination but had to be returned to the sender. 

You can initiate this process yourself, and it can also be done on your behalf, depending on the factors responsible. Once the process is successful, you should get a refund or replacement within 30 to 45 days, depending on the bank or location. 

Why Do DHL or Customers Return Packages to the Shipper? 

Shipment returns can occur before delivery or after delivery. Below are the factors responsible for each scenario:

Before Delivery 

1. Weight violation 

Shippers have to obey DHL requirements when preparing a package. Failure to comply means your item will be returned even before it is sorted for delivery. However, if the shipment is large, DHL may provide you with a new quote. 

2. The presence of illegal or forbidden content

This applies to most international shipments. If your package contains illegal items or toxic chemicals, it will be seized by port authorities until you provide appropriate documentation. 

If the shipment requires special storage that DHL cannot provide, it will be returned to the shipper. 

After Delivery 

1. Incorrect delivery address 

Unfortunately, courier services like DHL will not know you provided the wrong address until they attempt delivery. In this case, your package will be held at a ServicePoint until you provide the correct address. 

Failure to do so within 7 days will force DHL to return it to the sender or shipper. 

2. You are out of town

DHL will only attempt delivery twice. If you are out of town or there is no one to receive the package on your behalf on both occasions, it may be returned to the sender. 

While some packages may be dropped in a secure spot, those that require a signature will not. Such packages will end up at the nearest ServicePoint, and you have only 7 days to pick them up before they get returned to the sender. 

3. You refused the package 

Customers rarely refuse packages. However, when they do, it is usually because the item appears damaged, is not what they ordered, or arrived very late. To resolve this issue, you can reject the package on the spot or initiate a return process. 

How to Return DHL Package to the Sender 


As long as you are returning a package for a valid reason and within the return window specified by the seller, these are the steps to follow: 

  1. Get a return label. If this label is not already inside the package, you need to contact the sender to generate one and send it to you via email. Some sellers may require you to print these labels yourself. 
  2. Arrange the shipment carefully in its original packaging and affix the return label. 
  3. Drop off the package at the ServicePoint near you or schedule a delivery.
  4. You can also drop the package in a DHL locker.
  5. Receive proof of delivery from the ServicePoint. This signifies that you have successfully returned the package. 
  6. Track your shipment

How Long Do DHL Returns Take?

2 business days, provided the package has been picked up by DHL at the ServicePoint. Please note that it may take longer, depending on the retailer’s location and if delivery exceptions occur. 

Once the shipper receives your package, a replacement or refund process will be initiated. How fast this process will be depends on the retailer’s policy. Nevertheless, you should get a replacement or refund within 30 to 45 days. 

Who Bears the Loss for a DHL Return? 

In most cases, the retailer bears the loss and should be willing to send a replacement or refund. However, when a large shipment is involved, the buyer and retailer may need to cover transportation expenses. 

Shippers may also refuse to accept a return when it involves a perishable item or when the buyer does not provide a valid reason for the return. 

How to Reduce Package Returns 

Sometimes, initiating a return can be stressful. By adopting these practices, you can save yourself from this trouble:

1. Read the package description carefully

As a seller, you should provide a detailed description of every item in your catalog. This includes providing quality images and information like the return policy, dimensions, sizes, features, and specifications. 

Customers should also read these descriptions carefully because their return requests may be rejected if they are responsible for the mistake. 

2. Ask questions 

Most e-commerce platforms provide customers with access to communicate with a seller. The essence of this feature is to ask questions and clarify doubts regarding a package before placing an order. 

3. Buy from top sellers 

Buying best-selling products or from top sellers is another way to enjoy a good shopping experience. Since these sellers or items have the best reviews or ratings, there is a big chance you will get what you want in ideal condition and promptly. 


What if your DHL package is not delivered?

Be patient for a few days before contacting DHL. They will investigate the order and process a refund or replacement delivery if the item is lost. 

Can you cancel a shipment with DHL?

Only packages that are yet to be scanned or get a shipping label can be canceled.

How do you reschedule a DHL delivery?

You can use the DHL app to schedule a new delivery by selecting the order and a new date. Alternatively, you can contact DHL customer support to help you. 

In a Nutshell 

Returning a DHL package to the shipper or sender primarily depends on the policy guiding the package. Hence, before buying items on any e-commerce site, carefully read their return policies to know if the process will be seamless. 

In addition, the DHL parcel return option varies by country. In some countries, you must physically drop off the package at the nearest ServicePoint. Others may have access to both the drop-off and pickup options.

I hope you found this guide helpful. For further reading, please see what DHL shipment on hold means and how to address it

Thanks for reading.