UPS Return To Sender: Meaning, How It Works & Reasons Why Packages Get Returned Before and After Delivery

Returning a package can be very stressful. However, with UPS, the whole process can be stress-free thanks to a service called UPS Return to Sender. 

While this service easily manages returns, it works better when you understand how it works, why UPS returns packages to shippers or online retailers, and how refunds work. 

What is UPS Return to Sender? 


UPS Return to Sender is a service that lets you conveniently return a parcel or package to the sender. This may be because the package is damaged or does not satisfy the buyer’s requirement.  

The service is fast and typically sends packages directly to the sender. It is essential for businesses and individuals interested in maintaining customer satisfaction and quality service. 

How Does It Work? 

The process is very straightforward. It involves: 

Requesting a return

The first step is to initiate a return request. This facilitates the provision of a return label by the sender of the package. Without a label, it may be very difficult to process a UPS return. 

There are two major types of labels – print return labels and prepaid shipping labels. The difference between both is that the latter already has the cost of the return covered by the sender. 

Packaging the item 

After receiving the return label, arrange and package the item appropriately and with its original packaging. Affix the label (externally) on the package, and it is ready for shipping. 

Visiting the nearest UPS drop-off location 

Locate and visit the UPS drop-off location near you and release the package to authorized personnel. Ensure you go with the receipt for the item and follow every instruction provided by the UPS representative. 

Why Does UPS Return Packages to the Sender? 

1. Incorrect shipping address

The most common reason UPS returns packages to the sender is due to incorrect or incomplete address information on the package’s label. This is usually because the sender did not use the correct postcode or failed to include all the necessary information. 

2. Unclaimed package 

If a package remains unclaimed at a holding facility, UPS will return it to the sender. This is usually when a customer is unavailable during the 3 delivery attempts and does not try to retrieve the package at an Access Point. 

This package may stay 5 to 7 days at a UPS Access Point or holding area. 

3. No authorized recipient 

UPS requires a signature from an authorized recipient when delivering a package. If no one is available or the person has nothing to prove that he is authorized, your package will eventually find its way to the sender. 

4. Damaged package

When a customer receives a damaged (extensive or not) or wrong package, he or she has the right to return the package to the nearest UPS facility. Eventually, such a package will find its way to the sender. 

5. Unauthorized shipment 

If the item shipped is considered illegal, prohibited, or dangerous, it will be shipped back to the sender immediately. Failure to pay the appropriate taxes or duties can also make your package unauthorized.

UPS reserves the right to inspect and x-ray any package. Packages in this category will not undergo delivery. 

Do You Get a Refund or New Package?

After returning a package to the sender, you have to choose between getting a refund or a replacement. The wait time for a response varies from 10 to 15 days, irrespective of your decision.

The amount you get paid for refunds will depend on the type of return being processed and the sender’s return policy. For example, your refund may be paid in cash or as credit points. 


Does UPS charge for refused packages?

UPS does not charge for the return of refused packages. This is probably because the item was delivered to the wrong address. 

How long does it take UPS to return to the sender?

USP will hold your package at an Access Point for 7 days. Failure to pick up this package or arrange another delivery means it will be returned to the sender. 

Does UPS charge if a package is returned to the sender?

If delivery attempts were made, an undeliverable returns surcharge may apply. 

UPS Return to Sender In a NutShell 

The UPS return to sender is a convenient, reliable, and efficient way to return a package. For businesses and individuals looking to maintain a positive level of customer satisfaction, this is an option to consider when deciding on a carrier for your package. 

Understanding how the process works is also important to how fast you get a new package or refund). Mind you, different policies apply to different requests, and the outcome of every return process often depends on the seller or UPS. 

I hope you found this guide helpful. If you did, please see the meaning of Parcel Return Service 56901 and how it works

Thanks for reading.