USPS Out For Delivery But Not Delivered: Meaning, Why It Occurs & How To Address It

When a USPS package is out for delivery, its estimated delivery date becomes more specific. In other words, such a package should arrive that same day or the next. But when you wait, and no package arrives, such an item can be considered “not delivered”. 

Ideally, most “not delivered” packages find their way to the post office for one reason or the other. Nevertheless, this is not the only possible outcome. Other factors, such as theft and misplacement, which may require a response from your end, may be responsible. 

This guide explains (in detail) what it means when a USPS package is out for delivery but does not get delivered, factors that may be responsible, and what to do as the recipient. 

What Does “USPS Out For Delivery But Not Delivered” Mean? 


When a package is out for delivery, it should arrive at your doorstep that day or the next. Failure to be delivered within this (48 hours) window without a possible delay update from USPS means you can consider the package as “not delivered”.

Even if you decide to wait a bit longer, your waiting period should not exceed a week. In other words, contact customer service if it does not arrive a week after the USPS tracking update says it is out for delivery. 

Please note that this scenario differs from “delivered but no package“. If a tracking update says your USPS package has been delivered but you did not receive it, you need to contact USPS support immediately (there is no point waiting).

In this case, your package has either been stolen or sent to the wrong address.

Reasons for USPS Out For Delivery But Not Delivered 

1. Delivery exceptions 

Delivery exceptions are unforeseen factors that can delay a delivery. Examples include adverse weather conditions such as heavy rainfall or hurricanes, gridlock, and faulty vehicles 

These conditions can delay the truck driver and result in a failed delivery. Nevertheless, you have nothing to worry about because another attempt will be made the next day. 

2. Delivery to the wrong address

Delivery errors such as delivery to a wrong address may also be responsible for your package not arriving as early as it should. In this case, the USPS tracking update should indicate that the package has been delivered. 

You must check your property thoroughly and ask your neighbors if they received any package on your behalf. Otherwise, you need to contact USPS support to report a case of delivery to the wrong address. 

3. Lost or misplaced package 

USPS packages out for delivery can get lost or misplaced if care is not taken. This is common during peak seasons or holidays when drivers must deal with many deliveries. 

While most lost items are found and another delivery is attempted, exceptions exist. This may be the case if your package is stuck on “out for delivery” for up to 7 days. Contact your post office immediately. 

4. Stolen Packages 

Package theft can occur in two ways. Your package may be stolen (usually a case of missing and not found) within the USPS facility or stolen at your residence. 

Packages stolen within the facility must be replaced by USPS if insured. This may delay delivery by a few days, but you will get your package eventually. 

For the latter, the USPS tracking update should read “delivered, ” meaning the package arrived at the right address. Ensure you ask your neighbors and check your property thoroughly before contacting USPS. 

5. Package in the wrong truck 

After scanning and preparing your package for delivery, it may end up in the truck. While this is rare, it should delay delivery by about 24 hours. 

This is because such a truck must complete its daily deliveries and return before your package can be processed for proper delivery. 

6. No one to receive the package or inaccessible property 

If you are expecting a package that requires a direct or any signature, make sure you are available to receive such a package.

Failure to be present at the point of delivery or the inability of the delivery personnel to access your property can delay the delivery of an “out for delivery” package. 

What to Do When Your “Out For Delivery” Package Fails to Arrive? 

1. Wait and keep an eye on tracking updates 

You don’t need to panic when your package is out for delivery but fails to arrive on that day or the next. Exercise patience and watch USPS tracking updates for a few more days. If nothing changes, contact them and inquire about the status of your package. 

2. Check your mailbox and ask around 

This applies to cases where the tracking update has switched from “out for delivery” to “delivered”. If such a package is not at your residence or with a neighbor, contact USPS. 

3. File a missing claim 

If, for some reason, your package is yet to arrive after one week of contacting USPS, file a Missing Mail Search claim. This claim ensures USPS finds the misplaced or stolen package, especially if it is insured. 

If your package cannot be found or replaced, you will get a partial or a full refund, depending on the insurance terms. 


Why did your package go from out for delivery to awaiting delivery scan?

This is usually the case when a mail carrier forgets to scan the package at the point of delivery or the USPS system is yet to update its tracking status. It does not necessarily mean the package was not delivered. 

What happens if USPS mail fails to be delivered on the expected delivery date?

You reserve every right to request a postage refund, especially if the package is fully insured. 

Will USPS attempt to deliver again?

If, for some reason, a delivery attempt is unsuccessful, USPS will drop a PS Form 3849 to notify you that your package is at the post office after the delivery attempt. You can either schedule a new delivery attempt or pick up the package yourself. 


USPS out for delivery but not delivered is not so common nowadays, thanks to the post office’s careful handling and sorting process. However, when it occurs, it usually means the package has found its way back to the facility. 

Reasons for this incident include loading errors, delivery to a wrong address, and unavoidable exceptions such as bad weather or faulty vehicles. In most cases, you only have to wait for 24 hours to get your package. 

Failure to get your package within the next day without an update from USPS indicates that you need to contact them. 

I hope you found this guide helpful. To know when to expect a package from USPS, please see when USPS delivers parcels

Thanks for reading.