What happens if your UPS package is delayed? (+ Refunds and Picking Up Delayed Parcels)

Last Updated on 05/09/2023 by UPS_ Admin

Dealing with delayed packages can be frustrating. Trusting a carrier like UPS comes with the expectation of timely deliveries. But what if your UPS package is late? From understanding why delays occur to knowing your rights on refunds and how to pick up delayed parcels, this guide offers comprehensive insights into navigating UPS delays, ensuring you’re well-equipped to handle any hiccup in your delivery process. Dive in to uncover essential tips, procedures, and ways to engage with UPS effectively.

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What happens if your UPS package is delayed?

UPS promises an on-time delivery guarantee for most service types. If your package is delivered late even by a minute, according to the UPS money-back guarantee, you are entitled to a UPS refund.

About the UPS Guaranteed Service Refund: In order to maintain its reputation, UPS offers a Service Guarantee to its senders. They will refund the entire shipping cost of any parcel with a delay of as little as 60 seconds.

To claim your refund, follow these steps:

While UPS and other carriers generally offer a money-back guarantee if shipments don’t arrive on time, it’s important to note that these guarantees are suspended if shipping delays are caused by factors beyond the carrier’s control, such as inclement weather.

Further Insight: All UPS ground and express packages are guaranteed to arrive on time, or it’s free. Once you identify that a package was delivered late, requesting a UPS Guaranteed Service Refund is the next step to get your money back. The request must be within 15 days of the originally scheduled delivery date (source from Aug 28, 2023). Additionally, in cases of extreme situations like in December, sometimes planes might get too full causing packages to be delayed. In such cases, 99% of the time, the package is delivered the next day.

Why are UPS packages delayed?

There are multiple reasons why UPS packages could face delays. Here are some common factors:

  1. Business Closed: One frequent reason is that the receiving business was closed when the delivery attempt was made. In such cases, UPS typically reschedules the delivery for the next business day.
  2. Package Hold: Sometimes, per the receiver’s request, the package is being held for pickup at a UPS location. It is important to note that the pickup must be made within 5 business days. If not collected, UPS may take further action like returning the package to the sender or holding it for a longer duration with potential storage fees.
  3. Geopolitical Events: There can be geopolitical disruptions that affect UPS delivery services. For instance, both FedEx and UPS suspended all package services in Ukraine after Russian forces invaded the country. Both companies made this announcement on their official websites in February.
  4. Packaging Issues: Shipments that are poorly packaged can face delays. If a shipment is incorrectly or insufficiently packaged, it can have difficulty navigating through the logistics system. This can lead to potential damage or the package being returned to the sender. It’s crucial to understand and adhere to guidelines for proper parcel packaging to prevent such issues.
  5. Natural and Unforeseen Events: Severe weather, natural disasters, and other unforeseeable events beyond UPS’s control can result in service disruptions. UPS service disruption updates can provide real-time information about ongoing delays or issues.
  6. Pandemic and E-commerce Surge: The ongoing pandemic and a rise in e-commerce activities have strained carrier capacity. There have been instances where shipping companies, including UPS, have faced driver shortages. Smaller, regional carriers, in particular, are more susceptible to delays in shipping caused by these compounding factors.

How to Contact UPS About a Delayed Delivery:

If you suspect a delay in your UPS delivery or have other concerns regarding your package, there are several ways to reach UPS customer service:

  1. Visit the UPS Customer Help and Support Center: UPS provides a comprehensive Customer Help and Support Center on their official website where you can find answers to common questions and information about various issues.
  2. Contact UPS by Phone:
    • For general customer service and package-related inquiries, you can call: 1-800-742-5877 (1-800-PICK-UPS®).
    • Alternatively, for those who have faced challenges reaching a human representative through the main customer service number, the technical support number 1-877-289-6418 has proven effective in some cases.
  3. Email UPS Customer Service: Send your concerns or inquiries to the official UPS customer service email at customer.service@ups.com.
  4. Filing a Claim: If you need to file a claim related to your package:
    • Provide details about the package, such as the tracking number, weight, or recipient’s contact information.
    • Identify your role in relation to the package (sender, recipient, or third party).
    • If you’re not logged in to a UPS account, you can opt for filing the claim as a guest.
    • Support your claim with any additional documentation or evidence you may have.
    • Finally, submit your claim on the UPS website.
    • You can monitor the progress of your claim on the UPS website.

Important Note: Some users have reported challenges in reaching a live representative using the official customer service number. In such cases, while the “Technical Support” number has been helpful for some, it’s always advisable to explore all official communication channels provided by UPS. Moreover, while local UPS offices may make outgoing calls, they typically don’t have a direct public line for incoming customer inquiries.

Lastly, while it’s understandable to be frustrated with potential service issues, it’s essential to approach the situation calmly and be patient as customer service representatives aim to assist you. Every shipping company, be it UPS, USPS, or FedEx, has its own set of challenges, especially given the increasing demand in the e-commerce era and other external factors.

Can You Get a Refund for a Delayed UPS Package?

Certainly! UPS stands by its reputation for timely deliveries. The company provides a Service Guarantee for various shipping services. If UPS fails to meet the promised delivery time, they offer a refund process known as the Guaranteed Service Refund.

What does the UPS Guaranteed Service Refund entail?

  • UPS promises an on-time delivery guarantee for many of its services. If your package is delivered late, even by a mere 60 seconds, you are entitled to a complete refund of the shipping cost. This commitment emphasizes how much UPS values punctuality and customer satisfaction.

How can you request a refund?

    1. If you are the sender (since you’re the one who paid for the shipping), you can initiate the claim for the refund.
    2. You can claim a refund either by directly calling UPS at 1-800-742-5877 or by logging into the UPS Billing Center and following the procedures for a refund request.
    3. When contacting UPS, make sure to have the tracking number for the package and any other relevant details handy.

How long does it take to process a UPS refund?

    • Depending on the information you provide and the nature of the claim, the refund process might take between 8 to 15 business days. This timeline is necessary for UPS to thoroughly investigate and validate the claim.

It’s crucial to understand that while UPS has policies to refund or adjust shipping costs for late deliveries, each situation is unique. The refund’s issuance depends on an internal review and specific circumstances around the delay. Moreover, certain conditions, like extreme weather events, might affect the guarantee.

In essence, while UPS generally stands by its delivery guarantees, obtaining a refund requires following the appropriate channels and providing the necessary information for verification. If your package has been delayed, it’s advisable to act promptly and initiate the refund process within the stipulated timeframe.

Can You Pick Up a Delayed UPS Package?

Certainly! If your UPS package is delayed, and you’d prefer not to wait for its eventual delivery, you have options to pick it up directly from a UPS location.

How can you collect your delayed package from UPS?

  1. Request Package Hold: You can request that UPS hold your package at a designated UPS location. This way, instead of waiting for delivery, you can pick up the package at a time that’s most convenient for you.
  2. UPS Access Points: UPS has introduced Access Points, which are local businesses (like grocery stores or other local retailers) that partner with UPS to allow for package drop-off or pickup. This provides recipients with an alternative to home deliveries, ensuring more flexibility and convenience.
  3. The UPS Store: The UPS Store offers a wide range of services including package holding. If your package is directed to a UPS Store location, you can pick it up at your leisure. This can be particularly beneficial if you’re not home during standard delivery hours.
  4. UPS Drop Boxes: While primarily used for 24/7 package drop-offs, in some cases, you might be able to arrange to have smaller packages directed to a UPS Drop Box for pickup.

How to Schedule a UPS On-Call Pick-up

If you need to send a package, you can schedule a pickup directly from your location. This can be done either online or by calling +1-800-PICK-UPS® (+1-800-742-5877). Please note that this service is more about sending packages than picking up delayed deliveries.

It’s important to remember that if you decide to pick up your package from UPS, you should bring a valid ID that matches the recipient’s name on the package. This ensures that UPS only releases packages to authorized individuals.

In case of any changes or special requests, always keep in touch with UPS through their official channels to make sure your package is available and ready for pickup.

What Does “Mechanical Failure” Mean in UPS Delivery Context?

When UPS tracking mentions “a mechanical failure has delayed delivery,” it signifies an issue related to the transportation machinery used to deliver your package. This typically means that there’s been a disruption in the normal delivery process due to unforeseen issues with the vehicles, like trucks or planes, responsible for moving your shipment.

Reasons for Mechanical Failure:

  1. Vehicle Breakdown: The most common cause. The truck transporting your package could have broken down or faced issues that prevented it from completing its route.
  2. Plane Issues: If your package was being transported via air, there could have been a problem with the plane.
  3. Train Derailment: In some cases, packages are transported by trains, and a derailment could cause significant delays.
  4. Other Mechanical Challenges: This could range from flat tires to more complex machinery problems.

What Happens Next?

  • Resolution: UPS will often provide an “Exception Resolution” in such cases. This means they are aware of the issue and are actively working on rectifying it. For instance, if a truck breaks down, UPS may dispatch another truck to retrieve and deliver the packages.
  • Delivery Commitment: The tracking might indicate that your shipment will arrive later than the originally promised delivery time. In many instances, the delay typically lasts for one business day, but it’s always a good idea to check the UPS tracking system for updates regarding your package.
  • Transparency: UPS, in its efforts to maintain trust, provides details on tracking when possible. As mentioned, there have been instances where UPS has provided step-by-step updates even in the case of significant disruptions like train derailments.

To sum it up, a “mechanical failure” is an unforeseen issue related to UPS’s transport machinery. When this happens, UPS makes efforts to adjust their plans to ensure the package is delivered as quickly as possible. If you encounter this notification, it’s advisable to monitor the tracking information for updates or reach out to UPS customer service for more details.


In the event of a UPS delivery delay, customers can seek a refund via UPS’s Guaranteed Service Refund, provided claims are made within 15 days of the intended delivery date. However, unforeseeable factors like weather may affect this guarantee. Common delay reasons include business closures, packaging issues, geopolitical events, and external challenges like pandemics. UPS offers various ways to address concerns, including phone, email, or their website. If a “mechanical failure” appears on tracking, it suggests transport issues, but UPS typically ensures timely resolutions. Always approach service representatives calmly and use official communication channels for queries.

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