25 Reasons For Delay In FedEx And UPS Shipments

Reasons for FedEx and UPS delay

According to a Tedmondo study, 80% of online shoppers want retailers to deliver their orders on the same day. Retailers and shipping carrier are struggling to keep up with the spiraling customer expectations. Notwithstanding, the volatility of fuel prices is dampening their efforts. While only 56% of retailers are ready to deliver on the same day, the very least they can ensure is delivering orders at the said time.

Global shipping carriers such as FedEx and UPS have a vast network of distribution and fulfillment centers. Even so, not all packages are delivered at the committed time. Up to 16% of the FedEx and UPS packages are delivered late. This negatively impacts brand experience for your customer.  According to a Capgemini study, 48% of customers switch to a competitor service when they encounter an unsatisfactory delivery service.

Most retailers know that reneging on delivery commitment leads to dwindling customer retention rate. But the gap between knowing and acting is too wide to bridge. Lack of visibility into the nature of shipment delays is one of the major deterrents. Seconded only by the unavailability of relevant data on last-mile deliveries.

In this blog, we get down to analyzing the most common reasons cited by FedEx and UPS when a shipment is delayed. For ease of understanding, we have categorized the reasons for service failures into:

  1. Weather-related
  2. Incorrect address specification
  3. Recipient unavailability
  4. Insufficient documentation
  5. Poor carrier performance

Weather-Related: Close to 40% of delayed deliveries are caused due to bad weather. It is quite often that rain washes away your shipping partner’s attempt to deliver packages on time. Let’s list the most common delay reasons stated by UPS and FedEx

  1. Severe weather conditions have delayed delivery.
  2. An emergency situation or severe weather condition has delayed delivery until the next business day.
  3. Recent weather has caused delivery delays. Recovery efforts are underway to deliver your package as soon as possible.
  4. Severe weather conditions have delayed delivery. Your delivery has been rescheduled for the next business day.
  5. Severe weather conditions have delayed delivery. We’ll contact the sender or receiver about this delivery.
  6. An emergency situation or severe weather condition has delayed delivery.

A delivery delay caused due to bad weather is not eligible for a money-back from FedEx or UPS. Depending on the duration for which a bad spell is predicted, retailers can re-set the delivery expectations for customers. Intimating the customer of an impending delivery delay goes a long way in showing your commitment.

Incorrect address specification: Wrong suite number or misspelled street name can cost you a hefty charge – in addition to lousy delivery experience for your customer. UPS slaps a fee of $15.90 whenever a delivery is made after correction to the original address. Address correction charges for FedEx starts from $13 for ground shipments.  

Levying an additional charge does not guarantee your package is delivered on time.  Some of the reasons attributed to delay due to incorrect address correction charges are:

  1. We’ve corrected the street number, and the package is on it’s way to the updated address.
  2. The apartment number is either missing or incorrect. This may delay delivery. We’re attempting to update the address.
  3. The delivery change was completed. Modification of the receiver’s address
  4. The address is incomplete. This may delay delivery. We’re attempting to update the address.
  5. Incorrect address – recipient moved

The situation can be easily remedied. You can standardize the address specification process at the time of generating labels with the help of address auto-correcting software. While a few address correction charges may be valid, there are a few spurious ones. Enlisting the service of an automated audit software such as AuditShipment will help you eliminate any overcharges on your UPS or FedEx invoice. 

Recipient unavailability: Even if you are attempting to deliver your orders on time, customers can get in the way. A lot of times recipients are not available to receive the package at the time of delivery. It is not uncommon for the customer to reschedule the delivery or offer to pick it up from the nearest distribution. However, for time-sensitive deliveries such as wine or other food items, you have to make sure package content remains intact.
Listed here are the common delay reasons:

  1. The receiving business was closed and delivery has been rescheduled for the next business day.
  2. Per the receiver’s request, the package is being held for pickup. Pickup must be made within 5 business days.
  3. The receiver has moved. We will deliver the package to the receiver’s new address.
  4. As requested by the receiver, the delivery date has been rescheduled.
  5. adult recipient unavailable (age and required identification by country)

Long waiting times for your order has other repercussions too. Longer a customer waits for order the more likely they are to cancel or return the order.  With every delayed order you are leaving them to second guess their purchase decisions. This is especially worrisome for online businesses. In addition to losing shipping cost, a negative delivery experience affects your brand and customer loyalty.

A few delay reasons capture these instances as well:

  1. The receiver refused the delivery.
  2. The receiver does not want the product and refused the delivery. 
  3. The receiver has canceled the product order and refused delivery
  4. Refused by recipient

Insufficient documentation: The documents that are dispatched along with the order slated for delivery are important. For domestic deliveries, basic documents such as commercial invoice, shipping label, tracking label are required. For international UPS or FedEx shipments, the following documents are required to ensure your order is delivered on time 

  • Commercial Invoice.
  • Packing list.
  • Certificate of Origin.
  • North American Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin.
  • Electronic Export Information.
  • Shipping label (packages)


When retailers miss out on attaching the necessary documents or if the document attached cannot be verified, the package clearance is not provided. Until the documents requested arrive, the package is held either at the customs or at the distribution facility.  Here a few reasons stated that indicate lack of accompanying documents :

  1. Inspection requested by customs or UPS
  2. Your package is being processed at the clearance agency. The receiver’s customs broker has been assigned. 
  3. Additional documentation is required for clearance. We’re working to obtain this information. 
  4. Shipper export declaration documentation required for export is missing
  5. A missing commercial invoice is causing a delay. We’ll contact the sender or receiver about this delivery.
  6. Improper or missing paperwork – an invalid country of origin – contact customer service

Poor carrier performance: What happens when none of the above-mentioned exceptions occur and yet your FedEx and UPS shipments are delayed?

In that case, you are entitled to receive the entire shipping cost as per FedEx and UPS GSR ( guaranteed service refunds) policy. You can read more about FedEx and UPS money-back guarantee here.

Both FedEx and UPS charge a premium for package deliveries. On the premise of their money-back promise, top retail companies flock to these shipping carriers. It is true that FedEx and UPS keep up their end of the bargain and award refunds for delayed packages.

But there is a catch.

FedEx and UPS do not automatically return the money every time there is a service failure. The onus is on the shipper to file disputes. The process involves identification of delayed deliveries, segregating them into the eligible category, and disputing them. When your invoice runs to 1000 pages, the refund recovery process is time-consuming as well as mind-numbing.

ShippingChimp helps eCommerce businesses to track packages in real-time, predict FedEx, UPS, DHL delivery delays and engage with customers after checkout to boost loyalty.

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