Often customers that choose USPS as their preferred shipping carrier are left with a confusing status message on USPS.com's tracking center not long after we ship their order. It reads:
The acceptance of your package is pending.
Unfortunately for us as a business, customers believe that we never actually shipped their order. Quite the opposite is true, but what does this actually mean?
When presented with this tracking statement, it is easy to believe that the package acceptance refers to the carrier accepting our shipment. This article on usglobalmail.com explains the status:
First off, it means that individuals working for the United States Postal Service (often times USPS postmasters, postal clerks, or “window clerks”) have physically taken acceptance of the package and have begun to input the information into the USPS system.
This is why the tracking code works in the first place and is often the very first update you’re going to get in your tracking data, though sometimes “Accept at USPS Origin Facility” messages come first.
Each day, we physically hand shipment boxes to the carrier, along with a daily manifest. This manifest is a barcode that contains all of the tracking information for those packages. The carrier then brings these packages to the local post office. Under normal circumstances, the packages would then be accepted by the post office staff and processed for transport to their main sorting hub.
Why does it take so long for tracking to update, or not at all for several days?
After COVID 19 pandemic, and a number of logistic challenges facing the US Postal system, there is often a significant processing backlog. Packages that are dropped off may not see processing or another scan for several days as USPS staff works through their backlog. Sometimes packages get lost. This means that package "acceptance" is delayed, or sometimes never updates past the "acceptance pending" status.
What can I do?
People choose USPS because it is inexpensive. We cannot force customers to choose more expensive shipping options. Normally USPS is a good choice, but if you are pressed for time, in the future you will want to choose a pricier, but faster carrier such as FedEx.
What will FA do About This?
We first ask for your patience. We offer time estimates for how long orders may take to arrive. Once the shipment leaves our warehouse, we cannot upgrade the shipping method, nor redirect it. We also receive no more information than you when inquiring with the Post Office. Being the seller does not give us internal tracking information from the carrier, nor special treatment to hasten response time.
First Class domestic shipments can now take 8-15 days on average due to the COVID pandemic. USPS Priority may take a bit longer than the previous 3-5 business days.
Will FA Refund me for Late Shipments?
Unless a USPS Express shipment arrives a day later than the normal carrier-guaranteed overnight carrier transit time (this does NOT include processing time to pack and ship), we do not refund shipping for orders that arrive at a time the customer themselves deem as "late." Again, once the shipment leaves our warehouse, we depend on the carrier to do their job, and are not responsible for the scans that they perform or their transit time.