Packages, UPS, Tracking — What to do when the order won’t show

Packages, UPS, Tracking — What to do when the order won’t show

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If you’re anything like me, or Scott Pilgrim for that matter, you get the desire to practically wait at the door for a particularly exciting order to arrive pretty much as soon as you hit order. Even if you can wait a day or two, it gets frustrating, when a package just won’t show up. In the best case it’s simply delayed, in the worst, it got lost or stolen. Here’s how to handle a missing package and how to stay sane in the meantime.

Helpful Web-Services

Online Tracking

They’re not on our list of most used websites, but they should be pretty damn close. This is all about tracking for postal services. If you’re anxious about that package, it’s the best feeling to click a tracking link and check the packages’ location. Somehow it makes it better, knowing the order is 7 stops away from being delivered. It’s nice reading messages like ‘Your Order is being delivered!’, it’s even better to watch a little icon move around a map, live.

If you’ve been waiting for an order for a while, more often than not it’s enough to just get updates as to what is happening, even if it’s still a long way away from being handed to you. Nothing is worse than staring at the last status update and not seeing it change for a day or two, especially if the last update places the package somewhere near your vicinity. Stuff like that makes me want to go looking for the damn thing in person. Luckily, with the internet’s helpful tracking services you won’t have to.

This website supports UPS live tracking alongside a variety of other national and international parcel services like FedEx, USPS, DHL and more.

Tracking Numbers

Each service typically has their own tracking numbers. If you’ve got one from an USPS parcel, that won’t really help you if you use DHL’s tracking site. If the page is particularly helpful, it might tell you that that constellation of numbers and letters is typically used by a different service. That’s what makes websites so helpful when they combine their search to cover multiple services.

Let’s stick with UPS, for example: If you send or receive a package that is delivered via UPS, you get a tracking number. The number is automatically generated for every order they receive. If you don’t have one, you just don’t know where to look yet. If you sent a package, it should be on the receipt. If you order a package, however, you typically get it in the orders’ shipment notification. Since that’s usually sent out by the vendor and not UPS, it’s their mistake if the tracking number is not listed.

Other parcel services, like DHL, don’t automatically have to include a tracking number. Especially for smaller packages with no insurance, that’s often an option you have to buy on top of the regular fee. If you’re shopping online and know you’ll be anxious for the package to arrive, make sure to check if that’s an option you have to activate yourself.

Stopped Updates

If your tracking stops updating, that’s rarely a good sign. Especially if it’s a basic delivery that usually works out fine. If you order from overseas, it’s not surprising when shipping can take weeks, but if it’s taking weeks for a package to arrive from within one state? Not a good sign. If you’re antsy, here’s what you can do via web and phone:

  1. Check your order info and shipping notification, maybe you missed some info.
  2. Ask neighbors if they received the package and UPS failed to inform you.
  3. Call 1 (800) 742-5877. UPS’ Customer Service might have more insight into the location of your package.
  4. Start a claim on the UPS website.

These steps are similar to any other delivery service.

Starting Claims

In most cases, you can start a claim if your package has not arrived, and it has been 24 hours since the expected delivery date. You have to be either the sender or receiver of the package, and you will need to have reliably checked any location where the package could have been delivered to or placed at.

If you are the sender and the package is eligible, the UPS Billing Center handles refunds. UPS takes about 10 days to process your claim and 8 to 15 business days to find your lost package — or give up on it. Any refund will be sent to the sender’s billing info. It’s up to you and the buyer to work out what will happen next.


Written by

Alexander Sterling

Alexander Sterling

Alexander Sterling is a renowned financial writer with over 10 years in the finance sector. With a strong economics background, he simplifies complex financial topics for a wide audience. Alexander contributes to top financial platforms and is working on his first book to promote financial independence.

Reviewed By



Judith Harvey is a seasoned finance editor with over two decades of experience in the financial journalism industry. Her analytical skills and keen insight into market trends quickly made her a sought-after expert in financial reporting.