While they operate independently, the United States Postal Service System is still a government entity, so the prices for shipping or receiving packages are much lower than those of private U.S. carriers.
The USPS will not charge any shipping fees in some cases, such as first-class mail. This makes it a very tempting option. However, the delay system can be annoying; if you have been getting a message saying “pre-shipment info sent to USPS, USPS awaiting item,” we will explain what it is all about.
What Does Pre-Shipment Mean?
Pre-shipment refers to a term used by USPS to indicate that the package is no longer in the processing warehouse but has not been scanned by USPS to start the distribution process and sent to the shipping courier and then to you.
The pre-shipment procedure takes about eight business days to update all tracking information, and in turn, the package tracking waybill will be updated. It may show that the package is in the process of shipment. That is, it has left the warehouse.
This phase is the last one before it is sent to the nearest shipping courier, who will deliver the order to the local transport service. However, it would be best if you waited for the USPS to approve the scanning process before the package is approved for shipment.
What should I do?
The scanning delay takes approximately eight business days to update, so the USPS asks that the customer wait this time. If the status does not change after eight days, it is recommended that you contact USPS Customer Service at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).
Reasons For late delivery in Pre-Shipment
The package tracking guide does not specify what process the package is in to be scanned or why it has not been approved for further processing before redistribution. However, here are the main reasons why it is held in pre-shipment.
When a package is in transit, it is on its way to the final destination. However, it may also be displayed as in transit: arriving late. This means the package scanning will be delayed until the transit information is updated.
High Volumes of Shipments
The more demand and flow of packages there are in the USPS processing warehouse, the longer it will take to scan all items. When there is a high-volume backlog, the shipper will most likely send the package on time. However, they must wait for the flow to slow down.
Not enough personnel
In addition to the flow of package shipments above, there is the number of USPS personnel. The more demand, the more staff is needed to expedite the process. Since they can’t guarantee that they will always handle the same volume of package shipments and deliveries, they can’t overstaff.
However, in these surges of package flow, the necessary number of staff is sometimes not reached, and work accumulates, creating these delays.
Traffic & Weather Conditions
You may wonder what the weather has to do with the scanning of packages. By U.S. Postal Service policy, workers must be sent home for shelter if there are any inconveniences due to weather.
All USPS work will be suspended until further notice if there is heavy rain or snowfall.
In the event of a major weather event, such as a tornado, thunderstorm, or something similar, there will likely be power problems. Therefore, no work will be able to be done in the processing warehouse.
Not In Stock
A slightly different option to those mentioned above is that the product is not in stock, which means there will be nothing to scan, even though the tracking guide shows that it is already in the processing warehouse.
This happens because some sellers sell their items, even if they are not in inventory. This happens because businesses prefer not to publish that they do not have the item, hoping for a restocking nearby.
However, from the moment the purchase is made, the shipping process appears active in the system; since they do not have the product, they have nothing to deliver to USPS, who, in turn, cannot scan something that does not exist.
Now, the USPS will print a shipping label since it appears in the system that it should arrive at the processing warehouse, and meanwhile, they are preparing. When the label is printed, USPS receives a notification that the package is in pre-shipment.
But actually, the package is not in pre-shipment. Therefore, it cannot be scanned and updated on the recipient’s tracking waybill. Because of this, it will appear that it is already in the warehouse because USPS has already printed the shipping card.
Does everyone do this?
Large companies do not usually make this type of move. However, artisan sellers usually use this to sell and send the package a little later to avoid losing customers.
This happens because they use the money from the purchase to buy the materials and make the product; this ensures they do not go at a loss to buy the materials without having fixed customers.
Since the purchase has already been made, the tracking guide of the package will not be updated beyond the pre-shipment stage. Once the product is packed and taken to the USPS office, the tracking guide will be updated.
We advise speaking directly with the package supplier before the postal service is called or a complaint is filed. Although usually, the producers of handcrafted items will explain the situation to the customer when they are in the process of ordering.
Nevertheless, it is good to clarify these points so as to not have to make complaints at the postal service office.
For years I have studied American finance regulations. All the information in this blog is sourced from official or contrasted sources from reliable sites.
Salesforce Certified SALES & SERVICE Cloud Consultant in February 2020, Salesforce Certified Administrator (ADM-201), and Master degree in “Business Analytics & Big Data Strategy” with more than 13 years of experience in IT consulting.