One of the most frustrating things in the shipping process is realizing that you – or a customer – have accidentally shipped a package to the incorrect address, such as an old address. Fortunately, in some circumstances, you can correct this seemingly uncorrectable mistake –if you catch the mistake before the package has been delivered. Depending on what carrier you are using and when you catch the mistake, you do have some options.
Major Carriers and When They Can Correct the Address
DHL Shipments, International Only
When shipping internationally with DHL, a change of delivery address is only possible if both the incorrect and correct address belong to the same delivery area of DHL’s delivery service provider. If the shipment is still in transit, DHL requires a Letter of Authorization and the reason for the change. This will often delay the package for up to 48 hours, but the package will then be delivered to the correct location.
When DHL receives a package, they will almost always contact the receiver for the correct address. Sometimes, if the receiver is not available, the shipper may also be contacted.
For Imports to the USA through DHL
Once the package arrives in the US, which you can tell by monitoring the tracking number, you can change the address online using the On Demand Delivery Site feature. However, this request MUST BE made between the time when the package's arrival to the US and when the package arrives at the service station, so very close monitoring of the tracking code is required.
For Exports Out of the USA through DHL
Once the Letter of Authorization is completed, a trace can be opened on the package to have the delivery address changed. Because of the speed at which DHL packages are delivered, it's of the utmost importance that you complete and return your Letter of Authorization as soon as possible to get the address changed.
If you realize that you shipped a package to the wrong address, DHL has excellent customer service and will work with you to get the package delivered to the correct location.
DHL’s customer service number is 317-554-5191.
If you are the shipper, you must contact FedEx Customer Service to change the address. You can call them at 1-800-463-3339. You will be billed a $12.50 service charge.
If you are the intended recipient, and you wish to provide additional information about the shipping address (add a suite or apartment number, etc), you can call FedEx Customer Service at the phone number above.
In some cases, such as when a package or parcel is shipped to a PO Box, FedEx will hold the shipment at their nearest facility. An ID and proof of address will need to be provided to retrieve the package as well as a signature. You will know if your package is held when you look at the tracking information.
Once UPS identifies an “undeliverable address,” you can correct it on the UPS website. Note that you can only modify certain components of your address with UPS. You can change city, zip code, add a room, suite, or floor, but you cannot change the street name and number. These packages will be returned to sender.
1) Enter your tracking number on the UPS website.
2) After entering your Tracking Number, look at the Tracking Details page.
3)Select the button “Correct My Address.”
Then you can correct and update your address. You can contact UPS Customer Service at 1-800-742-5877.
In addition, you can sometimes redirect a package using UPS' MyChoice services. Some limited features are free, but for a small price, you can redirect a package to an Access Point so that you can pick up the package (with proof of identity) at your earliest convenience.
USPS offers Package Intercept if you are shipping within the United States. If your package has not been delivered or released for delivery and it is eligible (must have a tracking number or extra services, and must not be Standard Mail and Periodicals, etc…) USPS will make every effort to locate your item, redirect it, and deliver it to the correct address. You will have to pay the Package Intercept fee plus the estimated package shipping cost if your package is rerouted. To do USPS Package Intercept, you will need to log in to your USPS account and submit your request.
Sometimes if you call your local post office before a shipment arrives, they can hold the packages with the incorrect address. This works well if you moved but are still local. Be prepared with proof of identification and previous address.
If the Package is Coming to You
If you are the intended recipient of the package and not the shipper – and your package has not been delivered – contact the person or business shipping the package to request a change of address as soon as possible. They may or may not be able to help. The sooner you contact them, the better chance you and they have of correcting the mistake.
If you are the intended recipient of the package, and you find out the package has already been delivered to an incorrect address, there is not as much you can do. You can also contact the person or business shipping the address for help and to see if there is anything they can do. You can attempt to locate the package with the tracking number. If possible, you can pick it up at the incorrect address.
Sometimes the person who now occupies the place that your package was delivered to will send the package back to the sender because of the incorrect name, which you can then have rerouted once the tracking reflects the return.
If Your Customer Provides You with the Incorrect Address
If your customer provided you with the incorrect address, you may or may not be able to correct the mistake – based on when the customer alerts you that they have provided you with an incorrect address.
There is a small window of time after a customer places an order and before the order has been shipped. If you find out before the package has been shipped, there are two options. 1) Make note of the address and ship to correct address. 2) Cancel the transaction and have the buyer replace the order with the correct shipping address. In this case, send the buyer a message. Hopefully, you can help the customer correct the address before the package has been delivered.
If you find out after the package has already been shipped, you are not responsible for replacing the package. There are some things you can do to help your customer have a better experience. You can help the intended recipient locate the package, empathize with the intended recipient, as well as offer a discounted coupon code for your customer to reorder the shipment.
Although shipping a package to the incorrect address is not ideal, it’s not always an unfixable mistake. You may have some options, especially if you catch the mistake early.
Find out the other secrets to shipping your packages successfully by downloading our guide to packages below.