USPS Package Forwarded for Delivery, Now What?

Last update on June 18th, 2022 at 09:30 am

You can’t always go everywhere, and that is why you use post mail services, such as the United States Postal Service, to send and receive packages from far and wide. However, things do not always go hitch-free as you would hope. There may be one issue or the other with the delivery of a package you are expecting, leading to delay or misplacement of package. A common instance is when you track your package and find a “Forwarded for Delivery” or “Forwarded” message.

In addition to the frustration that comes with the troubling reality that something is not right, the vagueness of the status message compounds our misery. It leaves us wondering what steps to take next. Not to worry, you are in the right place.

By the end of this article, you will have better understood the USPS’s “Package Forwarded for Delivery” status message, how it works, and what alternative mail forwarding services there are.

What Does “USPS Forwarded for Delivery” Mean?

A “forwarded for delivery” or “forwarded” message informs you that the USPS forwarded your package to a different address. The implication is that a wrong address has taken priority over the one on your account, and therefore will receive all packages meant for your original address. There are several possible reasons for this, and we will be discussing that in the subsequent sections.

First, however, before anything else, it may be best to put a call through to the USPS to clarify that nothing is off.   

Why Was USPS Package Forwarded to a Different Address?

Okay, now that we know that “forwarded” means your package was forwarded to another address, we need to understand why that happened. The USPS will typically not forward your package to the wrong address in error. Below are some of the reasons why the USPS mail system may send your package to another address:

Temporary Change of Address

You need to be away for a while and apply to change your mailing address with the USPS temporarily. It is not uncommon for the USPS to use their mail forwarding services to redirect the package to the new address. This process allows you to retain the permanent address on your account while receiving your mail at your new address.

As this service is temporary, the USPS will enable customers to use this service for a period between 15 days or six months.

Permanent Change of Address

Okay, this time around, you have moved completely and do not intend to return to a current address. Applying for a permanent change of address with the USPS will typically take 7 to 10 business days. Pending the time this change of address is finalized, all the mail you receive at your old address may be redirected to your new address using the mail forwarding service.

This ensures that you do not have to face the hassle of going back, which may be quite a distance, to pick up a package that has been delivered to the old address ahead of the completion of the change of address.

In the change of address cases listed above, it may be that a relative that recently moved erroneously changed the family’s or your mail address. This error can happen in the process of trying to change their mailing address. Checking with the USPS customer care line can help clarify whether someone recently applied to change your mailing address. 

Premium Forwarding Services

The USPS offers customers a premium mail forwarding service where all your postal mails are received, held, and delivered only every week. So all the postal mails you receive for an entire week will be delivered on a day and address of your choice – not necessarily the permanent address listed on your account. This means that you can have your package sent to a new address every week.

This certainly offers more flexibility and control and saves you the trouble of sorting and moving heavy packages about. So if you signed up for the premium forwarding services, forwarded or forwarded for delivery is a message you should expect to see more often.

Wrong Delivery Address

This is one of the most common reasons people get a “forwarded” package status. If you or the sender provided an incorrect address, Zip code, or postal code, this might be a reason to have your package forwarded to the wrong address. Therefore, ensure to double-check the address and Zip code you have, and the one with a sender, before the package goes to the post office. 

How Do I Track a Forwarded USPS Package?

It is always a good practice to track your package, whether forwarded or not, and mail companies typically allow customers to. You will need a tracking number, typically contained in your confirmation email, to track a forwarded package. Alternatively, you can find a tracking number on the post office shipping receipt for your package.

Once you have found your tracking number, proceed to the USPS Package Tracking webpage and enter the number into the box provided. You will get a reply informing you of the status and location of your package.

The time it will take for a forwarded package to reach its destination will depend on factors such as distance, size of the package, and shipping plan.             

What Happens If a Package Is Delivered to the Wrong Address?

If your package is delivered to the wrong address, the best you can do is wait for the recipient to report to the USPS. If this is the case, the USPS will schedule a date to pick up the package and deposit it at the Mail Recovery Center of the Lost and Found unit. Once you establish that the parcel is for you, the USPS will immediately deliver it to your correct address.

Things may, however, not go smoothly, and the recipient at this address may deny having received the package in question. So, first, it would help to double-check by providing your package’s tracking number on the USPS website to confirm its delivery status. Second, you should also contact the sender to verify that they provided the correct tracking number and address.

If you are confident the package arrived at the wrong address, and all pieces of evidence point to the same, you and the recipient will have to open a “lost package” case with the USPS. This move will typically be followed by a back and forth process to resolve the issue. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, this process may be a prolonged one.

What are Better Alternatives There for Forwarding?

If you desire more ease, flexibility, and control over your postal mail, then you should try out virtual mailbox services. This digital mail system allows you to manage your postal mail like your email, and you get to decide what happens to them on the go – without visiting the local post office. For example, once you receive postal mail in your virtual mailbox, you can scan, shred, or forward it to an address of your choice.

Virtual mail services also offer users autonomy and reduce the stress of sorting, storing, and disposing junk mail items. 

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