You’ve ordered an item online and have received an “Item Posted Over the Counter” tracking update.
What does this mean exactly? Where is your package when you receive this alert and what happens next?
Let’s take a look…
Summary: Item Posted Over The Counter
The “Item Posted Over the Counter” status alert is triggered when the sender has physically dropped off the package at a branch belonging to the carrier. A staff member working for the carrier has literally received the shipment at the counter and has scanned it into the delivery network.
Item Posted Over The Counter – Guide
This is a positive update to receive and is used by Yanwen, as well as many other carriers that accept branch drop-offs by the sender.
When you receive this status alert, you know that the carrier has your package and that it has been scanned into the delivery network by a staff member employed by that carrier.
For all intents and purposes, the shipment journey has begun.
This can be especially reassuring for orders where you are unsure of the reliability of the seller. (Some of the larger china based eCommerce platforms are quite susceptible to scammers).
Once you have received the “Item Posted Over the Counter” alert, you know the sender has handed over the physical package to the carrier company.
While the contents could still not be up to the quality you might hope, at least you know that the seller has not disappeared with your money without sending an order to you.
What Happens After an “Item Posted Over the Counter” Alert?
Due to the fact the package is at the very beginning of the shipment journey, all logistical steps required to get the package to you, need to take place.
For a Yanwen parcel, (or any item shipped from China), this will involve a long transit time, (unless you have specifically opted for a premium expedited delivery).
Even leaving China can take a week or more.
All the same, transit to the export location (airport for air cargo, seaport for container ship), customs clearance, and then overseas transportation will all happen next.
Tracking Stuck on “Item Posted Over the Counter”
Bearing in mind everything mentioned above, you should not be surprised if your tracking doesn’t update very soon after this alert.
There are a number of reasons this might happen.
The first is that carriers such as Yanwen, are notoriously bad for sending out tracking updates.
Although the package is progressing through the delivery network, you might not receive an update every step of the way.
Furthermore, Yanwen does not tack items once they leave China.
If you are unlucky and do not receive an alert while the package is going through the export process.
It will leave China and you will not receive an update until it touches down on foreign shores, (an intermediate or the destination country, depending on the route taken).
This could easily amount to you waiting for several weeks before you receive an update beyond “Item Posted Over the Counter”.
In other words, for economy deliveries from China, patience is paramount. I would advise ignoring your tracking for at least a week or two after the shipment begins.
But the Tracking Really is Stuck!
Okay, if several weeks pass by and there is seemingly no progress I recommend two actionable steps.
Use a Universal Tracking App
These apps scan the databases of hundreds of carriers and if one has been dealing with your item, details will show up here.
Pay Attention to Your Buyer’s Guarantee
Also, be aware of when the order was first shipped, and ensure that your buyer’s grantee period does not run out.
If this is drawing to a close and the package hasn’t arrived, you can open a dispute with the platform to get your money back or have a replacement item sent.
Overall, the “Item Posted Over the Counter” alert is a good one to receive.
The sender has handed over the package to the carrier and the shipment will now begin making its way to you.
However, the fact it is likely being shipped from China and you are using a low-budget carrier such as Yanwen (or equivalent), you should expect a long wait before your package arrives.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂