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UPS Sortation Delay – A Complete Guide

You’re expecting a delivery from UPS and have received a “UPS Sortation Delay” tracking update.

What does this mean exactly? How long will your package be delayed and is there anything you need to do?

Let’s take a look…

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Summary: UPS Sortation Delay

There are a number of UPS Sortation Delay tracking alerts, however, they all amount to the same thing. Namely that an issue has occurred during the sortation stage of the shipment and that delivery may be delayed. For example, issues include technical problems within the UPS sorting facility, and a package being sorted and distributed to the wrong location in error.

UPS Sortation Delay – Guide

A UPS Sortation Delay alert can be frustrating to receive.

As with any update that includes the word “delay”, it essentially means that the package will not be delivered according to the original schedule.

For time-sensitive items, this can obviously be a major problem. 

As explained in the summary above, a UPS Sortation Delay can actually come in more than one form.

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The most common example is that there was an error in the sortation process and that the shipment was dispatched to the wrong destination.

The status alert that corresponds to this is: “We’ve incorrectly sorted this package which may cause a delay”. Essentially, the details are in the update.

UPS has incorrectly sorted the item within one of its facilities and it is likely that the item was dispatched onto the wrong truck for the next step of its journey.

The best case scenario here is that the error was discovered within good time and the delay will be minimal.

(The package will have to be rerouted to the correct location, the distances involved will be case specific.)

For example, if the shipment was sorted in error to the wrong facility, the delay will normally be no more than a day. It is a really simple situation to rectify.

However, if the shipment was sorted onto the wrong airplane and ended up in completely the wrong country… well you can see how the delay may amount to several days in this case.

The “We’re sorry this package has experienced a sortation delay” Alert

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A less specific update (and more irritating because of its vagueness), is “We’re sorry this package has experienced a sortation delay”.

This is more of a catch-all UPS Sortation Delay alert that can be triggered if technical issues have occurred in the sorting facility, or even if there is a backlog in the number of packages that have to be sorted.

Dual shipments or damaged packages undergoing sortation may also trigger the alert.

In these cases, it can more difficult to know how long the delay will be and if there is anything you can do. 

The section below will cover what you should do if you have received an update of this nature.

What to do when you receive a UPS Sortation Delay alert?

UPS Sortation Delay

In most cases, the UPS Sortation Delay status alert will be accompanied by confirmation that the “package has been rerouted to the correct destination”.

In other words, UPS is aware of the issue and has made steps to rectify it.

While they may not provide additional information on how long the delay will actually be, or where your package is… you at least know that it is moving in the right direction.

However, what do you do if no such confirmation is given?

Unfortunately, UPS will not always state that rerouting has taken place, even when it has.

This means that you will not actually know if your package is back on track until it reaches a new point of scan, (normally a facility), where a fresh alert will be created.

All the same, the fact a UPS Sortation Delay message has been sent, does mean that UPS is aware of the problem.

The recommended course of action in this scenario is to wait 1 or 2 business days for a fresh scan.

If nothing arrives in that time, you will need to contact UPS customer services with details of the problem.

Where is your package when you receive the UPS Sortation Delay Alert?

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As you may have gathered through this article so far, it can be difficult to ascertain the precise location of the shipment after a UPS Sortation Delay update has been triggered. 

Sometimes, it feels as if UPS does not even know itself.

Essentially, if the item is in transit it will need to reach the next hub or facility within the delivery network before it can be rerouted toward the correct destination.

At this point, a scan will be taken and a new update created, which should shed more light on where your package is and how far from delivery it now is.

Final Words

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There is no getting away from the fact that a UPS Sortation Delay update is annoying.

At the very least, the shipment will be delayed for a day or two as it is rerouted toward the correct location.

However, in cases where the update is less specific or there is a potential that the shipment was loaded onto the wrong plane, the delay can be far greater.

Either way, if no new updates are provided that show the shipment is back on track, I recommend that you contact UPS within 2 or 3 days of receiving the update.

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