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USPS Package Went Back to Distribution Center – What’s Happening?

You’re expecting a package delivery and your tracking shows that the USPS Package went back to the distribution center.

Has something gone wrong with the delivery? Has USPS made a mistake?

Let’s take a look…

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Summary: USPS Package Went Back to Distribution Center

If your USPS tracking is showing that the package has gone back to the distribution center it is either through a miss-scan or a sorting error. Either way, your package will likely be delayed as it is routed back toward the destination address.

USPS Package Went Back to Distribution Center – Guide

As the summary states, there are two main scenarios that lead to your package showing as arriving back at the distribution center.

1. Package Scan Error

Your package never made it onto the truck

If a package is inside the distribution center and is scanned as being dispatched onto departed even though it didn’t make it onto the truck toward the local destination facility, you’ll have an error in your tracking.

The truck will arrive at the local facility and your package will receive an update to that effect, even though it has been inside the distribution center the whole time.

The package will then be rescanned as arrival at the distribution center (so it can be sorted onto another truck), making it seem as if it has arrived at the center twice.

2. Package Sorting Error

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Your package was mistakenly sorted back to the distribution center

Then there is the possibility of a sorting error.

In this situation, your package did indeed make it to the local USPS facility only to be sorted incorrectly and sent straight back to the main distribution center.

Similar to the miss-scan scenario, the item will have to be sorted through the center and dispatched onto another truck for transit to the local facility.

The result in both cases is generally a delay in receiving your package.

What to do if your Package is Back in the Distribution Center?

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Whether it has been returned to the USPS distribution center in error, or never even left, there is actually not much you can do if you receive tracking updates of this nature.

Your package will automatically flow through the distribution center once more, and be dispatched in the direction of the recipient’s address.

If yours is an expedited service with a guaranteed delivery date that will now be missed, you can clearly contact USPS to complain and claim your refund.

Otherwise, it will be yet another error on the part of USPS that causes the average customer to be rather exasperated by the level of service it offers.

Final Words


Whatever the reason behind your USPS package tracking showing a return to the distribution facility, you will understandably be frustrated.

No one wants to see their delivery going backward.

Either way, USPS will know about the anomaly (in terms of the tracking database at least), and the mail item should be on its way to the local facility very soon.

If this doesn’t seem to be happening, you will need to contact USPS to find out more.

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