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Does UPS Charge for Refused Delivery?

Does UPS charge for a refused delivery? We’ve all been there from time to time.

A package is due to arrive that we did not want, order, or need and we would like to refuse delivery.

With most carriers, including UPS you have every right to do this. But who pays the charges for the item being sent back?

Will it have the same tracking number and be returned using the same speed service? Who is ultimately responsible?

Let’s take a look…

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Does UPS Charge for Refused Delivery?

  • Return shipping of refused deliveries is billed to the UPS account holder (in most cases the shipper)
  • The cost of the returned shipment is the same as the service used to return the item.
    • Next Day Air and Second Day Air shipments are downgraded and returned via 3-Day Select.
    • 3-Day Select and Ground shipments will be returned using the same service they were originally shipped.
  • Larger account holders may be able to negotiate reduced price returns.
  • A recipient cannot refuse a delivery if they have opened the package

Refusing a UPS Delivery – All you need to know


Who is billed for a UPS Refused Package?

If a UPS package is refused delivery, it will be automatically returned to the shipper. UPS will not cover the return costs of the refused package.

The account holder responsible for ordering the shipment (generally the shipper) will be billed.

What Services will be used for the Return Shipment?

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The UPS service used for the return shipment of a refused delivery is dependent on the original order.

If Next Day Air and Second Day Air services were used for the shipment, the return will be downgraded to 3-Day Select. This will then be billed to the account holder that made the original order.

If, however, the outbound shipment was made using UPS 3-Day Select and Ground services, the return will use the same. In this case, the cost of return will be the same as the original shipment.

Refused UPS International Deliveries

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Refused UPS international deliveries can get expensive quickly for an account holder.

For example, you will be charged for the return costs. This will be charged at full retail rates with no downgrading or discounts.

You may also be charged for duties and taxes imposed by the country the package has been sent to. (If the delivery had been completed these are the costs normally paid by the recipient.)

Because of this, UPS gives account holders responsible for the cost of the return the opportunity to have the item abandoned.

Note: Taxes and duties could still be charged even in the case of abandonment.  

Large Account Holders & Negotiated Terms

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If you are a large account holder with UPS, (an eCommerce brand shipping large volumes for example), you may have the opportunity to negotiate better terms on returns. 

This is relatively rare, however, and you would need to be shipping a substantial amount of deliveries through UPS in order to qualify. This is also done on a case-by-case basis.

Will the shipment use the same tracking number?

Yes, the UPS tracking number used for the original shipment destination, will be used for the return too.

This means that the account holder (and anyone else with the tracking number details) will be able to keep updated with the progress of the return.

How to Refuse a Package Sent With UPS


So, as a recipient of an unwanted UPS package, you can refuse it. What exactly is the process?

UPS provides a number of options for refusing a package and having it sent back to the shipper.

Let’s take a look.

Refuse a UPS Delivery in Person

The most obvious method of refusing a UPS package delivery is to not accept the parcel when the driver attempts to drop it off.

This obviously requires you to be at the location of delivery. You can have an employee or another person refuse the package on your behalf, however.

Whoever it is that refuses the package, has to explicitly state to the driver that you are not accepting the package and that it should be returned to the sender.

The driver will then scan the package appropriately, designating it as a refused delivery.

The recipient does not have to sign any supporting documentation or receipts. UPS will deal with the shipper directly.

Delivered Packages & UPS Pick Up


If you were not in during the delivery of the package, or it was left on the property, you still have the opportunity to refuse it.


When a package has been opened it is an acknowledgment of your receipt. You will no longer be able to have it returned as a refused delivery.

Assuming you have not opened the package, you can call UPS at 1-800-PICK-UPS, (1-800-742-5877). Once connected, explain to the UPS representative that you are refusing delivery.

You can then schedule a time for pickup for the item to be returned to the sender. You also can drop off the package at your nearest UPS location. 

You have five business days to do this, as long as the package remains unopened.

Cancel the UPS package delivery online

UPS Delivery Notice UPS United States

If the package is not delivered because no one was at the location to receive it, the driver will leave a UPS InfoNotice.

This is to let you know about the attempted delivery and to provide the opportunity to manage what happens next.

A recipient can use the code provided with the InfoNotice to access the UPS website. In most cases, the recipient will want to arrange another delivery time.

However, where you wish to refuse delivery you can select it from the list of options available. It is under the term “Return to Sender”.

What Does Returned to Sender mean?

girl frustrated on computer

If you have selected “Return to Sender” from the InfoNotice tracking options, the package will now be designated as such.

There are three reasons for a return-to-sender notification:

  • The first is what we have explored in this article. The shipment delivery has been refused by the intended recipient.
  • Another reason is that the physical address could not be found by UPS. If this is the case, UPS will return to the sender and bill the account to do so.
  • Finally, a return-to-sender notification will occur if the driver has been unable to deliver the package after multiple delivery attempts.

Final Words

As you can see there are a number of options available for anyone wanting to refuse delivery of a UPS package.

Furthermore, if you did not make the original order with UPS, you will not be charged for the return fees.

If refusing the package and having it returned to the sender is your goal, just make sure you haven’t opened the package and that you initiate the refusal within 5 business days of the attempted delivery.

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