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FedEx “Shipment Exception Cannot Locate Recipient”: What to Do!

What does “Shipment Exception Cannot Locate Recipient” mean when you receive the update from FedEx?

As with all carriers, the various alerts you can get after checking the tracking number can be confusing.

However, there are a number of “Shipment Exception” notifications from FedEx.

First, we’ll look at what FedEx states as “shipment exceptions”, and then we’ll take a look at the “Cannot Locate Recipient” alert.

What is FedEx Shipment Exceptions?

FedEx states on its website that “exception means that an unexpected event is preventing delivery of your package.

A typically vague explanation, I am sure you will agree. A few examples are included:

  1. Delays due to customs
  2. Holidays
  3. An unavailable recipient
  4. Missing documentation

Clearly “cannot locate recipient” falls into number 3.

Essentially, shipment exception is an umbrella term used to communicate the fact the delivery of a package has been held up by an unexpected reason.

Why FedEx “Cannot locate recipient”?


It is important not to confuse this alert with a situation where an attempted delivery was made and the recipient was not there.

This is different. Very often it could be that the recipient’s address is not recognized. This will trigger a “cannot locate recipient” update.

This of course can be frustrating if you are certain the address details are correct, or it is an address that has been shipped to previously with no problems at all.

If this is the case, there is an argument that other reasons are preventing the recipient from being located.

Looking at instances where this has happened to others online, there are a number of different explanations being cited. These include:

  • Address missing the apartment number
  • The package has been lost and FedEx are trying to locate it
  • Not enough packages in the area to justify delivering
  • Unreliable FedEx driver delaying the delivery

It is important to note that customers stating these reasons offer them with little evidence. This is the problem with the lack of transparency with carriers such as FedEx.

A lot of the tracking number updates fail to get to the specifics of a given situation.

All the same, the important issue here is that the package is delayed and is having problems reaching the recipient. What exactly can you do about it?

FedEx Shipment Exception Cannot Locate Recipient: What to Do?

fedex Call center

There are a few steps you can take if you receive the FedEx Shipment Exception Cannot Locate Recipient tracking update.

Call customer services

The first is to call customer services. An agent will look into the issue more closely and should be able to provide more information.

If it is a simple problem of missing address details you will be able to provide the details and the package will be processed for delivery.

Arrange delivery to an alternative address

Another option if FedEx is having difficulty finding the location of the recipient is to arrange for the package to be delivered to an alternative address.

This could be a FedEx pickup point such as Walgreens, or one of the other retailers that FedEx now has a relationship with.

Pick up the package in person

Another solution is to arrange for the recipient (or yourself) to pick up the package at its current location.

Very often the package has made it to the local FedEx facility and it is just final delivery that is causing the “exception”.

Calling ahead to organize local pickup will circumvent the issue of the delivery failure.

This may annoy a customer however if you have shipped a product in a B2C (business to customer) manner.

Final Words

Ultimately FedEx Shipment Exception Cannot Locate Recipient, which means that the delivery location of the package could not be found.

Sometimes this is an address details error, other times it is a logistical error by FedEx.

The important first step is to FedEx customer services. With more specific information you can then act accordingly.

In most cases, it is just a short delay and an attempt at redelivery or pick-up can be organized with ease.

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