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USPS “Processing Exception Other Delay” – Meaning

You’re expecting a delivery from USPS and have received a “Processing Exception Other Delay” tracking update.

What does this mean exactly? Is your mail item delayed and is there anything you need to do?

Let’s take a look…

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Summary: Processing Exception Other Delay

The “Processing Exception Other Delay” status update from USPS is triggered when an issue has occurred during the automatic processing (i.e sorting and dispatch) of a mail item. This can be caused by a number of reasons, including packaging and label issues, technical problems inside the facility, or a mis-sort. As a result, the mail item requires manual processing instead of normal, automatic delivery processing and this may cause a delay.

Processing Exception Other Delay – Guide

Note the last line of the summary above, “… this may cause a delay”. It is important to realize that USPS is warning the sender and recipient that the mail item “could” be delayed as a result of the processing exception. 

Similar to a FedEx Operational Delay, USPS will attempt to mitigate the delay and have the mail item physically managed and sent on its way as quickly as possible, (in theory at least).

What Kind of Delay is it?

Unfortunately, USPS is being annoyingly vague with the “Processing Exception Other Delay” tracking update. As with a number of alerts of this nature, it is used as a bit of a “catch-all” umbrella term.

As explained, fundamentally it means that your mail item requires manual processing (i.e physically managed by a USPS staff member) rather than automatic delivery processing.

This of course slows down the normal progress of the mail item as it joins a queue of other items waiting to be physically checked, sorted, and dispatched.

However, what has caused the need for your mail to be physically managed by a human, is not specifically disclosed.

Here are a few potential reasons:

  • Label or packaging damage requiring human intervention
  • Technical issues during sorting requiring human intervention
  • Mail item mis-scanned or sorted/dispatched incorrectly (requiring… you get the picture)
  • Package contents need to be checked

Essentially, if an issue has occurred during normal mail processing and human intervention is required, you may end up seeing the “Processing Exception Other Delay” tracking update.

“Processing Exception Other Delay” – Is There Anything You Can do?

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Due to the fact this alert is triggered after USPS has encountered a problem with its own processing infrastructure, there is actually very little you can do when you receive this update.

The onus is on USPS to rectify the situation so that the mail item can continue its transit journey.

That being said, both parties (i.e sender and recipient) should keep a close eye on the USPS tracking page for any further updates.

In cases where there has been package damage, incorrect address details used, or restricted contents, USPS will either contact the sender with specific details or send an alert with information on the required steps.

To ensure that the situation is solved, the relevant party should act quickly to any such notification/s.

Tracking Stuck on “Processing Exception Other Delay”

If your tracking is stuck on this update with no follow-up alert you should contact USPS here. If the mail item is an international delivery you should head here.

You can also contact your local post office if the item has reached that stage of its journey. You should be able to discern the approximate location of the mail item by looking at the update that preceded the “Processing Exception Other Delay” alert.

Final Words

Overall, the “Processing Exception Other Delay” tracking update is used by USPS to inform you that the mail item will potentially be delayed to due a processing problem, (exception).

In most cases, human intervention is required on the part of USPS staff in order to get the mail back underway. If the tracking becomes stuck for more than 2-3 business days, you should contact USPS to find out more.

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