Do you have a package that currently says, ‘Pre-Shipment – Shipping Label Created, USPS Awaiting Item’?

While this is the first step that many packages go through, USPS tracking can unfortunately get stuck on this for lengthy periods of time.

So what does it mean, and how can it be fixed?

In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know!

Pre-Shipment: Shipping Label Created, USPS Awaiting Item – What Does It Mean?

If USPS tracking shows an item in pre-shipment, this means that a shipping label has been created for the package, but the package has not yet been delivered to USPS.

In other words, the seller has demonstrated an intention to ship the item, but hasn’t actually taken it to the post office yet to be shipped.

Sellers can purchase shipping labels directly from their base of operations, which registers the shipment with USPS. It’s at this point where the item will automatically update as shipped on most websites, including Amazon, Etsy and eBay.

However, there can be some delay in between the time when a shipping label is purchased by the company, and when they actually take that package to their local post office / USPS comes to pick it up.

Once a package has been received by USPS, they will scan it into their system. At this point, your tracking should update, and the pre-shipment message should go away.

Other Causes For Packages Being Stuck In Pre-Shipment

USPS Vehicles

In addition to the package not being handed off to USPS up yet, there are occasionally other issues that may cause packages to be stuck on pre-shipment. Most often, these only last for a few days, however in some instances USPS tracking can show Pre-Shipment for a week or more.

The Package Wasn’t Scanned Properly

When packages arrive to USPS with shipping labels pre-purchased, each item is supposed to get an arrival scan to show that it’s been received.

Unfortunately, in rare circumstances, this scan doesn’t occur. This seems to be more common during peak shipping seasons, or if the shipping label wasn’t put on properly, or is otherwise arranged to make scanning difficult.

In order to make scanning packages easier, sellers should ensure that labels are placed flat on the package and do not go around the sides or corners of boxes. The label should be fully legible and without smudges.

It’s A Peak Season For Shipments

As the postal system experiences surges in packages being shipped, it is more prone to making errors. Additionally, there may be significant delays in shipping times.

Some of these include failing to make as many scans as they normally would, which results in less updates when you go track your package.

Holiday shopping begins to experience a surge as early as November, and only accelerates towards Christmas.

Additionally, holidays such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Easter can also cause temporary surges in the number of packages being sent.

If you’re ordering around one of these peak shopping times, it’s possible that your package actually has received by the post office, it just hasn’t been scanned in yet.

The Item Is Lost

In extremely rare cases, it’s possible that the item has been completely lost – either by the seller, or by the post office before it was ever scanned into their system.

I want to reiterate that this is rarely the case. The United States Postal System is extremely ruthless in ensuring packages arrive where they’re supposed to go, and it’s extremely rare that packages are outright lost completely.

However, if you believe your item has been lost (such as if it’s been stuck on pre-shipment for 5 days or longer), you should contact the person or company that is sending you the package for more information.

What Should You Do If A Package Is Stuck On Pre-Shipment?

If a package is stuck on pre-shipment, the best thing you can do would be to contact the person or company that you’re expecting the package from.

Unfortunately, contacting USPS won’t be very helpful, as they haven’t received the package yet. There is likely nothing they can do, as in most cases they have never even touched the item.

The seller is responsible for making sure that the product arrives safely to your doorstep. Even if the seller claims that they have dropped off the package with USPS, they should be considered responsible for ensuring that it arrives. So if there truly is a problem with USPS, they should be the ones that have to get it sorted out.

In the rare event that a packageĀ hasĀ been dropped off and simply hasn’t been scanned yet, these issues usually resolve themselves within a few days, when the product is next scanned – either at the seller’s local post office, or at the next USPS hub it arrives at.

So, have some patience as well before doing anything rash, accusing sellers of lying, etc. Mistakes do happen – both with sellers, and with post office employees.


It can be very frustrating when a package is stuck on pre-shipment.

Although we expect the shipping process to go smoothly, there are times when it doesn’t.

While most of the time pre-shipment simply means that the seller hasn’t actually given USPS the item yet, in other cases it could be caused by human error. In these instances, the matter usually resolves itself within a few days.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about shipping with USPS, please ask them using the comment form below.

Thank you for reading,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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