Do you see a message on your USPS tracking page that says ‘delivered to agent for final delivery’, and are wondering what it means?
This can be concerning, especially if you didn’t actually receive the package, and you aren’t sure why.
In this article, I’ll be covering what exactly this message means, who currently has your package, and what to do if you don’t end up receiving it – along with other common questions as well.
That way, you can be sure that you’re able to receive your package safely, and prevent this from happening again in the future if you wish to do so.
What Does ‘Delivered To Agent For Final Delivery’ Mean On USPS?
If USPS tracking states that your package has been ‘delivered to agent for final delivery’, this means that they have delivered it to an individual, who is now responsible or actually delivering it to you.
Common examples include an apartment or university mailroom, who will actually sort and deliver mail to the tenants themselves.
This may occur when it is impractical or impossible for USPS to actually deliver the package directly to you, or if you aren’t home to actually receive the package.
While USPS uses their best judgement and won’t leave the package with just anyone, it can be difficult to find out who actually has your package in some cases.
So, let’s look over in more detail who USPS actually considers to be a qualified ‘agent’, and who they may have delivered your package to.
Who Is Considered An ‘Agent’ By USPS?
Technically, USPS considers anyone over the age of 12 who is able to make the final delivery to you.
Most commonly, this is someone who lives at or works at the establishment where the package is being dropped off.
Some examples of agents that USPS may have delivered to include:
- A front desk clerk.
- A university mail room.
- An apartment complex mail room.
- Another employee (when delivering to a business.)
- Anyone that you’ve authorized to receive mail on your behalf.
- A package forwarding service.
There are two important things to be aware of, however.
First of all, USPS will not hand over your package to anyone that’s available – it needs to be someone authorized to receive your mail. So, you don’t need to worry about it being handed off to potential thieves, or even your neighbors. If they aren’t someone that’s typically allowed to handle your mail, they will not receive it.
Secondly, ‘delivered to agent for final delivery’ isn’t typically used for other members of your household, such as other family members. When this message is used, the package is typically at a different location – like a mailroom, for example.
The only exception to this is packages that are delivered to certain business addresses.
Note: Although the person must be able to accept your mail, they do not need to be pre-authorized by you. For better or worse, USPS can deliver to agents without checking with you first.
Why Else Would USPS List ‘Delivered To Agent For Final Delivery’ On The Tracking?
In addition to actually handing off the package to another person, there are two other instances where USPS may mark ‘delivered to agent for final delivery’ on the tracking.
Because it’s possible one of these may apply to you, I wanted to share them with you.
The first (and perhaps surprising) fact is that your package was never actually delivered.
According to several USPS employees, management gets on the driver’s case if they return back with unhandled or undelivered mail.
So, the default code that they use to avoid hassle is that the package was delivered to an agent. However, the actual ‘agent’ the driver delivered to is themselves.
Yes, you read that right. The USPS driver states that they delivered it to… themselves. That way, they do not get a negative mark for not delivering the package, and they can put it back on their truck for delivery the following day.
So, it’s possible the package may actually arrive straight to your door from USPS the following business day.
The second reason that ‘delivered to agent for final delivery’ may mistakenly end up on your tracking, is if the postal carrier accidentally typed the wrong code while handling your shipment.
According to USPS, the keys on the scanners that they use are very close together, so it is easy to mistype things by mistake.
When Will Packages Delivered To An Agent Actually Arrive?
Regardless of who the package was delivered to or why the ‘delivered to agent’ message was used, the important question is this – when will your package actually arrive?
Ultimately, this is completely dependent on the agent that received your package.
When a package is delivered to the agent, USPS considers their obligation to be over. It is now up to the agent to actually deliver the package to you.
Since they are no longer able to track it or handle it in any way, the exact timeline depends on the agent in possession of the package.
In most situations, mailrooms and front desk clerks for example are able to deliver packages to you the same day, or within 1 business day at the latest.
However, if your package was delivered to a package forwarder, it can take several weeks for the package to arrive. In this situation, this is something that would’ve been done on purpose, so you should already be aware of this applies to you.
Of course, if this is the first time one of your packages has been delivered to an agent for final delivery, you may wish to preemptively check with the person who may have received it, and retrieve your package yourself.
What To Do If You Didn’t Receive The Package
If your package was delivered to an agent but you haven’t actually received it, don’t panic!
Very rarely are packages actually lost, and chances are it’s completely safe wherever it’s at.
However, you may consider trying out the following to ensure that you’re able to get your package as quickly as possible – or receive a reimbursement if the package truly is lost.
Additionally, I will share some tips to avoid having your package delivered to an agent in the future, if you wish to prevent this from happening again.
1. Check With Those Who May Have Received It
The first thing to do if you see that your package has been delivered to an agent, is to check with the people who may have received it.
Unfortunately, USPS does not check the identities of the people they hand the package off to, and this information will not be available on the tracking page. So, you may have a hard time figuring out who exactly they delivered the package to, especially if this is the first time one of your packages has been handed to an agent for final delivery.
Therefore, you should refer to the list mentioned earlier as a good place to start.
If your address has a mailroom or parcel lockers, this is the first place I’d recommend checking – most commonly, this is where it’s at.
Alternatively, you may wish to try out some of the other tips instead.
2. Wait 1 Additional Business Day
Most packages that are delivered to an agent arrive within 1 business day.
This is because the agent that the package was delivered to actually has to perform the final delivery, which takes time. In the case of mail rooms, they may be handling delivery for a large number of tenants at once, which is what can cause the delay.
So, 1 business day is ample time for them to actually hand the package off to you.
Additionally, USPS sometimes marks ‘delivered to agent for final delivery’ when they actually still have possession of the package.
When this happens, they will reattempt delivery the following day – so if they did have it, it will arrive the next business day.
Therefore, waiting 1 business day (or 2 if you’re patient) is usually enough for the package to get delivered without any extra steps needing to be done.
3. Contact Your Local Post Office
If it’s been several days and the package still hasn’t arrived – or you have absolutely no idea who it may have been delivered to, it may be a good idea to get in touch with your local post office.
USPS has GPS scanners that can pinpoint the exact location where the scan occurred, and where they claim the package was delivered.
So, they should be able to locate the exact place the package was dropped off, and work with you to ensure that you receive it.
In the event that the package was misdelivered, they can also arrange to have it picked back up and redelivered to the correct address.
Note that if your city has multiple post offices branches, the one that’s likely responsible for your delivery is the one located in the same zip code as the delivery address.
So, this will be the post office you’ll want to reach out to!
4. Contact Someone At USPS
If your local post office claims that they can’t help you or you need to escalate things further, you may consider contacting USPS directly.
When you do, explain the situation, and ensure that you have the tracking number on hand so they can look up your shipment in their system.
This can admittedly be a bit of a hassle, but it will ensure that the problem gets looked into and treated seriously.
5. Consider Signing Up For USPS Informed Delivery
Finally, consider signing up for USPS’ informed delivery service.
While this unfortunately won’t be able to help you right now, it will ensure that you have full control over your package deliveries in the future.
USPS Informed Delivery is a free service, similar to UPS My Choice or Fedex Delivery Manager.
Essentially, it allows you to do things such as:
- Choose where exactly you want the package to be delivered.
- Reschedule delivery for another day.
- Receive notifications for tracking updates.
- Leave instructions for the mail carrier
- And much more!
If you receive a lot of packages from USPS, it’s certainly worth signing up for – and can help prevent packages from being delivered to an agent in the future, when possible.
Will I Be Reimbursed If I’m Unable To Retrieve The Package?
Let’s say that your package was delivered to an agent. After several days, the package did not arrive, and nobody that you talked to was able to locate it.
What now? Will you be reimbursed for the lost or stolen package?
Unfortunately, the answer is ‘it depends.’
If the package was insured, you may be able to file a claim to be reimbursed for the package’s value.
When USPS hands off the package to an agent, from their point of view the job has been successfully completed. It doesn’t make much difference whether it was handed to you, or an authorized agent.
So, this essentially the same as requesting reimbursement for packages that were stolen, or lost after delivery.
As mentioned earlier, it would be best to contact your local post office first, so they can look up all relevant information about the package’s delivery. You will also be able to work with them directly to find out what options are available to you.
Additionally, it may be a good idea to contact the person or company that shipped the package to you.
Some merchants will offer refunds for packages that are missing, even if tracking shows them as delivered.
USPS uses the ‘delivered to agent for final delivery’ message when the package has been delivered to a third-party, who is authorized to receive mail on your behalf.
Most commonly, this is a mailroom, front desk clerk, or parcel locker.
Most packages that have been delivered to an agent are actually delivered to your door within 1-2 business days. So, be patient, and follow the tips above if your package does not arrive.
I hope that this article has answered all of your questions, and that your package will arrive soon.
If you have any other questions about USPS, please ask them using the comment form below and I’ll be happy to respond.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister