Purpose: learn why outbound shipments might be returned to sender and how to prevent this.
Why are my outbound shipments returned to sender?
There could be various reasons why shipments get returned. We've listed the most common reasons:
- Incorrect address
- Wrong packaging
- Unreadable label - printer related or damaged
- Incomplete/incorrect custom documents
- Address not accessible - roadworks or weather conditions
- Failed to deliver after X attempts
- The shipment wasn't picked up at the parcel shop in time
In some cases it might be an unjust return. If you think this applies to your shipment, we kindly ask you to create a support ticket via the Support section in your account. Go to Support > Submit a request for a parcel > Unjust return.
How can I prevent my outbound shipments from being returned?
|How to prevent
|Unfortunately, this is mainly in the hands of your customers. However, there are ways to use address validation in your checkout. Click here to learn more.
If you're not sure about your packaging, always reach out to the carrier to have them check it. Carriers might approve different kinds of packaging. Some overall advise:
Also beware that wrong packaging can lead to surcharges. For more information on surcharges, please visit our Carriers page.
|Unreadable label - printer related or damaged
If the label gets damaged during the parcel journey, there's not much you can do. However, when it comes to printer quality, you can. If you notice that the quality of your label is not optimal (e.g. not dark enough, incorrect size etc.), click here.
Make sure to place the shipping label on the largest side of the package, ideally on the top. This is especially important if there is a “This Way Up” label on the package. The label should be the correct size so it fits entirely on the side where it’s placed. Ensure it is not folded over any edges; important information might not be seen or be able to be scanned.
|Incomplete/incorrect custom documents
|If you're new to international shipping, please read this article first, to make sure you know how to fill out the customs documents. When shipping internationally make sure that your EORI number and VAT number are added at your invoice address. If you're shipping to Great Britain, also make sure to add your GB EORI number and GB VAT number. Read more on shipping to GB here. Keep in mind that you need to print/attach the customs documents (at least) three times. For UPS we advise to print everything five times.
|Address not accessible - roadworks or weather condition
|If your customer informs you of construction work before you've created the label, you can change the shipping method from a home delivery to a parcel shop delivery method. Other than that, the scenario is mainly out of your control. The same goes for weather conditions like snow storms. If this is known (or predicted) in advance, you or your customer can decide to use a parcel shop method instead.
Failed to deliver after X attempts
If you notice that the parcel can't be delivered, because the address is wrong - create a ticket for Address change. Keep in mind: not all carriers/shipping methods allow address changes. If your customer isn't at home at the time of delivery, you can reach out to them and explain that the parcel will be returned if it can't be delivered. This is not in your hands but in the hands of your customer.
You could look into our Dynamic Checkout Feature. This is currently available for WooCommerce and Magento. It helps your customer pick a day/time of their preference. Therefore increasing the change of them being home at the time of delivery.
The shipment wasn't picked up at the parcel shop in time
|This is the responsibility of your customer. You could add something to your Ready for pick-up tracking email about the costs if the parcel gets returned and a new one needs to be sent. Of course this is completely up to you and you decide if you want to charge your customer extra or not.
For any specific questions not answered in this article, please reach out to our Support Team via the Support section in you Sendcloud account.