What are Delivery Exceptions and How Should You Deal with Them?

Timely delivery is one important aspect a potential customer considers when they shop online. This is why most of the eCommerce businesses who want to be in the good books of their customers and also earn their profit are eager to get their shipping right. But again no matter how much ever they are careful about making deliveries accurately, certain delivery exceptions occur when it comes to shipping. Delivery exceptions occur whenever a shipment encounters unexpected events which will cause fluctuations in the delivery time.

Getting a late delivery note, when expecting the package is quite frustrating. Moreover, to deal with such delivery exceptions, eCommerce businesses need to know the complete details regarding the same. Let’s get to know more in detail about delivery exceptions.

What is a Delivery Exception?

Whenever a shipment meets with unexpected occurrences or events that might completely change the delivery date, it is called a delivery exception. Most of the time, these are unintentional and even unpreventable causes which do ignite the frustrations of the customers. But again sometimes, some parcels do arrive on time even when some delivery exceptions occur during the transit. The exceptions are alerts that are sent to the customers notifying that the orders are met with some unexpected delays.

Types of Delivery Exceptions

There are several delivery exceptions and they differ even with the shipping carriers you choose to ship. Here are a few of them:

Incorrect shipping address and label damages

A shipping label is quite essential when it comes to shipping items, as it contains all the necessary details regarding the package which are affixed on the box, to ensure the packages are handled rightly as well as delivered correctly. When you are printing the incorrect address on the shipping label, the shipments get lost and can result in glitches in the delivery schedule. It is important to keep a double check on the addresses filled in the checkout page to ensure that the deliveries are done rightly. To make sure that the delivery address is entered correctly, you can also offer some help using some address validation plugin in your WooCommerce store, which will validate the address of the receiver promptly and save you from the incorrect shipping address problems. This way you can print the right shipping address on the label and facilitate quick and prompt delivery to your customers.

ELEX Address Validation & Google Address Autocomplete Plugin for WooCommerce | Address autocomplete using Google Address Autocomplete API


The holiday season can be quite hectic for couriers and several disruptions occur in their services due to unexpected and federal holidays. To ensure that the couriers are delivering the shipment correctly, make sure that you address the packages correctly, label them accurately, weigh them and pack them carefully in boxes while shipping and also schedule the right pick-up times.

Pickup and deliveries

Pickup and delivery issues are quite common when it comes to shipping. Pickup exceptions occur mostly when the recipient’s address is not found or the package for scheduled pickup is missing. In such cases wherein the package pickup is scheduled and is missed, then you can always reschedule the pickup by entering all the shipment information correctly. You can reschedule and resubmit the pickup request and then provide another date and time from the shipping carrier. Other cases wherein deliveries are delayed or hindered are because of the wrong addresses, harsh and unpredictable weather conditions, labels are inaccurate or damaged and also when the recipient is not available at the address locations to receive the same.

Loss and damage

Even though the shipping carrier takes care of the shipments being shipped with utmost safety, there are times when some unexpected accidents happen. Whenever such accidents occur, the shipping carrier prefers to keep the shipment on hold rather than proceeding with the delivery. And then the damaged products are returned to the initial dispatch center and then a note for damaged goods is sent to the recipient. To ensure no damages occur to the packages, you can always make sure you pack the items most safely. Like for example, if you are sending any medicines or items which are temperature sensitive, then you need to make use of dry ice for the same. Again when shipments are lost in transit, the shipment is not delivered and you receive a loss exception.

FedExDelivery Exceptions

According to FedEx, a delivery exception occurs when the shipment is temporarily delayed while it is in transit. Even if there is a delay in the delivery, every possible attempt is done to deliver the packages. They use the code “PMX”, which means that the delivery was failed and couldn’t be delivered and will be reattempted the next day.

USPS Delivery Exceptions

In the case of USPS also, exceptions occur due to weather conditions or incorrect addresses and even damaged packages. If your package is delayed, you will receive a delivery exception note.

UPS Delivery Exceptions

In the case of UPS exceptions they use codes like, “address unknown”, or “signature not received”, or like “damage to shipment” to indicate unforeseen occurrences that are causing the delay in the package delivery.

Reasons for Delivery Exceptions

If you are running an eCommerce business, then you must know what are the delivery exceptions that you are likely to encounter when dealing with shipping. Above we discussed the various types of exceptions that occur, now let us discover more about the reasons for which these exceptions occur while shipping.

Customs Delay

Most of the countries have their own customs duty and charges when it comes to shipping to cross-border regions. It is important to know all the charges that are levied as well as the details on what to be shipped and what not when it comes to shipping to certain regions. To keep it smooth and simple, you should be aware of the reasons that might cause the shipment to be stuck at the customs. Once you know the right reason or a probable reason that might cause a longer delay for your orders to reach your recipient, you can work on it. Make sure that when you are into international shipping, you are attaching all the necessary documents as well as following all rules of shipping the items.

Harsh weather conditions

Adverse weather conditions could cause unexpected delays in the shipping process. Weather conditions like tornados, floods and even wildfire can make the delivery routes impassable causing significant delays. When these unpredictable instances occur, the shipping companies need to issue exception notes upon delay in deliveries.

Federal holiday

If your delivery falls on a public holiday, then there are chances for the order to be delayed. It is mostly because the couriers may not be functioning on holidays.

Damaged and Missing labels

One reason which causes the shipment to be delayed is when the label is damaged or missing. In such cases, the courier cannot find the address to be delivered and also a barcode to scan and obtain the details.

No one to receive the package

Some couriers insist on a signature approval once these couriers are delivered. Hence, in such cases, when there is no one to receive the package, then the shipment is returned to the courier office after attempting one more delivery the next day. If the customer is expecting the delivery on a date, when they are not available, then they can opt for pickup options, which are widely available with all couriers.

How to handle a Delivery exception

Delivery exceptions occur, which are often unavoidable. All you need to do is know how to deal with them. Here are a few methods to deal with it efficiently.

Contact the Carrier Immediately 

First and the foremost option that works in the case of exception handling is contacting the shipping carrier immediately. Once you contact them, ask them where your package is and then why the package is stuck and what can be done to solve the same. It would be easy if the customer has to track information on the package. There are several ways to ensure that you are providing your customers with the tracking information while shipping through popular carriers in the store itself.

Contact the Customer

Certain cases, the packages are encountering such delivery issues due to the unavailability of the customer or wrong address information etc. To avoid such errors, it is ideal to make use of an Address Validation plugin, so that in the first place, errors are not occurring and it helps to validate any addresses entered. If your customers are not available at the address, then it is always better to make a call to the customer to ensure that they are available to collect the package. 

ELEX Address Validation & Google Address Autocomplete Plugin for WooCommerce | Get the Validated Address Confirmed from Customers

Refund or Resend the packages

If you are unable to deliver the packages after one or two attempts, then you can initiate a refund for the same. Even when damages happen, refunds do make a great deal, to amend the relationship with the customers. It is better to insure the shipments when you are shipping your packages to your customers. You can either go for the insurance options by the shipping carrier, if they provide it, or even approach an external third party for the shipping insurance. 

How can you make use of an excellent shipping plugin for your WooCommerce store to avoid and handle such exceptions?

Making use of a plugin which is compatible and also efficient enough to keep track of all the information that is required for a customer and the store manager while shipping is quite inevitable. With the right shipping plugin, you can ensure that:

  • Your customer is provided with the right tracking information.
    UPS TRacking number
  • You can manage pickup and even drop off of packages accurately.
  • Also, you can provide an estimated delivery date to your customers, which gives them a definite date until which they need to wait and if there are any delays, the customer can easily check back without much lag.
    ELEX Stamps.com Shipping Plugin with USPS Postage for WooCommerce | Live Shipping Rate & Estimated Delivery Date
  • All the customs duties and charges when it comes to international shipping can be collected right away by implementing DDP, DDU etc., on the shipments.
  • Email notifications can be sent to the customers to help them track the packages.
  • Email the shipping labels to the customers, so that even when the labels are torn or damaged, you will be able to track the package details. 
  • Avail insurance on packages from popular shipping carriers.

Get your shipments to move swiftly by avoiding Delivery Exceptions

Though certain shipping delivery exceptions are bound to occur despite all the necessary measures taken like the weather conditions and floods etc., there are possibilities to avoid the rest. The eCommerce industry is bound to take such preventive measures to ensure that no errors are occurred and also to handle them efficiently. 

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