How to Send Back FedEx Packages

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Whether you've changed your mind about something you bought for your company or ended up with a defective product, you may need to send back FedEx packages occasionally. Your options will depend on how the retailer handles returns and whether you've received the item yet.

If you act fast enough, you can sometimes refuse the shipment so that FedEx mails it back to the sender for you. Once you've received the item, you can often obtain a FedEx return label online and either drop the package off or ask FedEx to pick it up.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Check the retailer's return policies to learn about options for returning packages sent through FedEx. You might print a return label and mail the package back yourself, or you might have the option to return the item directly to the store.

Refusing a FedEx Delivery

If you're still waiting on the package and can plan ahead to be available when FedEx tries to deliver it, you can possibly refuse the delivery and avoid needing to go through the returns process.

The method will depend on whether the package requires a signature. If it does, simply don't sign for it and tell the delivery person you want to refuse the shipment. If nobody's available, you can expect FedEx to consider the package as refused if nobody signs for it after three delivery attempts.

If your package is still in transit, you can try calling 1-800-Go-FedEx to tell a representative you want to refuse the package beforehand. When calling beforehand isn't possible, you can try to catch the driver when they come to drop off the package.

Obtaining a FedEx Return Label

When you need to return a FedEx package, the seller will often provide you with a FedEx return label to use. This label may be free or require a deduction of the shipping cost from your refund.

Your package might actually have a FedEx prepaid shipping label inside the box. First check for a prepaid return label either included as part of the invoice or placed separately in the box. If you find one, you'll be able to simply stick that label on the shipping box without printing anything.

In other cases, you may find the option to print FedEx return labels through the orders or returns section of the seller's website or need to call the company to request a label to be emailed to you. First, check your seller's return policies page on their website since this will tell you what steps you need to take to request a return for the order and print a shipping label. That page will also let you know any number you need to call or address you need to email to request a return and have the label sent to you.

Purchasing Your Own FedEx Postage

If the seller doesn't supply you with a FedEx return label, you can purchase one yourself through the FedEx website or a physical mailing location.

To buy a FedEx label through FedEx.com, you'll need to sign up for a FedEx Ship Manager account, submit some personal information and add a valid payment method. You can then log in to the Ship Manager to enter the sender and recipient information, compare available FedEx shipping options, make the payment and print your label from your computer or mobile device.

If you don't want to create an account online or have no printer, you can visit a FedEx Office, FedEx Ship Center or other authorized shipping center to buy postage and mail the package. Some locations will also handle the repackaging for you and provide any necessary shipping materials you need. Be sure to ask for a receipt so you can prove you shipped the return and track your package online.

Preparing Your FedEx Return

After you've obtained your FedEx shipping label, you can begin gathering everything for the return and packing the shipment.

First, check with the seller about their requirements for returns. You often need to include the item in its original packaging and with every part and accessory included. You'll usually need to include the original invoice or print one from the retailer's website. You might also need to fill out a return form explaining why you want to return the item.

Next, carefully repackage everything in a sturdy box, preferably the original shipping box. You can use bubble wrap or other fillers to keep your item safe in transit. You can then tape the box closed and attach your FedEx shipping label.

Shipping FedEx Returns in Person

Depending on the size of your package, you have several options for dropping it off at FedEx return locations. To find the nearest FedEx locations, visit the company's website and access the "Locations" menu to see the option for finding a location. The FedEx website should automatically detect your location and show a list of options with their addresses, hours and any restrictions on what you can ship.

You should see some FedEx drop box locations outside local businesses, and you can simply drop off smaller packages at your convenience. When you have a larger package or want a receipt proving you sent out the package, you can visit a FedEx Office, ShipSite or OnSite location like Walgreens to leave the item with a representative. Do check beforehand since some OnSite locations have maximum package weights and sizes.

Scheduling FedEx Package Pickups

If you have returns that are bulky or otherwise inconvenient to drop off, you can have FedEx come pick them up for you at your business. This often comes with a fee, but there is an exception. When you have a prepaid FedEx Ground return label, you can use FedEx's special pickup page to schedule a free pickup. This won't work for FedEx Express packages though.

To request a pickup at a fee, you can go into FedEx Ship Manager and visit the "Schedule & Manage Pickups" page. You'll enter information about your shipment, specify a pickup location and get charged the pickup fee. You can cancel the pickup or modify it if needed.

You can also call in to request a FedEx pickup. You'll dial 1-800-Go-FedEx and mention that you need a pickup when the system prompts you. Be prepared to pay with a credit card and have your tracking number handy. You should get a confirmation number once the pickup has been set.

Considering Alternative Package Return Options

If you need to return a package you already received, you can also check with the sender about alternative return options that don't involve using FedEx and may help you lower or avoid postal costs.

Many online stores with a physical presence will allow you to simply return the package's contents in person. For example, Walmart uses FedEx for many shipments and allows you to simply take the item and your packing slip to the customer service desk for a refund. Apple allows you to return items received through FedEx and other carriers to your nearest Apple Store where an employee can look up your order online and process the return immediately.

If you need to mail a return back but find that using FedEx will cost too much, check if the seller will let you purchase your own postage through another carrier like USPS or UPS.

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About the Author

Ashley Donohoe started writing professionally about business topics in 2010. Having eight years experience running all aspects of her small business, she is knowledgeable about the daily issues and decisions that business owners face. She also has earned a Master of Business Administration degree with a leadership and strategy concentration from Western Governors University. Some other places featuring her business writing include JobHero, LoveToKnow, PocketSense, Chron and Study.com.