How to Return UPS Packages

Whether your business received a package by mistake or needs to return an unwanted or defective item, UPS has multiple options for returning packages both before and after delivery.

You could tell UPS to return certain packages to the sender or refuse the shipment at the time of delivery. Your seller might let you return the UPS package personally to one of its local stores or offer a prepaid shipping label through its website. When you do need to mail back a package, know that you'll have convenient options for a pickup alongside several drop-off methods.

Return a Package to the Sender With UPS

In some situations, you can conveniently tell UPS to return the package to the sender directly and avoid needing to pay any return shipping fee. Often, you can do this more easily if the package hasn't yet arrived, but you can return unopened packages to the sender under certain conditions.

Whenever UPS leaves you an InfoNotice due to not having someone available to receive the package, you can enter the tracking number on the UPS website. This will allow you to choose from several options, one of which is to return the package to the sender. If you're present when the UPS driver tries to deliver a package, you can simply tell him that you refuse the delivery and ask him to return the item back to the sender.

Once UPS has delivered the package, you often need to go through a full returns process. UPS does make an exception for unopened packages that required no signature, but you need to act within five business days after UPS dropped off the package. You can call UPS at 1-800-742-5877 to arrange for the pickup.

Check for In-Person Returns

Before you go through the hassle of repackaging and shipping a UPS return, check if the sender has a brick-and-mortar location where you can complete the return. Major retail chains usually allow in-store returns if you can find a location near you, and this can also help speed up your refund and avoid return shipping charges. The online giant Amazon has also made in-person returns possible through Kohl's stores, and you don't even need to repackage the item.

Get a Return Shipping Label

If you can't directly return the package to the sender or do an in-person return, you'll need to obtain a return shipping label and follow your seller's return instructions. Often, this starts with initiating the return on the seller's website, printing out a return form and either printing a return label or using one included in the box with your invoice. Your seller might also send you a link to the UPS website to generate and print a shipping label.

In any case, it helps to check whether you'll need to pay for the return shipping and how long you can expect the return process to take once you've mailed the package. You might also have the option to use an alternative service like USPS to send back your package and potentially save money over using UPS.

Ship Your UPS Return

Your options for mailing back your UPS return will depend on the shipping service used.

If you need to return to the sender a UPS Ground or 2nd Day Air package, for example, you could drop it off at a UPS Store, put it in a drop box or take it to a UPS Access Point, like a Michaels or CVS store. On the other hand, you can return a UPS Mail Innovations or regular USPS package through your local post office or USPS collection box.

You can also contact UPS or visit its website to request a package pickup when you have something bulky, large or otherwise inconvenient to drop off. Note that you'll usually pay a premium for this option unless UPS comes to your business for regular pickups already. USPS will often pick up return packages that go through the regular postal service for free; you can request the pickup on its website as well.

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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.