How many times will UPS attempt delivery?

The Basics

UPS will typically attempt to deliver a package up to 3 times before returning the package to the sender. However, the exact number of delivery attempts can vary depending on the service level and destination of the package.

Delivery Attempts for UPS Ground Packages

For packages shipped via UPS Ground, the driver will make 3 attempts to deliver the package on 3 consecutive business days. So for example, if they attempt delivery on Monday but no one is available to accept the package, they will come back on Tuesday and Wednesday to try again before returning the package to the sender.

Delivery Attempts for UPS Air Packages

Packages shipped via UPS Next Day Air, 2nd Day Air, or 3-Day Select will receive 3 delivery attempts on 3 consecutive days as well. However, because these are time-sensitive air packages, the driver may attempt all 3 delivery tries in a single day. For example, they may try delivering in the morning, afternoon, and evening all within the same business day.

Delivery Attempts for UPS to a Residential Address

If the package is being shipped to a home or residential address, the driver will try to deliver it to the front door. If no one answers, they may try to leave it in a safe place on the property, such as behind a column or under a covered porch. The driver will leave an InfoNotice note explaining where they left the package.

Delivery Attempts for UPS to a Business Address

For business deliveries, after the first attempt, the driver may leave the package with a receptionist or office manager if the intended recipient is not available. As long as someone at the business will accept the package, it will count as a successful delivery attempt.

Factors That Can Impact Delivery Attempts

While UPS typically sticks to 3 delivery attempts for most packages, there are some circumstances that can result in fewer or more attempts:

The UPS “Delivery Intercept” Service

UPS offers a Delivery Intercept service that allows the shipper to redirect a package in-transit to a new address, reschedule the delivery date, or request the package be returned to them. Using this service means UPS will no longer continue attempting to deliver to the original address.

Severe Weather or Natural Disasters

If the delivery address is in an area impacted by severe weather such as a hurricane or snowstorm, UPS may suspend delivery attempts until conditions improve and delivery can be safely resumed.

Incorrect Addresses

If the address on the package is incorrect or nonexistent, UPS will try to find the correct address and re-attempt delivery. But this typically counts as just one delivery attempt. If the address cannot be corrected, the package will be returned to the sender.

Remote or Dangerous Areas

For extremely rural areas, or neighborhoods deemed unsafe, UPS may opt to make fewer delivery attempts. This is generally done at the discretion of the driver.

Recipient Requests More Attempts

If the intended recipient contacts UPS and asks for more delivery attempts, UPS will try to accommodate the request as best they can before returning the package to the sender.

Shipper Pays for More Attempts

The shipper can pay an additional fee on certain services to get UPS to make extra delivery attempts beyond the normal 3 tries.

What Happens After Delivery Attempts Are Exhausted?

So what happens if UPS attempts delivery 3 times but is ultimately unsuccessful? Here is how UPS handles packages after all delivery attempts have been exhausted:

Package is Returned to Shipper

Once all delivery attempts are made over the consecutive days allotted for that service, UPS will return the undelivered package back to the shipper. The shipper will not receive a refund for the original shipping costs.

UPS Sends Notification of Non-Delivery

UPS will send electronic notification to both the shipper and intended recipient indicating the package delivery address is incorrect, the recipient refused delivery, or delivery attempts were exhausted so the package is being returned.

Shipper is Charged Return Shipping Fees

It is the responsibility of the shipper to cover the costs of returning the undelivered package back to its origin. Return shipping rates and fees will apply.

Package Remains in UPS System 15 Days

When returned to the shipper, the undelivered package will remain in the UPS system for 15 calendar days. During this time, the shipper can start a package trace, redirect the package to another address, set up new delivery attempts, or request the package be returned to them.

Unclaimed Package Disposed After 15 Days

If the returned package goes unclaimed after 15 days, UPS will dispose of the package as they see fit. This may include donation to charity organizations, recycling, auctioning off, or simple disposal/destruction. The original shipper could also still be charged additional fees if disposal requires special handling.

UPS Delivery Attempt FAQs

How can I reschedule UPS delivery?

If you will not be available during the UPS delivery window, you have a few options to reschedule delivery:

  • Use UPS My Choice to select a new delivery date online
  • Contact UPS by phone to request your package be held at a UPS location for pickup
  • Leave a note for your driver asking them to come back on a specific date

Can I make UPS do more delivery attempts?

UPS will typically only make 3 attempts, but you can request more attempts:

  • For an additional fee, UPS can make extra delivery tries where available
  • You can contact UPS and ask them to make additional efforts before returning your package

Just keep in mind more attempts are not guaranteed – it’s ultimately up to UPS if they will go beyond the normal 3 attempts.

What do I do if UPS says delivery was made but I never got it?

If UPS tracking shows your package was delivered but you cannot find it:

  • Search the delivery location thoroughly – behind plants, under doormats, with neighbors, etc.
  • Call UPS to start a missing package search and have the driver verify delivery
  • File a claim with the shipper if UPS confirms the package is lost


UPS does their best to successfully get packages to recipients in a timely manner. But sometimes difficulties arise and delivery cannot be completed after the standard 3 attempts. Recipients are encouraged to utilize UPS My Choice services to customize deliveries for their needs. And shippers should consider packaging returns policies in case a package ultimately has to be returned to them undelivered.

Being aware of UPS policies around delivery attempts can help you better understand what to expect as a recipient. UPS will be persistent in their efforts to get you your package, but ultimately situations like severe weather or incorrect addresses can thwart the process – leading to frustrating but unavoidable returns to the shipper. Stay proactive by communicating with UPS, selecting the optimal service level, and providing the correct delivery details.

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