DHL has a reliable package delivery system in place, due to its extensive global network, advanced tracking technology, and commitment to timely and secure transportation of goods. However, you may occasionally encounter a situation where DHL could not complete your package delivery.

In this scenario, DHL’s tracking system would display a “Delivery Attempt Could Not Be Completed” message, which means that DHL has tried to deliver your package to you but the attempt was unsuccessful. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as incorrect shipping address, scheduling issues bad, and weather conditions among others.

dhl delivery attempt could not be completed
A “Delivery Attempt Could Not Be Completed” Status Update on DHL

In this guide, we will discuss why your DHL package may have had an unsuccessful delivery attempt and also help to explain how you’re able to resolve the issue.

The 10 Most Common Reasons For Incomplete DHL Deliveries

As stated, there are various reasons why a DHL truck may be out for delivery but was unsuccessful in dropping off your package. Here are some of the most common reasons why this could have happened.

1. Recipient’s Request 

DHL allows recipients to put their deliveries on hold temporarily. They also have the option of canceling their delivery entirely, if they opt for self-pickup.

Some people may want to have their delivery halted temporarily if they believe they won’t be home at the scheduled delivery time. Such measures would be necessary if they are expecting to receive a valuable package that requires them to obtain it personally or where a signature is required.

2. An Incorrect or Incomplete Shipping Address

DHL will be unable to complete the delivery if the recipient has given them a wrong or incomplete address. For example, someone that lives at “7 Maple Drive” may accidentally enter their address at “17 Maple Drive” when they order something from an eCommerce website.

In a lot of scenarios the incorrect shipping address may not exist, there may be no one home, or the incorrect recipient has rejected the delivery. It’s also possible for the sender to put down an incorrect address, despite having received the correct one.

3. The Recipient Is Unavailable

DHL may be unable to deliver a package if the recipient isn’t home to receive it. This is one of the most common reasons for failed deliveries, especially if the DHL driver requires proof of identification or a signature.

4. Traffic Congestion

As most DHL packages are delivered in trucks, this means that deliveries are subject to traffic conditions. A DHL driver may abandon a delivery attempt if road traffic in a particular area is too congested and significantly delays other deliveries. 

DHL does usually plan deliveries with the consideration of factors such as work time traffic and school zone speed reductions in mind. However, the driver may still abandon the delivery attempt if the congestions are worse than expected.

5. Scheduling Issues

Drivers have to make dozens of deliveries per day. If a few of these deliveries take longer than expected, it means they won’t be able to complete all the deliveries they originally scheduled.

In this situation, a package originally scheduled to be delivered won’t reach its delivery address. As a result, the recipient will encounter a “Delivery Attempt Could Not Be Completed” message.

6. Bad Weather Conditions

Delivery drivers try their best to ensure all packages arrive at their destination safely during all types of weather conditions, including heavy rain. However, some weather conditions may make their deliveries impossible.

This includes snow storms and thunderstorms. In some cases, the DHL driver may still attempt the delivery, but they may get slowed down by the weather due to safety reasons.

While they may be able to make a few deliveries, they won’t be able to complete all the ones originally scheduled for that day. If a particular recipient’s delivery was scheduled near the end of the route, they may not be able to receive their package on that day.

In most scenarios, you’ll get a notification of the delay and your delivery will then be rescheduled to the following day.

7. High Delivery Volume

DHL experiences variations in delivery volumes at different times of the year. For example, they experience a significantly higher-than-usual number of orders around Christmas or other major holiday periods.

They may employ additional drivers around such periods. However, it’s more common for them to increase the number of deliveries each driver has to make each day. This would result in the unintended effect of leaving some items originally scheduled for delivery as “Undelivered”.

If a delivery driver is unable to deliver one of the packages near the end of their delivery schedule, they may opt to deliver it the next day. However, the recipient will still encounter the “Delivery Attempt Could Not Be Completed” message.

8. Vehicle Issues

DHL maintains a large fleet of delivery trucks. Each of these vehicles undergoes regular maintenance. However, it is still possible for them to run into issues on the road.

For example, a DHL driver may accidentally drive the vehicle over potholes or nails on the road, resulting in the vehicle getting a flat tire or being damaged. In this situation, the vehicle may need to get repaired.

DHL does usually have backup trucks for these situations, but they will still lose time transferring the packages from the broken-down truck to a functioning one. So any kind of breakdown increases the likelihood that you won’t receive the package as originally scheduled for that day.

9. Technical Issues

DHL’s package sorting and scheduling system is relatively advanced and rarely runs into issues. However, in the rare event that the system does run into technical issues, package deliveries will be temporarily stalled.

This is because a system fault will prevent packages from being scanned or scheduled for delivery. DHL’s sorting system is automated and highly sophisticated, thus, it is challenging for personnel to replicate the sorting and scheduling of packages manually.

10. Special Handling

Some DHL packages get delayed when the recipient requests special handling instructions. In this situation, DHL will need to cater to specific handling procedures outside their standard ones.

In other cases, the delivery might not be completed if the special handling instructions could not be followed. For example, the recipient may ask the delivery driver to leave the package at their doorstep but also live in a gated community with restricted access.

Is There Anything You Can Do To Resolve This?

You may be able to resolve issues where DHL can’t complete your delivery in a few different ways. We have described some of these situations and solutions below.

Wait For The Delivery

If you encounter the “Delivery Attempt Could Not Be Completed” message, your best course of action should be to simply be patient and wait for the delivery. If there are no significant issues holding up the delivery, you should receive your package within the next day or two.

Contact DHL

If you’re unsure of why you received the “Delivery Attempt Could Not Be Completed” message, you can always contact DHL to inquire about your package. DHL’s customer service team can offer more insight into the problem and may expedite the delivery. They will also be able to advise you on steps that you need to take (for example to amend an incorrect delivery address).


If you need to pick up your package urgently, you can contact DHL and request the self-pickup option. This is useful if the original delivery couldn’t be completed due to special handling instructions or if you provided the wrong address.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We have answered some of the most commonly-asked questions on this topic below. If you’d like to have your question added, please get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to add them to this list.

When Can I Expect My Package to Be Delivered?

If DHL’s delivery attempt was unsuccessful, you can typically expect to receive your package within the next day. If you specifically asked DHL to put your package on hold, you would need to contact them to request the delivery at a date that best suits you.

What Can I Do If I’m Not Available to Receive the Package on Other Days?

If you believe that you won’t be home on the date or time the package is scheduled for delivery, you should contact DHL and request a different delivery date. Alternatively, you could also request self-pickup.

Alternatively, you may also ask a friend or a family member to retrieve your package at a DHL ServicePoint. Take note that they are required to bring along a copy of their identity document.

Will I Be Able to Find Out Why the Delivery Attempt Failed?

You should be able to deduce why the delivery attempt failed by visiting the “Further Detail” section in the DHL tracking link. You can find this information under the shipment update section.

If you were not able to find out this information in DHL’s system, you may also contact their customer support to enquire for more details.

Get Free Course Access

If you enjoyed the article, don’t miss out on our free supply chain courses that help you stay ahead in your industry.

Gerrit Poel

Co-Founder & Writer
at freightcourse

About the Author

Gerrit is a certified international supply chain management professional with 16 years of industry experience, having worked for one of the largest global freight forwarders.

As the co-founder of freightcourse, he’s committed to his passion for serving as a source of education and information on various supply chain topics.