As one of the most popular package delivery companies worldwide, UPS handles and delivers millions of packages daily. While most packages are received without any issues or objections, there are some instances where recipients may wish to refuse delivery.

UPS packages typically get rejected when they are delivered to the wrong address, are damaged, or contain the wrong contents. You can refuse a UPS delivery by simply telling the UPS driver you wish to refuse delivery of the package.

If the package has already been dropped off at your address, you can contact UPS and confirm that you wish to refuse the delivery. They will then provide you with the appropriate steps to return the package.

In this article, we’ll discuss what refused deliveries are, when and how to refuse a UPS delivery, and what happens after you refuse them.

What Is a Refused Delivery?

A refused delivery is simply a delivery that the recipient has rejected (refused to accept). You’re allowed to refuse any UPS delivery as long as you don’t open the package. UPS also doesn’t charge you for the return if you opt to refuse a package the moment it’s delivered.

How to Refuse a UPS Delivery

Refusing a UPS package delivery is generally undesirable for the sender, UPS, and the recipient. However, it may be necessary to reject a UPS package in certain circumstances, which we’ll allude to in later sections of this article.

If you do choose to refuse a UPS delivery, you will be glad to know that the process is straightforward. The steps to do so are described below.

  1. After receiving the package, check the delivery details carefully. This includes key details such as the recipient’s name and complete delivery address.
  2. If the package doesn’t have your name on it (or anyone from your household) or if other circumstances warrant a refusal, speak with the UPS driver directly and let them know that you wish to refuse the delivery. 
  3. Inform the driver why you are refusing the delivery. This information will be useful as they can forward it to the correct address or return the parcel back to the original sender.
  4. UPS drivers are trained to accept refusals, so they should comply with your request. They will then take the package and place it back in their truck.
  5. The package is now on its way back to the distribution center, where it will then be dispatched back to the correct recipient or back to the sender.

If you intend to refuse a package but you won’t be home to receive it, you can leave a refusal note on your door. You should ensure you include the specific refusal reason code on this note.

If the UPS driver delivered the package while you were out or unavailable, you can call 1-800-742-5877 and ask a UPS agent for return instructions. This also technically counts as a delivery refusal.

When to Refuse a UPS Delivery

There are many valid reasons why someone may want to refuse a delivery. This includes if the package wasn’t addressed to you, was noticeably damaged, or contains incorrect contents.

Incorrect Address or Recipient

A sender may accidentally post a shipment to an incorrect address. In this situation, the package is not delivered to the intended recipient and may be rejected during dropoff.

You can usually verify this by identifying if the name on the package is different from yours or doesn’t match the name of anyone in your household. Some of the address details could also be incorrect. For example, the street name may be misspelled or the house unit number may not match yours.

Damaged Package

You may also opt to refuse a UPS delivery if the package is damaged. It can be difficult to tell if an item is damaged without first unpacking it. However, if there is noticeable damage on the packaging, it could indicate that your item is no longer intact.

You’re allowed to refuse such deliveries, even if you can’t deduce which point of the delivery the damage occurred at. Once you refuse the package, UPS will ship it back to the sender.

If you bought your item from an eCommerce platform such as Amazon or AliExpress, you can also request a refund. Alternatively, you can ask the eCommerce seller to re-ship the item in good condition.

If you noticed the package was damaged after accepting it from the UPS driver, you will need to return it to the sender separately after following their return instructions. You may also need to bear the shipping costs of this return.

Wrong Contents 

It’s always possible for a sender to pick and pack the wrong items. In some cases, they may have also accidentally left out a few items. For example, you might have ordered a lava lamp from an online seller. The seller may have then packaged the wax bottle but forgot to include the heating base.

You won’t be able to tell that your package’s contents are wrong until you have accepted and opened the package. However, you can try finding this out beforehand by looking over the packing list or invoice the sender provided. By doing so, you can refuse the package instead of accepting it.

What Happens After You Refuse to Accept the UPS Package

Once you’ve refused a UPS package, the delivery driver will place it back in their truck. They will also note down your refusal reason. Your package will then be taken back to the UPS distribution center where it will be processed and sent back to the original sender.

This is done even if the sender is located overseas. You should note that you are typically not charged for refusing delivery with UPS.

Minimizing Refused Deliveries

As a sender, you can reduce the likelihood of someone refusing a package you are sending them by following the tips listed below. 

  • Confirm Package Compliance – You should ensure your package meets all the correct compliance requirements. This includes ensuring there are no duplicate labels and that the package complies with UPS standards. This entails choosing a box with the right dimensions and ensuring it has the right labels.
  • Double-Check Shipping Details – You should always double-check the shipping details such as the name and address and ensure they are correct. If you have doubts, you can always contact the recipient and verify that the details they have provided you are correct.
  • Secure Packages – Securing the package will reduce the chances of it being damaged in transit. Robust packaging keeps the items inside safe from impacts or rough handling procedures, minimizing delivery refusals.
  • Ensure All Items Are Packed – Always check that you have included all the items that you will be sending. Ensure the items that you have packaged match the packing list and commercial invoice, where applicable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many people have asked questions related to refusing UPS deliveries. We have answered some of the most common ones below. If you have any questions on this topic, please feel free to reach out.  

Does UPS Charge a Fee for Refusing a Delivery?

Packages that are refused by recipients will be returned to the sender without additional charges. However, you must not open the package. Simply call UPS and they will have it picked up. Alternatively, you may also drop the package off at any UPS hub.

Must I Refuse the Package on the Spot?

If you intend to refuse a package, the best time to do it is when the UPS delivery person brings it to you. However, you can also choose to refuse the package after receiving it by calling 1-800-742-5877 and speaking with a UPS agent.

They will then send a UPS driver to you to pick up the package and you can inform them about your refusal reason. You can also opt to drop off the package at a UPS hub (not a UPS store) yourself.

You should ensure not to open the package during this time, or it will be treated as a “return to sender” package that you may be charged for.

What’s the Difference Between Refusing a Package and Returning it to Sender?

Package refusals generally apply to packages that are unopened. Once you open a package, any attempts to send it back to the sender will be treated as a separate shipment to the sender.

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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.