Speak to a Friendly Routing Expert Now:
Speak to a Friendly Routing Expert Now:

A Quick Guide to Delivery Exception

Courier guy is confused due to delivery exception
Featured image credit: alphaspirit/iStockphoto.com

A delivery exception notice from one of your carriers can create unwanted customer service problems.

For example, your customer might leave a bad review online or ask for a refund, while you might still be busy investigating and figuring out solutions.

Can you afford that?

This guide will thus help you understand what shipment exceptions mean, and how you can handle and minimize such exceptions.

What Does Delivery Exception Mean?

“Delivery exception” is a logistics term that refers to an unexpected event, roadblock, or challenge that prevents or delays delivery of a package to the customer.

NOTE: A shipment exception doesn’t always mean late delivery, though. It could mean a roadblock that halted progression or required your attention somewhere along the journey during the package delivery process.

Why Does the Delivery Exception Happen?

Shipment exceptions can happen due to the following reasons:

  • Severe weather conditions
  • Customs related issues
  • Unreadable shipping addresses
  • Error in the delivery addresses
  • Federal holidays
  • Lost package

Let’s take a look at the reasons in detail:

Error in Delivery/Shipping Address or Damaged Labels

Delivery glitches happen due to either an incorrect shipping address or a damaged label.

  • Address Issues: Even the slightest mistake in the apartment number or zip code can cause problems in delivery. This can lengthen the delivery time.
  • Damaged Labels: If the courier cannot read the delivery address or scan the barcode, the package may get delayed. It is called a delivery exception due to damaged labels.


During peak holiday seasons, disruptions in courier services are expected. If there is a national holiday during the transit, packages may not be delivered.

Also, shipping carriers don’t operate on federal holidays. This can cause a delay or package exception if the carriers have a backlog of shipments.

Pick-Ups and Deliveries

The pick-up exceptions generally occur when a logistics company’s delivery person fails to find the products scheduled for pick-up or the delivery address.

The customer has to resubmit the pick-up or delivery request in such a case.

Loss and Damage

Accidents can happen on the course of delivery, even after the delivery companies have put the safety measures in place.

  • Damage: If the package is damaged, the item is generally returned to the initial dispatch station with a damaged note attached.
  • Loss: Shipping companies may find that a missing package, preventing the delivery. In such a case, the customer will receive a loss exception notice.

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Start Free 7 Day Trial

Weather Conditions or “Acts of God”

Delivery of packages may get delayed due to an impassable delivery route caused by a natural disaster (flood, wildfire, tornado, hurricane, and so on) or other weather issues.

These natural disasters are also called “Acts of God” because they are beyond anyone’s control. They can cause unpredictable delays.

Package exceptions may vary between carriers.

  • FedEx issues shipment exceptions for missing documentation, delays due to unavoidable circumstances, holiday hangups, and if no one is home to receive the package. According to the company, a FedEx delivery exception doesn’t always mean the shipment will arrive late.
  • The most common reasons for USPS delivery exceptions are holidays and incorrect addresses.
  • The most common reasons for UPS delivery exceptions include unknown addresses, shipment damage, and “signature not received.” You will see an exception notice when you access your account and track a package. The notice will include the reason and a new estimated delivery time.

How Can Delivery Exceptions Affect Logistics Businesses?

Delivery exceptions can affect logistics businesses in five ways:

1. Inefficiency: Package exceptions are resource-intensive as you have to utilize your existing resources to manage the exceptions. As most businesses lack the resources to handle the exceptions, it leads to inefficiency.

2. Wasted resources: It causes delays that could cost you potential revenue loss.

3. Lost overhead: The overhead bill of a logistics business increases when it has to provide additional truck rolls, delivery runs, support team members, dispatchers, time, and other resources to deal with the delivery exceptions.

4. Poor customer experiences: Delayed delivery means negative customer ratings and reviews.

5.  Hurt bottom line: The profit margin drops when a logistics business has to refund the shipping cost.

How to Respond to Shipment Exceptions?

If there are delivery exceptions, an eCommerce business may respond in the following three ways:

  • Contact the Carrier

When you receive a notification about a package exception, you should track the exact status of the package online and know the reason for the delay. Then, call the carrier and find out whether the issue can be resolved by providing them with the correct address or other details.

  • Contact the Customer

If the customer’s shipping address is incorrect, try reaching them to verify their address and make corrections where needed.

Also, let the customer know (by calling them or sending an email) of any possible delay in the delivery or half of the operations.

Don’t forget to thank the customer for their patience. Turn a suboptimal situation into a positive experience by maintaining transparency and offering help in every step of the delivery process.

  • Refund or Resend the Package

If the package can’t be delivered due to a delivery exception, contact the customer seeking permission to resend the package or refund them. If the item was damaged during transit, the shipping insurance would cover the same.

Use Route4Me to Avoid Delivery Exceptions

There are several ways Route4Me route planner can help you avoid shipment exceptions because of the powerful features. Let’s take a quick look at them.

Dynamic Route Optimization™ Technology

Route4Me’s multi-stop route planner can help you bypass delivery exceptions by streamlining your routing and scheduling process.

Route4Me’s Dynamic Route Optimization™ technology instantly and automatically calculates the most efficient routes, estimate arrival times, and helps plan future deliveries in advance.

The delivery scheduling software also factors multiple constraints, such as weather, traffic, avoidance zones, and left turns. Your drivers will never get stuck on the road and always make on-time deliveries.

Apple Maps or Google Maps cannot factor in such a wide variety of constraints.

Watch the following video to learn how Route4Me can help you create well-optimized routes.

Customer Portal

Route4Me’s route optimizer offers a  customer portal feature that allows your customers to track their delivery status.

This information minimizes customer interaction with delivery personnel and other administrative and customer service work.

Customer Alerting and Notifications

Route4Me’s delivery route planner comes with a customer alerting and notification feature that notifies your customers thru email, SMS, or voice call whenever their packages are nearby.

Customers will know when they can expect their deliveries, so they would be more likely to be available to receive the packages. This will improve first-time door opens in last-mile delivery.

GPS Tracking

Route4Me comes with a commercial GPS tracker that helps you track company vehicles in real-time with a one-second refresh time.

It offers you up-to-the-minute Dynamic Route ETAs and Dynamic Route Manifests, making it easier for you to monitor on-road movements.

So, if anything goes wrong, you can immediately take corrective actions. For example, you can keep track of aggressive driving, drivers slacking off, and vehicle breakdowns.

Bulk Geocoder

Route4Me’s vehicle routing software has a geocoding feature that automatically rectifies any wrong addresses entered into the system.

Our bulk geocoder can geocode thousands or even millions of addresses per day. Therefore, you can manage thousands and millions of geocodes almost instantaneously.

Route4Me provides four types of geocoding: mobile app geocoding, web app geocoding, desktop/command line geocoding, and API geocoding.

So how do you avoid delivery exceptions?


Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Start Free 7 Day Trial


About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 35,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.