What Happens When You File a USPS Missing Mail Search?

What Happens When You File a USPS Missing Mail Search?

Posted by on 22nd Sep 2020

If you ship through The United States Postal Service, at some point a parcel will appear to go “missing” because the Tracking Scans stop abruptly. The correct course of action to take is to file a Missing Mail Search… but what exactly does this do? Here’s what we learned:

When you complete the Missing Mail Search forms on and provide USPS with all of the package information, then click “Submit Search” the paperwork is sent to YOUR local post office (the location who took the parcel from you first). So, for example, the post office we use here at is the Romulus, Michigan USPS.

The Manager at this location will receive the Missing Mail Search through the internet.

He / She will then look at the Tracking Number details that only USPS can see (GPS location, what truckload number the parcel was on, etc. This information is not available to the public, unfortunately).

Next the manager will contact the USPS location where the parcel is, or last was.

Then, HOPEFULLY, the manager of the location where the parcel is cooperates and helps locate the parcel and get it back in transit. If all of the elements of the Missing Mail Search go smoothly the parcel can be located and start moving again in 3 to 5 days. BUT, sometimes, the USPS location where the parcel is does not cooperate, which makes the process very long and painful for the shipper and the buyer who is upset their parcel is “lost”. Either way, USPS does usually locate the parcel; there’s just no way for the seller to know if it will take a couple days or a couple weeks.

YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST FILE ONLINE!  If you want to keep things simple and call 1-800-ASK-USPS or if you plan to just stop by a post office to ask about the parcel, YOU WILL NOT GET RESULTS FAST.  But when you file the Missing Mail Search online you instantly create a "paper trail" that gets looked at right away!  If you don't know how to file online, no worries!  We have a link at the bottom of this article to teach you how!

SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE: USPS does NOT “keep you updated” on the Missing Mail Search. You will NOT be getting a phone call or email when they find the parcel. Do not expect ANY communication from USPS, but the solution is to Sign Up for Tracking Number Notification Updates on the Parcel (it’s free and easy!) so as soon as it is located you know without having to keep checking tracking. You can also sign your buyer up so they don’t have to keep checking Tracking Either. This is absolutely the best way to make sure that you are notified when the parcel is located.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: When you file your missing mail search you will receive a “Search I.D.:

The search I.D. doesn’t really help you much BUT it’s a great thing to provide to your buyer who is upset. You can also let your buyer know that they can call 1-800-ASK-USPS and provide Customer Service with the Search I.D. if they have questions. BUT, just so you know, there is absolutely NOTHING Customer Service can do to help. All they will do is look at the search I.D and tell the buyer: “We've received your request and are currently searching for your mail.”

However, it might make your buyer feel better to have USPS assure them that they are looking for the mail. Then, naturally, the buyer will ask “How long will it take to find it?”, and USPS will tell them there is no way to know…. So, the outcome of the buyer calling USPS is basically nothing.


Here’s the results of our last 12 USPS Missing Mail Searches:

As you can see, 9 out of 12 have been successfully delivered after the Missing Mail Search was filed. Usually the results are much better. Prior to COVID-19, almost 100% of our parcels were successfully delivered but when COVID-19 struck in March 2020, things started getting crazy for all mail carriers, which resulted in many more issues for all sellers / shippers. 

Next:  Learn Missing Mail Search Tips & Tricks to Help Recover Your Parcel!