How to get refunds from USPS for late delivery

This video provides a bit of information intended to help you navigate the convoluted world of shipping. Today we’re going to talk about refunds on service failures for USPS. 


On Priority Mail Express Service, USPS offers a refund for service failure, meaning that when a package is delivered late, you, the shipper can claim a refund on the cost related to shipping that package. To get the refund, there’s a few documents that you need to collect before you go to your local post office to request the refund. This video is going to cover the process in detail.

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Audit your shipment

The first step is running an audit on your shipment to see if it was indeed delivered late. This requires you to look at the delivery date, and compare this to the cutoff delivery date on the package.

The cutoff delivery date is the timestamp on the day that USPS stated the package would be delivered by. In other words, compare the delivery commitment time to the actual delivery date. If the delivery date was after the delivery commitment date, you’ll want to go on to look and see why the package was delivered late.

Why the package was delivered late?

To do this, you’ll want to look at the notes for each of the tracking events on the tracking page for the package. Pay special attention words in the tracking events, such as weather, exception or issue, as these are usual indicators that a shipment is not eligible for a refund. Bottom line, you’re looking to see if the package was late due to reasons that are within the control of UPS. In such cases, it’s reasonable to expect a refund, and to get that refund, you’ll want to do the following.

  • Print of a copy of the proof of purchase. This will be available within your USPS account, OR if you sent the package with the post office, then a copy of the receipt will work here.
  • You’ll want to fill out a PS Form 3533. We’ve included a link to a sample of what this form looks like in the notes below, but it’s important to note that each form has a unique barcode on it, so you’ll need to get this from the post office.
  • You’ll want to submit your proof of insurance and the completed PS Form 3533 to the post office. If the refund is indeed approved, you’ll receive either cash or a money order. 

That’s the process in it’s entirety. It’s slow, awkward and painful. It’s also important to note that the shipper, as in the person or representative of the company that paid the shipping costs, needs to be present in order to receive a refund on the shipping, and the request must be submitted within 30 days of the purchase. 

Updated on September 11, 2023
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