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Home » Ultimate Guide to Delivery Exception: Definition, Causes & Solutions

Ultimate Guide to Delivery Exception: Definition, Causes & Solutions

Delivery Exception

Delivery exception is one of the most commonly misunderstood concepts in logistics. Many businesses, both small and large, are struggling with this phenomenon without realizing that it is one of the most common causes of frustration among their customers. To help manage delivery exceptions better, it is very important to first understand its basics, including its definition, causes, and impact. In this guide, we will find the answers to all these questions, plus some effective strategies to manage delivery exceptions. 

What is a Delivery Exception?

In simple words, it is a situation when a logistic carrier is incapable of completing a delivery. This is primarily because the package is stuck somewhere in transit, even though there was no delay at the time of collection or shipping initiation. The exact delivery exception meaning is “unwarranted delay while moving the package from the source to the destination.” It is also commonly known as a “shipping exception.” 

Businesses must always stay on top of delivery exceptions because they negatively impact the customer experience. When a package doesn’t arrive on time, the customer is not going to be thrilled. They will be frustrated and might never shop again with you. When you promptly address delivery exceptions, you can mitigate such negative impacts and always maintain a positive reputation. 

Common Reasons for Delivery Exceptions

Knowing the most common reasons for delivery exceptions can help you nip the problems in the bud. Here are some most common ones – 

Incorrect Address

A classic case of man-made error, this cause of delivery exception often happens due to input errors at the time of the actual ordering process. It could also be due to outdated information in the system. Either way, the only way to resolve this cause of delivery exception is by double-checking customer information at the time of shipping. 

Weather-related Issues

This is a cause that is not under anyone’s control. The vagaries of weather can result in canceled flights, road closures, and unsafe working conditions for the delivery personnel. This results in unexpected disruptions in transportation and, ultimately, delivery operations. The only way to counter this problem is by closely monitoring weather forecasts and having contingency plans in place to mitigate the impact of weather-related disruptions.

Customs and Clearance Delays

The customs department in every country is different and expects different kinds of paperwork and information. The complexity of this process often leads to delays, sometimes even for months. The delays happen mainly due to incomplete or inaccurate documentation or not adhering to various regulations. While custom brokers can help to a certain extent, there is no guarantee that your package will flow freely every time. 

Recipient Unavailable

Delivery exceptions could happen even if the recipient is unavailable to accept the package at the time of delivery. For instance, the recipient could be out of town or they are unresponsive to delivery attempts. Either way, the delivery will be attempted multiple times, and if the delivery is still not possible after repeated attempts, it will be sent back to the source. 

Damaged Goods During Transit

Packages may sustain damage during transit due to mishandling or accidents. This is probably the most challenging cause out of all because apart from delaying the delivery, which affects your reputation, you also have to bear the additional cost of replacing the product. Unless you pack properly and use sturdy materials, there is no way you can eliminate this cause of delivery exception. 

Carrier-Related Delivery Exceptions

In this section, we are going to understand how different global carriers define delivery exceptions:

FedEx Delivery Exception

According to FedEx, a delivery exception means “your package is temporarily delayed while in transit due to unavoidable circumstances. The reason could be inclement weather, a natural disaster, a vehicle issue like a flat tire, or other conditions.” The FedEx delivery exception meaning is the most apt one and accurately captures this phenomenon. 

USPS Delivery Exception

While there is no official definition of Delivery Exception according to the USPS website, they have the following statuses that fall under the criteria of Delivery Exception: No Secure Location Available, No Authorized Recipient Available, No Access to Delivery Location, and Insufficient Address.

UPS Delivery Exception

According to UPS, a delivery exception is an order status “when the shipment is in the UPS network, but there was an unexpected error that may result in a change in the scheduled delivery date.”

DHL Delivery Exception

While there is no official definition of Delivery Exception according to the DHL website, they have stated that “Delivery delays can be caused by events beyond the control of DHL, e.g., weather events, local disruptions like public holidays, customs or strikes.”

USPS Delivery Exception

Impact of Delivery Exceptions on Business

A delivery exception is definitely not something any business would like to be a part of. It can negatively impact the business in several ways, most of which can have long-term consequences. Here are the major types of impacts – 

Direct Impacts

These impacts can have dire consequences across various aspects of business operations and finances. This type of impact can be further classified into two types:

  • Operational Disruptions

Delivery exceptions can disrupt your normal business operations considerably. In fact, it can cause major deviations from your planned schedules. For example, whenever one of your deliveries is delayed, it can disrupt downstream processes such as fulfillment, inventory management, and customer service. You may have to realign several internal processes to accommodate the delay. All these changes and delays can seep through your supply chain, impacting production schedules and distribution timelines. 

Delivery exceptions can also disrupt your warehousing operations by causing discrepancies in inventory levels and storage space utilization. For example, some perishable goods may arrive at the destination after their intended shelf-life. This means businesses have to reship the products which can ultimately unbalance the inventory levels. You may also have to allocate additional resources for reorganizing inventory, impacting warehouse efficiency.

  • Financial Implications

Delivery exceptions can also cause financial implications for your business. It revolves majorly around the additional shipping and handling costs you may incur due to delivery exceptions. In the worst-case scenarios, you may even have to manage complete product replacement costs due to the potential loss of goods. In addition to this, you may also face compensation claims from customers for the inconvenience or loss incurred. Handling these claims requires resources and may impact your overall profitability.

Indirect Impacts

While you can measure the direct impacts caused by delivery exceptions, there are certain indirect impacts, which may be invisible to most but can have significant repercussions in the long run. Here they are – 

  • Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty

Your customer’s satisfaction and loyalty are closely intertwined with the reliability and timeliness of your deliveries. So, wherever there is a delivery exception, the trust your customers have in your brand will take a hit and might even erode over time. In fact, prolonged delivery exceptions can force your customers to seek your competitors. 

Take the case of DJI, a global leader in commercial drone manufacturing. During the initial days, DJI faced some hurdles related to last-mile delivery. Due to fragmented logistic data and lack of real-time delivery status, DJI could not keep track of their parcel’s whereabouts and conditions. This led to hundreds of WISMO calls and the rise of customer dissatisfaction. But once they partnered with TrackingMore, a leading shipment tracking platform, they turned around the situation as they now had access to live-time data about every parcel. 

Read the complete story.

  • Brand Reputation

Here is the harsh reality – your customers who experience delivery exceptions will share their negative experiences on social media platforms, review websites, and forums. These reviews can dissuade others from dealing with your brand. In fact, a single delivery exception can escalate into a PR crisis if not addressed promptly. These days, social media platforms can amplify the magnitude and reach of these complaints. 

That’s not even the end of it. Competitors who have more efficient delivery systems will gain a competitive edge over you, putting your market position at risk as customers increasingly favor reliability and speed in their shipping options.

Strategies for Managing Delivery Exceptions

Now that you have seen the consequences of delivery exceptions, it is time to address them before they can significantly impact your business. Here are some battle-tested strategies to help you manage delivery exceptions – 

1. Tech-Driven Tracking Solutions

You can take the help of advanced technology solutions for real-time shipment tracking. This can significantly improve the visibility and control over your delivery process. The easiest way to achieve this is by adopting robust real-time shipment tracking solutions like TrackingMore that allow you to not only monitor the status of shipments in real time but also identify delivery exceptions proactively and take corrective actions as needed. 

For instance, Banggodd, a popular cross-border eCommerce marketplace, found it difficult to scale its business without a tracking solution. They wanted a solution that could help them stay on top of each customer’s shipment and address delivery exceptions before they became a major issue. By partnering with TrackingMore, they successfully eliminated this challenge as they now had live data about each package that enabled them to act in advance. 

2. Multi-Carrier Partnerships

Partnering with multiple carriers diversifies your delivery options. It helps mitigate the risk of disruptions caused by carrier-specific issues. When you partner with a network of carriers, you also get to choose the most efficient delivery option for each shipment. This optimizes your delivery times and minimizes the impact of potential delivery exceptions.

3. Staff Exception Handling Training

You could also train the staff to handle and resolve delivery exceptions promptly. This is essential for minimizing the impact of exceptions on your operations and ensuring that your reputation doesn’t get affected. All you need to do is arm your employees with the necessary communication skills to handle WISMO calls and complete knowledge about the tool you used to track parcels in real time. Interestingly, there is hardly any learning curve for TrackingMore as its interface is beginner-friendly, and your team can start using it from day one. 

4. Enhanced Customer Communication

This strategy is all about providing clear, transparent, and timely updates on the status of shipments to your customers. By doing this you communicate the possibility of any delivery exception, which, in turn, helps in managing customers expectations. In fact, it will instill confidence in the minds of your customers. Enhancing this approach, services like TrackingMore automate this process by sending shipping notifications at every delivery checkpoint, ensuring customers are consistently informed and reassured throughout their package journey.

Enhancing Delivery Exception Management with TrackingMore

TrackingMore is the world’s leading shipment tracking solution that helps in optimizing the post-purchase journey of customers. The goal of TrackingMore is to ensure that both the sender and the receiver can access the whereabouts of their package anytime, anywhere. Here are three standout features of this robust tracking solution.

1. Real-time Tracking API

TrackingMore’s real-time tracking API enables you to track and monitor your shipments with great ease. Once integrated, your order management system continuously communicates with the shipping carrier’s system via our API to fetch real-time updates on the status and location of each shipment. In case you want your customers to track the shipment themselves, we also offer the branded tracking page feature. Using this, your end customers can track their parcel directly within your eCommerce website, eliminating the need to redirect them to the carrier’s website. This automatically improves the user stickiness of your website. 

2. Multi-carrier Shipment Tracking

TrackingMore supports shipment tracking from 1200+ carriers, including popular ones like UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL, to name a few. This means you don’t have to integrate with their tracking APIs one by one for each carrier, simplifying the process and saving valuable development time.  All you need to do is integrate with the TrackingMore API to gain access to tracking data 24/7 from all these carriers.

3. Webhook Notifications for Businesses

TrackingMore also offers Webhook notifications that automatically push the latest update about your package automatically to you. You just need to select the statuses you want to be notified about, such as delivered, exception, and other important statuses, and you will receive webhook notifications when your shipments reach these milestones. This means you can take immediate action to resolve any potential problems, reducing potential hold-ups and ensuring a reliable delivery process for your customers.

4. Delivery Exception Solutions for Customers

TrackingMore offers an automated shipping notification feature that appraises your customer about every single movement of your package through SMS and email. This means you and your customers are always on the same page about the package location, and in the event of any delivery exceptions, this automated system promptly notifies the customer. This considerably reduces the negative impact of the delayed delivery. 

FAQs about Delivery Exception

  1. What does delivery exception mean?

A delivery exception is an unwanted delay in a package reaching the recipient due to various man-made and natural causes. Repeated occurrence of delivery exceptions can negatively impact the reputation of the business sending the package. 

  1. What does delivery exception animal interference mean?

This is a highly unique situation and an uncommon cause of delivery exceptions. In this, the courier is unable to complete the delivery because of an animal attack (or a possible attack) at the recipient’s address. Most of the time, it is an attack by a pet dog on the premises. But it could also be a wild animal or even a swarm of bees that is obstructing the carrier from delivering. 

  1. What do I do if my package has a delivery exception?

If your package has a delivery exception, the first thing you must do is reach out to the carrier or the seller. Try to understand why there is a delay on their side and what the updated delivery time is. In case the exception causes your inconvenience, you can request a cancellation of the order from the seller as well. 

  1. How long does a shipment exception last?

Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It completely depends upon the cause of the delivery exception. For example, if the delivery exception is due to poor weather, it will be resolved once the weather clears. Similarly, if the exception is due to the recipient’s unavailability, it will be resolved once the communication is established with the customer. 

  1. Will I still get my package if it says shipment exception?

If you are a customer and you encounter the message – shipment exception from the carrier, you need to immediately contact the carrier and ask for the most recent status of the package. If the carrier is unable to provide a delivery timeline within your accepted range, you may cancel the order and ask for a refund. 

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