What do I do if the UPS tracking number does not work?

The United Parcel Service ( UPS, often styled as ups) is a tried and tested package delivery company that is more than a century old. Beginning with telegraph deliveries, ups is now the biggest logistics company in the world by revenue. You will find answers to the following troubles What to do if the ups tracking number does not work? and How and when do I find out what my package tracking number is?

What do I do if the UPS tracking number does not work?

With active operations worldwide, ups operate a network of nearly 120,000 vehicles that provide long-haul as well as last-mile delivery. Handling millions of packages across the planet, it is a dire necessity for a system to be in place to track the status of a parcel in transit.

Thus, for this reason, you are given a unique tracking number for every big and small parcel you send through the ups service directly or via subsidiaries like ups SurePost. You can easily use this tracking number to track the status of your parcel and find out where it is at a given time and get an estimated time of delivery. A UPS tracking number, for domestic packages within the United States, will usually start with “1Z” followed by a 16-digit number.

However, some problems do arise time and again regarding the delivery of certain packages. 

Here, we are going to talk about one specific situation where you are stuck without your parcel reaching the destination and the given ups tracking number not working.

What to do if the ups tracking number does not work?

There are multiple reasons why your ups tracking number might not be working or has errors while showing the live status of your in-transit package. Here are some common ways in which you can deal with a nonfunctional ups tracking number: 

  1. Wait for 24 hours

Usually, it takes up to 24 hours for ups to process your package and feed in your tracking number, and sync it with their tracking systems.

So, if you try to track your package as soon as it is sent, it might take some time before the tracking number given to you becomes active. The given tracking number only becomes active once the package has been picked up by an ups courier and has been fed into the system for live tracking. 

Wait for at least 24 hours after receiving your tracking number via email before tracking your ups package. If the problem persists, follow the given other ways to deal with the problem.

  1. Track the package at the right website

If you try to track a package you sent via ups to an international destination, it is a common mistake for people to track it in a different site. 

For all international parcels, the tracking number does not work on the same website as for the domestic packages. The package can be tracked via the DHL website as they handle overseas operations with ups. 

To track an international package, use the following link and enter your tracking number: 


  1. Reach out to customer support.

If you have tried methods 1 and w given above and the tracking number still shows up as invalid, then you have a one-in-a-million kind of problem with your package delivery.

It is recommended that you get in touch with ups customer support and use the package’s reference number to further deal with the issue.

However, with millions of successful last-mile deliveries every day, lost packages are a rare deal and are taken seriously at ups.

How and When do I find out my ups package tracking number?

You do not get ups tracking number when you drop off a package for delivery. What you get initially is an order reference number to keep track of your package details and the payment details for the delivery service.

You get the tracking number to track only after the package has been picked up and the same is confirmed by the delivery courier and loaded into the delivery vehicle. 

The tracking number becomes active only when the courier enters it and confirms that the package is loaded and is being shipped to its destination. 

As soon as your package is loaded, you receive an email confirming the same. This email contains a 16-digit tracking number that you can use in the aforementioned links to find the status of your parcel in transit, where it is, and the estimated time of delivery.


Here, we discussed what you can do if your ups tracking number does not work. You can wait for some time for the tracking number to become active it you can contact the customer support using the order reference number.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  1. How long does it take to process an order?

Usually, it takes up to 5-10 business days to process a delivery order at ups.

  1. Can I pick up my order in person?

Yes, you can. Only the person associated with the payment method for the parcel’s delivery can do this using the reference number and the order details.

  1. Is UPS related to the postal service?

No, UPS is a publicly-traded multinational delivery company while the postal service is a federal authority. However, UPS does have a subsidiary SurePost that transfers packages to the postal service for last-mile delivery.

What do I do if the UPS tracking number does not work?

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