Will a shipping company intentionally hold on to a package?

If a package is mailed to me from somewhere close enough that it would get to me before 3 days, would/can a shipping company hold on to it longer so that they can charge more for 3 day shipping? (Or 2 days, or what have you) I’m thinking no, but I always get my doubts when I track my package and I see it sitting for a couple of days in a city very close to my own instead of making its way to my front door.

UPS and FedEx will generally deliver it as soon as they can. Once it’s delivered it’s off their books and they can move on. Once in a blue moon I’ll get ground packages a day or two early, and I’ve seen one three-day air make it in 2 days.

Also, the various options will default to ground when your “within zones”. For example, UPS will allow you to send a package via 3 day air across town, but will charge you the ground rate, but it will be delivered the next day, and this next-day delivery will be reflected in their “guaranteed delivery date” when creating a label online. They will charge more for the “air” options since they have a guaranteed time on the delivery, whereas ground and 3 day are “end of day” guarantees.

That clear as mud?

I belong to Amazon Prime and get the “free” two-day shipping. It is very common for my stuff to arrive the next day, rather than take two days.

The only time I’ve experienced a holding delay was for specific contractual obligation. Deliveries had to be held for a specific delivery window, per contract so one distributer didn’t have an advantage over any other on dated materials. Without that condition the deliveries are sent with a has to be delivered by this date contract. A shipper will try to get the product there as fast as they can, without the extra cost of a special trip. UPS many times will deliver days ahead of the must deliver by date. It only takes you days to figure out where they hide it if it’s a home delivery.

When I order stuff from Newegg, I choose the 3 day UPS ground option. It invariably arrives the day after it is shipped from New Jersey.

The only time I’ve had a shipper hold onto stuff was when I actually shipped a big crate of furniture overseas, which sat in a warehouse for a while before it could be picked up. I paid rather dearly for the privilege of using warehouse space. I can’t imagine why shippers would prefer to eat the cost of using warehouse space rather than deliver something as soon as possible.

Having been involved in importing into Japan for almost 15 years, and working with a number of shippers then I’d say no.

Shipping has a best case and a worst case. Sometimes the best case for the cheaper option is the same for the more expensive option, but what you’re paying for is to reduce the worst case.

3 day shipping means 3 days or less. Why would holding on to it get them more money? The shipping fee has already been paid.

The premise is that the person wouldn’t spring for the overnight option if they’re getting it overnight with the 3 day option.

I have had things arrive before the specified day, but I do remember one time when I was tracking a UPS package that was shipped 2nd day air. The package arrived in my city the day after it was shipped, but the UPS status showed “not scheduled for delivery” and it didn’t get to my house until the following day.

In which case the driver’s routes have gone out already, and it’s now in the terminal, waiting for the next days delivery route. The drivers spend the first part of their morning dropping off the next day packages on their route. After that they deliver the other stuff. They will stop sometimes with the next day parcel and say they’ll be back in a couple hours to deliver the other freight.

I came in to say this, except their warehouse is pretty close to me, so I’m impressed they still do one-day all the way to DC.

Well, the OP has the shipping company holding the package *after *the payment has been made. How does that affect the charge? Presumably, the person who paid for the shipping paid for a certain level of service. Getting it slower would not result in a surcharge, would it?
And it says nothing about overnight, so I’m unclear on what that means.

My understanding of the (simplified) way they do the next-day/second-day/third-day shipping is that they’ll load the plane or truck with all of the cargo that has to get there the next day, and if there’s room they’ll add the cargo that has to get there the following day, and if there’s room left over after that, they’ll load the stuff that has to get there the day after that. That’s why it’s common to get second day stuff the next day.

I think what the OP is saying is that if people routinely receive packages in one or two days when they only pay for three day shipping, they will never spring for the extra cost of one or two day, they’ll just pay for three day and assume they’ll get it in time.

So if that were the case the question then is, would a freight company deliberately hold back the three day stuff so most of it didn’t get there early, so as to show a clear differentiation in service to the customer when they actually pay for a higher level of service?

Having said all that, my guess would be no, they don’t hold stuff back that could be delivered early. They just move it along the normal channel as efficiently as their procedures allow (as Billdo points out), and if it gets there early, it’s a win-win.

In addition, many facilities could never hold 3-4 days of backlog worth of packages, the last thing they want to do is intentionally hold off on delivering packages just to make a point. If they got in this habit, a 3rd day package on its 3rd day is as high a priority as an overnight on its first.

What the time/vs cost allows for is for them to give first crack to those who want to pay extra…planes full of overnight…you go on next plane and may be a day later because of it.

The next time you ship a package, not this time. What RJKUgly said. But like has also been said, there’s not the warehouse space to facilitate this theory.

There have been times that I could’ve sworn that UPS was holding stuff up en-route for this reason on ground shipments… I would be tracking a cross country package, see it in Kentucky on day two, but it would then be “in transit” for 3 or 4 days before it made it to New York. It really annoyed me the times I’ve noticed it but that has only happened about a half dozen times that I noticed…and I have received an average of 2 UPS or FED-EX boxes per business day for years.

Usually the cross country ground packages aren’t that urgent and I don’t always notice if they take an untoward amount of time so it may have happened more often then that.

On the other hand, over half of the packages I receive are shipped UPS Ground from the Allentown area in Pennsylvania and they ALWAYS arrive the next day.

According to my friend who was a shift manager at a FedEx sort center, that’s exactly how it works. It’s more efficient to fill every airplane or truck as full as possible and send them off.

What happens if you hold 2-day packages at the local depot and on that second day, there’s an unusual number of overnight packages that fill up the truck, leaving no room for the 2-day stuff that you could have sent to the sort center yesterday? Now what? Time to call the dispatcher and beg.

The underlying constant theme is “Get that box the heck outta here!” - you don’t want to be the guy that the tracking system points to when the box is late.