What does Delivered to Agent for Final Delivery Mean?

I have seamlessly been using USPS for 10 years until one day I received an uncommon update about my package, “delivered to agent for final delivery.”

What could that even mean? Analysis paralysis took the better part of my night as the mail I was expecting had vital private details. 

I went on to research that update and if you are going through the same situation, this ultimate guide clears up everything. Read on.

USPS delivered to agent for final delivery meaning

When USPS updates you “delivered to agent for final delivery”, it means someone has received a package on your behalf. This could be an authorized person such as a family member, neighbor, or colleague. You can also receive this update when the package has been handed over to a courier or accepted at a local post office to be delivered to you. 

Who is an Agent according to the US Postal Service?

USPS Delivered to Agent for Final Delivery

Whenever someone accepts mail on one’s behalf, USPS refers to them as an agent. As such, your package may not have been delivered to you or an authorized person, but USPS will still provide an update that the mail has been delivered to an agent should they hand it over to someone else. 

So, if USPS is overwhelmed and hand over your package to a courier service to deliver it to you, that courier is your agent who is supposed to make the final delivery to you. 

USPS may also hand over your package to your local post office, where they will expect them to make the final delivery to you. That’s how they will be termed as agents. 

Reasons for “Delivered to Agent for Final Delivery” Update

From experience, there are many reasons why you may receive a USPS delivered to the agent for final delivery. These include: 

1. You weren’t available and the package was collected on your behalf

As aforementioned, an agent is anyone who can collect your package on your behalf. Now, if you live at a given address with any other person above the age of 12, then a US Postal Service carrier can at their discretion decide that that person can collect your package and sign. 

When that package is collected on your behalf and at the recipient’s address, then you will undoubtedly receive the delivered to agent USPS update. 

USPS expects whoever received the package on your behalf to deliver it to you – the final recipient. 

The second time it happened to me, they had left my package with the leasing agent for our apartment. I was called the following morning and everything was intact. 

2. The package was handed over to someone responsible

This scenario happened a lot at the height of Covid. Whenever USPS was overwhelmed with deliveries, they could sometimes hand over packages to the local post offices and entrust them with making the final delivery to the recipient. Whenever that happened, recipients received the USPS delivered to agent for final delivery updates. 

This still happens sometimes when USPS leaves packages at local post offices expecting them to make the final deliveries. 

Again, sometimes USPS can decide to outsource the delivery to a courier service. Whenever they engage a courier to make a delivery on their behalf, the recipient receives the “delivered to agent” update. In a couple of days, the responsible courier company eventually delivers the package to the final recipient. 

3. The package was put in the wrong mailbox

This happens a lot, especially when USPS uses a substitute driver to do deliveries. Again, whenever there is an error on the USPS website for your local address, it’s easy to have the package landing in the wrong mailbox. 

Whenever a package is put in the wrong mailbox, you may receive the dreaded “delivered to agent” USPS update. 

The problem is that you may wait for even weeks and no package will ever reach you. Whenever you receive this update and your package fail to get to you in the next business day, be sure to visit your local post office and have them check your package.

4. There is no name on the package

While USPS may get it right to include the right address on a package, it happens sometimes that they literally don’t include a name on it. 

As such, they deliver the package to the local post office and the expected recipient gets an update that it has been delivered to an agent for the final delivery. This happened with my young brother’s 1st haul and he had to go to the local post office to receive his package. 

5. The package arrived late at the post office

Whenever a package arrives late in the sorting at a post office, they may decide to give it to a postal worker to do the delivery. At this point, the obvious update would be that the package has been delivered to an agent. 

Waiting until the next day may be a great idea before you even panic as the postal worker will certainly prioritize on making this delivery. 

6. Incorrect tracking 

There have been complaints that instead of the former update, “delivered in/at mailbox”, some USPS package updates show that they have been delivered to an agent. 

June, an online shopper says that even with the USPS “delivered to agent update”, she always finds her packages in her mailbox. 

If you had selected to collect your USPS shipment in your mailbox and receive such an update, don’t panic. You may actually be surprised to find your parcel in your mailbox. 

Hopefully, USPS will sort out this incorrect tracking glitch and be as seamless as it used to be when they used Big Blue as compared to their current touchscreen scanners. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the criteria used to determine an agent?

USPS doesn’t offer a one-size-fits-all criterion on who can be considered an agent, but they should be aged above 12. 

To determine the right person to collect on behalf lies squarely on a USPS carrier and they look out for the most “seemingly trustworthy” person to be the responsible delivery agent for the final recipient. 

Among the first people to be considered to collect packages on behalf of the recipient include authorized family members aged above 12, neighbors in the same address as you, parcel lockers, colleagues, local post office workers, and even the leasing agent for your apartment. 

How can I track my package?

If you had a “delivered to agent for final delivery” USPS update, then it’s possible to track your package and check if you can know who the agent is. 

To do so, get your package’s tracking number and enter it on the USPS official site to receive the needful details.

You can as well download the USPS App on either Google Play Store or Apple Store and enter your tracking number there. 

Calling USPS or signing up on Delivery Manager may also be effective ways to track the progress of your package whereabouts.