How Can I Retrieve Old USPS Tracking Information?

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Retrieving old USPS tracking information can be an essential part of managing your mail, whether you’re a small business owner verifying deliveries or an individual keeping tabs on your incoming packages. This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about retrieving old USPS tracking information, from the reasons why you might need to do so, to the step-by-step instructions and potential challenges you might face in the process.


To retrieve old USPS tracking information, you need your tracking number, which can be found on your sales receipt, online label record, or shipping confirmation email. Input this number on the USPS tracking website. If the information is no longer available online due to USPS’s data retention limits, you may use USPS Tracking Plus® for a fee to view up to 10 years of tracking history. Alternatively, you can contact USPS customer service or visit your local post office for assistance.

Why Retrieve Old USPS Tracking Information?

There are various reasons why you might need to retrieve old USPS tracking information. It could be to provide proof of delivery in case of disputes, to use as evidence in legal proceedings, for financial purposes such as providing proof for refunds, for insurance claims when a package was lost or damaged, or even to assist USPS in locating missing mail.

How Long Does USPS Keep Tracking Information?

USPS retains tracking information for different durations depending on the service used. For general USPS mail service, the maximum period is 120 days. For services like Certified Mail, Priority Mail Express, and Registered Mail, the retention period is approximately 2 years. USPS also offers a premium tracking service that allows you to save the package tracking history for up to 10 years, but this service comes with an additional fee.

Step-by-Step Guide to Retrieve Old USPS Tracking Information

  1. Find Your Tracking Number: Look for your tracking number on your sales receipt, online label record, or shipping confirmation email. If you’ve lost your tracking number, contact USPS customer service for help.
  2. Use USPS Tracking Plus®: This service allows you to view up to 10 years of tracking history for domestic packages and up to 7 years for international packages for an additional fee.
  3. Use Informed Delivery®: This free service allows you to digitally preview your mail and manage your incoming packages on one dashboard without entering tracking numbers.
  4. Contact the Sender: If you’re not the sender, you can ask them for the tracking information. They may have kept a record of the tracking number.
  5. Visit Your Local Post Office: If you’re still having trouble finding your tracking information, your local post office may be able to help.

Challenges in Retrieving Old USPS Tracking Information

Retrieving old USPS tracking information can be challenging due to limited data retention periods, lost tracking numbers, expired tracking numbers, technical issues, and operational challenges. In such cases, USPS offers options to retain completed tracking information for a small fee with USPS Tracking Plus.

Alternative Methods

If the USPS website doesn’t provide the required tracking information, you can try using USPS’s Informed Delivery service, filing a Missing Mail request, contacting USPS customer service, or using third-party tracking services.

Privacy Concerns and Restrictions

There are several privacy concerns related to USPS tracking information, including identity theft, fake USPS tracking numbers, law enforcement access to customer data, misuse of Informed Delivery service, lack of deactivation process, and manipulation of USPS tracking info. To protect your privacy, it’s recommended to sign up for Informed Delivery and guard your login information.

In conclusion, while retrieving old USPS tracking information can be a complex process, it’s an essential tool for managing your mail. With the right tools and knowledge, you can keep track of your USPS packages and protect your privacy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the USPS Tracking Plus® service cost?

The USPS Tracking Plus® service costs vary depending on the length of retention. For exact pricing, it’s best to check the USPS website or contact USPS customer service.

Can I retrieve tracking information if I’m not the sender or receiver?

No, tracking information is typically only available to the sender and recipient of the package for privacy reasons.

How can I protect myself from fake USPS tracking numbers?

Always ensure that you’re receiving tracking numbers from trusted sources and verify the tracking number on the official USPS website. If you receive a suspicious email or text message with a tracking number, do not click on any links and report it to USPS.

Can I access USPS Tracking Plus® and Informed Delivery® services from outside the United States?

Yes, you can access these services from anywhere with an internet connection. However, Informed Delivery® is only available for addresses within the United States.

What should I do if USPS can’t find my tracking information?

If USPS can’t find your tracking information, you can try contacting the sender if you’re not the sender, visit your local post office, or file a Missing Mail request on the USPS website.

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