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If you think your post is lost

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

If you’ve been waiting for your post for a couple of days longer than expected, don’t worry - it’s likely to turn up soon.

It might arrive late if it was sent over a public holiday, or because of bad weather.

Your item will be returned to the sender if Royal Mail couldn’t deliver it - for example if your address wasn’t clear. It’ll take about 3 weeks, but keep checking with the sender in case it arrives sooner.

If the sender didn’t write their address on the outside of the package, Royal Mail will open it to trace them - this will take a couple of months.

If you’re expecting something to be delivered by a courier service you should check their website - many couriers have online tracking services.

Contact the seller if you’re waiting for something from an online shop - they should tell you when your was sent and if it’s likely to be lost.

Work out when your item was due

If you’re worried about where your post is, ask the sender what type of postage they used. Depending on how the item was posted, it could still be on its way.

If it was sent with Royal Mail, it’ll be due:

  • the next working day - if it was sent 1st class
  • 3 working days after posting - if it was sent 2nd class
  • on the date the sender requested - if it was sent Special Delivery

Bank holidays and other public holidays aren’t working days - so you’ll need to remember this when working out when your post should arrive.

If it’s more than 3 working days late

If your item arrives 3 or more working days after it’s due (or 24 hours for Special Delivery) you can claim compensation for the delay.

If it doesn’t turn up after 10 working working days (5 days for Special Delivery) you can claim compensation for loss.

Use our tool to find out how much compensation you could get and how to claim.

Check whether your post was a ‘restricted item’

Your item might have been destroyed if it’s classed as a restricted item, for example:

  • flammable liquids, such as wood varnish or lighter fluid
  • aerosols (unless they’re toiletries), for example spray paint or air freshener
  • fireworks

You can check Royal Mail’s restricted items list online.

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