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DHL Exception Meaning and How to Respond as an eCommerce Store

Uh oh. You just found a package exception that DHL — a courier package delivery and mail service — sent to one of your customers. You rightly assume that your customer will be a little panicky about it, which in turn makes you panicky. 

You worry because you wonder what specifically the DHL exception meaning could be. Could it be that the package was lost? Stolen? Delivered to the wrong address? First, calm down because a package exception isn’t necessarily bad news.

What Does Delivery Exception Mean?

Don’t panic when you get that notification of a delivery exception. Allow us to explain. A DHL delivery exception means that the package is stuck in transit, and even then, it’s only temporary. It could result in a delayed package, which is why they’re informing customers and sellers.

How Do DHL Exceptions Work?

Because DHL caters to international shipments in most cases, customs will be the most common reason for a delay. Packages going to or from overseas have to pass through many processing centers and may even be handed to other carriers for some journeys. 

An exception delivery notice might get generated during sorting, delivery, or handoff to a second carrier.

How Do DHL Delivery Exceptions Affect eCommerce Businesses?

When thousands and thousands of shipments are made every day, even with the most reliable carriers, there will be the occasional package that experiences a problem. 

This is little consolation for a customer who’s experiencing a frustrating delay, of course, and they can turn their anger toward you, the seller. This is why eCommerce shops need to have a solid understanding of DHL status exceptions.

Common Causes of Delivery Exceptions

When a delivery exception comes, it’s most likely because of the following issues.

Weather Conditions 

Storms can make plane landings impossible. Earthquakes and other natural disasters can destroy shipping facilities and warehouses. And floods can render delivery routes undrivable. None of these weather or natural problems can be fully predicted or avoided. That’s why they’re called “acts of God.” 

Even with backups and contingency plans, no system is perfect, and a disaster or weather system can prevent package delivery.

Customs Delays

Customs have to check packages thoroughly before they can pass through certain countries. If there are backups as packages are being checked, there will be bottlenecks. To make sure your package isn’t a problem, ensure all tariff codes are present and the proper paperwork has been filled out.

Damaged or Missing Labels

Delivery drivers are not clairvoyant. When a label is torn or otherwise damaged, the delivery address and barcodes can be rendered unreadable. In this case, the package might have to be taken back to the shipping facility for sorting. Labels might have wrong information, such as incorrect or incomplete addresses.

Federal Holidays

If a package has the misfortune of arriving on a national holiday, DHL will be taking the day off. Friday and Monday holidays can leave packages stuck for an entire weekend.

Staff Shortages

Employees get sick, take vacations, get injured, and even get laid off. This can lead to staff shortages and shipments that can’t get processed. It’s rare for DHL, but it happens.

Signature Required Upon Receipt

Shipments containing valuable items require signatures. If no one’s home to sign for the package, it goes back into the truck. The driver will try to deliver the package a few more times before returning it to the warehouse.

What Are Possible Outcomes of a DHL Exception?

A DHL status exception isn’t necessarily a problem, but you need to know what to do when it is.

The Package Is Delivered on Time

The best-case scenario is that the package arrives on time and in perfect shape. The delivery exception DHL sent you is to let you know there might be a problem so that you aren’t surprised if there is a problem.

The Package Is Delivered Late

The delivery might not even be that late. It could arrive the next day. This isn’t always a problem, and the customer might not mind. However, If the customer paid for fast shipping, you might need to smooth that over with them.

The Package Is Returned

This usually happens when the label is incorrect or damaged. At this point, you need to find out which customer was expecting the package and communicate with them to find out the next steps.

The Package Is Considered Lost

Remember those “acts of God” mentioned earlier? They can make packages disappear. So can a dozen other potential problems ranging from theft to a wrong address delivery. 

When it’s lost, that’s it. It’s gone. Can it show up eventually? Possibly, but don’t count on it. It’s best to communicate with your customer and send another package or offer a refund.

How to Respond to DHL Exceptions

First, don’t panic. Even if the exception results in a delayed, returned, or lost package, there are solutions.

Contact the Carrier

DHL will be able to tell you why the delivery exception notice was necessary. They’ll be able to explain where the package is and if there’s any cause for concern.

Contact the Customer

Update the customer on exactly what’s happening with the package. If the problem is with the address label, make sure you get the correct delivery information so that DHL can get the package to its destination.

Issue a Refund or Resend the Package

If the package was lost, damaged, or returned, let the customer know that you can send them a refund or provide another shipment.

Let Print Bind Ship Deal with DHL

Delivery exceptions can be nerve-racking, especially when you don’t know the reason. It could be innocuous, and the package is fine. Or, it could mean a problem you’ll have to smooth over with the customer. 

Do you want to reduce the stress of delivery exceptions? Print Bind Ship can help you manage them and make sure customers stay happy! We store, pack, and ship packages worldwide, so we know how to make sure packages get to their destinations. 

If you’re ready to rely on our experience and expertise so you don’t have to worry about delivery exceptions, contact Print Bind Ship today!