What does the status “Returned to sender” mean on AliExpress?

It is not usual, but sometimes we've been waiting a long time for our AliExpress order to arrive and suddenly we get one of these statuses in the tracking:

  • Parcel is returning to sender, please contact the carrier
  • Package returned to sender
  • Shipment undeliverable, returned to sender
  • Delivery returned

They all mean the same thing: the package could not be delivered and is on its way to the seller.

What happened?

This status can show up for several reasons:

Order abandoned at customs

One of the most common causes is that the order was detained in customs and, when no one claimed it, it was sent back to the sender.

This happens because many people think that if they receive a notification of an order held in customs, it is enough to wait for the order to be returned to China and then ask for a refund.

This is not the case.

Customs responsibility is on the buyer's side, so if you ignore a notice and the order is returned to the seller, don't bother to open a dispute. You will lose it.

We will propose a better solution later.

Ignored carrier notice

The second most common cause is that you received a notice from the carrier and ignored it or did not know about it.

When the letter carrier tries to deliver a registered package and you are not at home, they will try again after a few days. If they don't succeed this time either, then they will leave a notice in your mailbox or you will receive an SMS telling you to pick it up at the post office.

It is possible that you missed the SMS or notice (not everyone checks their mailbox often) and the 7 to 14 business day pick-up window has expired.

Wrong address

The status “shipment undeliverable returned to sender” indicates that the letter carrier could not find the address you entered in AliExpress, and therefore the package has been returned to the seller.

Note that this happens only if the address does not exist. If the letter carrier found the address but no one was at home, the status that will appear is Delivery failed.

To prevent this from happening again, read our article on how to change your address on AliExpress.

Mistake of the post office or courier service

You don't fit in any of the three cases above?

Then get the tracking number of your order and contact your courier, because maybe it was a mistake.

What should I do?

Periodically, go to My Orders in the AliExpress app or website (click here) and wait for the confirmation that the seller has received the return.

Once the order is in the seller's hands, contact them to find a solution.

They usually give you two options:

Re-pay shipping

Most often, you will be asked to pay again only for the shipping of the item you have purchased in order to resend it to you.

Of course, if the return was due to an incorrect address, you will have to tell them the correct address so that the same mistake does not happen again.

Request a partial refund

The second option is to ask for a refund.

But keep in mind that if you have paid shipping costs, these will not be refunded, since the shipment was made correctly.

Can't I open a dispute?

If the seller does not respond or refuses to refund or resend the item, you can try to open a dispute.

There is no guarantee that it will work out, but if you have a good track record on AliExpress, you might get a refund.

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