Tracking Number Doesn't Work - Is It Fake?

If you are a honest online store, have you ever received customers' complaints about tracking numbers not working?

Customers wonder:

  • Is the tracking number fake?
  • Is the online store a scam?
  • Will I really receive my order?
  • Can I get the money back?

All the panic a shopper have can result into canceling orders and multiples of customer complains, and worst of believe that the tracking numbers are real!

In this article, I will tell you the problem an online store makes and how to avoid getting customers' complaints about fake tracking numbers after shipping.

Do you send the tracking numbers too EARLY?

Sending customers tracking numbers at the right time is critical for great service after shipping. If you send the tracking number too early, even it is a real one, the courier or postal service has not yet uploaded the tracking information online (i.e. not yet scanned the barcode).

For example, the customer will see the message "Delivery status information is not available for your item via this web site" at [USPS website](" target="_blank)—causing the customer wonder if the tracking numbers are real or fake.

Tracking Number Doesn't Work - Is It Fake?

To avoid this, online store should give the customers a heads up that the tracking information may not be available when they send out the order confirmation emails in which includes the tracking number—i.e. ask customers to wait.

The question next customers may have is: how long should I have to wait for that? It could be a few minutes or hours. For e-commerce stores with better service, they should inform the customers AS SOON AS the order is trackable online.

That's one of the reason we invented AfterShip which helps merchants to actively track shipments and send out notifications when the tracking information just turns online (the first "In Transit" email).

You can learn more about [AfterShip notifications](" target="_blank) and [sign up free](" target="_blank)!

Does the tracking link match the tracking number?

**It is a common mistake that an online store sends a wrong tracking link when they use multiple couriers / postal services. There are cases customers input a USPS tracking number to a link of UPS—for customers from all over the world, this is just difference of one letter—of course, customers question why the tracking number is not working.

My advice? Making sure you send a CORRECT tracking link in the order confirmation together with the tracking number definitely makes your life easier—hopefully you will not get customers asking "where can I track my order?".

For online stores that want to provide a better after shipping service, you can include a direct tracking link which shows the tracking result of that tracking number—in this case, customers can even save their time inputing tracking numbers, and avoid the problem of mistyping a wrong tracking number.

With AfterShip, online merchants can include a [tracking link which directly shows the tracking results for your order when sending delivery notifications](" target="_blank). And the best of it? The tracking results are in the same format even if you're using different couriers.

No Updates of Tracking Information After Leaving Origin Country

If you are using a postal service to ship worldwide, then you probably have face a problem of incomplete tracking information after the shipment has left the origin country. Say you are shipping from US to overseas, the tracking information at USPS can only shows the information within US - and once it leaves US, one has to track at the destination country.

In this case, you should first find out whether the tracking information is available at the postal service in the destination country - for example, we learn that a shipment cannot be tracked in Australia if using the usual air mail to ship to Australia.

In another case, if you ship from US to Brazil,  you can use the same tracking number to track at both USPS and [Brazil Correios](" target="_blank)—USPS will show tracking information within US, and [Brazil Correios](" target="_blank) will show the information within Brazil.

In that case, you should provide two different tracking links for the same shipment.

With AfterShip, you can automatically track a shipment from end to end in both origin and destination countries for online stores—[check the supported couriers here](" target="_blank)—and provide one single tracking link for that shipment to avoid confusion and any language problems when tracking in overseas couriers.

If you connect a store from our supported shopping carts, we will automatically detect the destination countries for you; and if you use a CSV to upload your shipments, you can identify the destination countries for us to track from end to end.

If you're interested in our service, feel free to contact me at Happy to share and help.