Can I Use a FedEx Box to Ship USPS?


Two FedEx Boxes

I was recently going to send a package to a family member and had it all boxed up and ready to go. I went to the post office and realized I had used a FedEx box. I wondered if it would be okay to just slap on a P.O. label and send it anyway. So I made a couple of calls, and this is what I found out.

It is technically possible to use a FedEx box to ship through USPS, as long as the shipping label used is a FedEx shipping label. However, it is not legally allowed and could result in problems for your shipment.

As you can see, it is a bad idea to try and use the wrong kind of box. Here are some more details on what I found out.

What Happens If You Accidentally Put a FedEx Package in a USPS Drop Box?

It is difficult to know exactly what will happen if you accidentally put a FedEx package in a USPS dropbox.

  • In the best-case scenario, the postal worker who picks up the package will transfer it to the correct box, and it will be shipped as usual. Due to things like human error, however, this is not always the case.
  • A postal worker could also send the package to the shipment facility, where it will hopefully be identified as a competitor’s package and taken to the correct facility.
  • In the worst-case scenario, the package will be misplaced or lost.
  • It is likely that your package will still arrive at its destination, although significantly delayed. But, it cannot be guaranteed when you accidentally put a FedEx package in the USPS dropbox.

What About Sending a Package Through FedEx in a USPS Box?

It is also possible, although not technically permissible, to send a package through FedEx in a USPS box. Because of this, it may appear that a FedEx delivery driver is delivering a United States Postal Service package, but this is not the case. Most likely, the box is from USPS, but the shipping label is through FedEx.

Then Why Did I See FedEx Delivering USPS Packages?

With FedEx SmartPost, FedEx delivery drivers drop off packages at the local post office to be delivered by the United States Postal Service during the final leg of the journey. Because of this, it may appear that FedEx is delivering its packages to USPS. However, SmartPost is a partnership between USPS and FedEx to allow for more flexible delivery and lower delivery prices.

Is SmartPost Technically Owned by FedEx or USPS?

SmartPost is a service provided through FedEx to cut down on shipping costs for lightweight packages.

SmartPost targets the “last mile” of package delivery, which can drive up the cost of shipping a significant amount. The “last mile” of postal delivery is not actually a mile, but instead can be up to 100 miles. With SmartPost, this final leg of delivery is passed off to the United States Postal Service.

This provides many advantages for customers, the first of which is lower shipping costs. It also allows more flexibility with delivery, since FedEx cannot deliver to P.O. boxes. It will enable customers to use one tracking number throughout the entire delivery process and follow their package until it ends up at their address.

Final Thoughts

All of the different mailing services have their own boxes for a reason. It’s because they want you to use their service, so they can make life difficult if you don’t. The real solution is to just use generic boxes with the label of whatever service you choose to use.

I hope this article has been helpful, thanks for reading!

Main photo courtesy of frankieleon

Jim James

Jim James spent most of his childhood outdoors fishing on lakes in his area. Due to his scouting background, he has always been interested in survival, camping, and the outdoors in general. Jim is a best-selling author and has a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. He lives with his family in Charlotte, NC.

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