UPS Says It Will Toss Your Package If You Do This

UPS Says It Will Toss Your Package If You Do This

The company has warned customers that this practice is prohibited. iStock We're quick to put our trust in major shipping companies like the United Parcel Service (UPS), which is responsible for delivering more than 6 million packages every year. But there's a lot of work that goes on behind-the-scenes that customers don't see before a

The company has warned customers that this practice is prohibited.

A UPS driver making a delivery to a residence in Rochester.
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We’re quick to put our trust in major shipping companies like the United Parcel Service (UPS), which is responsible for delivering more than 6 million packages every year. But there’s a lot of work that goes on behind-the-scenes that customers don’t see before a package gets dropped off on their doorstep. As it turns out, that work can sometimes result in a package getting pulled mid-travel. UPS warns customers that certain practices will indeed get their packages discarded. Read on to find out what kinds of shipments UPS reserves the right to throw away.

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Postman worker scanning package with barcode scanner in warehouse for delivery.
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Some people incorrectly assume that they can send whatever they want through the mail without a second thought because it’s a crime to open someone else’s packages. The reality, however, is more complicated than that. For one thing, private companies like UPS include the “Right of Inspection” in their terms and conditions, meaning the company “reserves the right to open and inspect any package” a customer pays it to transport.

“Your reasonable expectation of privacy is out of the hands of the government when you use third-party shipping options,” Carl Barkemeyer, a criminal defense attorney in Louisiana, explains on his website. Additionally, unlike the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), third-party couriers like UPS don’t have to obtain a warrant to search a package they feel is suspicious.

San Francisco, USA - May 29, 2014: Packages on a UPS truck out for delivery in San Francisco.
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There are “certain prohibited items UPS won’t ship due to laws or regulations,” according to the company. This includes the shipment of something that is still illegal federally: marijuana. Over the past few years, state laws surrounding the sale of marijuana have become much more lax in the U.S., leading to the legalization of recreational cannabis use in nearly 20 states, per CNET.

But there is still a federal prohibition on cannabis, which means you can’t just buy marijuana products in a state where it’s legal and ship it elsewhere as you please. Under UPS guidelines, the shipment of marijuana is “prohibited under any circumstances, even when marijuana is for medicinal purposes or is otherwise legal under a state’s law,” the company says.

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Package delivery with marijuana, payment terminal. Use and storage medical marijuana. Legalized narcotic herb. Treating pain, stress and insomnia. Registered medical hemp delivery agent
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If you somehow manage to get UPS to accept a package with marijuana products inside without them knowing, don’t assume you’re in the clear. The company warns that it “reserves the right to dispose of any shipment containing marijuana.” The only exception to this restriction is that UPS does accept products made from hemp—which includes CBD—for shipment, but only “as permitted by all applicable state and federal laws.”

And UPS does not allow the shipment of hemp products coming from any location that also sells marijuana or marijuana products. So the company also “reserves the right” to throw away certain package containing hemp or hemp products.

United Parcel Service Delivery Truck. UPS is the World's Largest Package Delivery Company I
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Simply having your package thrown away by UPS for containing marijuana products could be the least of your worries, however. The company also has a prohibited item fee that you could get hit with. “If it comes to the attention of UPS that a package contains any prohibited article, you must pay to UPS an additional minimum administration fee of $150 in addition to any other applicable charges,” the company says on its website.

You could even get banned from shipping anything with UPS ever again. The company warns that it “reserves the right to discontinue service to any shipper for, among other reasons, tendering a package containing marijuana, hemp or hemp products.”