Royal Mail Tracking: How to Track a Royal Mail Item

Royal Mail Tracking: Step by Step

Speaking of parcel tracking, no matter carried by Royal Mail or other couriers, there are lots of ways to do that, including tracking services provided by the couriers and using other tracking tools with additional functions. Anyway, first of all, you have to get a tracking number which may be also called a barcode or a reference.

# 1 How to get a tracking (reference) number?

If you are the sender:

This will be 9-27 characters long and will be on your Post Office® receipt and the label showing the service used.

If you’re using a Customer Collection, your despatch book or manifest should list the reference numbers of items collected.


If you are the recipient:

It will be given to you by the sender or seller.


#2 Tracking Steps (on Royal Mail official website):

1. Type in your reference number on the page of tack-your-item (Royal Mail)


Image result for royal mail tracking  number

Royal Mail Tracking on the official website

#3 FAQ & Answers

2. You may have to complete a quick CAPTCHA test. This is a security measure and makes sure you're human and not a bot.

3. Pick the boxes containing the images you’re asked to identify and hit 'Verify'.

4. You can now see tracking information for your item.

 Why isn’t my reference number recognised by Tracking your item? 

There could be a number of reasons for this. Please check:

(1)The number entered is correct.

(2)If you're the recipient, check the sender has given you the right reference number.

(3)The reference number is for an item sent with Royal Mail, using a service that offers tracking.

(4)If the item has been sent. The sender might have created a tracking number, but not yet submitted the item into our network. Please try again later.


What can I do if I’ve lost my reference number?

If you are the recipient:

Contact the sender and ask them to give you the number.

If you are the Sender:

Check your order confirmation or invoice. It might contain your reference number. Or try contacting the recipient. They’ll be able to tell you if they’ve received the item. Unfortunately, if you sent your item at a Post Office® and you’ve lost the receipt or the tear-off section from the label, they wont be able to tell you the reference number or use any other information like a name or address to track items. Without a reference number, you won’t be able to track your item. 


What does the Royal Mail tracking message mean?

When you are tracking your item, it gets scanned at various points in its journey.

You’ll see this information when you use Track your item.

Please note:

  • The status in Track your item will be the most up-to-date information we have.
  • The number of times your item is scanned depends on the service used.
  • For some services – including Signed for® 1st Class and Signed for® 2nd Class –  items can be scanned twice: when the Post Office receive and deliver them. This could mean the status of your item doesn’t change for a few days. Don’t worry though, it’s on its way.


Most tracking information is easily understandable, but some of them can be confusing. Here are some of the most common terms and what they mean ( quoted from Post Office® ).

  • We’re expecting it - The sender has let us know this item will be with us soon, but we haven’t received it yet. We’ll update the tracking information when we receive it.
  • We’ve got it - Your item is in our network. We’ll update the information as it moves through our network. If the service used only offers delivery confirmation, we’ll update the status when it’s been delivered.
  • Your item was posted at the Royal Mail Customer Service Point - Your item was dropped off at one of our Customer Service Points, the message will include the location, date and time. We’ll update the information as it moves through our network. If the service used only offers delivery confirmation, we’ll update the status when it’s been delivered.
  • Internal exception occurred - We’re experiencing system issues. Please try again later.
  • In transit - Your item is on its way through our network. This message can cover several stages of its journey. You’ll see more details of its location and status when you enter your reference number.
  • Pending - This can cover several possible situations in your item's journey, including if we haven't received the item yet. You’ll see more details specific to your item when you enter your reference number.
  • Ready for delivery - Your item has reached the local delivery office. We’ll try to deliver it as soon as possible, unless there’s a service like Keepsafe or Redirection set up. We’ll update the status when we deliver or attempt to deliver the item.
  • Your item was delivered - We've either delivered it to the address on the item - this could be your home address, work/business address, or the address you've arranged to collect it from - or we've left your item with a neighbour.
  • If we leave your item with a neighbour - the message will tell you which neighbour, we'll also leave you a card confirming the details.
    • If your item is being delivered to a work address or business, there may be some instances when we can't deliver as addressed. If you haven't had the item or a 'Something for you' card, please check with your colleagues or the post room to see if someone has accepted the item on your behalf.
  • Your item was delivered to your requested Safeplace - We've left your item in your designated Safeplace, we'll also leave you a card confirming the details. Find out more about Safeplace.
  • Proof of delivery is not available - This could mean:
    • The item was sent using a service that does not provide a copy of the signature.
    • The signature might have been taken on a confirmation of delivery card. We aim to get these signatures online within 72 hours of delivery, but you’ll usually see it much sooner.
    • Find out more about signatures.
  • Retention Item - Some business addresses have a Retention Service to cover days when they’re not open. We won’t deliver to them on these days. Instead, we’ll hold on to the item and deliver on the next working day, or according to the business’ instructions.
  • We could not retrieve your details - We’re experiencing system issues. Please try again later.
  • Collected - The recipient has picked up the item.


You may also notice some unfamiliar abbreviations in our tracking messages. These are the most common:

  • DO - Delivery Office
  • EO - Enquiry Office
  • MC - Mailing Centre
  • NRC - National Returns Centre
  • OE - Office of Exchange. On international deliveries this means the item has arrived at the import customs office.
  • POL - Post Office Limited
  • PSC - Postal Sort Centre
  • RDC - Regional Distribution Centre


Which services can be used to track your item with?  

When you’re sending something important or valuable, you need to know it’s secure at every stage of the delivery. With our Special Delivery Guaranteed services your item will arrive safely, and on time, or your money will be given back.


Royal Mail Tracked 48® combines cost-effective UK-wide delivery with online tracking, so you can keep tabs on your parcel’s progress.

2-3 day parcel delivery with online tracking.

Optional signature on delivery, plus SMS and/or email notifications

Free collection and free management reporting.

When you want to send something overseas quickly and need some extra peace of mind, International Tracking and Signature services could be the answer.


 Any Other Simpler or More Effective Alternatives?

Comparing to the tracking services official site offered, using third-party tools may be much more convenient for you to track your items especially when there are a great number of them carried by different couriers. By entering your tracking (reference) number, you can track the Royal Mail item and know the exact shipment status marked by a smart identifying system. Many third-party parcel tracking tools can do much better and more work than those normal methods mentioned above. Trackingmore is one of the most useful ones which allow you to track one or multiple items carried by different couriers (covering 500+ couriers). It works well for both online shopping individuals and online sellers.

Image result for trackingmore

Just for Royal Mail Item Tracking

Trackingmore items carried by other couriers


Reference: Royal Mail Official Website




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