Distribution Services Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Inbound Parcels (Receiving)      
Outbound Parcels (Shipping)       

Inbound Parcels (Receiving)

My shipment is damaged. What do I do?

We inspect the outside condition of boxes upon arrival. If the damage is visible from the outside of the parcel, Shipping & Receiving will take digital pictures of the damage and refuse delivery. We will notify both Purchasing and the campus department.

However, there is sometimes concealed damage. If you discover concealed damage, report it immediately.

It's important to open and inspect parcels immediately. If your shipment is damaged or defective, there may be a limited time that the vendor will accept a return or exchange.

For more information, see Returns.

I received an item I didn't order. What do I do?

First, check the shipping address. If it is addressed to another department, Contact Distribution Services.

If the shipment is addressed to you, it is probably a blind shipment. If you did not order the item and don't want it, do not open the parcel or the carriers will not accept its return. If you decide to refuse the parcel, we will send it back with the carrier.

In most cases, these parcels are complimentary and not charged to your department, so it's entirely up to you if you want to keep it or not.

I placed an order. When can I expect my shipment?

The delivery time depends on what shipping method the vendor is using. Express shipments include 1, 2 and 3-day delivery, while ground shipments can take up to 7 business days.

Your order can be delayed if it is on backorder or if it is a drop shipment.

For more information on:

How do I track my packages?

Most couriers like FedEx, UPS and DHL have websites with tracking features that allows you to obtain instant information about your parcel.

In addition, any parcel that has been shipped or received through Distribution Services can be tracked online. We have an internal tracking system that tracks parcels that have been delivered on campus.

For details, see Tracking Shipments.

Can I receive personal items through SJSU Distribution Services?

The Shipping & Receiving dock is intended for SJSU business commerce and items related to the function of SJSU only.

Personal items are not allowed. SJSU will not pay for loss or damage which may be incurred to a personal shipment.

I don't have room in my area. Can I store large orders or equipment in the Distribution Services warehouse?

Unfortunately, no. We have limited space in our warehouse. We need room for the constant large and oversized shipments coming in as well as the room to operate and receive shipments efficiently. We strive for same day delivery of all parcels.

For more information, see Fragile & Oversize Shipments.


Outbound Parcels (Shipping)

What is your cut-off time for outgoing shipments?

Our carriers typically pickup during the last hour of the workday starting around 3:00 p.m.

If you have an urgent overnight parcel, request Express Pickup Service by calling us before 2:30 p.m. at 408-924-1592.

You can also drop-off your parcel at Distribution Services, Corporate Yard 117.

It's already past the cut-off time for outgoing shipments. Where can I go to drop off my items?

If you have an urgent overnight parcel and you missed the cut-off time, there are drop-off locations at:

  • The UPS store on 3rd and San Fernando.
  • The Postal Annex on San Carlos between 3rd and 4th streets. They handle UPS, FedEx, DHL and USPS shipments.

I need to return a shipment back to the vendor. How do I do this?

For step-by-step instructions, see Returns.

What is an RMA number and how do I get one?

RMA stands for Returned Materials (or merchandise) Authorization. It is an alphanumeric identifier used by vendors that indicates a customer has been authorized by a company representative to return a product for repair or refund.

An RMA is similar to a tracking number in that it identifies a transaction, and both parties can get information on the progress of the transaction by using the RMA. It is not uncommon for a company to refuse a returned item if it is not accompanied by an RMA.

For additional information, see Returns.

I need to ship an item that is too heavy for me to transport. How can I get it to your location?

Contact Distribution Services to request a pickup. We require a shipping label and/or a Shipment Request & Return Materials Request form (pdf). For more information, see Express Pickup Service.

What are your shipping methods?

We use the following carriers for domestic and international shipments:

  • UPS
  • FedEx

We use the following carrier for international shipments (only):

  • DHL

Also, you can ship parcels and letters directly from your desk. Most departments are already taking advantage of this service. For details, see Desktop Shipping.

Which shipping carrier is best to use?

You can choose whichever carrier you trust. They all have the same basic features and services.

For international shipping, we like to use DHL, as they cover more countries for international shipments. DHL does not provide domestic shipping service.

For domestic shipments, we like to use either UPS or FedEx.

Who pays for re-shipping costs on an exchange or return?

Unless the vendor has agreed to pay, all shipments will be charged back to your department using your extended zip as a billing reference.

If the vendor has offered to pay the shipping, then they will give you their courier account number and your department will not be charged.

The vendor may also issue a call tag which we affix to your parcel and use for return shipment. If a call tag is issued, you have two days to get your parcel to Shipping & Receiving for shipment.

For more information, see Returns.

Do you guarantee overnight delivery?

No, we just process the shipments and get them ready for delivery. The guarantee for overnight delivery is issued by the carrier (i.e., UPS, FedEx, DHL).

The options for shipment are completely up to you. You must choose the carrier of your choice. Shipping & Receiving makes no guarantees on anything.

What if the carrier loses my package?

When shipping a parcel, you have the option of purchasing additional insurance coverage. The insurance primarily covers loss or damage of your parcel. For more information, see Insurance Coverage.

For how much should I insure my package?

You may only insure for the actual value of the contents. In the event your parcel is lost, the carrier will require a receipt or invoice reflecting the value of the items.

For more information, see Insurance Coverage.

Do you supply packing materials and boxes for shipments?

Yes, we carry envelopes and boxes for Express Shipments of UPS, FedEx and DHL.

If you are sending a ground or 3-day shipment, you will need to provide your own box and packing material.

Our packing supplies include bubble wrap and butcher paper.

I have an empty toner cartridge. What do I do with it?

  1. Most toner cartridges come with a return label inside the box. Fill out this return label and stick it on the box.
  2. Drop the box in your outgoing mail or contact Distribution Services to schedule a pickup.
  3. If you don't have a return label, contact the Facilities, Development & Operations iService Desk at 408-924-1990 for recycling.

How long does ground shipping usually take?

It depends on what part of the country you are sending your parcel to.

Local shipments can ship as fast as one day. However, ground shipments could take up to seven business days for delivery.

For details, visit UPS Ground Maps.



Where is Mail Services located?

Mail Services is located in the Facilities Corporation Yard next to Shipping & Receiving.

What are the hours of operation?

Mail Services is open for business from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

What is the count for general distribution of Shotgun mail to SJSU departments?

  • To canvas all departments only, the count is 300 pieces.
  • To canvas all faculty and staff, the count is 2,700 pieces.

What is the official return address for San José State University?

The official address is:

(Your Department Name)
San José State University
1 Washington Square
San Jose, Ca. 95192-xxxx (your department campus zip code extension)


Note: Do not use a street addresses for your return address. Also, make sure you have "Return Service Requested" printed a 1/2 inch below the return address for all permit #816 indicia first class and standard mailings.

What is the permit number for 1st class and 3rd class bulk mailing?

  • The permit number is 816
  • The indicia for 1st class mail is:
First Class Mail
U.S. Postage Paid
San Jose, Calif.
Permit No. 816

The indicia for 3rd class bulk mail is:

Non-Profit Org.
U.S. Postage Paid
San Jose, Calif.
Permit No. 816 

What is the minimum piece count for standard A (3rd class bulk) mail?

You need a minimum count of 200 pieces of exactly the same mail piece and envelope.

For instructions, see Standard (Bulk) Mail.

Who handles incoming FED EX, DHL, UPS and other express mail?

  • Mail Services handles all incoming USPS express mail and all other express mail that are for off-campus offices.
  • Shipping & Receiving delivers express mail for on-campus offices that are from UPS, DHL and FedEx.