Articles on: Returns Management

Auto-Cancel Return Labels

Plans: Premium, Enterprise Platforms: All platforms


AfterShip Returns’s auto-cancel return labels rule enables you to trigger return request auto-expiration when there is no shipment update for 28 days after the request is approved. The return request status will be automatically updated from Approved to Expired and the associated return labels generated with AfterShip Returns will be automatically canceled.

How was it done before?

Before this automation rule

The merchants have to score through their return list to find out the requests that are approved but have yet to be returned by the shoppers. These are the return shipments that have been sitting in the pending state for a very long time
The merchants have to go to AfterShip Shipping > Label history or visit the carrier account managers directly to cancel the unused return labels

What you’ll learn

In this article, we will show you:

Additional considerations
Enable return labels auto-cancelation
Customize reminder and expiration emails
Set up internal notification
RMA management

Additional considerations

You need to set up auto-generate return labels in routing rules for the shipping methods you are supporting to enable this feature
You need to purchase and activate the AfterShip Tracking service for real-time tracking updates from carriers
This feature only auto-cancels prepaid return labels generated with AfterShip Returns.

The auto-cancellation feature does not apply to manually uploaded return labels.

Enable return labels auto-cancelation

Go to Shipping > Return labels in the AfterShip Returns admin
Enable Auto-cancel return label which will automatically cancel the return labels generated with AfterShip Returns if there are no shipping updates 28 days after the request is returned

Customize reminder and expiration emails

Before auto-cancelation, you can notify your customers at two stages about the return request expiration.

Go to Customizations in AfterShip Returns admin
Click Notifications
For the request expiration, there are two email templates you can enable

Request expiration reminderWhen a return request has no shipping updates {n} no. of days after request approval to remind customers to send the items back.
Return request expiredWhen a return request expires because of no shipping updates 28 days after request approval

You can decide when to trigger the request expiration reminder email once the request is approved in AfterShip Returns by clicking Edit > Edit trigger

Edit the number of days on the popup window and hit Save

Set up internal notification

Send the return request expiration email to yourself and other members of your organization by enabling the internal notification for the same. This allows you to ensure that you to stay up to date with the latest return updates, which require your immediate attention.

Go to Internal notifications in AfterShip Returns settings

Toggle on internal notifications for Return request expired under General category
Click Manage to select the recipients of the internal notification. You can choose yourself (owner) and/or the organization members.
Search recipient by name or email address, then tick the checkbox for the recipients you want included in the list and click Confirm
Click View example to preview the email notification template

Learn more >

RMA management

Once the return request expiration is triggered, the status of the return request will be updated to Expired and our system will send a request to the carrier via API to cancel the unused return label.
When the return label is successfully canceled with the respective carrier, the shipment status will be updated to label void

Supported carriers

Australia Post, Canada Post, Correos Spain, DPD NL, Endicia, FedEx®, Porter Express, StarTrackm, UPS, and USPS.


1. Why did return label cancelation fail?

Please double-check if the current carrier that you are generating the return label with supports label cancelation through AfterShip’s integration. If they do support this feature, please understand that some carriers may also have a label validation date that is shorter than 28 days, which means the return label may have already been voided on the carrier side so we could receive an error from the carrier side when the auto-cancel return label feature is triggered.

2. Why does the package still get delivered after the return request expiration?

There might be chances where the shopper dropped off the return package right before the return request expires on the 28 days. How carriers process these “expired” returns is out of AfterShip's control. Merchants will need to process the expired return manually if the packages are eventually returned to the warehouse.

Updated on: 19/12/2023

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