What does an RTO (Return to Origin) means in Courier?

RTO (Return to Origin) Meaning in Courier

While dealing with eCommerce and the delivery process associated with it, we come across a wide range of terms that are related to the supply and delivery of the items. Each term has its own meaning and significance. Return to Origin or RTO is one such term that we commonly hear in the eCommerce world. Let us have an idea of the term and what exactly it means. This will help you to have more idea about the whole concept of Return to Origin.

In simple terms, Return to Origin (RTO) means when the courier agency is not able to deliver the shipment due to non-availability of the recipient and hence sends it back to the warehouse of the shipper. There are lots of reasons why the shipment cannot be delivered to the doorstep, such as the recipient is not present, location is not found, and lots more. In that case, the courier notifies the shipper about the same and returns back the item.

In most cases, Return to Origin is classified into four categories:

  • Reship immediately and expect a return.
  • Reship immediately and don’t expect a return.
  • Wait for return and reship.
  • Wait for return and cancel.


Usually, if the recipient is not available, the courier company will make some more attempts and try to call the recipient. If the recipient does not respond even, the courier company marks the shipment as RTO and returns it back to the shipper’s warehouse. The whole return process depends on the contract between the shipper and the courier partner and in some cases the shipper may need to incur some extra costs for that.


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