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How accurate is USPS tracking, delivery times?

12 News put the post office's tracking system and delivery times to the test.

PHOENIX — Time's running out to get your Christmas packages in the mail. But how accurate are the postal service's delivery times and tracking?

12 News, along with our sister stations across the country, set out to test both delivery times and the USPS tracking system to see how accurate they are.

We sent 33 packages to and from 13 cities to see how long they would take. 29 of them arrived on time or early. But four of them didn't make it on time. 

One of those packages was supposed to be delivered to Indianapolis in four days. It finally showed up three weeks later. Others showed up only a few days later than scheduled, but were still late.

Inside those packages, we also placed GPS trackers to see where they were. We compared that information to where the USPS tracking software said they were. 

Some were accurate, others were way off. 

One package went to Fort Worth, TX, while the USPS tracking software said it was in Tampa, FL. Still another package was dropped off in Sacramento and delivered close to the scheduled time. But the USPS system showed the package still in Sacramento a month later. 

Overall, 88% of the packages we mailed showed up at their destination on time.

If you want your packages delivered by Christmas, December 17 is your last day for First Class mail. 

December 18 is the last day for Priority Mail. 

You have one more option, but it'll cost you a lot more: Overnight/Two-Day mail's deadline is December 23. 

RELATED: What are the Christmas shipping deadlines for USPS, FedEx, UPS?

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