Shipping Fees

This discussion focuses on ways for businesses and residents to reduce shipping charges and recover shipping fees. Shipping rates are based on a number of factors from destination, source, type of package, size, weight, urgency, containerization, method of delivery, and more. 

The Amazon Effect

This is another competitive space that has intensified with the growth of Amazon and not only its marketplace but shipping functions too. Online retail growth and globalization have brought strong demand to shipping providers.  

Devil in the Details

From handlers of residential to commercial packages covering everything from envelopes, boxes, pallets, sea containers, freight brokerage, truckloads (TL), less-than-truckload (LTL), conestogas, dry van, refrigerated trailers, intermodal, and expedites on land or air. It’s a complicated and high-speed sector where errors occur like anywhere else. Whether the errors are your fault, the customer, or the carriers there are possible ways to get your money back when mistakes are made.

Containerization

Containerization refers to everything from a small envelope, corrugated boxes, to a crate and palletized piece of machinery going into a sea container. This is a decision that balances over spending yet prevents damage to the contents. You’re not likely to recover a fee if you shipped an item in a more expensive box than  necessary. 

In some cases, especially for international shipping, there are rules around acceptable types of containerization and labeling requirements that apply to the container and/or the item(s) themselves. Trying to skirt the rules is likely to leave your package stuck in customs with possibly no recourse however in most cases, it will be sent back. 

Seek Carrier Advice

For large sizes and heavy weight contents the containerization costs can be significant costs. Usually the carrier will tell your options to meet the packaging requirements. Carriers may have different solutions to meet the requirements which again, is where homework and research can help you avoid unnecessary fees. You can contact carriers in a number of ways but sometimes lowest risk route is to take the package to a store to have it assessed by a customer service agent. 

Containerization

Excess Shipping Fees

Thousands of dollars are overpaid annually to package carriers that are rarely found yet alone disputed and recovered. From the small change of putting two stamps on an envelope to paying a premium for a specified level of delivery service only to find out later that it didn’t happen.

Some fees are more recoverable than others. For those that are less likely, it’s more important that the customer carefully assesses the shipping options up front to avoid over spending.

The Cost of Speed and JIT

Convenience and the pressure of time cost money. It goes without saying that if an item is needed tomorrow versus two weeks, you’re going to pay a premium for the expediting.

All you need to do is drive on the highways for a few minutes and take a look at all the expediting freight haulers. The advent of just-in-time (JIT) deliveries, the pursuit of perfectly timed supply chains, and cash flow optimization has contributed to more frequent shipping patterns. And when there is an interruption in the supply chain there is need to expedite to make up for lost time. These are enormous costs in the B2B arena that may never be eliminated but there are ways to soften the blow and possible recover fees after the delivery is complete.  

Hire a company to audit and recover freight charges

The process can be intimidating and cumbersome from finding the correct forms and answering technical questions. There are companies that specialize in auditing shipping transactions and if there is a recovery possible, they will go after it for small commission or a flat fee. These companies know what to look for, who to talk to, and how sort through the noise to recovery overpaid fees. 

Shipping Insurance

This is a service which may reimburse senders whose packages are lost, stolen, or damaged during delivery. Purchasing shipping insurance is a risk/reward decision as with all types of insurance but in some cases (usually <$100 value) you contents may already be protected.

If you declare the value exceeeds an already covered amount, you often have the option to purchase various types of insurance or additional features to ensure your item arrives appropriately. The carrier may require you to purchase insurance especially if it’s a high value item and not all insurers will insure all goods. To exercise the insurance and get your money back, you’ll have to file a claim, submit documentation and otherwise follow the process for the carrier.

Terms and Conditions of Liability Coverage

If you’re considering buying insurance read the terms and conditions to understand the extent of the protection if offers and speak to representative if there are further questions. 

Third Party Insurance

There are third party insurers that may be less expensive than the insurance offered by the carrier. Stamps.com has partnered with USPS® to offer wide breadth of services which include options for insurance. 

Refund my Fees

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United Parcel Service  (UPS®)

The United Parcel Service (UPS®) is a multinational shipping company with its headquarters in Sandy Springs, GA. UPS has a long history of participating in this space but over the decades they’ve encountered competition from FedEx, DHL, XPO Logistics, and Amazon more recently.

FedEx®

FedEx Corporation is a multinational shipping company with its headquarters in Memphis, TN. It’s one of the largest domestic and international carriers that revolutionized expedited shipping and the tracking of packages. FedEx has largely separated ties with Amazon but is still a major carrier for the U.S. Government. Several contact numbers and methods can be found be clicking on the link below. 

United States Postal Service ®

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is a government agency providing shipping services. Like the other major carriers they offer an array of online tools that allow customers to calculate various shipping scenarios to make the most economic decision. Below are a couple links for domestic an international recovery processes for residents and businesses
Contact Information:

Email: USPS® Customer Service

1-800-275-8777 – primary line
1-800-877-8339 – TTY/ASCII for persons with hearing and speech impairments.
1-800-845-6136 – persons with hearing and speech impairments who wish to speak only in Spanish
1-866-377-8642 – for hearing persons with speech impairments

Preventing Claims

The following are tips to help prevent the need to file claims. Falling short of these guidelines are the primary reasons for claim denials. You may want to take pictures/video of your packaging process. If possible and depending on the level of risk you choose, visit a carrier’s store and request assistance from customer service.  

Preparation of the Package/Container (not necessarily in this order). 

1. Use solid boxes of corrugated material to give appropriate weight support for your package. There are options to reinforce the corners internally for additional support. Boxes are created to meet certain weight and crush strengths. Follow the box strength guidelines of the carrier you plan to use.  

2. Metal or plastic banding may be necessary to fasten the contents to a pallet or crate. Ensure to use an approved pallet or crate type which can vary by end user or country. 

3. Ship cases in corrugated shipping containers. Consider corrugates separators to isolate objects from each other. Further protection can be used such as foam or bubble wrap.

4. Securely seal contents at risk of leakage. Ensure caps are tightened and try to add a seal around any caps of liquids.

5. Leave at least 2 inches of space around all sides of the item(s) for protection.

6. Reinforce package edges to protect from bending.

7. Securely seal package joints and seams with reinforced tape. Use a strong tape, such as pressure-sensitive plastic tape that is at least 2 inches wide,  nylon-reinforced filament tape that is at least 2 inches wide, or water-activated reinforced tape that is at least 3 inches wide. Do not use masking tape, cellophane tape, duct tape, water-activated paper tapes, string, or wrap the box in paper because it will not provide a strong enough seal. 

8. Include complete address information and telephone numbers on the label. Include the receiver’s postal code (where applicable) with the complete street address, contact name, and telephone number on the label. Add the suite, apartment, or unit number, if applicable. For international shipments include a contact name, telephone number, and postal code. International address formats vary and can be much different than the U.S. 

9. Include your complete return address, including full street address and postal code. 

10. Place label on a flat surface on the top of the package and wear it is expected to have the lowest risk of wear.

11. Place only one address label on the box. If using a packing slip, place it on the same surface of the box as the address label.

12. Place a duplicate address label inside the package in case the external label becomes damaged or illegible.

13. If the box has been previously used, remove or cross out any old labels or markings.

14. Insert a duplicate label or other form of address information inside the package. 

15. Ensure that the label adheres to the surface on which it is placed, as some product items can be resistant to adhesive backings or they loose their adhesion over time due to vibration, heat, cold, etc. 

Preventing Claims

Preventing Claims

The following are tips to help prevent the need to file claims. Falling short of these guidelines are the primary reasons for claim denials. You may want to take pictures/video of your packaging process. If possible and depending on the level of risk you choose, visit a carrier’s store and request assistance from customer service.  

Preparation of the Package/Container (not necessarily in this order). 

1. Use solid boxes of corrugated material to give appropriate weight support for your package. There are options to reinforce the corners internally for additional support. Boxes are created to meet certain weight and crush strengths. Follow the box strength guidelines of the carrier you plan to use.  

2. Metal or plastic banding may be necessary to fasten the contents to a pallet or crate. Ensure to use an approved pallet or crate type which can vary by end user or country. 

3. Ship cases in corrugated shipping containers. Consider corrugates separators to isolate objects from each other. Further protection can be used such as foam or bubble wrap.

4. Securely seal contents at risk of leakage. Ensure caps are tightened and try to add a seal around any caps of liquids.

5. Leave at least 2 inches of space around all sides of the item(s) for protection.

6. Reinforce package edges to protect from bending.

7. Securely seal package joints and seams with reinforced tape. Use a strong tape, such as pressure-sensitive plastic tape that is at least 2 inches wide,  nylon-reinforced filament tape that is at least 2 inches wide, or water-activated reinforced tape that is at least 3 inches wide. Do not use masking tape, cellophane tape, duct tape, water-activated paper tapes, string, or wrap the box in paper because it will not provide a strong enough seal. 

8. Include complete address information and telephone numbers on the label. Include the receiver’s postal code (where applicable) with the complete street address, contact name, and telephone number on the label. Add the suite, apartment, or unit number, if applicable. For international shipments include a contact name, telephone number, and postal code. International address formats vary and can be much different than the U.S. 

9. Include your complete return address, including full street address and postal code. 

10. Place label on a flat surface on the top of the package and wear it is expected to have the lowest risk of wear.

11. Place only one address label on the box. If using a packing slip, place it on the same surface of the box as the address label.

12. Place a duplicate address label inside the package in case the external label becomes damaged or illegible.

13. If the box has been previously used, remove or cross out any old labels or markings.

14. Insert a duplicate label or other form of address information inside the package. 

15. Ensure that the label adheres to the surface on which it is placed, as some product items can be resistant to adhesive backings or they loose their adhesion over time due to vibration, heat, cold, etc. 

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