10 Important Shipping Carrier Errors That Could Cost Your Ecommerce Business5 min read

Have you looked at your FedEx or UPS invoice lately? Shocked to find your shipping costs at an all-time high? The reality is that FedEx and UPS have slapped a 4.9% shipping rate hike (read more about 2018 shipping rates) forcing merchants to rework their shipping strategy. While retailers are still weighing up the domino effect of these new rates on their bottom lines, they often overlook claiming the money that they are entitled to. Shipping carriers often commit errors in the form of service failures or invoicing mistakes that amount to around 20% of your shipping costs. A deeper inspection of your shipping carrier invoice could reveal numerous hidden money-back spots. However, these errors occur randomly making it a painstaking process for businesses to identify them let alone dispute them.

Luckily, you don’t have to embark on this scavenger hunt alone. At LateShipment.com, we automatically audit your shipping invoice for over 50 carrier errors and recover refunds that are directly applied to your shipping invoice.

Here is a snapshot of the ten most expensive shipping carrier errors that are eligible for refunds

10 Shipping carrier error committed by FedEx, UPS or DHL which are eligible for refund claim such as late deliveries, lost package, damaged shipment, address correction, residential surcharges, duplicate charges, fuel surcharges, void shipments, delivery area surcharges, incorrect dimensional weight pricing


Delayed Deliveries – Sample this: You are a wine retailer who has had a merry sales season. Just when you are toasting your big wins with that chilled Chianti, you are interrupted by a distressed call from your customer. As luck would have it, his favourite bottle of chardonnay was going to arrive late. To keep him happy, you speed deliver another bottle, it’s Christmas after all! But then you get another call and then another. Before you realise, you are flooded with order delivery complaints and end up spending the better part of your holiday salvaging delivery disasters.

The real cost of late delivery is a disjointed customer delivery experience and losing repeat buyers. One harrowing delivery experience could get you blacklisted by even loyal customers.

Damaged shipments –  True, when an expensive order is found to be damaged, it causes a dent in your profit margin. But far greater is the resulting negative impact it has on a customer’s brand perception.

Lost Shipment: The message on your customer’s tracking page reads: Delivered to the front porch. When your customer enquires about the package whereabouts, with casual indifference, you quote the delivery status update. Surprise! They don’t even have a front porch. 

Lost shipments could turn out to be devastating for retailers and their customers alike. Especially when they are marked as delivered by the shipping carrier.

Residential surcharges: There is a fee applied to packages that are shipped to non-commercial addresses. But what exactly is considered as a non-commercial address? UPS states that a residential surcharge would be applied whenever a package is shipped to any address that is a house and does not have an entrance open to the general public.  Let’s say you’ve got an artistically designed, quaint office with a side entrance and a carefully camouflaged garage- it’s quite possible that residential charges will get applied even if it’s situated in the middle of a bustling city.

Address correction charges: Instances of packages delivered to wrong addresses are aplenty. Agreed, the address could be incorrectly mentioned on the package by the shipper. That still does not absolve FedEx or UPS of taking responsibility when packages are delivered to wrong addresses. Nobody wants their brand new purchase sitting on somebody else’s doorstep.

Incorrect delivery address


Dimensional weight pricing:  When you ship a 3 tier cake or a pound and bench toy that weighs less than 6 lbs, how much do you pay? You may have to pony up the charges for a 13 lbs package. Dim weight pricing is one of the trickiest charges to calculate. Finding an optimal package size for orders remains a challenge for retailers. Pad it, you pay extra. Skimp on the cushion, you face unhappy customers. Adding to worries of a toppled cake, is an application of incorrect DIM weight charges.

Void shipments: Remember those labels that you created but never used? They generally account to about 0.22% of total packages. At an average cost of $5 per shipping label, cancelling unused labels could recover a significant amount, especially if your shipping volume is quite high.

Delivery area surcharges and extended delivery area surcharges: Did you know an additional fee is applied every time a package has to be delivered to residential, rural or commercial rural area? Packages tagged under DAS are charged a $4 – $4.5 whereas those tagged as eDAS are charged a whopping $130-$150. Even more appalling is the fact that there is a good possibility that 20% of your ecommerce orders fall under either of these categories.

Fuel surcharges: The most contentious and least surprising fee applied to a shipping invoice has been fuel surcharge for all service types including ground shipments. Adding to the complexity of validating your invoice charges, fuel surcharges keep fluctuating on a weekly basis.

Duplicate charges: Is it possible to bill a tracking number twice? Tracking numbers theoretically are unique. But in practice, the same tracking number could be assigned to two different orders. Although straightforward and low in occurrence (.07%), depending on the charges that are duplicated, the amount you could save from auditing for duplicate charges could be significant.

Shipping service errors

Image source: Disneyinstitute

Inspecting each shipping invoice and searching for errors is like playing catch blindfolded. You have no clue where or when you are likely to bump into an error. An automated auditing process, on the other hand, could systematically catch all possible errors and request refunds on your behalf. All you have to do is, say the word: “Audit”! ( And of course follow it up with a 2 minute sign up process with LateShipment.com)





All charges mentioned are as published by FedEx/UPS

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