So a quick definition to start things off.
A Shipping Adjustment is when an incorrect shipping label is generated due to inaccurately inputted shipment information, causing a courier company to readjust the shipping information to get the package to its final destination and ensure proper shipping costs are paid.
Easy enough, but how do they get spotted?
Most often the case, the courier company you are working with will double-check the shipping label details of your package, with the actual source package being sent over, and apply additional charges, charged back to you, for any inaccuracies found.
By measuring out the dimensions and weight of your package, the courier company is also able to calculate the proper delivery charge, since the pricing structures are all based on weight class or tiers, regardless of the courier you work with. They do this by measuring out, not the weight of the package, but rather how much space it takes up, known as Cubic Pricing or Dimensional Pricing.
The formula for this form of pricing is, (length x width x height) / (courier unique divisor). If you need help in estimating delivery costs or comparing the prices of various couriers, check out eShipper’s courier solution.
These additional chargebacks are becoming more and more common as the technological infrastructure of courier companies expands, enabling them to accurately measure the various properties of packages that they handle on a daily basis.
So to avoid this in the future, first you need to know which shipping adjustments are the most common, and what you can do to prevent them.
The five major reasons for shipping adjustments are:
- Package Weight
Nowadays, shipping facilities have state-of-the-art tech, meaning they know every little detail about every package that comes in. So if the shipping label of your box states that the package you’re shipping is X amount, but after being weighed by the courier it shows a difference of .35g, you’ve just triggered a shipping adjustment. To avoid this, follow the old carpenter philosophy, “measure twice, cut once” — being extra careful with the small details will only benefit you, and reduce any additional shipping costs that you might otherwise incur.
- Package Dimensions
This ties in with the last point because you cannot get away from inaccurate measurement — the couriers will find out. All couriers have some form of electronic imaging in place that continuously scans each processed package in their facility. So once again, to avoid any unnecessary additional shipping costs, measure twice, and cut once, or partner with a reliable fulfillment company to always have your package dimensions accurate to the millimeter.
- Non-matching Post Office Zip Code
Minor discrepancies in the shipping label of your package and its source-destination will also trigger a shipping adjustment. This can be as simple as not including a buzzer code to a building, or inaccurately filling in an address. We recommend always double-checking any shipping information entered, to save you the hassle of dealing with the additional fees incurred after the fact.
- Incorrect Package Type
Not much to say here but to just be aware to always double, triple, and quadruple check the shipping information details you input to avoid any future problems with courier discrepancies.
If your package is oddly shaped, is too heavy and bulky, or is coated/wrapped in sticky/slimy/slippery material, this will automatically label your package with “additional handling required”. Essentially, this means that due to the nature of your package being different from the norm, i.e it needs to be taken off the conveyor belt and into the hands of a handler, you will have to incur additional costs for “special handling”. We recommend always keeping your packaging “conveyer-safe” and easily transportable to save on shipping costs. If you’re curious to learn more ways on how to save on shipping, check out our blogs diving deeper on these topics: 6 ways to reduce shipping costs and 5 factors that reduce shipping costs for your business.
Shipping adjustments are annoying, and can become a hassle having to always keep track of the small details to make sure everything is in order — we get it! Remember, the motif of today's blog is measuring twice, and only cutting once.
Details such as:
- Your package size and weight
- The shipping address destination
- Package type
- Indication for any further special handling
are all important to double-check before generating a shipping label.
By ensuring the details are correct, you are preventing any further additional shipping costs that your courier might charge you, saving you the time and money to continue pushing your business for growth and success.