What are post-shipment adjustments?

Adjustments are charges or credits from the shipping carrier that are billed or credited to your ShipEngine account balance. Adjustments are typically made by carriers to ensure fair billing and accurate delivery. They can result in increased costs or delays in the shipping process. Adjustments are typically caused by factors like package weight, dimensions, delivery location, or service level.

There are several reasons you might receive an adjustment, including (but not limited to):

  • A package that is an unconventional shape, like a cylinder or tube

  • Package dimensions exceed the service or carrier maximum

  • Saturday deliveries

  • The package is packed in something other than cardboard, such as wrapped in plastic or encased in metal

  • The recipient address is incorrect or incomplete

  • The label was attached incorrectly, so the barcode could not be scanned

  • Residential or out-of-area deliveries

  • Fuel surcharges or Peak surcharges

USPS automates much of its adjustment process with its Automatic Package Verification (APV) System. Other carriers use similar methods to ensure compliance with their shipment regulations.

How to Avoid Adjustments

The best way to avoid adjustments is to make sure you enter accurate weight and dimensions for every package you ship. This will ensure the correct rate is applied when preparing your shipping label. Entering accurate package information is the responsibility of the shipper. This is true for all carriers.

Other things to consider:

  • Use a postal scale. Don't guess! Using a scale, properly calibrated, helps ensure accurate weights.

  • For dimensions, round up fractional amounts: For example, 6.3 inches should be rounded up to 6.5 inches.

  • Check limitations for size or weight: Make certain you package is within any limitations the carrier or service has.

  • Use the smallest box: Using the smallest box that can contain proper packing materials will help avoid unnecessary surcharges, like the Dimensional Weight Surcharge.

  • Use sturdy packaging: Use materials that will not deform during shipping. A deformed package can, in some cases, exceed dimension limits for some services.

  • Indicate Special Handling: If your package is a non-standard shape or is not a corrugated cardboard box, it will require special handling. For example, boxes that are very long, very wide, or an odd shape (like tubes).

  • Get familiar with your carrier's rules: Some carriers have supplemental surcharges for delivery to certain areas. While these have been in place for many years, be sure you are aware of any extra costs.