How to Troubleshoot Shipping Rate Too High or Too Low

Overview

If you are seeing a difference in rates, you want to look through the following document for potential causes to ensure you have ShipperHQ set up correctly.

Most commonly, these discrepancies in price stem from differences in packing, weight, dimensions on the products, or differences in rate type. Troubleshoot the discrepancies using the following steps:

Test Your Rates in ShipperHQ

ShipperHQ comes equipped with a Test Your Rates calculator that you can find on the lefthand navigation when you are logged into ShipperHQ.  If you’ve made modifications to your configuration, you’re not sure how an order is being packed, or you’re seeing a rate that seems like it might be too high or low, these would be ideal situations to test using the Test Your Rates calculator. Simply enter the destination address and item details in the Test Your Rates calculator and you will be able to see the same results that your customers would get. Expand those results for a detailed list of information that was used to determine the pricing, packing, and visibility of those options.

Check Carrier Settings

Check that your rate types are set correctly

When you set up a live rate carrier you are able to choose what type of rates you want to use. You can use negotiated rates, listed rates, retail rates, etc.

To check the settings on this go to “Carriers” in the lefthand navigation, edit the carrier you want to check, and go to the Account Settings panel. We have listed some examples of Carriers with their rate types below.

UPS

  • You will find four rate types under the “Customer Classification Code” field:
    • Rates Associated with Shipper Number – a common option that uses negotiated/incentivized shipping rates
    • Daily Rates – the listed carrier rates with a small discount for those who ship daily
    • Retail Rates – listed rates
    • Standard Rates – listed rates but in an older style

For more information on how to set up a UPS carrier reference this article.

USPS

  • You will find three rate types under the “Rate Type” field:
    • Retail Rates – standard listed rates
    • Online Rates – Endicia or Stamps.com rates
    • Commercial Rates – Special incentive rates

For more information on how to set up a USPS carrier reference this article.

FedEx

  • You will find a check box for “Negotiated Rates”:
    • If you have this checked you will use negotiated rates which are the rates associated with your account

For more information on how to set up a FedEx carrier reference this article.

Check any handling fees on the carrier

A handling fee will always bring up your rates to a higher cost than what you get from the carrier. To find out whether you have a handling fee on the carrier:

  1. Go to the Carriers in the ShipperHQ dashboard
  2. Edit the Carrier you are reviewing
  3. Navigate to the Fees tab > Handling Fees panel and look at the “Flat Surcharge” and “Percentage Surcharge/Discount fields,” both should be set to zero if you do not want a handling fee to apply to your rates

Check if you’re sending Declared Value

On some Carriers such as UPS or FedEx, you have the ability to send “Declared Value” to the carrier. Declared Value is the “insured value” of items you’re shipping to customers, and often they might require an additional fee on shipping that comes direct from the Carrier. Carriers have their own insurance thresholds and charges for products with declared value.

If you have Declared Value turned on in ShipperHQ, your rates might be higher than expected depending on the value of items in the cart you are testing.

Check if rating Residential vs Commercial rates

Some carriers charge a few dollars difference depending on commercial or residential addresses. Check if you have the carrier set to receive Residential or Commercial rates.

  1. Go to Carriers in the ShipperHQ dashboard
  2. Edit the Carrier you are reviewing
  3. Open the Optional panel (or Accessorials Panel, if applicable) and scroll down to ‘Additional Settings’.
  4. You will see a dropdown for “Default Destination Address Type”. Check if you have this set to Business (Commercial) or Residential. Residential often returns higher rates.

Check if you’re using Sandbox Mode vs Production Mode

Enabling Sandbox mode on a Carrier is not recommended, as it will cause a large discrepancy in some rates. You should not use Sandbox mode unless you were instructed to do so by your carrier.

  1. Go to Carriers in the ShipperHQ Dashboard
  2. Edit the Carrier you’re reviewing and scroll to the Account Settings panel.
  3. Uncheck “Use Sandbox” unless you have been previously instructed to use it.
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Check if Boxes & Packing Settings

Is ShipperHQ only rating off of weight?

One of the most common reasons for discrepancies in ShipperHQ is due to NOT using Dimensional Packing.

By default ShipperHQ rates off the weight of items in the cart. When you enable the Dimensional Packing Advanced Feature, ShipperHQ will rate off of the item’s Dimensional Weight. Dimensional weight is a formula that carriers use to determine shipping costs based on volumetric weight instead of just dead weight. Or in other words, it allows carriers to incorporate not just the weight of the goods being shipped but also the size of the packages they’re getting shipped into.

To learn more about this advanced feature and how to configure it, please reference this article.

Was the correct packing box chosen for the shipment?

If you have certain packing requirements or if you enter your shipments during fulfillment as a certain package type, be sure that ShipperHQ is also calculating off of that same package size. Otherwise, this will cause a difference in rates. For example: if ShipperHQ determines all items can fit into 1 box, but you actually pack the shipment into 3 boxes, this will affect the rate accuracy between your two systems.

To define how items are packed, you’ll need to create a Packing Rule, such as “Pack Separately” or “Pack in Multiple Fixed boxes” and then assign the packing rule to your ecommerce platform. For more information on how to configure packing rules, reference this article. To learn more about setting up packing boxes, reference this article.

What will happen when an item in the cart is larger than all possible boxes?

ShipperHQ uses overall volume/dimensions to determine the best-fit box to pack all product(s) into. If the system determines that one of the item(s) in the cart is larger than all available boxes then the default behavior would be to use the dimensions of this item to pack all products into.

For instance, let’s say that you have defined boxes 2x2x2, 5x5x5, and 10x10x10 within ShipperHQ, and on the cart, you have products 3x3x3 and 11x11x11. Product 11x11x11 is larger than all available packing boxes. ShipperHQ, in this case, will use 11x11x11 item dimensions as the packing box for all other products and make a “custom” box size. This could result in rate discrepancies. We advise that you ensure you have boxes configured that can account for all item sizes.

Troubleshooting Boxes

To view rate logs to determine which boxes ShipperHQ packed into, review this document. For insights into why ShipperHQ might pick the wrong box, reference this document.

Did you check your boxes for any surcharges?

When setting up Box-based shipping rules you can add surcharges or discounts to the boxes you have set up. Check to see if you have any rules surcharging a box. This can be found under the Shipping Rules tab.

  1. Go to Shipping Rules > edit the box-based Carrier Rule
  2. Open to the Advanced panel
  3. Under the ‘Advanced Conditions’ section, locate the Boxes Include dropdown. Ensure that all of the boxes added should be applied to this rule.

Check Shipping Rules

Check if your Shipping Rules are altering rates

Shipping Rules can be used to add surcharges/discounts based on different criteria. You should check your Shipping Rules to ensure you don’t have any unwanted surcharges, discounts, or set rates applying to your orders.

  1. Go to “Shipping Rules” in the ShipperHQ dashboard
  2. Review your list of Shipping rules by looking at the Shipping Methods column, and find the Shipping Rule(s) that are attached to the method/carrier you’re investigating
  3. Edit the Rule and scroll to the I want to… panel
  4. See if your rule is surcharging, discounting, or overriding the rates.

Check if Units Match between ShipperHQ & Platform

Do your weight units match in ShipperHQ and your eCommerce platform?

Without Dimensional Shipping, ShipperHQ only rates off of the weight of the product. You can check to see what units you are using in ShipperHQ under Account Settings.

  1. In the ShipperHQ Dashboard, go to Account Settings
  2. Choose the Global Settings tab
  3. The Weight Unit field controls what unit ShipperHQ is using. This should be the same as what you have set in your eCommerce platform settings.

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Also, When you’re comparing rates by weight, are you converting fractions of lbs to ounces?

Check Store Logs

On all of the supported eCommerce platforms except Shopify, you can view the response information from the rate via the Logs. The logs provide information about the rate calculation, including the packages used for the order, order weights, and shipping costs returned. On Magento, you can also see the original shipping price which is the price from the carrier before handling/surcharges/etc have been added.

Looking at the logs and comparing the details to the rates you get from the carrier is a good first step.  Check the rest of the information below about other settings to check before raising a support ticket. In our experience, almost all issues are because of a configuration setting.

You can find carrier-specific documentation for diagnosing with logs in these articles.

Email Support About Rate Discrepancies

If you’ve reviewed the above and are still seeing discrepancies in your rates, don’t fret! Reach out to us and we can dig deeper for you. Just send us the below:

  1. Find the Transaction ID/Quote ID in your store’s logger
  2. Check the carrier’s official page to determine what rates should be
  3. Send the information found from #1 & #2 to support@shipperhq.com with a brief description of the expected and actual results.

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