How to Troubleshoot Shipping Rate Too High or Too Low


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.  This document will cover these areas as well as several others for you to check.

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.

Have you looked at your 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.

Check that your rate types set correctly – Negotiated Rates / List Rates / Retail Rates

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


  • You will find four rate types under the “Customer Classification Code” field:
    • Rates Associated with Shipper Number (invented rates)- inventive rates associated with your account
    • 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


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


  • 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

Other Carrier Settings

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 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. Scroll to the Handling Fee 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 to see 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.

Boxes & Packing Affecting Rates

Is ShipperHQ only rating off of weight?

Out of the box, ShipperHQ rates based on the item weights in the cart. In order to account for the size of the item dimensions, you would need to enable Dimensional Shipping. One of the most common reasons for discrepancies in ShipperHQ is due to not using Dimensional Shipping.

If you enter package sizes and dimensions when fulfilling orders, you will want to use Dimensional Shipping in ShipperHQ, otherwise, our software will only be calculating rates based on weight and not package size.

Was the correct packing box chosen for the shipment?

On some occasions, products should be packed into boxes in a particular method. However, the products are not packed into the boxes that are expected, which can significantly affect rates.

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.

You can figure out how to see which boxes ShipperHQ packed via steps in this document. We have deeper insight on why ShipperHQ might pick the wrong box in this document.

Did you check your boxes for any surcharges?

When setting up Box-based carrier 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 Carrier Rules tab.

  1. Go to Carrier 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.

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 then all available boxes then default behavior would be is to use 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 then 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.

Check 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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Carrier Rules Applying to Rates

Check if your Carrier Rules are altering rates

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

  1. Go to “Carrier Rules” in the ShipperHQ dashboard
  2. Look in the Carriers Attached To column in the list, and find the Carrier Rule that is attached to the Carrier you’re investigating
  3. Edit the Rule and scroll to the Actions panel
  4. Look under Set/Modify Shipping Rate to see if your rule is surcharging the rates

Mismatched data 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.


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

Emailing 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 carriers official page to determine what rates should be
  3. Send the information found from #1 & #2 to with a brief description of the expected and actual results.

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