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UPS and FedEx Shipping Can Be Dangerous to your eBay Business

November 13th 2005

UPS and FedEx Shipping Can Be Dangerous to your eBay Business

Small - Large Bubble-wrap

It can cost you dearly if your package gets damaged even if you paid for insurance.  We have had both UPS and FedEx decline insurance claims because they argue we did not pack the item sufficiently. This usually occurs on the larger – heavier items. 

It is impossible to ship some items. If the item weighs over 150 pounds neither UPS nor FedEx Ground will ship it.  There is also a size limitation.  UPS will not ship a package if it is over 108 inches in length.  They also have a cubic measurement limit.  Measure the length of the package and add the girth of the package.  If the sum of these measurements exceeds 165 inches they will not deliver it.  They will also charge you an oversize fee.

If a package weighs over 70 pounds they require special labeling.  Some packages even though they are light in weight, could be hit with a special size service charge.  These shipments are called “dimensional”.

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We were shipping some picnic baskets in a box that was just one inch to long or wide.  The extra inch made the package dimensional.  Even though we thought we were making out, we lost money on every shipment.  Check your bills.

Also consider the dimensions of the box when you purchase them.  For instance, a 24 X 18 X 10 box is not dimensional.  There is no surcharge.  Keep these boxes separate from the large dimensional boxes so you don’t accidentally use the wrong box.

There is no guarantee that your heavy package will make it to the customers house in one piece.  There are a couple things you can do help the odds.  First you can wrap the manufacturer’s box in the large bubble wrap.  I tape the bubble wrap around the box. 

The box should have at least three inches space on each side between the inner manufacturer’s box and your shipping box.  I have found that a layer or two of bubble wrap on the bottom of the box will help just in case the packing peanuts shift and the item moves to the bottom of the outside box. 

Then load some packing peanuts into the box.  Place the manufactures box (with the large bubble wrap wrapped around it) into the shipping box.  We have used this technique in conjunction with sheets of Styrofoam.  You can buy sheet of insulation at Home Depot that will work. 

Then load the rest of the box with packing peanuts.  You may want to place Styrofoam around the inside box along with the large bubble wrap.  This will depend on the vulnerability of your item.  

If the box loses integrity the peanuts may leak out making your item vulnerable.  You may want to tape the seams of the box.  Your goal is to get that package to its destination without being damaged. 


Many things can happen to your package.  It could be dropped off the truck.  It could fall off a conveyer belt.  It could be placed on the bottom of a pile.  Take the extra time to ensure a safe shipment.

FedEx and UPS do not pay every claim.  We believe they pay claims at the beginning each quarter but start denying them after you reach a certain threshold.  You can fight their denial but you may lose.  They almost always pay on the low dollar claims. 

Matthew in Ohio told Best Syndication "I'm in the Quality Assurance Dept. at FedEx Ground in Toledo, Ohio. On a nightly basis, I write up, repackage, DPM (damaged pkg. maintenance) 15+ packages. Most are indeed due to improper packaging. It literally pains me to, in my report, give the reason for the damage. Especially "care packages" sent to family members in college, etc. Christmas gifts are particularly suspect.

As a policy we have discontinued shipping FedEx and UPS next day.  It is just too costly on items weighing over 50 pounds. The above article concerns itself exclusively with Ground shipments. 

Scotch® Tape, twine, and Duct® Tape are all too often to blame for the closure failing. Duct® Tape is an absolute no-no for use in closing cardboard."

Patricia Harris, FedEx Account Executive told Best Syndication: "For domestic shipping use length x width x depth divided by 194. This is the dimensional weight. If this number is greater than the weight, this is the weight that will be used. For intl the divisor is 166.

The reason for this is that space is crucial on an aircraft…and limited. A plane full of pillows would not be worth our while to fly. Therefore if a package is lighter than average, it will be charged for the space it occupies."  Her comment concerns FedEx and not FedEx Ground.  Patricia recommends shippers acquire a service guide and follow its instructions for dimensional charges.


By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Keywords and misspellings:  postal postle shiping packages Fed Ex Ground UPS USPS UPSP way wiegh

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                     Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:39 PM