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What are Carrier Adjustments?
What are Carrier Adjustments?

Understanding APV and surcharge adjustments from USPS® and UPS® and how you can dispute these adjustments

Updated over a week ago

This article is a breakdown of the carrier djustments you may see when shipping with USPS and UPS.

  • Understanding Carrier Adjustments: When you purchase shipping labels on Pirate Ship, both USPS and UPS may charge you after you ship in the form of Carrier Adjustments. These charges will appear in your individual shipment links, and you can see all of these charges listed in your Reports / Carrier Adjustments.

  • Adjustments Don't Come From Pirate Ship: Note that none of these charges ever come from Pirate Ship, but directly from the carriers themselves 😅

APV Adjustments (USPS)

  • USPS APV Adjustments: When you ship with USPS, the type of carrier adjustments you might see are APV adjustments. USPS runs each package in its network through the Automated Package Verification System (or APV, for short). This system helps USPS verify your packages for accurate:

    • Weight

    • Dimensions

    • Service Type

    • Package Type

    • Origin Zipcode

    • Destination Zipcode

  • Why USPS Imposes Adjustments: If USPS determines that you underpaid/overpaid for postage or used a different package or service from what you entered when buying your label, they will automatically charge or credit your Pirate Ship account for the difference.

You can dispute APV adjustments from USPS

  • Dispute APV Adjustments: If you feel USPS incorrectly adjusted your shipment, you can find that adjustment by looking up the tracking number or using the link in the email.

    • At the bottom of your shipment page, you can click the blue “Dispute this adjustment” link:

  • Reason for the Dispute: When you click that link, a popup will appear asking you to describe why you’re disputing the charge.

    • For example, you can explain “All my orders weigh 15 ounces with no variation,” or “This was not a Flat Rate Envelope,” to make sure USPS knows what they’re looking for!

    • Here's how that looks:

  • APV Dispute Logged: Once the adjustment has been disputed, you’ll see that reflected right on your shipment next to where the carrier adjustment is listed:

  • Carrier Adjustment Report: Your logged dispute will also be shown on your Carrier Adjustment Report so you can keep track of all of your disputes in one place!

    • You can use this report to check the statuses of all your disputes, like in the example screenshot below:

  • Timeline of APV Disputes: Once you file a dispute, USPS typically takes up to 15 business days to process it. You can only file disputes up to 60 days after receiving the notification.

    • When USPS approves the dispute, your account will be credited for the amount of the adjustment, and Pirate Ship will send you an email letting you know 🙌 This will also be reflected on the shipment and in your Carrier Adjustment Report.

Surcharge Adjustments (UPS)

  • UPS Surcharge Adjustments: When you ship with UPS, carrier adjustments may come in the form of Surcharge adjustments. UPS has an extensive list of surcharges that apply to all shipments in their network. Similar to USPS, UPS has an internal system to verify your packages for accurate:

    • Weight

    • Dimensions

    • Origin Zone

    • Destination Zone

  • UPS May Apply Additional Surcharges: UPS also imposes many other surcharges on top of verifying you entered the correct package and address information.

    • A few examples of other carrier adjustments you might see when shipping with UPS on Pirate Ship include Saturday Delivery, Additional Handling, and Extended Area surcharges.

Disputing UPS surcharge adjustments

  • Dispute UPS Surcharge Adjustments: As is the case with APV adjustments from USPS, you can also contest UPS surcharge adjustments by following the same dispute process.

    • At the bottom of the shipment page, click the blue "Dispute this adjustment" link to begin the dispute process:

  • Timeline of Surcharge Disputes: UPS typically takes one week to process disputes for surcharge adjustments. If your dispute is approved, you'll see a credit to your account for the amount of the adjustment, and you'll also get an email from Pirate Ship letting you know the dispute was approved 😊

Why don't these adjustments happen when I drop off my package?

  • Adjustments Come After You Ship: Carrier adjustments can't occur when you drop off your package because Post Offices and UPS Stores don't have any of the APV/other proprietary machines for checking package weight & dimensions on premises 🙈

    • Drop-Off Receipts Can Help: While there's no way to prevent adjustments for shipping parcels with incorrect sizes and weights, we suggest obtaining a drop-off receipt for your package(s).

      • On these receipts, USPS/UPS will include the weight of your package when they scan it into their systems 👍 These drop-off receipts can then be used as evidence when disputing a carrier adjustment that you received in your Pirate Ship account.

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