Biz Owner Says FedEx Added 85 Pounds To Package Weight

Ross has a small business that routinely ships 10-pound packages, but says he was horrified to find out that FedEx has charged his account with a 95-pound package shipment.

His tale:

Wanted to give you a heads up regarding FedEx and POSSIBLE schilling of package weight. We have a discounted corporate account (small business), shipping mixed between US and World. The account is set-up for automatic billing to our Platinum Amex. We don’t regularly check the FedEx details, tonight we did. In almost every instance there was multiple and I mean multiple of gross weight.

Our packages are NEVER weigh more than 10lbs. In one instance a package we shipped was 9lbs, FedEx shows as 95lbs! That’s not a typo. We’ve already informed Amex to investigate and dispute every charge on our account from FedEx YTD. We are not conspiracy theorists but this looks very odd because of the consistency. Do you know of other people and businesses that have had these issues with FedEx? Any suggestions? Bottom line is that we are so pissed about what seems like blatant theft that we are ready to got to the media.

If anyone knows how Ross can most effectively dispute the charge with FedEx, please leave your advice in the comments.

Comments

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  1. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    When I worked in a mail room, we had a UPS supplied computer which weighed each package and spit out a label. We then got a print out list of every package weight, shipping method, tracking #, and cost. Does the OP have a similar system? If so, it shouldn’t be that hard to compare the shipping computers “log” vs. the mailed invoice.

    • kjherron says:

      “…and spit out a label” that you could then stick on a different package, right?

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        Which would then go to the location that the label had on it. Besides, UPS has an automated system that scans/weighs/sorts all the packages that come through the depots. But the system we had would spit the label out only when the scale either had a steady weight or zero weight.

  2. @BadCSR says:

    You should talk to your FedEx rep and see what they will do for you. If you get them on site and explain the situation they can recommend changes you can implement to prevent this from happening again.

    Also, you should be using a program like Starship with Quickbooks to reconcile your shipping charges. Then any discrepancies will be found much sooner.

    This one should fall on whoever is doing the bookkeeping for not being on point.

  3. shoelace414 says:

    is it possible it’s dimensional weight?

    • zack says:

      That’s exactly what happened. Either the package _was_ exceptionally large, or the lasers that scan for dim weights malfunctions, or a fly flew in front of them or something.

      There has been a Pack & Ship center in my family for 15 years now, and this is a fairly common occurrence. Usually the DIM weights hold, and disputing it is futile, but if you can grab the original packaging, it will help when your rep shows up to look into it.

      • r01984 says:

        So you are saying if you weigh your package before you ship it and it is 9 pounds and then UPS says the dim weight is 95 pounds. The dim weight wins even though you can really weigh anything by dimensions accurately???

    • Optimistic Prime says:

      I was thinking the same thing. I’ve been with FedEx for 12 years, and we’ve never reweighed a package unless it was grossly misrepresented. There’s just no time to reweigh every package. A dim weight does make sense. I wonder what the dimensions were.

  4. idip says:

    Question: Did they even bother talking to FedEx about this?

    Seems to me, that the story doesn’t mention it and they just went straight “to the media”.

    Also, I’m not a fan of those who don’t check their reciepts or charges and assume things go right. We know things go bad. If you’re too busy or lazy or just don’t make it policy to ensure you’re paying the appropriate charges and fees…. . then this is what happens.

    • rpm773 says:

      Since we’re talking about a small business, this is known as the “invoice verification” process.

      You get an invoice from a vendor, you cross-reference it against what you expect the charge to be (in this case, a shipping charge), and then you settle up any discrepancies with the vendor.

      Errors happen. If too many errors happen, you switch vendors.

    • d0x360 says:

      Im with you on this one. You gotta contact fedex before you call your credit card company. Try to get it resolved their.

      Also its incredibly bad Business to not audit something like this on a daily basis. Ive shipped alot of stuff and its very easy to verify weights using not only the invoice but also the tracking information on the website. A simple daily audit of shipments would show how much of your profit was being wiped away. Its just as much your companies fault as it is fedex’s.

  5. FatLynn says:

    Any chance this is a case of a misplaced decimal point?

  6. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    If Fedex has been listing their packages as 95 lbs. but still charges them for packages that are under 10 lbs. then I would surmise that this latest escapade is a mistake, not a nefarious plot by Fedex to charge the OP’s company extra. I would think that he would notice if he had charges for $100 when it should be $10 to ship a small package (prices are just for example)…so was Fedex billing him for a 95 lb. package or a 10 lb. package?

  7. Michael Belisle says:

    Go into your FedEx account and dispute the shipment, before you dispute the charge with Amex. (If I understand chargebacks correctly, they’ll deny your chargeback because you didn’t give FedEx a chance to fix it first.) I did this all the time when I had a FedEx account and other people repeatedly shipped overnight mail using my number.

    I got all of the shipments refunded, but eventually had to close the account because all FedEx could do was suggest that I call the people and ask them nicely to stop using my number. Which I did, but the department must have had labels preprinted with my number or something because it never stopped.

  8. RickDe says:

    Happens to us all of the Time. They will charge 90 Pounds if your package is oversized. It’s called Dimensional Weight. If the cubic sizeis 5,184 cubic inches or greater, Divide the cubic size by 194 (for U.S. and Puerto Rico shipments) or 166 (for Canada shipments), rounding up to the nearest whole pound. This is the dimensional weight of your package.

    Google FexEx Dimensional Weight. Talk to your FedEx rep.

  9. Yogambo says:

    This is a big issue in fact. I’ve recently sent out four identical packages and had them jack the weight and rate on all of them to some default rate of their choosing. I’ve never seen such madness in dealing with any shipper. I even had confirmations of the weights when they were dropped at the local FedEx shipping center. Yet, somehow they seem to think the cost that they provide is just an ‘estimate’ that they can increase at their whim. I’ve disputed the costs about six different times online but to no avail. I need to make a phone call to them but have needed to document the costs and differences so I know what I need to get back from them. If that doesn’t work I’m going to dispute the amounts with my credit card – Amex.

    On another note, I’m not assigned any kind of regular shipping charge as I’m an occassional shipper. But I’ve found FedEx charging me a sort of weekly “Maintenance” rate for no apparent reason as well. I’ve disputed these, but it’s obviously been one of those charges meant to go below the radar. And it also takes about three disputes to get the money back.

    I wonder if FedEx is hurting for money and trying to scrape extra out of its clients. That’s a big mistake in my book. I can ship via USPS and/or UPS and I’ll pay what it says when I close out my shipment – no surprises and no random ‘weekly’ charges.

    What up FedEx. I want my money back and I want you to stop the madness – or else I’m disputing the charge at the head of the river and closing my account!

    • waitaminute says:

      That ‘weekly maintenance fee’ is charged when you ship via FedEx Ground. You’ll notice the shipping cost for FedEx “Ground” “Home” or similar is quite a few dollars less than ‘FedEx Priority’ “Standard” or “2-day”. Don’t ship ground = no weekly maintenance fee.

  10. ecwis says:

    This is my guess also. Always at least call FedEx before complaining to Consumerist and AMEX…

  11. exploded says:

    I am a freight broker, so work with FedEx every day. I see about 50 invoices from fedex (and 45 other carriers a day), so I know how these things work. 99% of the time it’s an honest mistake. Call up your fedex rep, and get a certificate of reweigh. They have certified scales that verify the weight of every package. If the reweigh certificate is off, then show them the invoice of what was exactly shipped. You can then get them to weigh this package.

    If they have it as 95 pounds, check and make sure that it didn’t charge like it was 10 pounds. Depending on your contract, there is something called deficit weight. That means they will charge you the same price for everything up to 95 pounds, so it’s actually working in your favor.

    Bottom line, call your rep, be civil, present a case, and then they’ll be able to work with you. They want to keep your business. If they think they’ll lose you to UPS or USPS, then they will most likely bend over backwards to help.

    These tips work for small businesses. I do this nearly every single day. Individuals, good luck.

  12. Skankingmike says:

    “Calculating Dimensional Weight
    Dimensional weight applies when your package is
    relatively light compared with its volume. If the
    dimensional weight exceeds the actual weight,
    charges based on the dimensional weight will be
    assessed. To calculate it:

    • Multiply length by width by height in inches.

    • Divide by 194 (for U.S. and Puerto Rico shipments)
    or 166 (for international shipments).

    • Compare the dimensional weight and actual weight”

    http://www.fedex.com/us/packaging/guides/GrlPkgGuidelines_fxcom.pdf

    Without knowing the exact size of what he was shipping it’s hard to know.

    it’s horrible that this person decided his first course of action was charge backs (which btw won’t work) and to report it to the media.

    How about trying to go the proper route first and speak to a rep?

  13. echen008 says:

    Full Disclosure:
    I am a FedEx Sales Rep in the Los Angeles area.
    I do come across customer who have these issues and there are many reasons that it might occur.
    The most common is that the shipper ships light items but in huge boxes. Examples of this are companies who ship out pillows, cushions, etc.
    The dimensional weight of the box is much much higher than the actual weight.
    So, although your box is 10lbs, your rated at the dimensional weight (formula is LxWxH/194 ).
    FedEx is currently auditing all boxes that pass through its systems. All weight and dimensions are double checked for accuracy.
    To reduce any discrepencies, I suggest to all my customers to put the dimensions and weight on all your labels when creating them with FedEx ShipManager.
    If you still feel your boxes are being charged incorrectly, call your sales rep. If you dont know your sales reps number, you can find out by calling 1800 go fedex.
    Sales reps do have the ability to grant rerates and adjustments if they see that there was a mistake.
    Hope this helps!

  14. FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

    When using fedex we ALWAYS checked our monthly statements. We routinely found identical packages that were over-weighted/dimmed for what they really were. One time we sent out around 150 packages and over half of them were overcharged.

    I can somewhat sympathize with this guy, though. Fedex’s claims/dispute department is lethargic at best and often refused to work with us at all regarding errors.

    They even used some lame excuse that the data that shipmanager uses for the labels wasn’t up to date and that there were probably discrepancies between the old and new shipping tables. That was a load of bull since the software would only let you print a handful of labels on old tables or if you lost connection to fedex’s servers.

    Not that ups is much better, they yanked our chain so much that we dropped them completely.

    • @BadCSR says:

      Indeed, we charge customers $5 surcharge (its just padded into the shipping charge through the cart system) when they select UPS, we use the extra money to fund our own claims since they suck anus when it comes to paying claims. Prior to our switchover to FedEx we were at about an 8% error rate, which is horrible when you ship close to a thousand packages a day, since the switch we file about 5 claims a week… down to about .018%.

  15. coren says:

    Didspute every charge YTD? That seems…excessive. The other comments have explained his other options/what may be going on here (honest mistake seems likely).

    I’m not sure I understand this dimensional weight thing tho

    • humphrmi says:

      The point of dimensional weight is to compensate for huge, light boxes that take up lots of space but would otherwise only be charged a couple of bucks because of its weight. Picture if someone ships a huge empty box, which weighs almost nothing but the box takes up half the space of the shipping truck, and requires two people to move…

      I think all shippers use some form of dim weight – for instance, USPS might offer an overnight envelope for $15, but if the thing you’re sending is bigger than will fit in the envelope (but still under the weight limit), you have to pay extra to ship a box.

    • Kitamura says:

      Dimensional weight is their way of ensuring that they charge appropriately for “oversize” packages. Because volume is largely optional when inputting package info into the system, they don’t always know how big something will be prior to the physical pickup, so unless you took pains to enter the LxWxH info when you were generating your shipping label, the system estimates your price based on the fact you’d be shipping a box that isn’t going to disproportionally massive compared to the entered weight.

  16. DangerMouth says:

    Seems likely that the OP was charged for dimentional weight.

    But I a bit nonplussed that the OP would not notice what they were being charged. I run a mail order business, we ship with UPS, and we look very closely at what we are being charged vs. what we are charging our customers. I don’t know how anyone could calculate the actual cost of doing business without this knowlege.

    We have a flat rate for retail orders which we try to work so that over time we are neither gouging our customers on shipping charges, nor paying their shipping out of our pocket. Wholesale customers get charged what ups charges us. We look very closely at every monthly statement from UPS, mostly because they charge for address corrections. Not much we can do about the one-off retail orders, but for repeat customers, it really behooves us to update the database.

    But the bottom line is.. the bottom line. When we proccess a shipment, we can SEE exactly what the shipment is costing via the UPS software. You enter the box dimensions and the weight, and if it’s dimesional weight, or oversized, the software tells you. Does Fed-Ex keep this info from it’s customers, or did the OP just never bother checking?

  17. xdreamwalker says:

    Why oh why would you not pay attention to the FedEx invoices? If this company wants to dispute all charges year to date it’s safe to say they have not paid attention all year long. Every place that my business pays gets a monthly invoice look over for gross errors like this. If you notice something right way it is usually much easier to work out a solution then waiting until the of November.

  18. Blueskylaw says:

    Maybe FedEx took a tip from old-time butchers and left their fingers on the scale when weighing the packages.

  19. PockyPimp says:

    OK there’s a bit of detail left off from the OP’s post that would be relevant. Disclosure: I too work for FE. If you process a shipment with your account online (using FastShip) then you’re imputing the information and it will change the pricing for oversized. Now if you were dropping it into a drop box at a location by filling out a airbill and put 9.5 in for the weight the decimal could be missed when it’s being imput. If it’s dropped off at a station/Ship Center/Print Center location where it’s put on a scale during the process of accepting the scale automatically puts the weight in.

    So there’s a few chances for an error to occur: the decimal could be missed in a manul imput, if the shipment was processed online someone could’ve missed a decimal, the scale could be off. And as a side note shipping is rounded up to the next full pound so 9.5 would be charged as 10lbs. So putting in 9.5 in the online shipping system would have automatically rounded up to 10.

    And as more than one person has said, contact your sales rep so they can help sort this out.

  20. brianguyy says:

    I agree on the decimal-point thing. someone somehow manually translated / overrode 9.5 as 95?

    say you put the weight as 9lbs and then they verify it on their end and it came up as 9.5 and therefore got flagged (I don’t know anything about their systems so this is merely hypothetical). when asked to confirm the weight, someone may have inadvertently entered 95 instead. it could have been something as innocuous as “whiffing” with their thumb or forefinger on a keypad while quickly reaching for the decimal point button.

    nonetheless, I’d definitely get them through the ringer to find out how it could happen and won’t happen again. but hey at least you got Amex points? maybe?

  21. waitaminute says:

    OP, are you auditing your fedex invoice for service failures and such? You do know that the FedEx ‘on time guarantee’ means that you don’t pay for any delivery that is even 30 seconds late, right? If you select “Priority” service, the delivery must be completed by 10:30am next business day. If it is delivered at 10:31am or later, FedEx will not charge you for that delivery, BUT YOU MUST DISPUTE THE CHARGE in order to take advantage of the guarantee. FedEx will not automatically refund you for late deliveries. Also, you have only 15 days to dispute the charge for service failure.

  22. baristabrawl says:

    Poor FedEX. Their lives haven’t been the same since they stranded Tom Hanks on that island for 4 years.

  23. Dreyus says:

    I would say that only the recent shipments would be refundable because of time constraints of reporting the errors. However, that being said, to say something was 95 lbs when it was only 9 seems predatory to me. I would definitely be raising a stink with AmEx and probably and EECB to FedEx as well. Good luck!

    • exploded says:

      To me, an EECB should be a last resort, nuclear option. There are about 10 other resolution options that have been posted in the comments. If everyone goes to EECB for their front line customer service issues, companies will wise up even more, and you’ll never get resolution that way.

      This issue can totally be solved by a front line CS rep/sales rep, and a little elbow grease on the part of the OP.

  24. StanTheManDean says:

    OS3 ???????

    Oversized, Class 3 for those who are slow on the lingo. The worse classification of density surcharges. AKA a big box of ping pong balls.

    It is possible for FedEx to be applying a substantial weight surcharge because of the size of the box used to ship the product.

    Personally I vote for the usual FedEx farkup.

  25. calchip says:

    FedEx was at one time the best express carrier, hands down. More than once I had them do extraordinary things, and there were all these amazing stories about the lengths to which FedEx employees had gone to do things that were almost magical to ensure customers got their packages on time, were billed correctly, and if there was any failure in service, got their packages for free.

    At least two or three times, they screwed up a delivery (maybe one out of 200 packages we sent) and moved heaven and earth — in a couple of cases, hiring a same-day courier to get the package from where it was stuck, put it on a commercial aircraft, and have it delivered a few hours later — and crediting us in full because they’d missed their delivery promise. Those days, and all of the other good service, are long gone.

    Starting about 8 or 9 years ago, the service started going downhill. When we stopped using them entirely, about 4 years ago, it was after 6 out of 8 packages sent through their network failed to arrive on time, and next to nothing was done to resolve the problem.

    In fact, at that time, we were in negotiations with FedEx to switch all of our shipping over to them, as they were, at that time, offering aggressive deals for mid-to-high volume shippers. But our sales rep was completely unable to even get anyone from upper management who was willing to talk to us about what could be done to correct the abysmal delivery record, or even to apologize.

    Billing errors and failed deliveries, staff that don’t give a crap, so-called “executive services” people who are argumentative and rude and unhelpful were the norm at the point we stopped using them. The fact that a sales rep trying to land a new account couldn’t even rouse anyone at the corporate level to give a shit was the last nail in the coffin.

    The interesting thing is… UPS used to be the antithesis of FedEx. Regimented, unbending, completely unhelpful, nowhere near as reliable. Our experience was that around the time when FedEx began to suck, UPS started dramatically improving their customer service, their reliability, and their ability to adapt to their customer’s needs. Now, it is as though their roles are reversed. It’s almost as though the senior staff at FedEx and the senior staff at UPS switched places, along with their policies.

    It’s a sad state of affairs when a former leader falls so far that simple billing issues and reliable delivery don’t happen. I wish the OP the best of luck in getting this resolved, but I would honestly suggest that switching to UPS (or even, God forbid, the postal service, whose reliability has improved about a hundredfold in the past 4 or 5 years) might be advisable.

    • frodolives35 says:

      We are not at war with the east the east is our friend we are at war with the west. Now exercise citizen.

  26. FrankD1 says:

    Definitely check out the weirdness that is dimensional weight. It’s a legitimate but confusing business practice, one that Fedex tries to describe in their help pages, but unfortunately falls short.

    While not practical for large volume shippers, I’d recommend reconciling your shipping records w/ Fedex’s version. I’m a very small volume shipper, and had a similar experience. I shipped a shoe-box sized package that weighed less than two pounds. I use the online Fedex shipping UI, so there was no chance for data-entry or transcribing error. Anyway, from bad shipping experiences in the past, I ALWAYS try to tender the packages to a Fedex/UPS staffed location, where they plop the package on the scale, scan the barcode, and give me a receipt. I did the same in this particular instance, and up to then, everything was fine.

    It was a ground shipment, cross country, so a day or two later I happened to track the shipment, when I noticed the package was listed as 18 lbs! I immediately contacted Fedex, and while the rep was very polite and professional, she pushed the dim-weight scenario, as well as the possibility of a re-weigh correction (i.e. I had put in the wrong weight, but their omnicient systems had caught my error and had corrected the weight to 18 lbs). Again, she remained polite and professional throughout the call, but would not budge, so I finally insisted that since the package was still in their possession (it had not been delivered yet), that I demand they re-weigh it before delivery. She graciously said she was able to do that, and low and behold, a few days later the package was delivered, listing the package weight as 1.8 lbs.