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GHanlon
#1 Posted : Friday, October 27, 2017 3:03:01 PM(UTC)
GHanlon

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Since the upgrade to 2018, we have been experiencing many issues with USPS Priority rates. One issue in particular is either undercharging customers compared to our actual shipping costs (despite our cushions we add in), or not being available in the first place for orders that have products requiring packages with dimensions that are over 20".

I found an older post that discussed changing to "Extended Boxing Dimensional Calculator" should be more accurate than "Dimensional Calculator" in the Shipping Options (this was comparing 2013 version to 2015).

What are the main differences between these two options, and how do I know which one is better suited for our needs to offer USPS Priority Mail for everyone and/or without undercutting our actual shipping costs?

Edited by user Friday, October 27, 2017 3:03:44 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Aaron
#2 Posted : Monday, October 30, 2017 8:43:37 AM(UTC)
Aaron

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Originally Posted by: GHanlon Go to Quoted Post
Since the upgrade to 2018, we have been experiencing many issues with USPS Priority rates.

Are you certain that the issue started when you upgraded to 2018 rather than 2017?

Which dimension calculator are you using? Is this the same one that you had been using prior to experiencing any issues?


Originally Posted by: GHanlon Go to Quoted Post
I found an older post that discussed changing to "Extended Boxing Dimensional Calculator" should be more accurate than "Dimensional Calculator" in the Shipping Options (this was comparing 2013 version to 2015).

What are the main differences between these two options, and how do I know which one is better suited for our needs to offer USPS Priority Mail for everyone and/or without undercutting our actual shipping costs?

Unless you've always used the standard dimension calculator and worked around its limitations/inaccuracies, there is no reason to still use it. As for the differences, it is entirely too complicated to explain but suffice it to say that the old "Extended Dimensional Calculator" was very primitive in its calculations which often lead to wildly inaccurate estimates. The "Extended Boxing Dimension Calculator" is far more accurate, though as with any such algorithm, it is only an estimate and will never be perfect.
Aaron Sherrick
BV Commerce
Toll-free 888-665-8637 - Int'l +1 717-220-0012
GHanlon
#3 Posted : Monday, October 30, 2017 9:01:40 AM(UTC)
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Yes, the issues have only started since making the switch to 2018. The calculator we have been using is the standard Dimensional Calculator, and have not made any changes yet. Should we go ahead and make the switch to the Extended Boxing Dimensional Calculator?
GHanlon
#4 Posted : Monday, October 30, 2017 9:26:13 AM(UTC)
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Even with the change, we are still having critical issues with USPS shipping options for our products, issues that we never had until making the switch to 2018. We are having to create false packaging dimensions for single products to allow for USPS shipping options to appear for orders with only one item. This is happening for both domestic and international shipping addresses.
Aaron
#5 Posted : Monday, October 30, 2017 12:12:35 PM(UTC)
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For us to troubleshoot this we will need a detailed test case. Please provide the following information:

  • Real-time shipping rate used (e.g. USPS Priority Mail)
  • Cart contents with item dimensions & weights -- the simpler you can keep this the easier it will be to test (e.g. one line item with a quantity of 1 would be the simplest to troubleshoot)
  • Identify any item(s) that are set to ship separately
  • Shipping origin address
  • Shipping destination address
  • Rate that you're seeing from BVC
  • Rate that USPS is quoting on their website
  • Anything else that you believe it pertinent
Aaron Sherrick
BV Commerce
Toll-free 888-665-8637 - Int'l +1 717-220-0012
Aaron
#6 Posted : Monday, November 06, 2017 11:39:52 AM(UTC)
Aaron

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OK, after considerable testing we've determined what's happening. Previous versions of BV Commerce did not properly handle package dimensions with USPS in all cases. We corrected those issues with BVC 2018 and are now sending correct package dimensions. What's happening now in your case is that USPS is not returning a rate for certain services. For example, they will not return a rate for International Padded Flat-Rate Envelope packages measuring 7" x 7" x 4". Unfortunately this is outside our control and is how their API is responding to correct data. It seems that they are treating this as a package that is too large to ship via that service, though there is no information on their website stating definitive max dimensions. They seem to follow the "if it fits it ships" rule, but their API does not. Presumably you've been able to ship a package with those dimensions, so it would seem that there is an issue with their API.

We have opened a support ticket with USPS about this, but honestly their track record is so abysmal that I do not expect any meaningful response.
Aaron Sherrick
BV Commerce
Toll-free 888-665-8637 - Int'l +1 717-220-0012
TKatch
#7 Posted : Tuesday, November 14, 2017 11:48:19 AM(UTC)
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I understand that packaging rules can be quite complicated. But USPS shipping seems to be completely broken for the way we have been setting up our shipping methods. I can't seem to reconfigure things to keep USPS from returning $0 results in situations with larger packages. Why doesn't it just disallow instead of giving $0 results?

So, with USPS not working, what are some of the ways people are setting up their shipping methods? What are some of my options? Since we offer customization, shipping cost based on price does not make much sense to me.
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Aaron
#8 Posted : Tuesday, November 14, 2017 12:56:57 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: TKatch Go to Quoted Post
Why doesn't it just disallow instead of giving $0 results?

Do you mean why isn't the method hidden when the rate is $0? If so, that's because you must be using a rules method. If you were using a USPS method directly it would never display. To hide a method when the rate is zero you can create a rule like this:

Code:
When rates from XYZ method = $0.00, hide this method
Aaron Sherrick
BV Commerce
Toll-free 888-665-8637 - Int'l +1 717-220-0012
Aaron
#9 Posted : Friday, November 17, 2017 5:03:50 PM(UTC)
Aaron

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We finally heard back from USPS today. This was their response:

Quote:
We apologize for the delay in our response. I have tried various combinations of dimensions and am seeing the same results, with different thickness cutoffs for different combinations. In order to use the 12.5'' x 9.5'' dimensions, the thickness must be 0.5'' or smaller. Anything larger than this will limit the allowed length and width due to not being able to fit in the envelope and close correctly. Similar cutoffs include 6'' x 6'' x 2.25'' and 12'' x 9'' x 0.75''.

This behavior is expected though, as envelope shipping options are not intended for thick packages. When the thickness increases, the other dimensions will necessarily have to be smaller to fit in the thin envelope.

I can escalate this issue to our USPS specialists to determine the exact calculation/limitation if this answer is not sufficient, but this appears to be working as intended.


We have requested that they escalate this to their specialists for further details.
Aaron Sherrick
BV Commerce
Toll-free 888-665-8637 - Int'l +1 717-220-0012
 1 user thanked Aaron for this useful post.
Aaron
#10 Posted : Monday, November 27, 2017 11:28:26 AM(UTC)
Aaron

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Here is the final response from USPS:

Quote:
Our USPS specialist is not aware of specific thickness limitations on International Padded Flat Rate Envelopes based on length and width. They have indicated that as long as the package physically fits, then it will be able to be shipped.

Based on this, the limitations you are seeing are most likely guideline dimensions for what will or will not fit in the envelope. If you need to have specific thickness cutoffs for your application, I would suggest finding the cutoff length and width for thicknesses ranging from 0.5'' to 2.0''.


In other words, their API implements some type of limitation based on dimensions, but they do not define what the logic/limit is. It doesn't really matter what it is, though, because their API is making the determination on what dimensions are valid.

A developer could certainly pass bogus package dimensions that are known to be acceptable to their API, but that's really the only workaround.
Aaron Sherrick
BV Commerce
Toll-free 888-665-8637 - Int'l +1 717-220-0012
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