Troubleshoot Estimated Rate Discrepancies

Steps to take if the rate you see in ShipStation does not match the rate displayed in your postal account web portal.

Follow the steps outlined below when you see that the rate in ShipStation does not match the rate a carrier offers on their web portal for the same shipment.

How ShipStation Gets Estimated Rates

Before you begin troubleshooting, it is important to know how ShipStation gets an actual estimated rate.

The estimated rate you see in ShipStation is dependent upon the carrier account you use for the shipment.

  • : ShipStation One Balance: Rates are based on the ShipStation contracted discount rate with the carrier.

  • For all other carriers: ShipStation receives rates from the carrier based on the connected account information. This means you should expect to see the same rates in ShipStation as you'd see if you used the carrier's online portal. If possible, log into the online portal for the carrier to compare with the rates you see in ShipStation.

Desktop programs vs. online portals

Some carriers offer desktop programs to create labels like UPS Worldship. While these programs can be used to compare rates, it's best to use the online portal if available.

Desktop programs often require updates or a new rate table if rates have been modified. However, the online portal should always be up to date.

If the estimated rate in ShipStation matches the estimated rate provided by your carrier's online portal, ShipStation is working as expected. If you still feel the rate is too high or that they're charging you an incorrect amount, please contact the carrier for additional assistance.

Estimated Rate Discrepancies in ShipStation

Review the sections below when the rate in ShipStation does not match the carrier's online portal.

Compare Ship To and Ship From Address

Ensure that the Ship To and Ship From addresses in ShipStation exactly match the addresses in the carrier's portal. Variations in the Ship To or Ship From address can lead to rate estimate discrepancies.

Compare Weight and Dimensions

Ensure that both the weight and the dimensions entered in ShipStation match the weight and the dimensions entered in the carrier's online portal. Since many carrier rates are dependent upon the weight and dimensions of the package, any variations can lead to discrepancies in the estimated rates.

In addition, keep the following in mind when it comes to weights and dimensions:

  • When not using a flat-rate shipping service, most carriers will bill the shipment based on either actual weight or dimensional weight, whichever is greater.

  • When comparing estimated rates on the carrier's online portal, make sure both the weight and dimensions match the shipment information in ShipStation.

  • When comparing the estimated rate in ShipStation with the rate a carrier billed you for a shipment, make sure the weight and dimensions match the weight and dimensions determined by the carrier for the shipment.

  • When dimensions are not included, ShipStation will only base the rate on weight. If the carrier determines that the dimensional weight is higher, the carrier will charge you based on the dimensional weight and the estimated rate in ShipStation will be inaccurate.

Compare the Confirmation Type, Carrier Insurance, and Other Shipping Options

Make sure that the confirmation type, carrier insurance, and other shipping options are configured the same in ShipStation and in the carrier's shipping portal.

Delivery Confirmation

The default confirmation type for a shipping service is free, but when a more advanced confirmation option is selected (like Signature on delivery) the estimated rate may include an additional fee.

Other Shipping Options

Other options like Carrier Insurance, Saturday Delivery, or Cash on Delivery may also cause the estimated rate displayed in ShipStation to include an additional fee.

Shipping Info: Red box highlights the Confirmation and Insurance dropdowns

Saturday Pickup Fee

When creating labels on a Saturday, some carriers will also include a Saturday Pickup Fee. This fee will only be charged if the package is actually picked up on Saturday, but when included in the estimated rate displayed in ShipStation it may account for a rate discrepancy when comparing rates with the carrier's shipping portal.

International VAT, Duties, and Taxes

Check to see if the shipment is going to an international address with the "Bill Duties and Taxes to Payor" option selected. In most cases, the VAT, duties, and taxes are not included in the estimated rate returned from the shipping carrier. This can cause the estimated rate displayed in ShipStation to not match the actual carrier fee.

Residential/Commercial indicator

Make sure that you use the same address type as indicated within ShipStation when comparing the rate displayed in ShipStation to a rate displayed in the carrier's online portal.

Some shipping carriers will offer different rates or add fees when shipping to residential or commercial addresses. At this time, ShipStation cannot determine if an address is residential, so all estimated shipping rates in ShipStation assume a commercial address. If your shipping carrier lets you indicate an address is Residential or Commercial, choose Commercial to get the rate to match ShipStation.

Your shipping carrier will still charge you based on their designation for the address. So, if they consider an address to be Residential you may see a different actual charge than the ShipStation estimated rate which assumes the address to be Commercial.

Buyer/Recipient info. Red arrow points to Validated Commercial Address icon (Green office building) & Address Verified status