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Old 08-25-10, 01:09 AM   #1
Oregon Southpaw
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Shipping Bikes: "OS Extra Service Fee"?

Shipped a bike from Corvallis, OR to Brooklyn, NY recently and just got hit with the shipping charges: something around $80, which wasn't bad considering it was a decent but heavy bike.

Unfortunately, my account was also hit with a $50 "OS Extra Service Fee". What gives? Anyone have any experience with this? I'm going to call FedEx in the morning.
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Old 08-25-10, 01:10 AM   #2
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I guess I assume "OS" is oversize.
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Old 08-25-10, 02:59 AM   #3
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I have had this happen with the USPS. They undercharged me at the point of shipping and collected an additional fee at the receiving end "if you really want whats in the box"
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Old 08-25-10, 05:38 AM   #4
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Never ship with a credit card, ALWAYS pay cash.
Take it directly to the depot and have them measure the box and write down the size.
That way you won't get hit with the OS charge.
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Old 08-25-10, 06:30 AM   #5
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+1

FedEx, and especially UPS, are revenue-driven to the point where intermediate handlers have goals that give them incentive to stop and measure your box, with a guarantee to find it "oversized," even when the box itself is made to their "standard" size. This has happened to me twice, when it was impossible for the box to be any bigger, and they said it was. My appeals the first time were denied, but UPS damaged the shipment and had to pay for repairs. The second time, I got ahold of the recipient, and he forced the driver to measure the box upon arrival, and UPS had to refund their arbitrary charges.

The policy is in place to prevent cheating by self-shippers. Like every other well-intentioned policy and government program, it is perverted to the ends desired by those for whom it is intended to help.

1-Never ship UPS or FedEx from your home or business with a potentially oversize box UNLESS you can have the pickup driver measure the box and document the actual size in HIS system.

2-Know the sizes you need to conform to. The web site pricing tends to be low, since they're trying to get business. Don't believe it 100%.

3-Always take the box, ready to ship, to a terminal (NOT a retail FedEx or UPS store). Let the terminal employee measure it, enter it into the computer, and give you a price. They are very helpful in all cases, in my experience. Once entered, the prices is SET IN STONE.

4-Always pay cash. Never give the opportunity to overcharge later. However, at the terminal(s), I'm confident enough in the system to generally pay w/debit. See the caveat below...

5-Always check their label against the recipient's address. Make sure it's going where you want it to go. I've had FedEx make errors on the label, ship in error to Maine, and then try to charge me the extra shipping from Maine to California. This is a reason to pay in cash at the terminal, too. Fed Ex actually sent a bike frame to California, sent it back, and then sent it right back to California, and wanted to charge me the additional shipping. In both cases, they couldn't, and in both cases, it was a labeling error by their terminal employee (same one, both times).

6-Know the difference between FedEx Ground and FedEx Express. Many times, the terminal is not the same.

7-It's always a mixed bag, but my order of preference for "standard" shipping is USPS up to a wheel box, FedEx bigger than that but I double-check the label, and UPS after that.

With USPS, let the system work for you, up to a certain size box. Their system is geared to smaller packages and they are very good at it. There are always exceptions. I had a bike sit in Texas from Dec to Feb, then returned, for no reason. The Postmaster here double-checked everything and it was mailed correctly. He sent it back, and the Postmaster there delivered it personally with an apology.

With FedEx, the system appears fine, the data input, like everything else these days, is crucial to the system working, and when it goes snafu, the non-routine becomes an issue for people trained to work routine situations.

With UPS, the system sort of stinks, but it's not designed for bicycles, actually. High-volume, high-speed packages of a certain size seem to be the bread and butter of UPS.

Bikes don't fit any system very well, so choose the one that works, know their rules, and avoid creating opportunities where the system you're using can smack you down.

As with any, you pay for convenience, and if it works for you, fine. Shipping from my home is always a problem, and I'm rural, so I can be at FedEx in 20 minutes, UPS in about 20 minutes, and the post office in 10. Not everyone has that situation.
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Old 08-25-10, 09:15 AM   #6
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My opions differ with Robbie but in the big picture were on the same page.

1. Write the dimensions of your box on the box. Mine are marked: 54L 29H 8W = 130" and I circle 130"
2. Write the weight on the box and round up to next pound.
3. i print my lables at home and always write the above info next to the label.
4. Never use a broker. Your local UPS store is broker. I drop my boxes off directly at the post office or FedEx/Kinkos. FedEx/Kinkos is NOT a broker, they are corporate owned locations.
5. When in doubt have the clerk measure the box in front of you and make the leck enters the dimensions into the system.
6. When I drop boxes off that are prelabled I always ask for receipt.
7. Generation of a receipt ensures its scanned into the system.
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Old 08-25-10, 10:11 AM   #7
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The only caveat:
Depending on the type of service used, having an account and being a self-shipper can save big bucks. Unfortunately, my FedEx account doesn't come with any discounts shipping FedEx Ground, only on the higher dollar options. So little help $wise on complete bikes. But, like the three state above:

Make them measure it.
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Old 08-25-10, 10:17 AM   #8
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www.shipbikes.com

they broker the deal with FedEx so if they (fedex) try any shenanigans its not your problem.
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Old 08-25-10, 12:03 PM   #9
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Well, too bad I didn't read a thread like this before I started this ordeal or I would have been better off.

Still, now I know for when I ship again. I have disputed the charge, so hopefully I'll recoup my $50. If not, my FedEx account gets cancelled.

I was always under the impression that printing off the labels and doing it mostly oneself was the way to go, but I see this is not the case for odd-shaped items.

Thanks guys. Hopefully this thread will spare others in the future.
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Old 08-25-10, 12:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
My opions differ with Robbie but in the big picture were on the same page.

1. Write the dimensions of your box on the box. Mine are marked: 54L 29H 8W = 130" and I circle 130"
2. Write the weight on the box and round up to next pound.
3. i print my lables at home and always write the above info next to the label.
4. Never use a broker. Your local UPS store is broker. I drop my boxes off directly at the post office or FedEx/Kinkos. FedEx/Kinkos is NOT a broker, they are corporate owned locations.
5. When in doubt have the clerk measure the box in front of you and make the leck enters the dimensions into the system.
6. When I drop boxes off that are prelabled I always ask for receipt.
7. Generation of a receipt ensures its scanned into the system.
I did most of this on a recent shipment. Box measured 130 inches total, similar to above. I took it to Fed/Ex Kinkos, they assured me their rates were NOT marked up. Clerk verified my measurements. Cost to ship to Utah? $81... WTF? I was expecting more like $50 or less, based on comments from others on this list...

Rates get cheaper if you can get the total measurement to 108 inches or less. There was no way I was going to get a 62cm frame in a 108 inch (total) box. Maybe I need to be a better packer.


Myself, I will NEVER use UPS based on prior disasters on shipments I have received from them, and their typical lack of response. I would consider the post office, I have shipped a lot of smaller ebay items with them.

This is a pic of the frame triangle, without a fork, sitting on the box I used:



And here is the frame and fork ready to put in the box:

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Look frame vs Box.jpg (96.6 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Ebay and Look Fra .jpg (104.2 KB, 9 views)
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Old 08-25-10, 01:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
I did most of this on a recent shipment. Box measured 130 inches total, similar to above. I took it to Fed/Ex Kinkos, they assured me their rates were NOT marked up. Clerk verified my measurements. Cost to ship to Utah? $81... WTF? I was expecting more like $50 or less]
Bill, for some odd reason shipping to Utah is expensive. When I ran a few sample shipments I found it was cheaper to ship from Tampa to Seattle than it was to ship from Tampa to Salt Lake City.

Unless you have an overly picky buyer shipping Parcel Post via the USPS is a nice economical alternative to FedEx.
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