Staying on top of shipping charges is one of the most important ways to make sure you’re protecting your e-commerce profit margins. If you’ve ever been hit with a mysterious charge related to a “Ground Unauthorized Package,” you know what we’re talking about. If you don’t know about Ground Unauthorized Packages yet, you’ll want to get up-to-speed on FedEx’s new 2018 charges.
As of September 3, 2018, FedEx announced new pricing for Ground Unauthorized Package charges, oversize charges and additional handling surcharges. For the new Ground Unauthorized Package, the 125% increase is a hefty change over the previous fee. In this article, we’ll give you what you need to know to be prepared for these new fees – and how to avoid them. First up, let’s look at Ground Unauthorized Packages.
What’s a Ground Unauthorized Package?
Just what is a Ground Unauthorized Package, and how can you avoid the new $675 fine for shipping one? If you’re an e-commerce pro, you know that FedEx has rules about what size and weight packages you’re able to send using their services. If you go outside their rules, your shipment becomes a “Ground Unauthorized Package.” Let’s take a look at just what would put your shipment into the Ground Unauthorized Package category.
Here’s FedEx’s Definition of a Ground Unauthorized Package:
- When any side of the package measures more than 108” in length
- When the package measures a combined 165” (length, width and depth combined)
- When a package weighs more than 150 pounds
What could happen if your package is too big or weighs too much?
If your package exceeds the guidelines, it may be refused or returned to you, at the discretion of FedEx Ground. That means even with the charge for a Ground Unauthorized Package, FedEx may simply choose not to accept your package for shipment. If they do accept a shipment deemed to be a Ground Unauthorized Package, here’s the new fee breakdown as of September 3, 2018:
New fees for Ground Unauthorized Packages:
- The new charge will increase from $300 a package to $675 during non-peak holiday season
- There will be an additional $150 added to the $675 Ground Unauthorized Package charge during the peak holiday season (in 2018, the holiday season is November 19 – December 24)
What’s the Additional Handling Surcharge?
The Additional Handling surcharge is sort of a less-harsh version of the Ground Unauthorized Package charge. The Additional Handling surcharge kicks in when your package is larger and weighs more than a typical package that FedEx Ground handles.
How FedEx determines the Additional Handling surcharge:
- When a package is longer than 48” on its longest side
- When a package is longer than 30” on its second-longest side
- When a package weighs more than 70 pounds
- When a shipment is not packaged improperly
What happens if you go over the weight and length limits?
FedEx may impose an Additional Handling surcharge if your package exceeds any of the above limits. As of September 3, 2018, the Additional Handling surcharge will rise sharply. The new $20 fee is a 67% increase over the previous fee. Here’s how the new surcharge breaks down:
New fees for Additional Handling surcharge:
- During non-peak holiday season, the standard Additional Handling Surcharge increases from $12 per package to $20 for US and international ground services, US express package services, as well as international express package services
- During peak holiday season, an additional $3.30 per package will be added to the $20 surcharge (in 2018, the holiday season is November 19 – December 24)
What is FedEx’s Oversize Charge?
FedEx defines an “Oversize” package by its size (not by its weight), like it does with some other fees.
How FedEx determines whether a package is Oversize or not:
- When a package is more than 96” in length
- When a package is more than 130” in length and width
What does FedEx charge for Oversized packages?
- During non-peak holiday season, Oversize packages are subject to an $80 fee per package
- During peak holiday seas, Oversize packages are subject to a $27.50 surcharge per package in addition to the $80 fee per package (in 2018, the holiday season is November 19 – December 24)