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.

When creating labels in ShipStation, you may see that the rate in ShipStation does not match the rate a carrier offers on their web portal for the same shipment.

When you see this type of discrepancy, it may be that the following information does not match between ShipStation and the carrier portal:

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

The estimated rate you see in ShipStation depends on the carrier account you use for the shipment.

  • For ShipStation One Balance: Rates are based on the ShipStation contracted discount rate with the carrier. Review the integration article for a rate chart, or contact the ShipStation User Success team if one isn't available. If the rates you see for the shipment are incorrect based on the rate chart, please contact the ShipStation User Success team so we can review it.

  • 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. Make sure to use the same Ship To and Ship From addresses as 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 one is 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 you see 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.

If the rate in ShipStation does not match the carrier's online portal, click through the options below to identify the cause of the discrepancy.

Weight and Dimensions

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

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

If you're comparing the estimated rate in ShipStation with the rate a carrier billed you for a shipment, make sure the dimensions are present in ShipStation and match the dimensions determined by the carrier for the shipment.

If 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.

Confirmation Type, Carrier Insurance, and Other Shipping Options

The default confirmation type for a shipping service is free, but if using a more advanced confirmation option (like Signature delivery) the carrier may charge an additional fee. Other options like Carrier Insurance, Saturday Delivery, or Cash on Delivery may also incur additional fees.

Shipping Info: Red box highlights the Confirmation and Insurance dropdowns

If you're using these options on the shipment in ShipStation, make sure they're also applied when getting the estimated rate on the carrier's shipping portal.

If you're creating labels on a Saturday, some carriers will also include a Saturday Pickup Fee when ShipStation gets rates for the shipment. This fee will only be charged if the package is actually picked up on Saturday. If you're creating labels on a Saturday but intend to ship the packages on Monday (or a different day) the fee will not be applied when the carrier bills the shipment.

Residential/Commercial indicator

Some shipping carriers will offer different rates or add fees when shipping to residential or commercial addresses. At this time, ShipStation is not able to determine if an address as 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 try to get the rate to match ShipStation.

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

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

Contact the ShipStation User Success team: If you are still unable to determine why the estimated rate in ShipStation does not match the estimated rate provided by your carrier, contact the ShipStation User Success team and we'll review the rate discrepancy with you. When contacting the ShipStation User Success team, include a screenshot of the estimated rate displayed on the carrier's online portal, or a picture of the billed amount for the shipment by the carrier.