FAQ for Processing & Shipping Packages
How do packages become damaged in shipping when they appear to be packed well?
Packing is not the same for all items - some need special care that might not appear necessary unless you understand the causes of damage. There are three main causes: compression, vibration, and shock.
Compression: The most common cause of damage, compression is caused when a heavy package presses against or is placed atop another package. Sufficient packing material (a minimum of 2 inches on all sides) will protect items from compression. If the item is breakable, double boxing is needed so that the compression of the packing material will be dispersed against the second, inside box - not the fragile item itself.
Vibration: Vibration can cause multiple items in the same box to strike each other. Wrapping each item in bubble wrap before placing in the shipping box and then filling the box with packing material will help avoid damage from vibration.
Shock: Shock can occur when a package falls from a drop on a conveyor belt or from being tossed when loaded or unloaded. This is especially critical for electronics. Molded packing material such as spray foam is the best way to safeguard against shock. If not available, double boxing is the next best thing.
And don’t forget to fill the void! Hollow, breakable items such as vases, cookie jars, etc. need packing material place INSIDE as well as around the outside of the item to avoid damage by compression. Make sure the packing material is firmly packed.
What is the best way to pack multiple items in the same box?
When shipping multiple items within a single box, each item should be individually wrapped with bubble wrap before placing into the box. Exceptions to this are items that cannot be damaged from compression such as clothing. If using foam peanuts as the packing material, make sure the box is tightly filled so that the items do not shift in the foam and touch each other. Old sheets or blankets do not make good packing materials because they do not absorb compression. Newspapers need to be crumpled for the same reason - when placed in the box flat or between items, they easily transfer compression instead of cushioning.
How can I let the driver know that it's okay to leave the package on the porch for my customer?
Notes keyed into the "Additional Comments or Special Instructions" section are uploaded and viewed by the UPS driver who delivers the package. For example, if there is a dog that barks but doesn’t bite, you might want to let him/her know that it’s safe to leave the package. Or perhaps the customer wants the package left on the side porch - just tell them! As you finish processing the package, click "Yes" when the software asks if you want to enter any additional comments of special instructions.
My customer's package is not properly packed but they insist on shipping it - should I?
It happens all the time - the customer who wants to ship breakables without double -boxing or the grandmother who sends cookies and fruitcakes to all of the family. You tell them that the package may not arrive undamaged but they INSIST on shipping the package "just like I packed it!"
Make sure you protect your store while you let your customer know the risks involved in shipping improperly packed or restricted items. The "Package Notification" form in your Total ShippingTM software is designed for this specific purpose. If you feel the package should not be shipped as it is, but your customer insists you do so, follow these steps:
1. Choose PEC Utilities from the menu bar in your Total Shipping software.
2. Select "Customer Package Notification."
3. Print a copy of the form which opens in Adobe Reader.
4. Check the appropriate box on both forms and enter the package ID number.
5. Have your customer sign the top half.
6. Cut or tear the sheet in half and give your customer the bottom form.
Make sure you keep the signed copy for your files just in case the customer attempts to file a claim on the package.
NOTE: This does not apply to guns & ammunition which are NOT to be shipped at all - even with a notification form.
My customer brought in a plastic storage box to ship - do I need to put this in a box?
Especially during peak shipping season, customers will ship more popcorn tins, trunks, storage box containers, and other items that will not be in a corrugated box. Though not advisable, these items may be shipped. On the screen where your Total Shipping software asks if the item is not packed in a box, make sure to choose this option. UPS does charge extra if not boxed and you could be left with the additional charge if you don’t pass it along to your customer. And, remember: the exterior container WILL get damaged and is not covered for this damage.
The box my customer brought in rattles, but she said that was okay. Now what?
Many items such as Legos, wood blocks, toys, etc., make noise when the box is moved. Write on the top of the box "Rattle OK," so that UPS will not ship the box back to you thinking something is broken.
There's a bottle of wine and a wheel of cheese in my customer's box - can I ship this?
While you can ship perishables, you need to be aware (and make your customer aware) that you cannot place claims on them for damage. Alcohol should not be shipped – but you cannot catch every bottle and you need to know that you cannot place a claim on alcoholic beverages since their shipment is prohibited.
The address of the business we shipped to is considered a residential delivery. Why?
If you are shipping to home based businesses, it is still considered to be a residential address. If in doubt, process as a residential address. Also, remember that, if you are shipping to someone who is never home as they are working, it is up to UPS whether they want to "leave it" at their door. If in doubt, ship to their work address.
We're really into recycling - any tips on recycling boxes?
While recycling is great, some boxes, though sturdy, should not be used. For example, you cannot use a liquor box and expect UPS to know that there is no liquor in the box; if you ship it, it will come right back to you. You also cannot use a box with DOT "Haz Mat" labeling on it for the same reason. The best way to avoid the return shipment is to use a plain box, mark out all labeling with a marker, and use tape over anything that may show through. Be careful to make sure that the UPS shipping label is clearly visible and not covered.
My customer refuses to let me inspect their package and I have a bad feeling about it...
You not only have the right, but you also have the responsibility of knowing what is in your customer's package. Since you are shipping for the public under a UPS Commercial Counter agreement, the "ship from" address is that of your store. If the package contains contraband such as illegal drugs or weapons, the origin of the package will be your store. Politely tell your customer that you are required to know what is in the package to make certain it is packed properly so that it won't be damaged in shipment. Remind them that this is for their own protection. If they still refuse to tell you what is in the package, tell them they will need to take it elsewhere to ship. You are NOT REQUIRED to ship every package that is brought into your store.
Why do you make me call for approval when a package has a high value?
One of the best parts of being part of PEC's National Network is the Package Protection Program. This program covers any claims that are denied by the carrier up to $25,000. Without this coverage, your store would be liable to the customer for denied claims. Since we cover these denied claims for you, we need to ensure that the packages are properly packed to help keep our costs down. Not only does this help us, it also helps your customer to feel sure their valuable package will be more likely to arrive safely which is also good for customer relations at your store. We all win!