Why Do my Rates Appear Higher/Lower Than I Expect?
Posted by Doug Sherman (Import), Last modified by on 21 Sep 06 12:36 PM

One of the most common question we are asked is "How come the rates your calculator is quoting are different than what I expect?" To answer your question, consider these factors:

  • what are you comparing our rates to?
  • are you using the same item/package weight in comparing your two quotes? In particular, are you accounting for any additional weight you have configured to add for packaging materials?
  • are you using the same "Entry Point" when comparing the two rates?
  • are you comparing residential rates?
  • are you accounting for handling and insurance charges?
  • How many packages did our packaging engine create?  Is this different than the number you expect, and why?
  • are you comparing our list rates to list rates in your comparison data source?
  • what is your configured maximum package weight (ShopCart, API) or Split Weight (Mals plug-in)?

Our rates come directly from the carriers themselves. We take your item data, create one or more packages based on your and the carriers' weight maximums, forward this data to the various carriers using the appropriate "API" (application programming interface) for each carrier, get back rates from them, and then fine-tune those rates with your handling, insurance, and other configurations. The chances that our base rates are in error, while theoretically possible of course, is in all practicality non-existent.  Thus, differences in rates can almost always be accounted for by differences in data used in the rating. Here are some suggestions to help you make your own accurate comparison:

1)  First, use our Shipping Inspector (ShopCart), Rate Inspector (Mals plug-in) or the appropriate Detail Level (Shipping API) to determine the rating data being used by AuctionInc. Please refer to this article if you are unfamiliar with our Shipping Inspector.  In particular: - make sure you use "rated weight" from our Inspector when comparing rates. This weight is the figure that the carrier is using, and it takes into account both any additional weight you are adding to the package for Packaging Materials and also any rounding up for the carriers that use integer weights.  Take special note of the number of packages created- a result of your configured settings- in the example you are reviewing.

2)  Also make sure you compare our "Rate with Surcharge" to whatever source you are using for comparison. This is the rate returned from the carrier APIs, and includes both their base rate and any additional surcharge they may be adding for factors such as fuel, oversize dimensions, etc.

3) It is critical that you match your configured "entry method" (shown on your Carrier Settings page for each carrier) when comparing rates. Rates based on daily or regular pickup are typically as much as 30% less expensive than rates based on non-daily pickup (retail entry method rates). If you call or email the carrier each time you have a package (i.e., one-time pickup entry methods) this adds an additional surcharge. 

4) What should you compare our rates to?  Each of the carriers provides an on-line rating service. If you enter the data you now have from our Shipping Inspector into their online rating, you will have a direct basis for comparing the resulting rates. Be sure that you select "residential" in these calculators; all of our quoted rates to you are based on residential rates. Here are the links to each of our carrier's online calculators: United States Postal Service, United Parcel Service, Federal Express, and  DHL.  If you have established an account with the carrier, make sure you are NOT logged into it; AuctionInc provides "list" rates by default (except for DHL), not "account" rates. If you wish to pass on some or all of any discount you may be receiving from a carrier, you can easily do so in AuctionInc by configuring a "negative" handling percent to discount your selected services.

If you use daily or regular pickup for fedEx or UPS, it can be difficult to find the correct rate on their site to compare to ours. The FedEx and UPS onlline calculators by default show the retail rate and no longer provide an option to view the pickup list rate. It is necessary to view this rate in their Service Guide rather than via their calculator.

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