If you own an ecommerce store and provide real time shipping rates you have likely encountered a long list of issues with returning accurate rates. If you have not, Bravo good sir or madam! You are the exception. Having real-time shipping rates on your online store is a must these days. People have to know how much they are paying for shipping. If you’re one of the ubiquitous free shippers out there then you have successfully circumvented this conundrum. If not, you likely struggle to find some kind of rhythm to match the rates provided on your website and the rates you actually pay when you ship the product.
A difference in carriers and characters.
We find the most with UPS. They seem to not be able to get it together and match their online rates to their Worldship desktop module or their web interface. Almost without fail we have to significantly adjust their returned rates to have them at least be close to what is actually coming out of the owners pocket for shipping costs.
Their customer support on this issue is nonexistent. Fedex seems to do a much better job at returning real time rates and having them match their given rates once you actually ship. We have had virtually zero problems with their API (an API is a set of code that communicates with the Fedex servers to get those real time rates). USPS and DHL are about the same. Not quite as easy to set up as Fedex but they return accurate rates for the most part. USPS makes things super easy if you’re selling media that can be shipped in their flat rate boxes. Pretty simple and you don’t need to connect to their server to know the price.