Common UPS® Shipping Fees And Surcharges

Nothing throws a wrench in a shipper's budget like unforeseen charges on a carrier invoice. It happens often, but these fees can often be avoided. The key is for shippers to know about them before booking a shipment to prepare shipments properly.

UPS® shipping fees go beyond the service type and physical properties of the parcels. Learning the most common fees and value-add services helps shippers prepare their small packages for the journey while adhering to their budget. To help, we listed the most common UPS surcharges below and can offer useful shipping tools and expert guidance on ways to save on your parcel shipping.

Note: This is NOT the complete list of UPS value-add services and fees. For a full breakdown, refer to the UPS Rate & Service Guide.

Additional handling: This refers to the various physical aspects of a shipment, including the UPS weight, length, width and packaging requirements.

  • Weight – Items exceeding 50 pounds.
  • Length – When the longest side exceeds 48 inches.
  • Width – When the second longest side exceeds 30 inches.
  • Packaging – There are many rules here. Generally, this refers to items not fully sealed in a container or when wrapping material envelops the outer container.

Read more about UPS weight and size limits.

Address correction: If a package has an incomplete or incorrect address, UPS will try to rectify or complete the information, which results in additional small package correction fees.

Chargeback for consignee billing shipments: When a recipient does not pay, UPS charges the shipper a refusal fee.

Collect on delivery (COD): When the recipient is responsible for paying the shipping charges, you can request COD, and UPS will collect payment, either through check or another negotiable form of payment, at the time of delivery.

Dangerous/hazardous goods: This includes items that require a UPS Dangerous Goods Agreement before shipping. The Department of Transportation requires all parties handling or transporting hazardous materials to be trained and certified. The hazardous materials fee helps cover the cost of this specialized service, including the added risk of handling the cargo and the time needed to properly document the shipment while it's in transit.

Delivery area surcharge: UPS issues a fee when delivering to certain ZIP codes in the contiguous 48 United States. (Alaska and Hawaii fall under the Remote Area Surcharge, listed below.)

Dry ice: If your item requires dry ice, there will be a fee – even if it's a safe item that doesn't require a UPS Dangerous Goods Agreement.

Electronic return label: Also known as a Print Return Label, this charged service provides recipients with a return label – either by requesting UPS to provide one electronically or other formats. This fee also applies when printing the label yourself for outbound shipments.

Fuel surcharge: Determined by the weekly National U.S. Average on Highway Diesel Fuel Price report, the fuel surcharge covers fluctuating fuel prices. This helps the carrier from losing out if fuel prices increase from when the shipment was originally scheduled to the actual delivery date. Read more about the UPS' fuel surcharge.

Large package surcharge: For domestic shipments, this applies when the length plus girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] combined exceeds 130 inches or if the length exceeds 96 inches.

Missing or invalid account number: This broadly covers missing information regarding account numbers for the shipper, consignee or other third parties responsible for paying shipping charges or receiving items. This also includes unauthorized consignees.

Over maximum limits: UPS will reject a small package shipment if it exceeds 150 pounds, 108 inches in length or a total of 165 inches in length and girth. Learn about UPS weight and size limits and when to consider LTL freight.

Peak surcharge: This includes busy times of the year, typically between late November and January, but may occur at any time when shipment volume spikes.

Proof of delivery (POD.): This additional documentation from UPS includes the time of delivery, full delivery address, and the name and signature of the contact that took the shipment.

Remote area surcharge: Shipments heading to remote areas of Alaska and Hawaii may incur a fee. This may apply to other far-flung destinations at the discretion of UPS.

Residential surcharge: Even in our e-commerce world, UPS will charge a fee for home deliveries – including businesses operated from a residential address. Check out UPS SurePost to see if it’s right for your business, to save you money on your residential delivery packages.

Saturday delivery: UPS will deliver packages on Saturday as a charged service.

Third-party billing: Shipments billed to a Third Party incur a fee charged to the payer.

Undeliverable shipment surcharge: If an item stays with UPS and they made a good-faith attempt to deliver a shipment, the package will be returned to the shipper at the shipper's expense.

UPS On-Call Pickup® area surcharge: If you schedule a UPS pickup, you may charged a fee depending on your location.

Ship your small packages with less stress

It's important to get the details of every shipment right to reduce costs and ship more efficiently. But, it's difficult to know all the intricacies. As part of the largest non-retail UPS Authorized Reseller, Worldwide Express has the expertise and resources to help shippers get the details right. And with access to our powerful parcel TMS, SpeedShip, you can always get a quote and view your shipment’s fees and surcharges on your invoices at any time.

If you're working toward removing surcharges from your invoices, request a consultation with us and we'll build a strategy that takes the stress out of shipping.