UPS shipped boxes were taped together on their way to Amazon (causing Oversize)


#1

Hi guys,

I tried to find more threads on this issue but could not find one. I would really appreciate if a more experienced seller could help me out here. There is a TL;DR at the end if you don’t want to read through it all.

I received an email this morning: “We are writing to inform you that we have temporarily blocked your ability to create or modify shipments to Amazon fulfillment centers due to multiple problems that we found with your shipment during the inbound process. As part of the Inbound Performance Feedback program, you will not be able to create or modify any shipments until you acknowledge the problem.”

Upon further looking at the issue from the Manage FBA Shipments page, I can now see that someone taped a couple of the boxes I sent into FBA together, creating one big 64lb box with oversize dimensions (28.60" height). I assume that it was either UPS who did this, or perhaps a newer Amazon employee (when the boxes were carried between two FCs). Either way, I have never taped boxes together and do my best to comply with the FBA limitations.

I acknowledged the issue and submitted an investigation request. In the case, I told them that I was happy to pay the Unplanned Service Fee. I explained that I never tape boxes together and that this must have happened in transit. (Unfortunately, I have no proof of this, as I don’t take pictures of individual boxes I send in.) I asked if it was possible for this not to impair my inbound shipment metrics or cause a suspension in my inbound shipping abilities since it was out of my control.

It is worth mentioning that I sent a box which was 52 lbs instead of <50lbs in the past months. This was my fault and due to a bad scale. I immediately replaced the scale after realizing it could be off by a couple of pounds depending how you place the box on it. But this box was the only time I had problems with inbound shipping in the past, and I send in inventory very regularly (several boxes every week). I obviously acknowledged the issue and paid the fee.

It says that my investigation claim has been received, but I do not see it in my Case Log.

Can you tell me if this happens often? Has UPS taped boxes together for any of you in the past? Is there a way to avoid this?

Also, is there anything else I can do to explain the situation to Amazon? I do not want to be considered a repeat offender in Inbound Shipping and jeopardize my account health.

Finally, how important are these issues and can they lead to permanent problems with a Seller account?

I believe that my ability to ship into FBA has been reinstated after acknowledging the issue, but I want to figure out whether this is one of my last “strikes” or if issues like this can happen often without any permanent damage.

TL;DR:
Boxes I sent in through UPS were taped together on their way to Amazon by someone else, causing an oversize box. Does this happen often? Is there anything I can do to defend my case than tell them I did not tape the boxes together? I don’t mind the service fee. I just care about metrics.

Thanks for reading.


#2

If you shipped few boxes in the same shipment…
Check all the tracking numbers, were they all scanned or not ?


#3

Great question, @Shahar. Thank you.

Yes, every single box’s tracking number has been scanned in. I provided 25 different tracking numbers for 25 boxes.

Perhaps this can serve as proof that I intended them to be different boxes?


#4

UPS will not bother to tape your boxes.
You have to identify which box is the problematic…did amazon provide details ?
Could be that ups measured/weighted a package with other package on it.


#5

Unfortunately, Amazon has not provided any identifiers as to the box number or otherwise. Just a black and white picture showing boxes stacked on top of each other and looking as if taped.


#6

This is what Amazon has sent me as further info:

Shipping Box Oversized

One or more boxes in your shipment exceeded the maximum size requirements.

Products and shipments that do not comply with our policies may be received as unsellable or disposed of without compensation. Multiple instances of failing to comply with Amazon’s safety requirements may result in the suspension of your shipping privileges.

Weight (lb) Width (in) Length (in) Height (in)
64.92 19.90 11.90 28.60

Note: A standard-size unit is any packaged unit weighing 20 lb or less, or with dimensions of 18 inches or less on its longest side, 14 inches or less on its median side, or 8 inches or less on its shortest side. A unit exceeding any of these measurements is oversize.

For more information, see Shipping and routing requirements.

Important: We will notify you if a shipment does not meet these guidelines. If you do not correct the identified issues, we may do one or more of the following:

  • Refuse to accept future shipments and return them to you at your cost
  • Suspend your ability to create new shipments
  • Repackage or re-label your shipments and charge you a fee for doing so

Coaching details

Shipping Box Oversized problem was identified in this shipment. This is part of the Safety issues - box related problem group. Your rate for this problem group exceeds the acceptable rate. You are currently in Standard coaching level. This will be escalated to Critical (the highest level) if there are repeat problems in this group

Acceptable problem rate : 0.00%
Your current problem rate : 1.89%


#7

Check each tracking on UPS website, maybe you find changes to dimension/weight.
Also, amazon has photos of each box…ask to provide them to you.


#8

I checked the website and tracked the boxes again. It doesn’t seem like UPS has any specific weights for the boxes other than the information I provided. I assume this because the box weights read rounded up numbers such as 50 lbs, 48 lbs, 42 lbs. etc.

Thank you very much for your help @SHAHAR


#9

I believe that the biggest clue here is the Height at 28". The boxes seem to have been taped together in a very weird fashion. The picture provided by Amazon shows the two boxes stacked on top of each other with tape between them.

Basically, one of the boxes is right side up, but the other box was taped on it sideways.

Both boxes were 16 x 12 x 12. This resulted in a height of 16 + 12 = 28.

I guess the added weight resulted in 64.92lbs?

That’s also weird because I don’t think any of the boxes I shipped in were below 38 lbs. The majority of them were between 45 and 50 lbs. So the added weight of the boxes should have come to between 75 and 100 lbs.


#10

post the photo.


#11

T.O.Books…

Years ago and I was doing FBA , dropping off UPS , I always took pictures… at the counter…

And photographed each receipt I was given, at the same time… just in case there was an issue…

Put those in email, just in case I needed them…

Had – a separate file folder for UPS / FBA shipments…

UPS counter clerk thought I might have been slightly whacked… I also had stickers on the sides of the boxes… idiot proof them… so the folks handling it could look at stacks of boxes without unstacking them to see their destination…

I explained Amazon is very picky – he said okay…

Those receipts that you get are the only proof that you actually put it on the road to the Fulfillment center… the pictures were just the icing on the cake…

Cell phone digital images are Costless, it’s not like you have to actually develop them… not like shooting with a traditional camera…


#12

I received these 4 images from Amazon. It is also very confusing, because I do not know what is what. The problem they stated is about a single box. But the pictures are pictures of several boxes, presumably more than 4-5 different boxes.

There seems to be a box which is severely damaged in one of the pictures.

One of the pictures has a single box in it? Potentially a bird’s eye view of stacked boxes?

And then pictures of different boxes stacked together.

On one of the pictures, you will see the two “Small” size Lowe’s boxes stacked together in a very weird way. I believe that this is the box that they claim is oversize but is two boxes taped together? Please examine picture I named “Problem 3”. That’s the one I am talking about.

Let me know if you can make any sense of this. Thanks again.

ALSO, in picture number 2, I notice there is a box which is pretty tall that I never sent in.

All of the boxes I sent in for that shipment were 16 x 12 x 12, except for one single box which was 19 x 15 x 12. I do not recognize that huge box under the other two. Perhaps they counted somebody else’s box as mine?

To be honest, I can’t make any sense of these pictures. I don’t understand which is the problematic box.


#13

Thank you very much for your input.

Until recently, I always took my boxes to the UPS store and got my receipt. I have been doing FBA for months and never had a problem. I decided to try the schedule a pickup option with UPS to save time and energy.

The pickup man did not give me a receipt. I did not think much of it, because it was a huge quality of life change, and I had never had problem with UPS before.

I may simply have to go back to asking for receipts again. Except sometimes they don’t weight them properly at the store either! I noticed that even when I am there looking at them, they don’t individually weigh every box and just scan the boxes in counting them as the same weight as the first (depending on the store).

I really like your idea about printing extra shipping labels to tape on the sides as well. I will definitely do that moving forward. Especially after seeing how they ended up stacking the boxes in such a bad way. Perhaps having labels on the sides as well may help the issue? I always only put labels on top of the box.

I don’t know if I will start taking individual pictures of boxes, but I will consider that as well.


#14
  1. Ask amazon to send you the photos when the shipping labels can be seen.
  2. One problem could be that the condition of the boxes is not good and someone taped them together not to fall apart.

#15

Thank you. I will ask for photos with the labels. As for the condition of the boxes not being good, that is unfortunate because when I sent them in they were in new condition.


#16

T.O.Books…

Maybe your UPS Store is different… the couple local ones I use are fabulous… many of the franchisees around here – first thing they ask, when you come in the door is Do you want a receipt…

I remember one time flagging down one of those cute guys with the brown shorts, making a delivery on the way to the – UPS Store, and he picked my packages, up put them in the truck… I said – can you please scan them into the system & he looked at me funny && I said otherwise this could just be one of those random by chance encounters & with the guy in brown shorts & cute legs-- he laughed, & got the scanner out scans them in… no receipt… but then I can do things like that… it’s funny…

One of the big reasons for taking the pictures especially in front of the clerk, is they know there’s some documentation…

There’s somebody else watching, much harder to freelance…

Many of the UPS stores are contract opportunity franchisees… too many complaints about the franchisee, they could lose their franchise… that could be expensive there’s lots of overhead involved in configuring a store, & entering in a lease agreement…


I take pictures of all my outgoing packages at the post office USPS…

I also buy some Media Mail at the counter , because they do such a good job delivering stuff they put their postage on… it never gets lost…

If it’s not busy - I haven’t gotten done photographing, they just motioned me up to the counter – keep on handing me back packages to take pictures of…

Having acceptance scans with many e-commerce venues is imperative… it’s the only proof you actually mailed it…

I mail lots of packages, most of them are pretty distinctive, just in case one gets lost in whatever delivery stream, it just makes it much easier for someone to locate something… especially if it stands out…

All those brown boxes, beige poly mailers, tan bubble mailers, all look the same…

---- I may have been using moving boxes, I don’t remember…

The other thing that I would also do is number the boxes 1-of 6 - 2 of 6, 3 of six…ECT…

Since these receive such bad handling, not necessarily White Glove treatment-- they can get thrown around-- I think I was double boxing… champagne boxes into whatever the outer box was those are really strong… the interior boxes never seen any ways… the local Trader Joe’s has those stacked up by the counter… or extra vertical cardboard around the circumference… inside…

All of those outer boxes just go in compactors to be theoretically recycled anyways…

Removing any extraneous other stickers, barcoding --on the outside of package can really confuse folks…


#17

T.O.Books…

You definitely need some vertical cardboard, to give the Box some more Crush resistance on the edge…or box within a box… cut out the corners and use them --even cut down some older Amazon boxes, if you get deliveries, or have someone save them for you, cut down… flat…

THOSE Lowe’s boxes look like they were made with recycled cardboard. …NOW…

There are also some L-shaped corners, that come in many boxes, that can be cut down & resized, to protect corners… that’s how many printers / Publishers pack their boxes so they don’t have damage… many industrial parks, just set out their boxes , so they don’t have to pay to recycle them…

IN - Los Angeles there are people that have trucks, do nothing but obtain cardboard Flats to recycle… many of them don’t look particularly roadworthy, their loads are precarious to say the least… apparently they’re making a living, scraping by…

There are small businesses / warehouses – that regularly have Craigslist ads out – saying they have cardboard for recycling… hoping to find somebody to take all that stuff – keep it out of a landfill, and they don’t have to pay for disposal…

UPS has been known to Rebox, if they damage things significantly within their processes…

Need to up the packing game…

They don’t understand that you’re going to get charged up The WaZZoo… UPS doesn’t care…

You’re probably Sol, you just need to move on, hopefully get past this & have them allow you to send in shipments… especially if your book selling model is using FBA…

Good luck


#18

I appreciate the detailed replies and insights, Vespa.

I will do my best to strengthen the boxes moving forward and make sure they can take some more beating.

I assure you the boxes were in new condition when I sent them in. I buy my boxes directly from Lowe’s. I was surprised to see they were beat up to this extent. I doubt the books inside of them are in the condition I sent them in. Quite the mess. They must have been damaged in transit.

I do not recognize the boxes on picture 2. Perhaps it is like you said, and they have reboxed them. I don’t know if I am responsible for this in this case. They may also be somebody else’s boxes altogether. Very odd.

I don’t care if I have to pay a service fee. I just don’t want my account metrics to get hurt for sending in oversize boxes.

As a general update, I asked Amazon to give me more information in order to identify the problematic box is and asked them to provide me pictures with shipping labels, as @SHAHAR recommended.


#19

The boxes taped together would have 2 separate shipping labels on them.

I have never heard of this being done by UPS


#20

You are if the damage that led to reboxing is caused by poor packing.

Those Lowes boxes are not designed to hold 35-50 pounds of stuff stacked and tossed around during shipment, especially without a lot of reinforcement.