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Claudia M

USPS Module Rates Used

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Hi,

I just intstalled the USPS shipping module and noticed it is only offering retail rates. Is there anyway to change this so it will only offer the commercial based rates. Also where is the rate option for Parcel Select? Also how do you get it to give the correct rates on an oversized package?

Thanks in advance!

Claudia

Edited by Claudia M

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I think the only way to get commercial rates to show would be if USPS offered those rates as a return on shipping quotes. That might involve getting your API credentials connected to a commercial shipping account. I do not know if USPS can/will do that, but it is certainly a good question to ask USPS.

The module will need to be enhanced to discern if any item in the order has been flagged as 'oversized' requiring special shipping quotes. That would need a plugin to assign additional details to a product. Then, if so flagged, the module would be enhanced to query for and receive a quote for Parcel Select.

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I found some info on Commercial Rates returned from a quote request. I will experiment.

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Thank you some much for looking into this.  I'm sure other people would be interested in this too.

Edited by Claudia M

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I have that installed too.  I really wish someone would upgrade this USPS plugin  to use commerical rates and dimensional weight.  The UPS plugin needs some work too.

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The UPS Multiship module works perfect for dimensional weight and multiple packages per shipment.

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Hi jka ...  I actually downloaded that yesterday and was going to install it but couldn't figure out how.  There are 2 folders.  Plus no instructions came with the download.  Glad to know it works good.

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Claudia, If you have any issues with that module, will be happy to help. There are a couple of steps such as you would need a UPS contract account, API key etc.

Otherwise its very straight-forward, you will notice a tab shows on the Products page, here you can describe how many boxes, dimensions etc. 

We have products that are 50lbs as well as 300lbs, this module has so far calculated the shipping costs 100% accurately.

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I don't use UPS that much so I don't know if I want to go to the expense.  Just wanted to give customers the option.  The only problem I'm having is I can't figure out how to initially upload the plugin in my store.

Claudia

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Within what you downloaded, you say there are two folders. What are their names?

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"Shipping" should not be capitalized.

I would think that the folder structure of the downloaded extension matches that of CubeCart's structure:

/modules/plugins/name_of_ups_advanced_module_part_1_whatever_it_may_be
/modules/shipping/name_of_ups_advanced_module_part_2_whatever_it_may_be

FTP the contents of the /plugins/ folder into CubeCart's /plugins/ folder, and then the contents of the /shipping/ folder into CubeCart's /shipping/ folder.

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Well, now that you say it that makes sense Brian.  Thank you, it worked.  By the by, the S  wasn't capitalzied.

Edited by Claudia M

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The USPS dimensional issue is a big deal! I have the SemperFi Product Dimensions extension, and that works fine, but the dimensions are not sent to USPS. Consequently, my client is losing money on shipping with almost every order. Not cool!

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Welcome DenisUS! Glad to see you made it to the forums.

Thank you for your input. I believe from your comment that there is a need for store owners to have USPS ship "oversized" boxes.

When such a shipment comes up, is it the case that there is only that one product in the order? Or do you see the case where there are a number of products in the order, and one or more oversized product requires a separate rate quote?

 

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Thanks Brian!
To this point it's only been a single product (I shudder to think what will happen if there are multiple products). What's happening is that a flat-rate envelope is always being chosen, rather than a box of appropriate size. E.g., you can't ship a 6x6x6 4-pound product in a flat-rate envelope! The response from USPS in the Request Logs is:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <Error><Number>-2147221202</Number><Source>Common:XmlParse</Source><Description>The element 'Package' has invalid child element 'Container'. List of possible elements expected: 'Width, Length, Height, Girth, Value, AmountToCollect, SpecialServices, Content, GroundOnly, SortBy, Machinable, ReturnLocations, ReturnServiceInfo, DropOffTime, ShipDate, RatePriceType, RatePaymentType'.</Description><HelpFile/><HelpContext/></Error> 

So I'm presuming what needs to happen is the product dimensions need to be sent to get the correct box size?

P.S. I've been reading this forum for some time without having joined until now. The one thing I've noticed repeatedly is how quickly and insightfully you respond to user's concerns, so I just want to mention "WELL DONE!"

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Let's take a look at the USPS services in admin, Manage Extensions, edit USPS.

The USPS settings panel has a series of checkboxes to choose which shipping products you will accommodate. The USPS's "Rate Request" response will include all available shipping methods for the package as described (weight, size, and distance). From this collection in the response, only those that match what was selected in the settings panel will be shown. So, this "intersection" of what USPS says is available and what you will accommodate will comprise the list of shipping choices from USPS in the checkout screen shown to the customer.

So, based on your comment above, do you ever expect to have a product that can be shipped in a flat-rate envelope? If not, then in the USPS settings panel, be sure it is not enabled.

Also, let's try to use:
Package Size: Regular
Container: Variable Unknown
Size: the most average size of the boxes you use

Recently (thank you Claudia M!), I was given info about "dimensional weight". I knew UPS and Fedex used it, and now realize USPS uses it as well for Priority (zones 5-9). This is a shipping calculation based more on the box size than the weight of its contents. Therefore, I suggest that if you accommodate shipping by Priority Mail, then the size of your box supply should be limited to under 1728 cubic inches - a common size being 16"x12"x8" (1536 cu in).

The error message quoted seems to suggest that you may not have the latest version of the module. Please verify.

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..... Therefore, I suggest that if you accommodate shipping by Priority Mail, then the size of your box supply should be limited to under 1728 cubic inches - a common size being 16"x12"x8" (1536 cu in). ..... Problem with that is sometimes you have to use a larger box that demands dimensional weight and you want to offer Priority shipping.. 

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Until we can implement the feature of asking for product dimensions and restricting what we will accommodate according to that answer, using box dimensions that simply does not trigger anything that will cause problems.

I am aware of a plugin that gives the ability to enter dimensions for a product. Also, a plugin that can assign a product to a specific shipping module. (Create a duplicate USPS module set for only accommodating large boxes.)

I suggested "an average box size" because USPS does not care if the box size is actually as is stated. This only becomes an issue if the box is either too heavy (70lbs), too big (108" L+G), or needs dimensional weight.

There is work to be done, for sure.

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This has been needed for some time in the USPS module. My way around it for XL toys for now is to set their package weight higher than it actually is. That way I don't lose money paying the oversize charge that my Dazzle stamp software automatically calculates when I input dimensions for the package in the shipping software. That's cumbersome to say the least.

As for multiple orders going in a big box - THAT looks like it would be a horror to deal with. SWFW's plugin would have to be used to create a volume for each item in the order and come up with a total to be sent to USPS.

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In my client's case, with over a thousand different auto parts, weights and dimensions vary widely. Some parts weigh only ounces and go out in flat-rate envelopes, all the way up to hundreds of pounds (the latter, obviously, not via USPS).  So merely turning off flat-rate envelopes isn't really an option, as shipping costs can often make the difference between making a sale or not, artificially charging a customer at a higher postal rate could blow the sale.

For the record, I'm using the latest version of the USPS plugin (1.1.3)

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Hey Dirty Butter,

I too increase the weight of an oversized package using my AIOS rates I created.  But this isn't really fair to the people in zones 1-4.  But I also give the option for the customer to ship UPS (rate created in AIOS) and that is usually cheaper.  Sometimes I do have multiple items in one package.  Example:  two oil warmers plus a couple of bottles of scented oil.  So far the shipping hasn't been a major problem. Knock on wood.  I purchased different sized boxes from Uline and filled one of each with peanuts and weighed them after. I determine what size box I would probably use for an item and add this packing weight to the actual weight.  Before I added a little handling fee for each AIOS shipping rate - I use the by weight calculation.  But I decided since I had to update for the new rates I was not going to put the handling fee in the shipping.  It sounds more complicated than it is.  I created an Excel worksheet that does most of the calculations for me, including determining the dimensional weight and girth of an item.

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I'm glad you worked out a way for your situation. We only occasionally find the large Jumbo Love animals, and they are the only ones we have to ship with Oversize. Because of what we sell people usually buy one item at a time.

No matter how we work around the issue, the USPS module should be coded to deal with it.

https://features.cubecart.com/topic/add-dimensional-capabilities-to-usps-module

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