The prices calculated by the shipping calculator are only estimates, and in most cases will not exactly match the price that the post office or UPS center charges you to ship your item. Here is the nitty-gritty of how shipping is calculated, and some circumstances that may lead to discrepancies between the Bonanza-calculated price and the price you pay.
How Calculated Shipping Works
- You specify the size of your package and its weight in the New Item Form (or batch editor).
- Buyer is interested in your item and they enter their zip code.
- If you enabled "Combine the weight of items from the same order together when calculating shipping costs" on your Discounts & coupon page in the Booth settings area, the shipping weight of all your items are added together, and the largest package size (amongst the items the buyer wants to buy) is submitted to the shipping provider (e.g., UPS, USPS) to get the total shipping price. If shipping weight is not combined, then each item has its shipping weight and package size submitted to the shipping provider individually, and then the total shipping cost is the sum of all the items' shipping costs.
Where Can it Go Wrong?
- UPS and USPS prices given to us are not exact. Sometimes, for reasons the shipping providers cannot explain, the information they give us varies from the information their website gives, which varies from the information they give when you go to actually ship the package. We have observed this most often with UPS.
- UPS doesn't consider decimal weights. They will always round up to the nearest pound.
- After combining all of your items together, you need a larger package size. Bonanza's "best guess" on your package size is equivalent to the largest package in the offer the buyer made. If, after combining all of the items together, a package is required that is bigger than our guess, then your shipping cost will generally be higher.
How Can I Get the Best Estimates Possible?
First of all, please understand that variances of up to 10% in the actual shipping price and the shipping price that we are given as an estimate from our shipping providers is fairly common place and hard to avoid. We recommend USPS as a first choice, since they allow decimal shipping weights to be calculated and has given generally more accurate estimates.
If you have found a case where the shipping you are charged varies from the shipping that was estimated by more than 10-20%, please start by visiting the shipping calculator on the main web site for UPS or USPS and determining whether their shipping calculator gives a better estimate than the Bonanza shipping calculator. If so, you can report all of the details you used with their shipping calculator to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can attempt to contact USPS or UPS to resolve discrepancies between the results given by their web site, and those given by the service that they offer us.