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When Exceptional Shipping Isn't a Good Thing

May 6, 2020 8:15:00 AM

An exceptional package status might mean exceptional delays. Learn how the term is applied and how it can impact a business.

Being exceptional is usually great, but not when it comes to carrier terminology and exceptional package status. These shipping exceptions indicate that your package has fallen out of normal service for one of several reasons. This could mean a late delivery or even a return to sender. The Big Two, UPS and FedEx, handle the situation in similar ways, so let’s look at how they apply the term.

The main reasons for shipping exceptions

Holidays are a peak time for package posting. They’re also a time of year when exceptions hit their highs. The sheer volume of packages means there’s a higher chance of deliveries being damaged or lost. Plus, not every shipper pays attention to the carrier’s rules on proper packaging, weight calculations and other factors. Getting these wrong can mean an exceptional delay, so refer to 71lbs’ article on packing pro tips on packing compliance.

Damage to the address label, incorrect address details or unavailable recipients are all likely to trigger a PMX notification, which is an abbreviation of “p.m. exception.” The package will then be returned to a FedEx delivery station for the night with redelivery typically attempted the next day. It’s good shipping practice to include a second address label inside a package, or documentation that contains the recipient’s address, in case these must be verified.

PMX problems in other areas

PMX notifications apply to most FedEx shipping exceptions, and each one is differentiated by a status tag telling the shipper why the exception was made. Pickup and delivery exceptions happen if a shipper doesn’t have a package ready on time for FedEx to collect. This causes business delays because the shipper must resubmit a pickup request which, at best, will be acted on the next day.

Damage to a package in transit can lead FedEx to hold it at one of their packing stations instead of delivering it. This exception forces the shipper to chase a claim, just as a “lost” PMX means they will have to seek a refund. Customs delays are another FedEx shipping exception, most often triggered by lack of proper documentation or restricted/prohibited contents.

Some exceptional circumstances are beyond a carrier’s control, such as harsh weather, other extreme natural or social events, route disruptions and, as we’re all finding out, a pandemic. Shippers must keep in mind that packages tagged “exceptional” may be ineligible for their money-back guarantee.

UPS shipping exceptions

These are largely a match for how FedEx applies the term, with some cosmetic differences. UPS has the “exception: action required” notification, which tells shippers that loss, damage, absentee recipients or any other issue has triggered an exception and more steps are required for successful delivery.

The language UPS applies to exceptions (“when a package or shipment encounters an unforeseen event”) isn’t entirely accurate or fair. While some things are indeed out of their hands, can they really classify damage or loss to packages under their care as unpredictable?

A carrier should be able to at least guarantee that deliveries will a) be protected and b) get there. When they can’t, that’s when 71lbs can help your business succeed with any due claims and refunds.

We’re the exception to the “lost refund” rule

71lbs has helped over 5,000 customers and counting successfully receive the refunds they’re owed for late deliveries not disqualified under the “exceptional” regulations. Whatever might be amiss with your deliveries, we can get to the bottom of things with our Shipping Exceptions reporting, which lets your business view shipments falling outside of common criteria, exceptions or habits.

We’re here to help no matter if your exception is related to late delivery or lost or damaged claims. We know that going back and forth with carriers in hopes of a refund is time-consuming and frustrating; it’s why many shippers just let it go (and why billions of dollars in refunds go unclaimed).

Our team fights in your corner to settle these claims in your favor wherever possible, freeing your team to focus on your business. We also offer our advanced parcel protection through our shipping insurance for an extra layer of protection. You’ll find it more affordable and effective than the coverage on sale from the big carriers, and the claims process is simple, clear and able to return your shipping and item costs.

We’re the good kind of exceptional. Give us a try and see why our thousands of happy customers agree.

At 71lbs, we focus on two things: a) helping customers save money on shipping, and b) helping customers understand their shipping costs. We provide refunds and savings on shipping insurance, freight, and imports, among other benefits. Our automated dashboard displays easy-to-understand shipping costs and insights so you can make better business decisions. Drop by the contact page to get in touch!

Topics: shipping claim, shipping exceptions, exceptional package status

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