Shipping: Are Dollars You’re Owed Hiding in Plain Sight?


Refunds are something everybody wants but most usually don’t get. The UPS Guaranteed Refund can work in a business’s favor if they know which incidents qualify.

If you asked us for a textbook answer, we’d tell you that the UPS Guaranteed Refund Service (GRS) is the parcel carrier’s promise to refund shipping costs to a business if the package doesn’t arrive on time via qualifying shipping methods (which we’ll list below).

If we offered the insider’s answer, we’d say the GRS is something of a well-kept secret.

It states that if a package is even 60 seconds late, then the shipper is entitled to a refund. Only a minute late! Such a small span of time will almost certainly go unnoticed by parcel recipients (and shippers) when compared to hours, a day, or longer. This is how many refund opportunities slip by unnoticed.

It’s also extremely unlikely that UPS would inform a shipper that they’d missed the delivery window by a minute or more. Why own up to it when it would cost them money? This leads us to the next question: How is a shipper supposed to know a package was ever late if neither the parcel carrier nor the recipient report it?

Diving deeper into the GRS

A shipper would have to download and examine the complete UPS Terms of Service for 2019 to find item 36. There, UPS states that shippers can initiate up to 50 tracking requests a week without cost. Any more than 50 and UPS reserves the right to charge the shipper for further requests. What’s more, they may add an extra charge if it turns out the package did arrive on time after all.

So, if a shipper makes an understandable query about a package, they can end up literally paying for it. Gathering all the metrics of a parcel carrier’s performance is what it takes to avoid that kind of costly error. The guaranteed delivery time is also a slippery term since the fine print states:

UPS may cancel, suspend or modify the UPS Service Guarantee (or change the guaranteed time in transit) for any service(s), and for any period of time, as determined by UPS in its sole and unlimited discretion, and without prior notice.

Some shippers may even have been the subject of an unscrupulous waiver from UPS, which didn’t slip by us in our previous blog. For those who do manage to qualify for a refund, UPS will either credit or refund the transportation charges – providing the shipper presses them to do it. Refunds aren’t automatic; they take more time and work to collect. This is a big reason why shippers often just give up and accept the financial loss.

When the refund applies

The UPS refund applies when the package is shipped by any of the following services:

  • UPS Air Services
  • UPS Hundredweight Service Air Services
  • UPS 3 Day Select
  • UPS Hundredweight Service 3 Day Select
  • UPS Ground
  • UPS Ground with Freight Pricing
  • UPS Hundredweight Service Ground

UPS also guarantees on-schedule delivery of shipments shipped via the following services, where available, and provided that customs clearance is performed by UPS Supply Chain Solutions brokerage offices designated by UPS for clearing these shipments:

  • UPS Worldwide Express Plus
  • UPS Worldwide Express NA1
  • UPS Worldwide Express
  • UPS Worldwide Express Freight
  • UPS Worldwide Saver
  • UPS Worldwide Expedited
  • UPS 3 Day Select from Canada
  • UPS Standard

The refund process without 71lbs

Auditing all the data involved in parcel tracking across all those shipping methods can be a labor-intensive process. It must be performed for every individual package, and there’s a 15-day time limit to do it and submit a refund request. Verifying the actual delivery time against the guaranteed one involves finding the right tracking number, then spending time on the UPS phone line (800-742-5877) or going through the website reporting process.

As more details are gathered, a shipper may run into exceptions attached to their refund that could affect the outcome. All this is assuming one phone call is enough and there are no call-backs or other delays. One of 71lbs’ many services is auditing: We go through the whole process with a fine-toothed comb, covering 65 different service points connected to your parcel-carrier agreement.

Many shippers are either unaware of all those details or don’t have the time to commit to refund-hunting. We do, and we ensure that UPS credits 100 percent of your shipping cost by automatically refunding it directly to your account. We’ll save you time and money; maybe even thousands of dollars. Want to verify that refunds were added to your account? Check out our FAQ page that walks you through the steps for your UPS and FedEx accounts.

At 71lbs, we uncomplicate the shipping process for our customers, making it easier and faster for them to access refunds and reduce their expenses. Our automated platform gathers all your shipping information into one easy-to-use custom analytics dashboard. Drop by the contact page to get in touch.

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Jose Li recounts a conversation he had with an e-commerce company about how UPS's guaranteed service refunds could be saving his company a lot of money. He shows how YOU can do the same in a few easy steps.

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