Ship Smarter, Save More: Avoid Special Handling & Address Correction

Learn why you are being charged with special handling fees and how to correct it.

Ship Smarter, Save More: Avoid Special Handling & Address Correction

Posted by Tania

Have you ever gotten a shipping bill that was higher than you expected? Those unexpected charges might be due to something called “Special Handling” or “Address Correction” fees. These fees can add a significant chunk of change to your shipping costs, leaving you feeling frustrated.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many people get hit with these fees because they aren’t quite sure what triggers them or how to avoid them. Our expert team   have got you covered with our simple guide to understanding these fees and keeping them off your shipping bill.

Understanding special handling fees

Special Handling fees are essentially surcharges applied by shipping carriers when your package requires extra attention or deviates from their standard handling procedures. Here are some common reasons why your package might be flagged for Special Handling:

  • Packing Mishaps: Carriers expect sturdy cardboard boxes. If your package is made of wood, metal, or anything else that isn’t strong cardboard, you might get hit with a fee. Similarly, excessive use of shrink wrap or using flimsy boxes that could easily break are red flags.
  • Odd Shapes: Shipping companies are designed to handle standard boxes efficiently. If you’re trying to ship oddly shaped items like mailing tubes, barrels, or anything that doesn’t fit neatly in a box, be prepared for a potential special handling fee.
  • Loose Cannons: Boxes that might contain loose objects, like nuts, bolts, or broken toys, pose a risk of damaging other packages during sorting. Carriers may require special handling for these to ensure everyone’s shipment arrives safely.
  • Strapped Down Tight: Packages secured with metal banding, plastic straps, or anything that could get caught in sorting machinery are safety hazards. Secure your package securely, but use materials that won’t snag or cause problems.
  • Special Needs: Items marked “fragile” or with other specific handling instructions (like “keep upright”) typically require extra care. While these are important for delicate items, they can also trigger special handling fees.

It’s important to note that special handling fees are usually assessed by the carrier after your package arrives at their depot. This means there’s no way to predict them beforehand, making them an unpleasant surprise on your shipping bill. To avoid this unpleasant surprise, it’s important to be proactive about your packaging and shipping practices.

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Understanding address correction fees

Address correction fees come into play when there’s an error in the recipient’s address. Even a seemingly minor mistake can lead to a correction fee, so be extra careful when entering the address. Here are some common culprits for address correction fees:

  • Missing apartment number: In multi-unit buildings, an apartment number is crucial for accurate delivery. Leaving it out can result in delays and correction fees.
  • Missing buzzer number: Just having the apartment number isn’t enough. Many buildings require a separate buzzer code, and the drivers will not take the time to look it up on the directory. It must be included on the waybill with the unit number.
  • Street name /Street type mistakes: Incorrect street names (like misspelling “Street” as “St.”) or missing street types (Avenue, Boulevard, etc.) can confuse delivery drivers and lead to fees.
  • Postal code mistakes:  An incorrect postal code can send your package on a wild goose chase, resulting in correction fees.
  • Typos: Typos in the recipient’s name or company name can cause delays and fees. Double-check everything for accuracy!

How do you avoid special handling and address correction fees?

To avoid the frustration as well as the extra expense of special handling and address correction fees, a little preparation is needed and this goes a long way in ensuring your package arrives safely and without any unexpected charges.
Here are our expert advice:

  • Double (and triple) check the address: This might seem obvious, but it’s the most important step. Take your time and ensure the recipient’s address is 100% accurate before you ship anything.
  • Embrace technology: Many shipping platforms offer address verification tools. These tools can catch errors like typos or missing information before you pay for shipping, saving you time and money.
  • Package your shipment properly: Invest in sturdy cardboard boxes and high-quality packing materials. Secure your items properly to prevent them from shifting during transport. By packing like a pro, you can avoid the need for special handling and keep your costs down.
  • Know your carrier’s rules: Every carrier has its own specific guidelines for packaging and addressing. Take some time to familiarize yourself with their rules to avoid any surprises. Most carrier websites have comprehensive guides readily available.

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The FlagShip team is here to help you navigate the world of shipping with confidence. Whether you’re a seasoned shipper or just starting out, our customer service representatives are happy to answer any questions you might have about domestic and international shipments or our services in general. We want to make sure your shipping experience is as smooth and stress-free as possible.If you have any questions or concerns, contact our team via mail at or by phone at 1-866-320-8383.