If you use shipping software to ship packages with the Postal Service, you may have noticed some differences in the past couple of years. Maybe you received an email with the subject line saying something along the lines of: “USPS Has Made Adjustments to Your Account,” and maybe you were charged an extra few dollars here and there after you shipped a package. This is all due to a new system the Postal Service implemented in 2017 called Automated Package Verification.
How the Automated Package Verification System Works
Here’s the basic premise behind the APV. Let’s say you measure your box’s dimensions as 12x8x4, and the total weight at 5 lbs. USPS will check the package in their facilities to make sure these measurements are correct. If they aren’t, they will charge you for any extra amount of postage required.
Every USPS facility has new equipment that automatically checks each package for:
- Mail Class
- Origin and Destination Zip Codes
- Amount of postage paid
The Automated Package Verification only applies to domestic packages with a built-in tracking barcode, such as parcels sent Priority Mail, Priority Mail Cubic, or First Class Package. Letters, large envelopes, and certified mail are all exempt from APV.
Keep in mind that USPS can take up to 30 days after a package is shipped to issue any adjustments. However, the vast majority of APV adjustments occur just a few days after a package gets scanned into their system and shipped.
You Can a File a Dispute with USPS if They Made a Mistake
The only time APV ever comes into play is when shippers purchase the incorrect amount of postage. So, if you’re shipping correctly, there’s a chance APV will never affect you or your business! However, the Automated Package Verification system isn’t perfect, and sometimes USPS does makes mistakes.
If you get charged extra on your package and you’d like to dispute it, you can always contact your shipping software solution to file the dispute on your behalf. Be sure to include the following info:
- Your package’s tracking number
- Your reason or explanation for the dispute (the more details and evidence you can provide the better, such as photos, invoices, etc)