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Additional Options for UPS / USPS (et al) Rate Lookup
 
Rational Calvert
Jr. Member
 
Total Posts:  17
Joined:  2008-06-03
 

I was a little amazed that I didn’t see an existing thread on this. I would have thought anyone selling fairly high value items would find themselves in more or less the same situation I am in. But in any case, here’s my problem.

We sell a number of items through our store with price tags in the $100 - 1000 range and so we require insurance, delivery confirmation and signature release on everything we ship. Currently there are no options that I can find in Magento for including these options on shipping rate look-ups for UPS or USPS even though I am pretty sure the web APIs at both places do support including them.

I just finished porting our store (having finally given up on trying to upgrade in place) from Magento 1.0.1987x to 1.2.1 and was overjoyed to find USPS rate look-up is now a functional feature—I was never able to get that to working in 1.0.x. However this actually now exacerbates the problem because when the only shipping option we could offer online was UPS, I was able to fudge shipping weights and noodle with the surcharge option until I finally succeeded in getting the store to quote shipping charges more or less in line with our actual costs. With two possible methods available I can already see that’s going to get a little dicey, since UPS and USPS have different rate structures and options for those extra-cost services. So what really didn’t work very well before really, is going to work even less well now.

I have looked through the Magento documentation and all the plug-ins for shipping that I could find and if a practical solution for this problem already exists, I have not been able to find it. If anyone does know of a good way to handle this, I would very much appreciate being let in on it but if not, please file this under feature requests.

Thanks.

 
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Rational Calvert
Jr. Member
 
Total Posts:  17
Joined:  2008-06-03
 

It occurs to me that a generalizable way to at least improve on existing functionality might be to just add a second surcharge option. If it were possible add the handling surcharge as both a flat upcharge and a percentage, rather than either/or, you could get a lot closer than you can now without cracking into specific shipper’s APIs.

The problem is that services such as delivery confirmation and signature release are fixed fees, whereas insurance increases with the value of the order. So using just fixed fee means you undercharge for shipping high value orders and/or are uncompetitive on small orders, whereas using just a percentage means you undercharge for small orders and/or overcharge for larger ones. Basically you’re damned either way. But if you could do a combination of the two, you just might have something there.

I guess that still leaves the problem that with both UPS and USPS, some of the above are extra cost options for lower cost shipping methods (e.g., UPS ground or Priority mail) but may be included in Overnight or Express mail. But you could maybe handle that with a shopping cart rule to credit back the difference when expedited shipping is selected, if you wanted to be nice about it.

 
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