Selling online means shipping products to your customers on a regular basis. But if you’re like most online sellers, you may be unaware that five percent of all shipped packages fail to meet a service guarantee and, therefore, qualify for a refund. For frequent shippers, those numbers can really add up; yet nearly one hundred percent of those refunds – about two billion dollars annually – go unclaimed. Points out Jeff Lindmark, of shipping auditor Veriship.com, “If you don’t realize the credits you’re due, you’re missing out on money that’s rightfully yours.”
I’d Like a Refund Please...
There are numerous scenarios that would entitle you to a refund:
• Late arrivals. All packages have a time guarantee attached, based on the level of service purchased and the zip codes of the sender and recipient.
• Unauthorized account use. This refers to any shipment billed to your account that originated from an address not on your list of authorized account users (like your drop shippers or fulfillment center).
• Duplicate billing. Both at package and invoice level, this can result in grossly overpaying.
• Manifested but not shipped. Sometimes customers cancel their orders after you’ve already created a shipping label. If you forget to cancel that label in your shipping software program, you’ll be charged for a shipment that never went out.
With so much money on the line, you might wonder why more online sellers don’t track their refunds. The reason is simple – recovering all those refunds is an incredibly time-consuming process that would require careful follow-up for every single package shipped:
• You would first need to obtain tracking and delivery information for each shipment.
• You would then need to check the service type you purchased against the zip codes of origin and delivery on each package, in order to determine the guarantees that were attached to it.
• For every qualifying package you found, you would have to make sure there were no exceptions that would void your guarantee.
• And finally, you would have to go through the process of claiming each and every refund you found, via telephone or email.
To further complicate matters, most carriers impose a time limit – FedEx and UPS both give fifteen days – for you to find and claim those credits before they expire.
A Simple Solution
When you’re running an E-Biz, you need to spend your time on the tasks that produce the highest ROI. Unfortunately, your shipping refunds won’t justify the time and energy you’ll spend obtaining them. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave that money sitting on the table. A shipping auditor, like VeriShip.com or ShippingRefunds.com, can handle chasing down your refunds, so you can focus on growing your business.
It’s a simple concept: your auditors receive your weekly invoice(s) electronically, directly from your carrier(s). They analyze the invoices with their proprietary software, identify any service failures, and contact the carrier, on your behalf, to secure all refunds due. Your carrier sends the money straight to you.
Since their fee is a percentage of the recovered funds, rather than a flat fee, the cost never outweighs the savings. You’re paying with “found” money – money you wouldn’t have had otherwise – and pocketing the rest, so you literally have nothing to lose. The more they find, the more both of you keep. As an entrepreneur, you don’t have time to track all your shipping refunds, so why not let someone else find that money for you? Says Lindmark, “Our mantra is ‘Free money – want some?’”