ASK AUGELLO

By William J. Augello, Esquire

Question: I was told that UPS just issued a new tariff, but we were never informed by UPS of it. Are we bound by any increases in charges or any other changes?

Answer: Absolutely! Every shipper that tenders a shipment to any parcel carrier does so under its terms and conditions stated on the shipping receipt, which invariably incorporate by reference all of the terms and conditions stated in its tariffs, service guides and contracts, if any. There is no requirement that shippers agree to these terms or must even be notified of its changed rates, charges or provisions. The onus is on shippers to request a copy, and it is recommended that every shipper do so.

You are in for a great deal of work if you attempt to determine the changes that became effective as of July 12, 2004 because the new tariff contains no ?flags? to indicate the changes, as formerly required by the I.C.C. of all carriers? tariffs. You will need to compare every item in the new tariff with the same item in the previously effective tariff. Having done so, here are some of the most important changes found in this 30-page tariff.
  • The rules for oversize, overweight and large packages have been changed, so a package exceeding 130 inches in length and girth combined having a weight of less than 90 pounds will be billed at 90 pounds (Item 1030) 1-05-2004 new size of 165 inches, 7-03-2003 limit is 130 inches.
  • Packages weighing more than 150 pounds or that exceed 108 inches in length and girth combined, ?when found in the system,? are subject to one or more of an additional charge of $50 for ?Over Maximum Weight,? ?Over Maximum Length? or ?Over Maximum Size.? (Item 1030), 7-12-2004, 1-05-2004, 7-14-2003, only one of the $50 fine is billed.
  • Rates are described as the ?Daily, On-Demand or Retail Rates.? (Item 400) The Retail rates for 70 pounds to 71 pounds or more appear to be $10 higher than previously published, (commercial v/s residential, Daily v/s On-Demand) in Zone 2 and Zone 3, according to the experts at www.zerodownconsulting.com.
  • Changes in terminology appear throughout the new tariff. For example, the rates now apply to both the shipper and the package, plus any additional charges referenced in the tariff, the UPS Rate and Service Guide or in customized contracts. (Item 400)
  • Residential Location? is now defined as ?a location that is a home, such as a business operating out of a home that does not have an entrance open to the public.? (Item 1010, 1020)
  • Throughout the tariff, language has been added to state that ?the rates in effect at the time of shipping? will govern. (Item 575, for example) These additions are designed to bind contracting shippers to increases in rates and charges that are published in annual General Increases, and in ?any supplemental or successive issues of such tariff, item, note, rule or table.? (Item 420) Consequently, a shipper who believes that he signed ?a two-year contract? will find his rates being increased with the next General Increase (unlike a properly drafted motor carrier contract).


This column does not attempt to analyze changes in rates or accessorial charges. Shippers and receivers of parcels must perform this function themselves, or engage parcel express experts, such as www.zerodownconsulting.com to do this and to compare express charges with LTL carriers? current charges.

Mr. Augello is an attorney that has been practicing transportation law for the past 52 years. He also teaches transportation law at the University of Arizona. He founded and has served as executive director of the Transportation Consumer Protection Council, Inc. for the past 30 years. He may be reached at williamaugello@comcast.net or 520-531-0203.