What is a Surcharge?

Every now and again, our couriers find a parcel brought to their depot that isn’t quite what they expected. It could be larger than declared, for example, or heavier, or it could be packaged incorrectly and require repackaging.

The quotes we provide on our site are based on the parcel details you provide during the booking process. Therefore, if the courier finds that the package weighs or measures more than originally declared, or the courier has to take the time to repackage the item, the sender hasn’t paid the actual cost of the delivery.

For this reason, the courier issues an additional charge to the sender to cover the extra cost.

There are several different reasons your parcel could incur an additional charge. Below we’ve explained what each of them means, as well as how you can prevent incurring additional charges in future.

Types of Charges

Weight/Dimensions Discrepancy

This is where the declared weight or dimensions and the actual measurements differ. The actual cost from the courier is therefore higher than the price quoted when you booked.

UPS Additional Handling

Additional handling costs are exclusive to UPS. They are incurred when the courier has to handle an item manually, either due to its size or its packaging. Additional handling charges can be issued for the following reasons:

Reason Provided Description
Not encased in cardboard
  • Parcel is packaged in metal or wood (rather than the advised cardboard or jiffy bag) OR;
  • Any cylindrical item not packaged in a cardboard box (a tyre or a barrel, for example)
Length Any parcel with the longest side exceeding 100 cm
Second side Any parcel with the second-longest side exceeding 76 cm
Weight Any parcel exceeding 32 kg in weight

Large Packet Surcharge

UPS, DPD and Parcelforce are the only couriers that produce large packet surcharges on items that exceed a certain measurement threshold. Here are details on circumstances when a parcel would qualify for a large packet surcharge for each courier.

Overmax Charge

Overmax charges are exclusive to UPS. Parcels weighing over 70kg, or measuring over 270cm on one side, or length+girth exceeds 419cm, will be issued an overmax charge.

Volumetric Weight

What is volumetric weight?

Volumetric weight (also known as dimensional weight) is a calculation of your parcel's effective weight based on its volume e.g. - it's length multiplied by it's width and height.

For example, if you were to send a parcel that measured 120 cm x 40 cm x 10 cm, the volume of that parcel would be 50,000 cm3 (or 0.05 m3). The volumetric weight, based on that volume, would be 12 kg. This weight could be different to the actual weight of the parcel.

Why does volumetric weight matter?

Say you're sending an iPhone to France. Imagine that, when you come to package this item, you opt for a box far larger than the iPhone's volume justifies - say, the box to a 48" TV.

Though the actual weight of that parcel might be less than a kilogram, it can't simply be added to the other small items of the same weight bracket, because it's so much larger.

Therefore, the volumetric weight of the parcel is helpful for the courier, in that it makes sorting much more accurate.

Could I be charged if I don't factor in volumetric weight when booking a delivery?

There is a possibility that some couriers will add a surcharge to parcels the volumetric weight of which exceeds the declared weight.

This is because misdeclared parcels take longer to be sorted, and often have to be taken care of manually. This in turn slows down the processing of others parcels on the sorting line, and takes up the time of depot staff. The charge, therefore, is to compensate the loss of productivity the misdeclaration caused.

Preventing Future Charges

Keeping yourself from being hit with future charges is simple enough - it just takes a few double-checks on your part before you book your parcel for delivery.

So, before you send, check the following:

  •  The actual weight of your parcel
  •  The dimensions (length, width, and height) of your parcel
  •  Our packaging guidelines

Disputing an Underpayment Charge

If you've been issued an underpayment charge that you have sufficient evidence to dispute, please complete the form below to confirm the declared measurements of your parcel along with any supporting evidence. We will then investigate your query with the courier and get back to you as soon as we've heard back.

P2G Ref No:



Email Address:


Photographic Evidence:

Supplying photographic evidence e.g a photo of your parcel, will enable us to process your claim quicker, however if you do not have any evidence please click here.

If you have photographic evidence to submit, please click here.