Package Weighs More Than Shipping Label Says (What Happens?)

As much as possible, carriers want customers or shippers to provide accurate information about a package.

This information not just includes the recipient’s details but also the weight and dimensions of the package. The weight and dimensions are important because these details are what the shipping fee is based on, apart from the location.

So what happens when a package weighs more than the shipping label? Let’s find out!

Here’s What Happens When A Package Weighs too Much:

When a package weighs too much, the customer or shipper may be charged extra. If the package they are sending weighs too much than what is indicated on the label, the package may be returned to the shipper. 

What Happens If The Package Is Too Heavy For The Prepaid Shipping Label?

Everyone can make mistakes, and in the shipping world, there are some common mistakes that shippers tend to commit.

One is providing an incorrect package weight when creating the prepaid shipping label.

The weight of the package highly affects the shipping charges. It can also dictate what type of service or mode of transportation is appropriate to ship it.

Here are a few scenarios to keep an eye on:

The Carrier May not Collect the Package

All carriers can estimate a package’s weight by holding it upon pickup. It is something that they learn on the job.

So if your package weighs more than what is indicated on the prepaid shipping label, then the carrier reserves the right not to collect your package.

Then you would have no choice but to re-do the shipping label and pay the correct shipping fees for your package.

The Package may be Collected, but there will be Additional Charges

If the package weighs more than what is provided on the shipping label, another scenario is that the carrier will collect it, but you will be asked to pay some added surcharges.

If the package has already been collected and weighed at the post office, which resulted in the carrier finding out the actual weight, then surcharges may be issued.

These surcharges are based on the difference between the shipping label’s weight and the package weight. The shipper is required to pay for this.

The Package Will be Returned to the Shipper

This scenario could happen if the package’s weight exceeds what is indicated on the shipping label.

The package may be sent back to you, and you would have to re-do the process of generating the shipping label and paying for the correct shipping charges.

This will, of course, delay the delivery of your package. All carriers urge their customers to weigh the package and provide accurate shipping details.

Does USPS Check Weight On Prepaid Packages?

Now you may be wondering if the US Postal Service checks the weight of prepaid packages since the shipper or customer provides all the information on the shipping labels.

In general, no. USPS does not check the weight on prepaid packages unless the package weighs more than what is indicated on the label.

When a USPS worker holds a package, they can tell how much it weighs. Just by holding the package, they can tell if something feels off and can give an estimate of how heavy it is.

And if the package is heavier than what is provided by the customer, that is only when the USPS would check the weight to confirm.

Can You Be Charged More For Heavier Packages?

Apart from the location where it will be shipped, the weight of the package is a major factor in determining the shipping costs. The heavier the package is, the higher the shipping charge will be.

So if your package is heavier than what is indicated on the prepaid shipping label, you can get charged more.

Surcharges will apply for heavier packages, and you must pay for them so your package will be shipped. If you refuse to pay for the said charges, the package will be returned to you.

How Can You Find Out the Weight of a Package Before You Ship It?

Since the weight of the package is a major factor in determining the shipping charge, you need to provide it as accurately as possible.

You can find out the weight of the package by actually weighing it.

You can drive to the nearest carrier or post office and weigh your package there. Most of these facilities have postal scales that customers can use for free.

If you have a weighing scale at home, you can also use that. You can use a kitchen scale for smaller parcels and a bathroom scale for bigger packages.

Some bathroom scales may not be able to detect lighter objects since they are designed to weigh humans. So we suggest weighing yourself first and then weighing yourself again, this time while holding the package.

Take note of both numbers, and get the difference, which will be the package weight.

If you have a small business and frequently ship out customer orders, buying your own postal scale would be best. There are many options that you can order online for less than $30.

A postal scale is a good investment for your business since you will always use it.

What Alternative Services Does USPS Offer For Heavy Packages?

As the main carrier in the US, the US Postal Service offers different shipping options. Customers may avail of the service most appropriate to the package they will be shipping.

The USPS offers the most popular services: Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. You can select either of these services for regular-sized packages.

Both of these services include tracking and insurance for the package. The only difference is how fast the packages are being shipped.

Priority Mail Express:

Priority Mail Express starts at $26.95 and is the fastest domestic shipping service offered by USPS as it guarantees delivery the next day or up to two days. Priority Mail starts at $8.70 and guarantees delivery in 1 to 3 business days.

For oversized packages, customers can avail of the USPS Retail Ground.

USPS Retail Ground:

The USPS Retail Ground is a service provided by the USPS for even heavier items that do not need to be shipped urgently.

This is recommended for packages that are too big for Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail, given that the maximum weight allowed is 70 pounds.

This service starts at $8.70, the most affordable service you can get when sending large items to a domestic location.

With this service, you can expect the package to be delivered in 2 to 5 business days. This service is only available at USPS Post Offices, meaning you cannot generate a shipping label for it online or request package pickup.


Generally, if your package is heavier than what is indicated on the prepaid shipping label, there may be delays in the delivery if you have surcharges to pay or if it is sent back to you. You would want to avoid that, especially if you own a business and the package you send is for a customer.

So make sure to always weigh the packages before generating a prepaid shipping label to avoid any delays in the delivery.


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