It is important to Dim Weight Solutions to always give examples of just how much dim weight pricing and right-sized packaging can affect shipping costs. This real-life Amazon disaster is a prime example of where a company that understands dim weight could avoid lots of headache and embarrassment.

Recently, a Georgia woman found herself stunned at a transaction on her Amazon account. On March 2, Barbara Carroll ordered three boxes of toilet paper, each containing 48 rolls. The cost for all of the boxes was $88.17. Carroll selected two-day shipping, finished her transaction, and went along her way. The toilet paper arrived at her house in the promised two days.

The shock came less than a week later when Carroll was doing a routine check of her bank account. She noticed a payment dated March 6 for $7,543.17. Yes, you read that correctly- seven THOUSAND dollars. After checking her Amazon account, Carroll discovered that she had been charged the expected $88.17 for the toilet paper… and $7,455 for the delivery. As she is a member of Amazon Prime (which includes free two-day shipping on purchases for an annual fee), Barbara didn’t worry. She was familiar with Amazon’s customer service and knew that it would be taken care of.

The Issue

Amazon Prime customers are generally aware that not all products are available to be shipped for free with Prime, but it’s an easy mistake to select a product that is not included. Because of this mistake, however, Amazon directed Carroll to the third-party seller from whom she’d bought the toilet paper, The Ideal Company. This seller was responsible for the fulfillment and shipment of the order.

Between a personal email to Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, and her emails to the company, Carroll sent in six complaints. Each time, her return message was that she could not be refunded because, technically, there wasn’t a problem with the order- it was shipped on time, to the right location, and wasn’t damaged.

Carroll was protected by the fact that the order violated Amazon’s policy, which says “sellers cannot set excessive order fulfillment or shipping costs.” $7,000 for three boxes of toilet paper seems to fall under the category of “excessive”. However, there was no response from the Amazon or The Ideal Company. Carroll went to local media and the story was eventually picked up around the country, including with USA Today.

An Amazon staffer contacted Carroll finally and told her that the money should appear in the bank account “within several days”.

The Major Mistake

When consumers hear stories such as these, the first question that’s usually asked is “How on Earth could this happen???”. Shockingly, the mistake is more common than one may think.

The first issue was that Carroll requested the two-day shipping for a non-Prime item. As mentioned previously, this is an easy mistake and one that happens frequently. Carroll thought she was receiving free shipping when she was not.

Another major mistake factors in the dimensional weight. If The Ideal Company were across the company and the large (though lightweight) packages were measured with dimensional weight, the shipping weight would be much higher, likely measured at 50 to 80 lbs.

The last mistake could have been a simple seller error. Brian Bourke, VP of Marketing for a logistics company out of Chicago says this: “A lot of these third-party sellers don’t have the right technological tools available. You could have someone putting the decimal point in the wrong place.”

The Dim Weight Solution

All of this embarrassment on the part of the shipping company could have been avoided by partnering with a company that understands dim weight. Through our many dim weight solutions, companies have found the best method to reduce their dimensional weight costs and save on shipping.

Companies with large, lightweight items are often the culprit of exorbitant shipping prices because of dim weight factors. Through packaging systems and alternative void fill and cushioning methods, we help our customers find the right solutions to fit their needs.