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USPS UPGRADE, July 12, 2009: Container Type Changes

brettbrett FoxyCart Team
in Important News edited July 2009
This was emailed to all stores using USPS, but is posted here in the forum for reference and discussion.


Subject: July 12th USPS upgrade for your store

What's Happening

We've recently reworked our USPS (United States Postal Service) rate requests to use V3 of their rate request system. Though we plan on making some major improvements to shipping in the future , we feel this upgrade is important as it will improve the accuracy of some rates. As part of this upgrade, we are also fixing a bug we discovered this past week involving incorrect container names being sent to USPS.

To fix this, we'll be updating our database with the correct container names and sizes which will affect all stores using USPS. While we make it a rule not to make changes that will affect live stores, because of the way this data is handled in our system, this is a system-wide change, and not a version specific change.

Affect On Live Stores Using USPS

Stores currently using USPS shouldn't see any changes to the rates they are currently receiving from USPS on their FoxyCart checkout. Rather, this upgrade will allow you to be more accurate. Depending on your currently selected container type, your store may be automatically switched to the "VARIABLE" container type (which is what's currently being used), so there should be no change to rates returned. You can get much greater accuracy by following the steps below, however.

What If You Don't Take Action?

Your shipping container selection in the FoxyCart admin will most likely be reset to "VARIABLE", and you should see no change in the rates being presented to your customers on checkout. We do recommend you change your settings as appropriate, however, as it will give you more accurate shipping rates for your customers.

Action You Need To Take

We plan on making this change over the weekend. Once we do, you should be able to login to your FoxyCart admin and update your container to be one of the following:


And set your package size to be:


Feedback and Questions

Please login to your store on or after Sunday and make sure the container type matches what you're shipping and that this upgrade is working for your store. If you have questions, concerns, or success/failure reports please comment on this forum post.

We don't yet support other advanced shipping features but if you're handy with JavaScript and JQuery, you may find the ajaxComplete method and this post useful for developing some of your own custom shipping rules. Details in the forum.

Thanks again for trusting FoxyCart with your e-commerce needs.
  • Since this change USPS doesn't come up as an option anymore when checking out, only UPS. Previously the USPS rates worked just fine but now they're no longer there even though in my admin I have it selected as a shipping option. Any suggestions?
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    What store are you referring to? We DEFINITELY need to take a look at this. Also, what shipping from and two address are you using? Do you see any errors in your store's error logs?
  • This monkeyed up my shipping rates (surprise surprise) :D

    It is currently set to Variable (Size: Regular), and all my items are 8oz.

    First Class does not show up for my orders now at ALL. The cheapest rate for 1 shirt is $4.95, which is Priority Mail.

    But it gets worse...if a person orders TWO shirts, it now exceeds the 13oz limit and so I'm forced to ship via Priority Mail (which is expected). BUT the price is...$4.95. It is assuming that I'm going to use a flat rate envelope I guess?

    Guys, I need resolution on this...I already have Fedex disabled because the rates are so different between FoxyCart and Actual Rates. I've got to have at least *one* method of shipping that is accurate! Sorry to publicly vent, but you provide shopping cart services...accurate shipping rates is a basic requirement.

    Here is my situation:

    * I package my shirts in 10" x 13" tyvek envelopes
    * Domestically, I ship them as a First Class Package
    * It costs me $2.41 to ship one shirt
    * At 2 shirts, I ship them Priority Mail (but NOT flat-rate envelope)

    Please tell me what settings I need to use to make this happen
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    Hey mgpdesign, I was able to track down your store from a whisper in a different post of yours. It looks like you're still using the "Variable" container type. You'll probably need to change that Rectangular.

    Also, it looks like you only have first class set which is only valid for 13 ounces or less:

    There's a good chance the weight of the cart is more than that which makes that rate not available. You'll probably want to select Priority Mail as well.

    Please login to your admin, update your container type and make sure you have enough rates selected to handle every possible weight your cart could contain and let us know if that fixes the problem.
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    Thanks for posting jud. We'll definitely get to the bottom of this. The previous rate request version we were using didn't have a unique code per service type so we had to compare things based off of the name of the service. The service names change quite often so this is definitely not the best way to do things. Based on this page: it looks like they now do have a set of codes we need to match off of. What used to be called "First-Class Mail" is now "First-Class Mail Flat" and "First-Class Mail Parcel" which is not matching up by name. We need to match up off the classid.

    We'll get this fixed ASAP and update this thread.
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    Ok, everything's been updated to match the shipping services based off of the shipping service CLASSID. Please double check your shipping services and your rates. Things should now be working as expected.

    So sorry for the frustration. We're working really hard to improve FoxyCart for everyone and though we test things quite a bit, we don't always catch every combination of product setup, shipping method, shipping service, etc. We knew this roll out would be a big deal since it was not a version-specific change and would affect everyone which is why we sent out the email.

    Thanks again for letting us know as soon as the issue was noted so we could fix it quickly. Please let us know if things are still not working correctly.
  • Ok now it gives the user BOTH First Class options:

    USPS First-Class Mail Flat $2.07
    USPS First-Class Mail Parcel $2.41

    Not what I want...I ship all my First Class stuff via Parcel, how do I set it up to only show the Parcel option?
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    I was actually wondering if that would be an issue or not... We have a saying around here: "I hate shipping". That's because every integration we've done, redone, improved and redone again always leaves us frustrated. As the previous version mapped rates by name, this version maps by CLASSID but for some really stupid reason, both of those options return the same CLASSID. If we go back to matching by name, things will be even worse.

    We'll keep messing with it. Stay tuned as you should see a new shipping service in your admin soon. We'll probably do a special case for First-Class and map that one by name and CLASSID.

    Interesting to note that those two rates don't show up in their documentation:
    Instead they just have "First-Class"

    What is the difference between "Flat" and "Parcel"? Is that in reference to the package type? Is Parcel the most common (as in, should we convert all FoxyCart stores that checked "First-Class" to "First-Class Mail Parcel")?
  • yeah flat must mean the envelope, and parcel is an actual package. Parcel I would consider the most common for ecommerce solutions, plus I use it because I can get $.19 delivery confirmation (which is great with delivery disputes)

    In my opinion, yes you should have tied to Parcel.
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    edited July 2009
    Ok, give it a shot now. We made a change specific to version 051 for just the First-Class service types checking against the CLASSID and the service name.
  • so i have the "First Class Parcel" and "Priority Mail" checked, and i've tried the container set both at "Variable (Size:Regular)" and "Rectangular (Size: Regular)"

    I still get these options in my cart:

    USPS First-Class Mail Flat $2.07
    USPS First-Class Mail Parcel $2.41
    USPS Priority Mail $4.95
  • Thanks. I was able to get it to show up after tweeking the service settings, but the pricing is not coming out correctly.

    Our product only weighs .4 lbs (6.4 oz). I should be able to ship 1 or 2 books and still get first class rates of $1.90. However, when Rectangular (size: Large) is selected the rate comes out at $2.24. This is not correct. A Large envelope under 13oz should only cost $1.90 according to USPS.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    Thanks guys. We'll continue to diagnose and update.
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team are you on version 051? I only made that last hack for that version. If needed, I can roll it back to other versions as well.

    @mgpdesign: Have you tried other container sizes? Have you specifically checked the envelope options?

    Thanks for the feedback guys, we really do appreciate it. We want this to be working correctly for sure.
  • i'm on v050, if you could do it for that version that would be great...apparently the jump to 051 is complicated due to the changes in how you guys handle some kind of Javascript. My developer says:

    "This upgrade is going to require some fairly significant
    changes to the JS. Again, I need to read through their changelog
    again to refresh my memory but if I recall they are now "not"
    using a protected namespace for the JS library. This means an
    overhaul of client side scripts."

    i'd rather wait until you get Paypal support in before I make the upgrade.
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    Just pushed it back to 050. You should be good to go but please let us know if USPS changes the name of those rates as it will not work correctly if they do.

    For what it's worth, you can upgrade to 051 with very little effort by just adding a single line of javascript:
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    @mgpdesign: Can you please provide us the source and destination zip codes you're using? It looks like we may have to add more options to the admin as we're not currently sending "FirstClassMailType" which may be affecting the rates you're seeing. The options are LETTER, FLAT and PARCEL
  • I do believe it is working! *knock on wood* Thanks guys, will keep you updated if I see any funky things happen.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    FYI to Jud and Luke: Jud's using FoxEE (right?), which complicates the 051 upgrade. So, don't upgrade until you upgrade to FoxEE 110, which I think will be live _very_ soon (like tonight).

    But like you said, might as well wait for the PayPal upgrade.
  • Yup using FoxEE...ooh 110 releases soon? I think I've been waiting on that for some custom shopping cart stuff I want to do like thumbnails of product images and whatnot. I'll have to speak with my developer about this! :D
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