5 Common Shipping Label Fails to Avoid

5 Common Shipping Label Fails to Avoid More and more people prefer to print their shipping labels online because it saves them time, money and effort. When printing shipping labels yourself, keep in mind that to err is human and double-check everything to prevent these common shipping label fails that can cost you money or result in your package not arriving to its destination.

Errors in the Address

Errors in the recipient’s address are probably one of the most common shipping label fails. While not a serious one, it is one of those things that are easier to avoid than to fix after. If you make a mistake in the recipient’s address and print an erroneous label, you will either need to void it or reach out to the carrier to get the mistake fixed, and most private carriers apply an address change surcharge for that. So make sure to double- or even triple-check the address before printing your shipping label; it will save your both time and money.

Errors in the Customs Declaration

An international shipping label typically also serves as a customs declaration form. It contains a list of the items in the package, together with their quantity and cost. Sometimes senders deliberately undervalue packages to avoid customs fees, but it is not the wisest thing to do. In fact, it is illegal and can result in a fine and your goods being seized. So don’t try to outsmart the customs office and fill out the customs declaration form truthfully.

Wrong Label Size

There are different shipping label formats depending on the carrier and service. Shipping label printing services make sure to get the shipping label format and size right, but printing the shipping label you’ve generated right is on you. Before printing, make sure to disable automatic sizing in the print settings and adjust the scaling to 100 percent in the Print Preview feature.

Smudges, Smears and Other Imperfections

A shipping label must be easily readable and scannable. Any imperfections that affect the barcode might result in your shipment getting delayed in transit or even not arriving to its destination at all. Shipping labels generated by PostageMaker can be printed on a regular printer, but we strongly recommend that you use a laser printer (inkjet printers are most likely to have a smearing problem) with an up-to-date cartridge. If the label has smudges or is too pale, try reprinting it using another printer.

Label Not Attached Properly

Folds and creases also can make your shipping label unscannable, so it is important to attach it to the box properly. We’ve already written a whole guide on attaching shipping labels, but here’s the gist if you don’t have the time to read it:

  • Smooth the label out to prevent creases and wrinkles.
  • Make sure the label is protected from the elements (for example, by placing it in a clear plastic pouch).
  • Affix the label to the largest side of the package called the address side where it is will be easily identifiable.
  • Do not bend or fold the label on the edge of the box.
  • Adhere the shipping label securely.
  • Make sure the barcode is not covered with packing tape.
  • Place a backup shipping label inside the box before sealing it, just in case.

Old Shipping Labels on the Box

If you want to reuse an old box to save on packaging, that’s fine. Just make sure to remove old shipping labels, dangerous goods stickers, or any other markings left on the box from the previous uses. Don’t try to attach the new shipping label right on top of the old one because information from the leftover label might bleed through and make the barcode hard to scan. In general, it is advisable to check in with your carrier before reusing a shipping box; they will advise you on how to do it the right way and avoid common mistakes.