If you use Shopify to ship your products, you need to read this
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that is used by thousands of businesses to sell products online. I used to use WordPress to sell my leggings, sports bras, and face masks, but I switched to Shopify because I hoped the platform was more stable. WordPress kept getting errors and crashing after an update and I had to get on the phone for hours at a time and straighten things out.
I also work for a luxury home goods store that uses Shopify as their e-commerce platform, so I was familiar with how it worked and I liked it. I wouldn't have to learn a new platform. One of the great features in Shopify is that you can buy your shipping label right through the orders page. You can put in the weight and dimensions of your box and you can buy a discounted shipping label and print it right there in your portal. It's very convenient. And they also have an option for shipping insurance at the bottom of the page.
We usually shipped with UPS, and UPS automatically insures your package for up to $100. The products we shipped were often over that amount, and after a few lost packages, we decided it was worth it to pay a little extra for insurance in case something arrived broken or not at all.
This is where we come to the important part of shipping with Shopify.
The first two times we had a few plates that we shipped out arrive broken. We had the customer take some photos and we submitted them to what we then found out was a separate company called Shipsurance that Shopify contracted with to provide shipping insurance. Because of that, all the communication needed to be with that third party company, and they get to decide if they will pay out the insurance, not Shopify.
We submitted the claim, sent the photos, and after a day or two, our claim was approved and paid out. We sent replacement plates to the customer and everything was fine. We continued using the shipping insurance feature with all of our orders, confident that it was a good way to ensure that we didn't loose money if UPS decided to be extra rough with our packages.
The third time we filled a shipping insurance claim, it was different.
This time, we sent five plates to a customer and all of them arrived broken. We had the customer take some photos and we filled a claim with Shipsurance. Our claim was denied. The reason?
Because our packaging "eluded to what was inside the box, or had the manufacturer name on it".
What did that mean?
It meant that our claim was denied because we had a sticker with our company name on the box.
We told them that we were not the manufacturer of the plates, we were simply the retailer. We buy them wholesale from a manufacturer and then sell them, like many businesses do. Our company name also doesn't include anything about plates. It's a proper noun followed by the word "Home".
Here you can see their policy in the highlighted portion.
They told us that having the name of our company on the box counts as "eluding to what is inside the box". Even though the company name is also on the shipping label.
At this point we contacted Shopify support. It seemed absolutely ridiculous that we were not allowed to put our company branding on our shipping boxes, even though the name was already on the shipping label anyway. Shopify support told us that ultimately, the decision rested with Shipsurance, because they were the ones providing the shipping insurance, not Shopify.
What makes matters even stranger, was that our company sticker was on the other two boxes we had covered with no problem. When we brought this up with the Shipsurance rep, he said that "we were lucky that our claim was accepted that time"
Not only was that insulting, but I also disagree. We were not lucky, they were establishing a precedent: that they would accept a claim with the company sticker on the box.
They maintained that having the company name on a sticker on the box "eluded to the contents of the box" and was therefor grounds to deny the claim. We asked if having the company name on the label also eluded to the contents of the box and they said no. We asked if having "fragile" stickers on the box fell under this policy as well, they said no.
They said the package had to be plain. My question is: Why is Shopify, an e-commerce platform, contracting with a shipping insurer that won't allow companies to have branded packaging?
Branding is important for any company. Branded packaging is very common in e-commerce, and expected.
I also reached out on twitter and got absolutely nowhere. Eventually, the Shipsurance rep made an exception for our claim and accepted it, with the caveat that we must remove our branding from any future packages that we send with them.
So I wrote this blog post in the hopes of warning other business owners who use Shopify. If you put your company name on your package, anywhere except the shipping label, and you use Shopify's built in insurance, you run the risk of getting your claim denied for a very stupid reason. And wasting money on paying the insurance premium.
This is just another example of a company scamming its customers. Promising a service and then denying what was promised for ridiculous and non-sensical reasons which any logical person would find absolutely unbelievable.
I urge Shopify to find to get Shipsurance to change their policy, or better yet, partner with a less deceitful company.