What is a UPS Guaranteed Service Refund (GSR)?

For most classes of service (ie: UPS Ground, UPS Next Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 3 Day Select – even UPS Freight!), UPS guarantees that the shipment will arrive by a certain day or time. If not, you (the shipper) is entitled to a service refund for the shipping charges you paid (subject to UPS’ terms and conditions).

What happens when UPS misses their guarantee deadlines?

What most people don’t know is the frequency with which UPS misses these deadlines.  For example, a UPS Next Day Air package delivered more than 60 seconds after the guaranteed service deadline is considered late (details below). Based on our data, validated by what we’ve found at be reliable sources on the web, shippers typically qualify for service refunds of around 5% of their total UPS spending.  This basically means that every 1-2 years, you should get a month of UPS shipping for free.  Huge, right?

Why don’t more people claim their refunds?

There are a few reasons.  First, most business owners don’t realize the opportunity even exists.  For obvious reasons, this isn’t promoted heavily by the UPS account managers.  When most people think “late shipment”, they think of an angry customer whose Next Day Air package was lost and delivered weeks after they needed it. They don’t realize that UPS counts down to the minute for air shipments, and they often don’t know that ground shipments have a guarantee at all.

There are, however, those who know this service exists and take advantage of it.  But trying to manage this in house almost invariably leads to lots of frustration and lost refund dollars.  To effectively manage your refunds, you need to audit ALL of your shipments, one by one. This process includes:

  • Finding and organizing your tracking numbers for all shipments.
  • Verifying whether or not each package was delivered on time.
  • If it was late, identifying whether that late shipment qualifies for a Guaranteed Service Refund (GSR).
  • Submitting each package for a refund (individually).
  • Managing the exceptions produced from your refund submissions (and they are significant).
  • Checking back on the status of each submission.  Rinse and repeat.
  • Doing all of the above within 15 days of the scheduled delivery date of each package.

Lastly, there are people who sign away their rights to guaranteed service refunds in exchange for other favorable terms or discounts on their UPS contracts.   Make sure you read your UPS contract carefully so you understand the terms of your agreement.  You may be accepting a discount that is significantly less than the refunds you could be receiving.

Update: Covid Has Affected Guaranteed Service Eligibility

As of the writing of this article, while all of UPS’ services have guarantees, only certain UPS services are eligible for claims and refunds. Those services include:



  • UPS Worldwide Express Plus®
  • UPS Worldwide Express®
  • UPS Worldwide Express NA1®
  • UPS Worldwide Express Saver®
  • UPS Worldwide Saver®
  • UPS Worldwide Express Freight® Midday
  • UPS Worldwide Express Freight®

Note: the guaranteed delivery time for UPS Next Day Air Saver® shipments has been pushed out to end-of-day (11:59 p.m. on the guaranteed day of delivery).

ShipScience can automate the entire claims process.

ShipScience will monitor your UPS accounts for late deliveries and automatically file refund requests for you.  In addition, the ShipScience platform showcases all of your shipping data, claim activity and confirmed refunds – across all of your UPS and FedEx accounts.  Find out how much ShipScience would save your business.

UPS Guaranteed Service Refunds (GSR) Terms & Conditions

Below is the full definition of the UPS Guaranteed Service Refund (GSR), excerpted directly from UPS’ terms of service.  They can be found on the UPS website (www.ups.com).

52. UPS Service Guarantee
UPS guarantees on-schedule Delivery of Shipments shipped via the following services, where available, to all 50 states and Puerto Rico:
– UPS Air Services
– UPS Hundredweight Service® Air Services
– UPS 3 Day Select®
– UPS Hundredweight Service® UPS 3 Day Select®
– UPS® Ground
– UPS® Ground with Freight Pricing
– UPS Hundredweight Service® Ground
UPS guarantees on-schedule Delivery of Shipments shipped via the following services, where available, and provided that customs clearance is performed by UPS Supply Chain Solutions® brokerage offices designated by UPS for clearing these Shipments:
– UPS Worldwide Express Plus®
– UPS Worldwide Express NA1®
– UPS Worldwide Express®
– UPS Worldwide Express Freight®
– UPS Worldwide Saver®
– UPS Worldwide Expedited®
– UPS 3 Day Select® from Canada
– UPS® Standard

In the event UPS fails to attempt Delivery by the date and time (if applicable) indicated at ups.com, for the applicable date, time and location of tender, or as provided when 1-800-PICK-UPS® (1-800-742-5877) is called, UPS, at its option, will either credit or refund the transportation charges for each such Shipment to the payer only, upon request, provided the conditions set forth in the UPS Service Guarantee are met. Transportation charges do not include other fees or charges that may be assessed by UPS including, but not limited to, fuel surcharges. This is the sole remedy available under the UPS Service Guarantee. UPS may, but is not required, to present the actual time of Delivery in tracking detail or proof of Delivery, and reserves the right to amend any delivery confirmation or the actual time of Delivery within forty-eight (48) hours of the date of Delivery. UPS shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever for delayed Delivery, except as specifically provided for Shipments made under the UPS Service Guarantee. Under no circumstances shall UPS be liable for any special, incidental, or consequential damages including, but not limited to, damages arising from delayed Delivery or failure to attempt on-schedule Delivery. UPS may cancel, suspend or modify the UPS Service Guarantee (or change the guaranteed time in transit) for any service(s), and for any period of time, as determined by UPS in its sole and unlimited discretion, and without prior notice. Visit www.ups.com/holidays for changes effective during the holiday season.

52.1 Conditions
The UPS Service Guarantee is subject to the following conditions:
– UPS’s guaranteed Delivery schedule has been obtained by referencing UPS’s website or contacting a UPS Customer Service office. “On-time” or “on-schedule” means, subject to the terms of this UPS Service Guarantee, Delivery is attempted within the UPS guaranteed Delivery schedule.
– Each Package and Shipment is properly recorded in a UPS Shipping System.
– Each Package and Shipment bears the appropriate UPS tracking label and an address label, or a combined label generated by a UPS Automated Shipping System, showing the Consignee’s correct name, deliverable address (UPS does not provide Delivery to a P.O. Box), and ZIP Code (or postal code for international Shipments).
– Each Package or pallet in a Shipment bears a UPS Saturday Delivery routing label (where required) when optional Saturday service is requested and available.
– Each Shipment is tendered to UPS during UPS’s published business hours. Shipments received from or destined to certain locations may require earlier pickup times (available at the UPS website).
– UPS is notified by UPS’s Interactive Voice Response system or through UPS’s online Billing Center at ups.com/billing of a service failure within fifteen (15) calendar days of the date of scheduled Delivery or the date by which UPS has amended or corrected the actual time of Delivery in tracking detail or proof of Delivery, whichever is later, and is advised of the Consignee’s name and address, date of shipment, Shipment weight, and UPS tracking number.
– For UPS Worldwide Expedited® Shipments, the guarantee shall apply only to Shipments with a U.S. origin or destination and when the billed party is resident in the United States and is responsible for all Charges.
– For UPS Worldwide Express Freight® Shipments, the guarantee shall apply to a Shipment where any pallet exceeds maximum size or weight restrictions (as set forth at http://www.ups.com/media/en/wwef_max_dim.pdf) only if the Shipper obtained confirmation of eligibility for the UPS Service Guarantee, prior to tender of the Shipment to UPS for service. UPS reserves the right to refuse any request for a credit or refund when such request is either (a) made by, or (b) based on information obtained by, a party other than the payer of the Charges.

52.2 Exclusions
The UPS Service Guarantee does not apply to:
– UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.® Packages for Residential deliveries.
– Shipments tendered pursuant to Drop Shipments, special operating plans, or customized handling or processing arrangements, or tendered either under an account number on which Service Guarantee claims are addressed by a special agreement or where such claims have been addressed by special agreement with the payer of the Charges.
– Shipments processed using a UPS Automated Shipping System that is not located at the pickup address assigned to the UPS account number on which the Shipment was made.
UPS Ground Returns Service Packages.
– Packages subject to a Large Package Surcharge or Additional Handling Fee, Packages that exceed maximum size or weight limits, Shipments containing any Package subject to a Large Package Surcharge, Additional Handling Fee, or that exceed maximum size or weight limits, or UPS Worldwide Express Freight® Shipments tendered without prior approval containing any pallet exceeding maximum size or weight restrictions (as set forth at http://www.ups.com/media/en/wwef_max_dim.pdf).
– Shipments made using a Call Tag.
– Shipments subject to a UPS Delivery Intercept® request, Delivery Change Request, or a UPS My Choice® request.
– Shipments that are delayed due to causes beyond UPS’s control including, but not limited to: the unavailability or refusal of a person to accept Delivery of the Shipment, acts of God, natural disasters, war risks, acts of terrorism, acts of public authorities acting with actual or apparent authority, acts or omissions of customs or similar authorities, authority of law, insufficient information provided by a customer, Hazardous Materials Packages improperly offered for transport, the application of security regulations imposed by the government, or otherwise applicable to the Shipment, riots, strikes or other labor disputes, civil unrest, disruptions in national or local air or ground transportation networks (including, but not limited to, UPS’s transportation network), disruption or failure of communication and information systems, and adverse weather conditions.
– International Shipments for which the Shipper has selected the Receiver or Third Party as the payer of any applicable duties and taxes and Delivery is delayed until payment arrangements are made.
– UPS Import Control® Shipments for which the Shipper has selected commercial invoice removal.
– UPS Ground Shipments or UPS® Standard Shipments that are picked up or scheduled to be delivered on and between November 27 and December 3, and on and between December 18 and December 24, and any alternative or additional date(s) during the holiday season set forth at www.ups.com/holidays.
– Shipments without Timely Upload of PLD, Shipments not accompanied by a UPS Smart Label tag, or when the delivery address on any address label or combined label affixed to the Package does not match the delivery address on the UPS Smart Label tag, bar code, or PLD for the Package.
– UPS Air Services and UPS 3 Day Select Shipments of Hazardous Materials or Dangerous Goods Shipments, and all international Hazardous Materials or Dangerous Goods Shipments except UPS Standard Shipments.

The full terms of service are available for download from UPS.com here, (Copyright UPS).

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