In an effort to provide efficent and affordable postage, many carriers have a form of Automated Package Verification or APV for short. It works by using an array of state-of-the-art machines that are specifically designed for weighing and measuring parcels.

What’s the point of the system?

Essentially, the APV system is a form of double checking the weights & dimensions of details provided during label creation. For instance, if a label is created with a claimed weight of 3 ounces, but is later determined to weigh 6 ounces, the difference in postage will be billed to the shipper. This replaces the previous system where packages would either be returned to sender or the recipient would foot the bill upon delivery.

Some examples of verifications performed

  • Weight

  • Package Dimensions

  • Package Type

    • example: a flat rate box mailed without a flat rate label
  • Zone Charge

    • example: package mailed from a different origin than stated on the label

Label creation suggestions


Always round up weight to the next pound or ounce. This is the behavior of the APV system and is a best practice when purchasing postage


Particularly important for large, oversized, or irregular parcels, providing dimensions ahead of time will prevent the APV from flagging parcels.

What if I don’t agree with the charge?

There is an appeal process for dealing with discrepancies. Each discrepancy has a unique id that can be provided to the carrier along with the dispute reason. Ultimately, the carrier has the right to honor or refuse the dispute. There is a window of 60 days from the initial notification from the carrier to dispute the charge.

More information

Additional details about the APV system for USPS can be found at this link

Cover art provided courtesy of:
Jeuwre, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons