Shipping Rules for FedEx

by Renee Kristi; Updated September 26, 2017
Contrary to popular belief, FedEx does place limits on its services.

FedEx has become a frequently used alternative to traditional mail services. Some believe FedEx will ship any and every item. In reality, the company does apply some rules and regulations for the use of its services. Shippers who are uncertain of whether FedEx will ship an item should contact the company's customer support.

Labels & Packaging

Shippers must use proper packaging materials.

FedEx requires customers to comply with all applicable laws when preparing items for shipment. Each shipment must clearly identify the name, address and ZIP code of both the shipper and recipient. Shippers must pack items so they are prepared for safe handling and transportation. The shipper must use packaging that will protect the item from any potentially damaging condition it might encounter during shipping, such as changes in temperature. Shippers must use FedEx containers or new corrugated boxes large enough to cushion the contents on the top, bottom and sides. Items that cannot fit into boxes, such as large car parts, must have all sharp edges and protrusions wrapped and a label secured by a tie tag or tape. A shipper cannot use kraft paper to wrap packages.

FedEx holds the shipper liable for any costs and fees required to legally dispose of and clean up after any faulty package that leaks or spills or shipments refused by the recipient that cannot be returned to the shipper.

Prohibited Items

FedEx will ship seafood such as live lobsters.

FedEx prohibits the shipping of some items. FedEx will not accept shipments of: currency; live animals or insects; animal carcasses; human remains; shipments that may cause damage; lottery tickets or gambling devices; hazardous wastes; garbage; wet or odorous packages; items prohibited by law; or shipments that would require FedEx to obtain additional licensing.

There are some exceptions to these prohibitions. FedEx will ship live seafood and under certain conditions nonvenomous reptiles, amphibians, insects and tropical fish. Additionally, FedEx may ship horses and livestock to and from zoo locations if the animals are approved by the company’s Live Animal Desk.

FedEx holds the shipper responsible for any costs, fees and expenses incurred as a result of the shipper’s inclusion of prohibited materials. Additionally, FedEx does not assume liability for prohibited materials that are delayed, lost or damaged.

Undeliverable Packages

There are certain circumstances in which FedEx considers a package undeliverable. Undeliverable packages include those where: the recipient refuses to accept or pay for the package; the recipient’s address cannot be located, falls outside of FedEx’s service area or is a place of business that has closed; the contents or packaging are damaged beyond repackaging; the shipment contains prohibited items, could cause injury, or was improperly packaged; or no appropriate person was available to accept the package.

FedEx will return, without additional charge, shipments that are undeliverable due to damage caused by the company. Shipments that are undeliverable for any other reason, however, may incur additional fees for return delivery or disposal. FedEx reserves the right to dispose of undeliverable packages with or without notice to the shipper.

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Renee Kristi has been writing since 2001 and her work now appears on various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Spelman College and a Juris Doctor from Georgia State University College of Law.

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