I did solve my problem, but I also decided that Shopify wasn't the right match for my type of biz. I love MYOB, but Shopify just isn't advanced enough for what we do.
The problem with Fedex was actually with their online display of the various rates from our account. When I actually went to ship a package, the amount was correct that they charged me. So Shopify was pulling the correct rates.
Shopify doesn't support any dimensions being passed to Fedex, so obviously it can't pull live rates for our oversize packages. I get very tired of customer service reps telling me I should just do the calculation and enter the dim. weight for actual weight, since that work around doesn't give the correct rates for every location or carrier.
We use ShipStation, for shipping, which does store the item's actual weight and dimensions, which are passed in the API to fedex or UPS for the correct rate.
It's been very hard to find any shopping cart or online store software that maintains the size of each item and does live shipping calculations.
I can't say what your problem might be. Does shopify have your correct account number, so it's pulling your actual rates and not some 'over the counter' rates, which are much higher. You can test it out and see what XML the shipper is sending back.
good luck. stephen
Not entirely off topic, but in the last few week we've seen a 50-100% increase in FedEx international shipping rates auto-calculated during checkout @ co2meter.com.
Is anyone else experiencing this?
Answering for the benefit of others with similar query.
The rates mismatch might occur because of the following issues :
The problem of rates mismatch can be solved by using a solution which calculates the FedEx rates based on the dimensions of the product as well. This can be currently fulfilled with the FedEx Rates, Labels & Tracking app. The app automates the packing process and also helps you automate the FedEx shipping with Shopify as well.
Let me try and explain the concept of shipping rates calculated by FedEx and Shopify. As far as Shopify is concerned, shipping rates are calculated by sending the weight to the FedEx API. So only weight. Now these rates returned by FedEx are definitely accurate but they are based on weight. This kind of rates are useful for products which are homogenous in nature or whose value depends on their weight only like rice, oil, and even finished products like helmets etc.
FedEx in it's website uses the concept of dimensional weights which also require dimensions of the box in which the package is being sent. So the formula for calculation of dimensional weight comes out : (l x b x h) / 5000. Now, once it is calculated. weight is compared to dimensional weight. Whichever is higher is sent for rate calculation.
Hope i was able to give a clear picture on this.
With Shopify if you are fine with weight based rates, you should go ahead with it as Shopify's rates are extremely cheap compared to many. However, if you are looking to make use of dimensional weights, then you can try the Multi carrier Shipping label app for this purpose.