Shopify started using HS Code Description as Description of Content on international shipping label

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Shopify started using HS Code Description as Description of Content on international shipping label

21_Tree
Tourist
8 1 10

This is happening to my store today. I tried to edit description of item on customs declaration form, but it did not show on shipping label, instead, the long HS Code Description was shown on description of content area. I had chat with them and told this is new change, and HS code description is more accurate. This is a joke. HS Code Description is extremely long, it can't fit description of content area on USPS First Class International shipping label. Does anyone know the fix? 

Accepted Solution (1)

21_Tree
Tourist
8 1 10

This is an accepted solution.

Shopify has fixed this issue.

 

You can now edit the name of item on customs form. On shipping label purchasing page, click "edit customs information", you will be able to edit description there. By default, HS code description is used if HS code is pre-filled.

View solution in original post

Replies 30 (30)

Armature
Tourist
10 0 16

Confirm, we also had this happen today. The HS code description doesn't fit on the label, and we are also concerned it is *less* specific and therefore will get rejected by customs. We've switched our international shipping to Shippo until this gets fixed, but it's a big pain for our workflow.

21_Tree
Tourist
8 1 10

I just tried Shippo today, USPS international rate is same as Shopify shipping, but UPS rate is higher than Shopify, also the text on 4x6 PDF is not as clear as Shopify shipping. I am looking into other 3rd party shipping APPs.

Jewele
Excursionist
18 0 3

We have the same problem and completely agree this is not good. Shopify needs to get this fixed!

sws90
Tourist
5 0 6

Same thing is happening here, and this will negatively impact our international shipping for sure. The name of the HS Code category is usually some weird long text that makes little sense to normal human beings, and is less specific and less useful than the custom descriptions we write. We'll have to abandon Shopify Shipping and switch to a different shipper until this is fixed.

 

If Shopify believes they're correct in just repeating the name of the HS Code category as the item description, the US Post Office doesn't agree. Check out the CN-22 instructions at https://about.usps.com/forms/ps2976.pdf The post office's example of a good and correct item description is "men's cotton shirts".

Armature
Tourist
10 0 16

We spoke to a Shopify support agent today. Some quotes with analysis:

 

1. "If the description does not fit your product, you likely aren't entering the most accurate HS Code. You can find the appropriate HS code by using the Harmonized Tariff Schedule search engine."

 

We believe this is false. Our primary shipping courier and several international business partners have vetted our HS codes and agree they are the most accurate.

 

2. "Our team has confirmed that at this time there are no known issues at customs when HS codes have been cut off. The team are aware of this and continuously monitoring it. I can submit a feature request to have the HS Code description optional for you though! I see a few other merchants have also requested this recently."

 

Shopify encourages merchants who are worried to request manual customs description functionality.

 

We also note that this is somewhat sneaky language. Shopify claims there is no known issue with cut-off customs descriptions, but they do not claim there is no known issue with autopopulated generic customs descriptions. We are concerned both about the truncation and about the overly generic descriptions.

 

3. Shopify support declined to give clarity on whether Shopify has vetted these changes with customs offices internationally. Shopify support also declined to give clarity on what kind of testing was done with real-world shipping to validate whether packages would actually make it through customs.

 

Our company is not willing to be a guinea pig. We'll wait and see how this plays out. In general, we're very unsatisfied with the unannounced way that Shopify rolled out this change.

sws90
Tourist
5 0 6

> "If the description does not fit your product, you likely aren't entering the most accurate HS Code."

 

I agree that statement is slightly ridiculous and suggests it comes from somebody with little actual experience with HS codes. For example say you're NVIDIA. Instead of a description like "3D graphics card", with Shopify's policy you'll get a description of "Parts and accessories, including face plates and lock latches, of printed circuit assemblies" or "printed circuit assemblies with a function other than memory" (code 8473.30.1180, which is the vetted HS code for this type of product). That's not an improvement, especially when it's truncated down to 25 characters or so.

Sharon15
Pathfinder
140 0 49

I noticed this also, and agree that it's a huge problem.   Shopify needs to revert this change ASAP.

DaisyyJoni
Visitor
1 0 4

I've been wrangling with support over this for 2 days. I will not rest until they revert the change. It looks STUPID to have that ridiculous description on there, and it makes my customs forms so long they take 2 pages to print. Absolutely absurd.

somnaruk
Tourist
7 0 9

any update? I just talked to Shopify again today after my DHL package has been stucked at custom due to a ridiculous HS code description that shows on the form instead of the exact description of what's in the package.  Shopify once again refused to acknowledge the issue and tell me to use other shipping platform instead. Not helpful at all

somnaruk
Tourist
7 0 9

It definitely creates a problem with custom to me. I ship DHL twice a week and was told by the DHL agent that the description should be the exact content in the box NOT the HS code description. The boxes made it to the destination and like I predicted.. get stuck in the custom clearance for days now and It never happen before. I need Shopify to revert it back. This is not right.

21_Tree
Tourist
8 1 10

Hi All, I overcame this issue by installing Pirate Ship, it has same USPS and UPS rate as Shopify Shipping (UPS Worldwide Expedited is like $1 more expensive than Shopify Shipping), it can import the tracking number and mark the order as fulfilled in second, plus it is free, I love it. The only drawback is that it does not support DHL and no free Shipsurance. This is now temp solution, I will switch back to Shopify Shipping once they fix it.

Business3333
Visitor
1 0 2

I'm so glad to see we are not alone in dealing with this! We ship internationally daily and this has been a nightmare. I was told by Shopify that this change was because of USPS, but that makes no sense because it does not follow USPS guidelines whatsoever. As is, these international packages likely won't be delivered. Do we have any other updates from Shopify? 😞

ALGWRIT
Visitor
2 0 0

I don’t know how this got marked as an “Accepted Solution.” It’s a good temp solution, but Shopify needs to fix this issue internally.

reponestrength
Tourist
5 0 6

The length of the HS code description for my product is so long, that customs forms for my international shipments take 3 labels. I need to print 3 copies of customs forms for the clear pouch on the outside of my box... That means what used to be 5 labels for the shipping label, three customs forms, and packing slip, is now 11 labels. Shopify has more than doubled the cost for label rolls for me for international orders. Do they not QA these changes before implementation??

leonhart8888
Visitor
1 0 1

We noticed this too...super annoying, unfortunate that there is no solution for this.

Shop24846
Tourist
5 0 4

This is an issue for us as well. Unfortunately we did not catch it until we had numerous international shipments get turned back at customs (which had not been an issue in the past) costing us hundreds of dollars.

I spoke with a support agent this morning, expressed frustrations, and offered solutions. I told them, from the perspective of a paying customer, they need to have an interim solution in a week or two, and that I was disappointed they did not have one by the end of last month. Critical functions being broken for nearly two months is unacceptable.

We have started manually writing a product description on each customs form. It's too early to say if this is 100% effective, but I believe we have had some shipments make it to their international destination. The support agent said this has been successful for other merchants.


I think we just need to let Shopify this is a big issue for us, so definitely jump on a support chat and let them know this is hurting your business.

I suggested they implement a merchant definable customs deception field IMMEDIATLY. I also told them I would like to see a future version of the "Autowrite" tool they recently implemented for product descriptions be tweaked to look at individual product descriptions and titles and then auto write a customs description from those which is applicable to customs and may be edited by the merchant.

Hopefully we'll see a fix very shortly...

somnaruk
Tourist
7 0 9

last week I stop using their lame custom invoice that doesn't show the exact description and showing the lame HS Code broad description... I print my own which shows the description of the content and give that to DHL instead and just like that...packages have been cleared through custom like before without any problem. I really do hope Shopify just stop and think for a minute that putting a broad HS code description instead of the exact description of the content in the package DOES NOT make any sense. 

ALGWRIT
Visitor
2 0 0

This is very frustrating indeed. I’m about to contact Shopify support to request manual customs description functionality — we’ll see if that works. Even if it doesn’t, the more sellers submit the request, the more likely they are to fix this!

 

As a temporary fix (with hopes that it will help at least some of you), we’ve been exporting/saving the customs forms as PDFs and then editing them in Adobe Acrobat. It’s very time-consuming but it works for now because we don’t do very many international shipments this time of year compared to Q4.

 

But we definitely need this fixed ASAP!

21_Tree
Tourist
8 1 10

Edit: May 21st 2023

Shopify has fixed this issue.

sws90
Tourist
5 0 6

It's not fixed, not as far as I can see. I just tried it and got an item description of "automatic data-processing machines" which is the HS Code description, instead of my product's title or the customized product descriptions for customs labels that I used to have previously. Do I need to turn on this behavior somewhere in settings?

21_Tree
Tourist
8 1 10

You can edit the name of item on customs form. On shipping label purchasing page, click "edit customs information", you will be able to edit description there. By default, HS code description is used if HS code is pre-filled.

reponestrength
Tourist
5 0 6

Says who? I just printed an international label today that had 12 pages of customs forms... That's 12 labels instead of the typical 3...

21_Tree
Tourist
8 1 10

This is an accepted solution.

Shopify has fixed this issue.

 

You can now edit the name of item on customs form. On shipping label purchasing page, click "edit customs information", you will be able to edit description there. By default, HS code description is used if HS code is pre-filled.

Sharon15
Pathfinder
140 0 49

Just tried this for the first time, luckily I don't have a LOT of international orders like some here do.  I found that you have to manually change the description for every product in the order, and every international order.  There is a checkbox on that screen that says "save these changes for this product" but it did nothing.  I still had to manually change the description for the next one.  So this is a tiny solution, still not at all great.

 

Also, btw, what I reported to Shopify was that even when you enter the full HS code that SHOULD give you the specific item description, for example I frequently use 4201.00.30.00 which is "Dog leashes, collars, muzzles, harnesses and similar dog equipment" the Shopfy customs form only pulls up the much longer description for the more generic 4201.00.  I really hope fixing this is their next step!

sws90
Tourist
5 0 6

Thanks for confirming. Yes, re-entering the custom item description for every item and every international shipment will only be practical for people who send a small number of shipments, otherwise it’s a lot of redundant data entry. If the “save these changes” checkbox worked, it would be great.

 

Until a few months ago, Shopify had a field in the Shipping section of each product’s details page where you could optionally enter a custom description to use for international shipping customs forms. I don’t know why they eliminated this because it worked well. In my perfect world they would simply bring back the feature they previously had there.

Ryan_Zellars
Tourist
7 0 7

This is not a valid fix for high volume shops. Editing every single item every single time we ship internationally is not a fix, that is a workaround. USPS has started rejecting Shopify's built-in details and if you miss a single item you lose the shipping, time, and reputation. I lost more than $500 in shipping alone on one day when the USPS decided to change this. Then all the rest of the week items came back until the shipping cycle caught up.

 

Please revisit this as soon as possible. Wasted time and labor that can be solved if the "Save this to item" check box worked.

cw-moss
Tourist
8 0 6

This should not be marked solved. This is not a solution. Should be a simple fix on Shopify's end or allow stores to bulk edit this field. Manually changing each customs forms is not reasonable. 

dori_
Tourist
12 0 6

Agreed. I have to manually edit every single product ordered. It's tedious. They should just allow us to preset what the "Customs" description will be for any product ahead of time and let it save for the future.

sws90
Tourist
5 0 6

It seems like they intended to let you change the preset description, with the “save these changes” checkbox that appears when you edit it. But from what I can see, this checkbox doesn't work and it does nothing. After months of this mess, my business has simply stopped using Shopify Shipping for international orders.

Sharon15
Pathfinder
140 0 49

So annoying that it's been almost a year now and they have still NOT fixed this!  At one point in the last few months I methodically wrote a description of how this would be so easy to fix, including screenshots that I sent to the customer service team.  Crickets.  And now they're coming out with what sounds like a major release of new features and I didn't see this issue mentioned anywhere on there. 

 

Shopify team:  this is a huge cluster duck and needs to be fixed ASAP!