Yep, a couple of times. USPS. As long as the box is less than a specific size in girth (not sure what that is), they will ship it. If it's too large, you have to go with UPS. Cost me around $20, I think. (It was a while ago.)
I found UPS to be rougher on things. Box dimensions and distance will dictate price, not distance. I believe if the girth + length is 108" or less you will have no problems on USPS. UPS allows more.
Go to www.usps.com or www.ups.com and use their shipping calculators. Put in the weight (guess on the heavy side since size will dictate price) and then the box dimensions and the zip code you are shipping to and it will give you a price which is accurate for the info you put in.
PS: You need to pack well, Unless the box has clearly been hit by a Mack truck either one will blame poor packaging if there is damage.
Fedex is often the cheapest. Shipped several frames without a problem, costs ranging from $10-20 depending on where to where. Make sure the box is as small as possible. I think the price increases are at 82 and 108 linear inches (length + 2*width + 2 * depth). Check the website to be sure.
I recently bought a frame off Ebay for a good price. The seller requested $20 for shipping costs, which seems pretty standard. After he sent the frame, he emailed me saying that the cheapest he could find (from west to east coast) was UPS and they charged $57.
He said that he was fine with taking the hit on shipping since it was his fault for listing the wrong amount, but if I wanted to send him any additional $ to helpout he would appreciate it. He was very straight up with me through out the buying process and I would like to help him out, but $57 for a 3.5 pound frame seems pretty steep. I have surveyed RBR classifieds and Ebay and $20-25 seems like the norm for a frame.
I just ran into a similar thing. The box I got from the LBS was rather large so the UPS charge was $39 based on their website info. We recently stopped the daily UPS service here at the office where I work so I couldn't send through our business account as I usually do. My choices were to locate a UPS store or use a private mailbox place a block away. Well I took it to the private mailbox place and watched the guy do the shipping calculations. Sure enough he came up with $39 also (I happened to see this on his computer screen), but..... by the time he put his cut on the deal it was $52. I was too lazy to run around town so I just went with it.
Two lessons learned
1) Use the smallest box possible that will still provide adequate protection. I received another frame in the mail recently in a significantly smaller box that had a Priority Mail sticker on it that read $22.
2) go direct to the shipper to cut the 30% middleman charge.
So if you go a really good deal and you feel like being a nice guy kick in another $15 or $20. If not that's OK too. He knew what the program was and blew the call (so did I) so he's not really thinking that you have any responsibility to make up the difference in shipping cost. Personally I'm more apt to respond to a request like his than the guy that demands something he has no right to.
It sounds like the box he used was way bigger than he needed to. UPS, or most shipping companies for that matter, really ding you for over-sized parcels.
If it were me, I'd wait until the frame arrived and make sure everything was ok. At that point, I may measure the box and use the UPS calculator to see what they say and then split the difference if I still felt good about the deal. Not so say you're under any obligation to do that.
You can send a box USPS Priority mail up to 108" (Girth + Length). If the box is smaller than 108 it will cost the same as a box that is exactly 108. USPS Priority cost is based on weight only. You can send larger than 108" (approx. 132") via the USPS via parcel post. Parcel post can take quite a bit longer and gets very expensive when you go over the 108" box size. I sent a complete bike Parcel post (box was 115" and Coast to Coast) and it cost $90 without insurance. I received another bike USPS Priority in two boxes under 108" with $5500.00 insurance for $110 postage. Always pack very well regardless of the carrier that you choose.
Either split the difference, or if you got a good price then just go ahead and pay the fee and probably receive a great feedback from him, or try to find some options for him to follow. Verify what size box he is using (Length x Width x Height) and verify that he isn't using a full-size bicycle box.
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