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An advice of shipment is a notice sent to a recipient when a shipment is dispatched. The document provides information about the shipment. It is not possible to make changes to the order once this notice is received, because it is already in transit. Such notices can be routine with some shipments and may need to be specially requested in others.
The advice of shipment should indicate where the shipment is being sent, and which carrier is being used. This can allow the recipient to prepare, especially if it includes a delivery estimate. In addition, it lists the goods in the shipment and their quantities. If any special handling services were requested, these are also discussed in the advice of shipment to make the recipient aware.
This document is not a bill, although it may disclose the cost of the shipment and provide billing information. It can be kept for records pertaining to the order and may be useful in the event of a dispute. If the customer notices an error on the advice of shipment, it will be necessary to contact the party listed on the document to discuss the situation.
Issues like a wrong address should have been corrected on the initial order confirmation but if they were not caught, the customer can see if it is possible to reroute the package. This may result in additional charges, whether the shipper returns the package to the sender, redirects to a new location, or holds it for pickup. The recipient can also request return slips for products in the shipment that are no longer needed or wanted. This can be an issue with a backordered or delayed shipment, where the customer finally receives an advice of shipment but no longer wants the goods.
A tracking number may also be made available on the advice of shipment. This allows the customer to track the parcel as it moves through the shipping process. If the package does not arrive or appears delayed in tracking, the customer can open up an inquiry to find out where it is. Lost packages may entitle the customer to compensation like a new order or an insurance payout for the value of the contents. A copy of the advice of shipment is usually necessary to make claims, so the consumer can point to the information on the form when discussing a missing, lost, or stolen package.