“What it boils down to is whether there’s a lot of automation that goes into your package or whether it’s hand handled,” Kim said. “Different shippers have different levels of automation,” he explained.
The VERIFY team checked in with UPS, the United States Postal Service and FedEx to learn more about each carrier’s policy for fragile packages and whether a label serves as an alert for special handling.
According to a spokesperson for UPS, the most important part is how items are packed, “not necessarily how they are labeled.” UPS policy indicates a package should not leave an employee’s hands until it’s on a surface. The spokesperson said that policy applies to all packages, whether labeled fragile or not.
U.S.P.S statement instructed packages to be marked ‘fragile’ if they can break. The postal service also offers preferential handling for fragile items for an added fee, but that does not insure the item against damage. While a response from FedEx included a list of packing tips but no mention of fragile labels.
So does a fragile label protect your package? According to Kim, yes, to an extent.