Question posted in Opencart but applicable to all ozpost modules (no quotes for some postcodes)

Hi I’m having issues with Startrack Express in certain postcodes where there is more than one suburb. EG: 4000, 3141, 0820
The extension asks the user “Please contact us for shipping costs”. It happens in the Cart (estimate shipping & taxes), as well as the Checkout page, even when the user enters their suburb
Are you aware of a solution to fix this?

Answer:

Technically this isn’t an ozpost problem, and it isn’t strictly a problem with postcodes with more than one suburb.

It is a twofold problem which relates to the fact all couriers deliver to all suburbs.

Postcode 4000 being a perfect example.

If the opencart “view cart” screen had an input for the suburb name, and the name entered was “BRISBANE”, you will get the StarTrack error,

If the name entered was “BRISBANE CITY” The quote would succeed.

It is the StarTrack servers that are creating the error with 4000/BRISBANE.

Had you (or the customer) entered “BRISBANE CITY” into the *checkout* screen (the only place to enter the suburb name on opencart) you/they wouldn’t have had a problem.

Logged in customers with their details for postcode/suburb being 4000/Brisbane City they also wouldn’t have a problem.

Where no suburb name is avialable, the ozpost servers perform a postcode lookup and uses the *first* suburb name it finds (a suburb name is needed for *all* couriers, otherwise they produce an error response)

In the case of postcode 4000, the 1st name returned is “BRISBANE” – hense the error..

Now here’s the cruncher. This is for StarTrack.

SmartSend, are the opposite. Their servers will accept “4000/BRISBANE” just fine, but they produce an error response with “4000/BRIBANE CITY”.

This means that the folk that live in the 4000 postcode area are pretty much screwed. They can get StarTack quotes or Smartsend quotes. but not both (and this is ignoring the fact that non logged in users just viewing the cart contents are unable to enter the name of their suburb anyway).

To help mitigate this problem, I have the ozpost servers check for some of these troublesome postcode/suburb combinations and ‘silently’ change the suburb names that it presents to the different couriers API’s to avoid these error responses

There are many problems with doing this though.

Firstly, There are a ton of postcode/suburb combo’s, and there is no way for me to check all combo’s against all couriers.

Secondly, I have no easy way to determine that my ‘remapping’ these names are actually going to be ‘correct’ for a valid quote (or delivery area). For example, do Startrack charge the same price for deliveries to Brisbane City as they do to Spring Hill? (also postcode 4000), and for all I know, they may consider Spring Hill a suburb that they don’t service.

As you can (hopefully) see, this is quite a dilemma with no easy solution, and caused, in part, by the inabilty for customers to even enter a suburb name in some/most shopping carts (other than by registering an account and entering it with the rest of their address details), but even then there can be issues.

Nonetheless, as/when people report these troublesome areas I do add to these remappings, as I’ve just done with the 3 postcodes that have been reported here.

These should now provide a quote based on the remapped suburb names.

If this isn’t bad enough, it is also something that needs to be constantly checked, because the couriers themsleves are prone to changing things, while StarTrack need “Brisbane City” in order to function today, they could change this at any time and decide they want simply “Brisbane” tomorrow.

They’ll do this without notice or warning. I constantly make the changes on our servers as/when these are reported to me, but I don’t/can’t be proactive as there are too many suburbs and too many couriers involved. I depend on feedback and reports such as posed in this question to keep things updated and functional. .

Posted in: Problems