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Follow up: UPS Fail

Published November 23, 2012 - 2 Comments

It’s time for another update!  In case you missed it, I’ve been having a bit of a spat with UPS over their delivery of some items that I had ordered from Apple.  You can read all about that here.

Well, it didn’t take long to receive a reply from UPS.

Hi Stephen,

Thank you for the additional information. This package should have been held for five business days and was instead returned to the shipper in error. I have contacted your local team regarding the error. They will contact you by the end of the next business day to discuss this further. I’m so sorry that you never received this package and for the frustration that you went through.

This was good!  This made me happy.  Someone finally told me that they messed up, and apologized   That’s all I wanted.  Unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be that simple.  Later that day I received a follow-up call, and during that call I was told:

  • UPS has an agreement with Apple to NOT hold onto a package for 5 days if undeliverable, due to the high volume and price of Apple shipments.  Well isn’t that nice?  That’s fine if they want to make an exception, but they need to stop telling people that their package will be available for 5 days.  No other phone representative seemed to be aware of that policy.  I was assured that my package would still be there.  It wasn’t.
  • I could have arranged to have signed for the package at the UPS depot.  When I mentioned that I work until 5pm, I was told that the customer desk at UPS is open until 7:30PM.  HUH?!  That was news to me!  I’d been told repeatedly that it was open until 5PM.  You’re sure that Saint John, NB is open until 7:30PM?  OK…

So that evening I went for a little drive.  I was bound and determined to find that UPS depot, and see whether I could get through the door and stand inside without the security alarms going off.  Simple enough concept except that I couldn’t even find the depot.  Expansion Ave.  I drove up and down that short street a few times.  No UPS signs or trucks anywhere.

I give up.

I see UPS trucks driving around the city, and I’m tempted to follow one of them… all day if necessary…  just to see where it goes at the end of the day.  I don’t believe that they’re delivering anything.  I think they’re mobile crystal meth labs, criss crossing the city under the pretence of making parcel deliveries.  It’s the perfect front.

Or maybe I’m just going through Breaking Bad withdrawal.

UPS Fail

Published November 14, 2012 - 0 Comments
The following is a copy of the email that I have sent to twitter@ups.com.  I know that it seems strange, but after venting in Twitter last week, I was immediately contacted and asked to provide details to that email address.  I’ve looked on the UPS website, and there really isn’t a spot there for feedback, so I’m hoping that the Twitter address is a legitimate funnel for this type of correspondence.  Many companies are now actively watching social media feeds for conversations regarding their brands, so who knows… maybe someone at the company will respond to this.
I recently suffered an extremely frustrating experience with my UPS delivery… or lack of delivery in this case.  Rather than go off on a rant, I’ve taken a few days to compile my thoughts.  At this point there’s nothing that can be done about my delivery, but perhaps in the future others may not have to experience the same level of frustration.
November 3 I was notified that my Apple order had been placed with UPS for delivery.  Over the next few days I tracked its progress from China to Canada, until it arrived at my local office in Saint John, NB on November 6.
My regular work hours are Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, so I was fully aware that I would be unavailable to sign for this order at my residence, but anticipated that I could make alternative arrangements.  Surely this is not a unique situation.
November 6 – Called UPS to ask what the hours of operation are at the local office.  Was told 8-5.  I’m not sure how customers are expected to be able to retrieve their orders if UPS is only open during these hours.  Even an evening option until 6PM only one night through the week would be a huge help, but nonetheless… this UPS office is open 8-5.  I was told that after 3 failed attempts the order would remain at the UPS office for 5 days, and I could make arrangements to sign for it there.  That was perfectly fine with me.  I can not take time off work to wait for a delivery that may or may not be on time that particular day, but I can leave to head out to the UPS office if my order is there.  I just needed to wait for the package to be left at the UPS office, which would automatically happen after 3 failed delivery attempts.
November 7 – After a second delivery attempt I called UPS to see whether I could have the delivery address changed to my parents’ house.  I was told that because the order originated from Apple, that it was their policy to not allow the shipping address to be changed after it had shipped.  I don’t necessarily disagree with this policy.  I only mention it to keep the timeline as complete as possible.  Again I was told that the UPS office was open 8-5, but that they would try one more time to deliver my order.  If that was unsuccessful (and I knew it would be) then they would hold it for 5 days.
November 8 – Third and final attempt.  
November 9 – I left work during my lunch break and attempted to locate the local UPS office, which apparently was in the process of moving locations.  When I called to confirm the new address I was told that my order had already been shipped back to the sender!  Where was the 5 day holding policy that I had been told of each time I called?  Why had someone not contacted me before sending it back?  I had called UPS twice about this order.  Surely that information is recorded somewhere. Clearly I WANTED the order.  I’m not sure what more I could have done to receive it.  Staying home from work is not an option.  Having a neighbour sign for it is not an option.  And even though the local store has incredibly inconvenient hours, I was perfectly willing to take time out of my own busy day and drive there to sign for it.  If only I had the chance to do so.
I’ve since cancelled a second order from Apple and will no longer purchase anything that is shipped UPS because I can’t be guaranteed that it will actually reach me.  To be able to track a package 24/7 from China to USA to Canada is an incredible thing.  To then see the breakdown happen so close to home… that is incredibly frustrating.  
I would very much like to know why my order was not held for the 5 days as I had been told, and what can be done to ensure that this does not happen again in the future.
Thank you,
Stephen Belyea
Saint John, NB
Location Date Local Time Activity
Saint John, NB, Canada 11/08/2012 19:19 The customer was not available on 3rd attempt / Returned to shipper
11/08/2012 10:03 The customer was not available on 3rd attempt.
Saint John, NB, Canada 11/07/2012 9:55 The customer was not available on the 2nd attempt. A 3rd delivery attempt will be made
Saint John, NB, Canada 11/06/2012 9:43 The customer was not available on the 1st attempt. A 2nd delivery attempt will be made
11/06/2012 8:11 Destination Scan
11/06/2012 6:55 Arrival Scan
Dieppe, NB, Canada 11/06/2012 4:55 Departure Scan
11/06/2012 3:31 Arrival Scan
Mount Hope, ON, Canada 11/06/2012 0:50 Departure Scan
Buffalo, NY, United States 11/05/2012 1:02 Departure Scan
11/05/2012 0:36 Arrival Scan
Louisville, KY, United States 11/04/2012 16:00 Departure Scan
11/04/2012 15:47 Departure Scan
11/04/2012 8:14 Arrival Scan
Anchorage, AK, United States 11/03/2012 22:28 Departure Scan
11/03/2012 16:54 Arrival Scan
Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong 11/04/2012 2:48 Departure Scan
Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong 11/03/2012 16:35 Arrival Scan
Shenzhen, China 11/03/2012 15:30 Departure Scan
11/03/2012 10:34 Origin Scan
China 11/03/2012 22:42 Order Processed: Ready for UPS