Report: #879640

Complaint Review: United Parcel Service

  • Submitted: Tue, May 08, 2012
  • Updated: Thu, May 10, 2012
  • Reported By: Pete — Shelton Connecticut USA
  • United Parcel Service
    55 Glenlake Parkway NE
    Atlanta, Georgia
    United States of America

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

You'd think that if you ship a package via UPS's "second day air" service, and it didn't arrive on time, they'd make an effort to get it there as quickly as possible, right?  Wrong.  We recently discovered what the UPS policy is on a misrouted second-day-air package, and we were shocked.  You might want to know this before deciding whether to use this service (or whether to use UPS for anything, for that matter).

We recently had an important package shipped to us UPS Second Day Air and we tracked it online through their website.  On the morning it was supposed to be delivered the tracking system showed it arriving at our local depot just as it was supposed to.  But just half an hour later it showed that in fact the package was half way across the country at a completely different depot.  How did THAT happen?  Well, UPS puts tons of packages into large containers, which in turn go on tractor trailers and aircraft, and once they're in the big containers it's the CONTAINERS that get scanned as they move through the system.  It wasn't until ours got unpacked that they realized our package had been put in the wrong container and gotten on the wrong plane.

THAT, I can forgive.  Mistakes happen.  So you'd think now the package would get here a day late, right?  Nope.  According to UPS policy, since it's a second day air package, it simply becomes a second day air package from its new location.  So instead of being one day late, it is automatically TWO days late.

Now, I don't know about you, but if I ship something second-day-air, it's because I NEED it on the second day.  Not the FOURTH day.  I had one day's leeway on this shipment to my small business (I needed it on the third day, not the second).  But because it waited until the fourth, it caused me to miss a client deadline, which cost my small business about $3,000.  Which comes right out of my pocket.

Of course UPS has no liability for that.  I'm the one who gets hurt, not them.

In response to the complaint we made against them with the Better Business Bureau, UPS confirmed its policy, reaffirmed that they had no responsibility for the losses they had caused us, and proudly stated that they had no intention whatsoever of changing a thing.

You would do us a service if you took all your future business to another carrier, like Federal Express, and let UPS know why.
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/08/2012 10:05 AM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

Incidental loss is rarely recoverable in any venue.

AUTHOR: seeworthy - (USA)

This OP's actually appears dilligent. My original advice was tainted with facetiousness in response to things like, "[UPS] proudly stated that they had no intention whatsoever of changing a thing."  That line was injected with pure slander (undermining that "credibility" aspect). UPS will not change protocol for the reason the industry implemented it in the first place. I assumed irrationality when the OP stated that no one should consider using this carrier because of their policy, while FedEx and every other carrier on the planet, at best, has the same policy. My response would be the same had FedEx been targeted with slander. My apologies to the OP, however, for my sarcasm.

There are many reasons packages are missorted that are not carriers fault. We'll assume here that UPS, however, made the error. Legally, no industry is typically liable for incidental damages. If that were not the case, this OP's customer could claim that his late shipment cost them $100,000. This customers associates could blame liability on this OP's customer for incidentals of any amount, and so on. Incidental loss, of say $3000, is more often a potential loss of monies not yet collected for services not yet completed, rather than an out of pocket loss for monies already invested. Google up "incidental costs" and study the legal description, and the many reasonings for why it is not recoverable in legal situations becomes obvious. Still, it appears the OP already understands that, and only wanted fast recourse to an error with an expediated NDA service (which, again, UPS would provide already provide a complete refund, while the consequence of the delivery most times would not be resolved the next day anyhow).

I believe I was making two points on the same side of the OP's coin. If this missort was UPS's error, it indeed is rare. An immediate refund will be issued with courtesy and apology (contrare to the arrogant 'pride' of the carrier, as described in the initial complaint). I tried to explain the reasons carriers may not operate as this OP expects, to no avail. I failed; no big deal. Another response from a reader, since then, did ask additional valid questions. On the same side of that coin, rare incidents of failure do not justify exorbitant costs to rectify, regardless of how much a company can afford it. The OP's expectations do not automatically define good customer service. On the other side of that coin, passing costs on to other customers for acceptable error margins found in every business could be defined as a poor business model. A small business owner trying to keep one precious customer happy (in other words, trying to get more money in his pocket), is a different rational to large corporate protocol such as the one in question here.

Let's try extendind the original problem scenario. If this OP, to save money, found that UPS (or FedEx for future shipments, by the OP's inaccurate logic) could save money by having a package shipped Ground, with a guaranteed arrival date which gave a whole day leeway to his delivery needs. This Ground delivery date is just as crucial for the OP as was the 2-Day Air service. Now, something happens, and it apparently has a mysterious missort. Should the carrier then go through every measure to locate that one package and deliver it by Next Day Air? Yes? If that missort was not on a local truck, how is a package allocated when it is travelling down a highway in a semi truck or on an airplane? Should that truck stop at the next wayside rest and wait for a racing courier to rendezvouz? Should the plane make an emergncy stop at the next available airport? If a missort occurs on a vehicle local to the delivery address, on the other hand, it is very likely a correction will be bad and the delivery would be on the next business day and, if possible, by the close of that same day if logistics permit.

OP? I understand your frustration. What I don't understand is how you feel that FedEx, with identical protocol and policy, is a better option. There are FedEx customers that complain about same and similar. Could you elaborate on your statement about another carrier being different? Either way, have a good day. 
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#2 Author of original report

To Robert in Irvine

AUTHOR: One Who Knows - (USA)

This was a replacement part for a video edit system that was shipped by a vendor.

Second day air was selected because we were choreographing the shipment and delivery with our other obligations to clients and would not be in the office to receive the package the next day but WOULD be able to receive it the second day.  We also knew that we had an extra day in reserve so if the package was a day late we would have been fine.

Had we known that according to UPS policy the package would AUTOMATICALLY be TWO days late if it was late at all, we would of course have approached it differently.  We counted on UPS to make best efforts to make a mistake right in the shortest time possible.  We simply didn't know they don't do that.

As I said to the other poster, if only a tiny fraction of shipments has this happen, they could literally pick up the phone in the package room and call UPS Next Day Air service and one of their own trucks could pick up the package and get it there the next day.  On the other hand if it's enough packages that this would bankrupt the company, then something is very wrong and they should address it.  The cavalier "this is how we do things, sorry it cost you a lot of money, and yes, we'd do the same thing tomorrow or next year" was what I found unacceptable.  Not the original mistake.  Those happen.
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#3 Consumer Comment

A couple of questions

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

What exactly was shipped to you and was this something from this Client or a different Vendor? 

Who choose to ship it by 2nd Day air not Next Day? 

Why did whoever shipped it choose that shipping method?  Was it strictly a cost issue or something else?
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#4 Author of original report


AUTHOR: One Who Knows - (USA)

To seeworthy in Madison -

You seem to be confused.  I said in the original posting that I understand mistakes happen.  I didn't call for heads to be chopped off or a witch hunt for whoever missorted the package in the first place.  Our issue was with a particular corporate policy, not the individual who made the mistake.

But consider: you say missorts are incredibly rare.  If so, then the cost to UPS of getting the package that should have arrived in two days to its destination one day late instead of two would be nominal.  Heck, the depot where the package ended up - if not capable of handling next-day packages - could literally pick up the phone and call for a next-day delivery, and a truck would show up and the package would be there the next day.

But you actually seem to be arguing both sides of the same coin: on the one hand, that this happens so rarely that we should just get over ourselves, suck up the $3K loss, accept that no reforms will take place to make this any better next time, and smile.  On the OTHER hand, you appear to argue that this happens so frequently that trying to fix it would bankrupt the company.

Could you at least choose one or the other?  Trying to argue two mutually exclusive points of view mars your credibility.

The bottom line is that UPS could make this better if they wanted to.  The fact that they don't incredibly disappointing to business customers like ourselves that actually need something when we order it.

Finally - as a company dealing with corporate clients, we turn back handsprings to fix mistakes, which fortunately occur very rarely.  I will work all night or over a weekend if needed to remedy a problem.  We're a video production company and our clients need their projects at THEIR convenience, not ours.  If we ran our business like UPS we wouldn't have a single client.


The OP
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#5 Consumer Comment

Bummers for you.

AUTHOR: seeworthy - (USA)

It is very unfortunate that the package was late. I wonder if this irrational OP has any idea of the rarity of missorts. If it happens to one in 5000 people, should that one person focus on his own little world as being typical?

My son worked for UPS while attending college. Of the many hands required during a single package transit, his alone touched an average of 1600 packages a day while sorting during his daily five hour shift. UPS corporate, as they should, demands perfection.  My son once received a letter of reprimand for having three, THREE, package missorts in one calender month. The letter indicated that his job was threatened if there were further occurances. When he brought his concern to his supervisor, he was told that two of the three packages were found to have old sort labels on them. When these labels are not removed or marked over, they can cause missort problems. This can happen if a person forgets to remove an old shipping label from a used box when placing a new label on another side, and it may cause misdirection.

The above elaboration was not necessarily the cause of the OP's problem. The point was that UPS does everything humanly possible to prevent errors. UPS is also the most successful with intercepting packages while in transit to resolve customer shipping alteration requests. The protocol that the OP does not accept is the industry standard of not just a complete refund, but also an immediate recourse no matter how unfeasible. If an error was caused by UPS (FedEx is no different, OP), the shipping fee will be refunded. If a carrier rushed that 2-Day shipment back in one day, and many times they do, the shipment will still be late and most times has lost it's time sensitive value anyways. If a Next Day Air shipment can not be delivered on a Friday (regardless whether is was UPS's or the customer's fault), the package problem may be rectified but not delivered until Monday. Should the carrier assume Saturday delivery would 'save-the-day'? The reasons for that not being the case should be obvious. FedEx utilizes the same reasoning. FedEx does not return or resort shipments at a speed more expedited than the original service. If they did, they would be doing so knowing that they have the significantly inflated cost incurred, all while a full refund will be given. Therefore, they would be paying exhorbitant and unrecoverable costs above the fee collected, all while not receiving a cent after the refund is issued. Even after a refund, there are actually people that demand incidental loss reimburements, such as this OP's $3000. With a little thought by a person of average intelligence, it should be obvious how no business could operate without that exclusion. $3? $300? $3000? $3 trillion? Daily incidents would stifle every human being on the planet if commerce operated under that protocol. FedEx does NOT operate that way, but this OP compares UPS to FedEx anyhow. Smart.

It is sad that this world has human error. What is infinitely more sad is when a human becomes so vindictive to others, especially when they themselves are worse in behavior. It would be interesting to monitor this OP's activities to discover how he resolves his own inevitable errors to 100% of other's satisfaction 100% of the time. Perhaps this OP could share his success by autobiographing a book of his personally perfect and otherwise utopian life style. If this were a perfect world, perhaps this OP or his client would have been better organized by allowing more time for something so time sensitive...if it were a perfect world. The OP gives further example of imperfection by somehow believing that FedEx would be different than UPS. There are at least as many FedEx customer's complaining about FedEx and subsequently recommending UPS. Those people are no verification that UPS is better, but rather that some people make their ignorances more apparant than others.

Get your refund, OP, then refocus your energy on something less destructive to your personal lifestyle. No one is forcing you not to.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Hate to tell you

AUTHOR: Ashley - (U.S.A.)

but fedex does the same thing. It sucks when they screw up, but there isn't much they can do to fix it once it is screwed up.
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