What’s UP(S)?

A year ago, I featured a whole week of stories detailing frustrating UPS experiences over a year.

There have been a couple of follow-up stories since then. Like this one, this one, and this one.

Every time, it seems to be a different and unique problem.

This time is no different.

Using the proceeds gathered from sales of “My Lieeeeeeeefe” t-shirts to get one for the person who came up with the story (I’m sure there’ll be more on this soon…), I used a coupon code that was emailed to me to get free shipping with tracking. I have placed 4 orders with Zazzle so far, and the first 3 shipped via USPS first class and arrived within 2 days. This particular order shipped via UPS, and it shipped to my old address.

Because I’ve had problems in the past, I usually track the order on the day it’s out for delivery, just so I can call my contact in security in case it never gets delivered (drivers were stealing my packages for a while there). This day, I saw “The package was left in a UPS facility/Forwarded to the facility in the destination city.” Since this seemed to be an issue outside of control of my local facility, I called customer service. The best the manager there could do was tell me that the “Out for delivery” scan was done by mistake. So, I asked for clarification. How does a package that is physically scanned and placed on a truck for delivery get accidentally scanned? What does this mean?

They could not answer this, and forwarded my number to the local facility who promptly called me back. They indicated that the driver never had the package on the truck and that it was sitting in the facility and would be put on the truck for delivery the next day. They didn’t have an answer for why a scan happened if it was never on the truck, but, because of circumstances in the next story, since I was going to be at the UPS facility that night anyway, I arranged to get it myself.

I had also ordered speaker stands for my surround sound speakers to the new apartment. I had access to both addresses for a week at that point, and wanted to see how the UPS delivery would handle the delivery of my package with no signature required. In the past, at my old place, it was a fight to get them to just leave the packages at the door, but they finally caught on, well…at least when it’s put on the truck for delivery.

Lots of scans happened between 1:01 PM and 2:00 PM. When I saw all this activity (at like 2:45pm), I decided to call and see what was going on. The national center indicated that I had called and arranged pick up at the local facility. I can assure you that I did not, but, on this call, I just decided to go with it, and asked when it would be available at the facility. They said after 7PM.

At 7:05PM, I went to the facility, with two drivers licenses, one with each address. The shirt was there waiting for me. The speakers were a completely different story.

The woman at the counter, who couldn’t be sweeter and who recognized me from past frustrations, entered my new address. According to the information she pulled up, delivery was attempted three consecutive days in a row and the package was on the way back to the shipper. It was July 20; the package shipped on July 19. Impossible.

She assured me that my driver had already returned to drop off packages, so she called to the back to see if they knew could physically locate it. It wasn’t looking good, but I told her I had no problem waiting while they looked. Since they were busy, they said they wouldn’t get to it for an hour, so I decided to leave and run some errands. We agreed that when I came back, I was not going to be waiting on the line again. I asked if she knew if my contact was working that evening; she indicated that that person was no longer working there. Bummer.

I went back over an hour later, and the speaker stands were there. The explanation she gave was that it was in a pile of things to be sorted to go back to sender. She gave me the number of the person who replaced my contact, and I sought to call the next day.

On the next day, before I had a chance to call, I received a call from a lady at UPS. She was extremely nasty with me and argued that, by tracking the package and calling to arrange pick up, I was complicating the process. I made sure to let her know that their part of the job is as easy as taking something from one place to another, and that I shouldn’t even need to be bothered with driving to them to pick it up.

I’m still trying to figure out what about scans happening on packages before I called had to do with being my fault…


9 thoughts on “What’s UP(S)?

  • Darth

    I’m starting to have my own UPS horror stories. I live in an apt building, and there is a neighbor across the staircase from me. The UPS driver left a delivery slip on the staircase between our doors, with no name so we didn’t know if it was ours or the neighbors. The thing is – both my wife and neighbor were home. My wife – being the lovely bitch that she could be, actually got UPS to force the driver to turn around, properly deliver the package, and apologize.

    Also – I ordered 2 boxes of protein bars last week with Amazon.com’s subscribe & save. It’s supposed to be 2 day delivery. I ordered them on a Sunday, so I figured the order would be processed and i’d have it by Wednesday. It’s now 8 days later and the bars are sitting in a UPS facitily in Secaucus NJ apparently, all melted and shot to crap. It’s not Amazon.com’s fault – it’s UPS’s for not knowing what 2 DAY DELIVERY means. I’m going to return them because now I actually no longer want them.

  • Scott C.

    UPS, gotta love ’em. With me, it’s a battle just to get them to deliver consistently to my apartment complex — half the time the driver just goes around slapping InfoNotices on people’s doors, regardless if there’s anyone home or not; they refuse to deliver to the rental office, so that means either doing a same-day will-call or waiting until the next day. $DEITY forbid I’m expecting something time-sensitive.

    But…same-day will-call has its own set of issues. Last time I tried it, the driver that had my package was out in Cambridge and would not return until well after the Latham UPS center closed.

    The other half of the time, they’re extremely late. They’ve shown up as late as 9pm.

    I’ve considered getting a post-office box on more than one occasion, just to force shippers to send me stuff some way other than UPS…

    • derryX

      I’ve had all of those issues, believe it or not.

      You actually bring up a great point. I wonder if Amazon Prime works with PO Boxes…

      • Scott C.

        I have Amazon Prime as well but don’t know about the PO box thing; they’ve probably got a FAQ somewhere.

        I’ve also spoken to various UPS drivers & supervisors, and this is the situation as I presently understand it (if a current UPSer is reading this, please feel free to correct me:)

        (1) Packages can be designated as follows: “shipper release” — the driver can leave a package w/o signature since the shipper is taking the risk of loss); “release at discretion” (the default) leaves it up to the driver whether or not to leave the package; “no driver release” basically means a human signature is required and the driver cannot leave it.

        (2) The decision to leave a package (“driver release” in UPS-speak) is completely and unconditionally up to the driver, and supervisors won’t second-guess them. UPS is unionized, so I suspect supervisors can’t second-guess them. If they want to be lazy and slap InfoNotices all over the place, they can do so. Primarily, this is because drivers can be disciplined or held financially liable for stolen packages (“bad driver release”).

        (3) UPS bigwigs constantly look at package loss rates, and can designate addresses (or entire neighborhoods) “no driver release”, in which case the drivers can’t leave packages at all and you get the InfoNotice.

        (4) Residential ground deliveries are dead last on UPS’s priority list.

        • derryX

          In all of my communications with my contact, I’ve basically gotten all of these except the last one. That is good to know.

          I wrote a detailed letter to my driver to give to his supervisor detailing my woes and asking for their cooperation in leaving the packages on first attempt. My rationale is that I am giving them a form with my signature now because, when they leave the infonotice, all I am going to do is sign it and make them leave it in the same exact place. I told the guy if there is a problem to call me, and gave 3 different numbers to reach me. I have not received one call.

          Let’s see if the next package I get makes it…(I haven’t placed any orders lately, but I’ll keep you all posted.

          • Scott C.

            Ever wonder why some online sellers ask you if the shipping address is business or residential? This is because UPS & FedEx levy a surcharge for residential delivery.

            Reading their sales literature, I get the feeling that UPS and FedEx would rather not deliver to residences at all, if they could help it.

  • Darth

    I try my best to get my Amazon shipments sent to my PO Box. The people at my post office are amazing. They know me, they know I get lots of packages, they always have them ready when I walk in the door, etc. I know when S&S it has to be UPS. The worst is that if I ask them to hold it at the closest UPS facility, it’s like 25 minutes away from me, where as FedEx is like 5 minutes away. I really wish they’d give a choice of FedEx over UPS – i’d pay extra.


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