Friday, November 1, 2013

UPS (useless parcel service)

Since we are travelling and don't have a fixed address in the USA, we have stuff send up to depots along the way where we can pick them up. This has worked well with the US Postal Service but not so with UPS. UPS has the service but getting it delivered somewhere you want to pick it up seems all but impossible. Instead of delivering it to the depot you request, they simply leave it at the depot which is convenient for them. This can easily be 100 miles away and having it re-routed is not possible. 

The first time we tried this service we looked at the UPS website and found a UPS store in a town along our route. We asked if the parcel could be send there and all seemed ok. When we wanted to pick it up we had to pay $5,- per parcel... I'm not bothered about the $5,- but the principle of having to pay extra for picking it up yourself instead of having it delivered is wrong. It should, after all, be easier for them so why do I have to pay more?
We were told that the UPS Store has nothing to do with UPS... Eeh? 'You are listed on the UPS website, you are called UPS Store but you have nothing to do with UPS? That is correct she replied. How come you are on the UPS website then under the locations section. She was as surprised as I was.

The second shipment we did with UPS this way was also the last. I asked if it could be delivered to a depot in Kenab, UT. Yes, was the reply via e-mail, you can send it there and pick it up within 5 days. The tracking nr of the parcel showed it was in... St George, ready to be picked up as requested by the customer. Right. The customer requested Kenab, which is also the address showed on the parcel. They didn't contact me at all about any change. I called UPS to see where in St George it was, after having sent 3 e-mails and not having received a reply on any of them. The parcel turned out not to be in St George either but in Cedar City...??? 'That is more than 100 miles away from Kenab, do you expect me to drive 200 miles up and down for the parcel?' Yes, was the reply. I politely requested the parcel to be send on to Kenab. They refused as I could not ask for a new delivery address. 'I'm not asking for a new address, I'm asking you to send it to where it was supposed to be send in the first place.' The lady replied that they didn't have a depot in Kenab and therefore decided that Cedar City would be ok... 'But I have an e-mail here, from Customer Service UPS, saying you do', I replied. She didn't care and told me to come and pick it up in Cedar City between 3 and 6pm.  
'Hang on a minute, you told me it could be delivered to Kenab, accepted the package, obviously made a mistake as you now say there is no depot there and want me to drive 200 miles for your mistake...' That is correct, she replied. You are not willing to have it re-send somewhere near me? No, was the reply. 
In short, if you want anything delivered to a depot by UPS, then it could basically end up anywhere... hopefully in the same State as you are. They don't care if that means you have to drive 200 miles and they can't even be bothered to correct there own mistakes. UPS - Useless Parcel System

Update 1: What I thought was already bad enough became worse on the day we picked up the parcel... or wanted to. Arriving at the Cedar City depot, the tires weren't there... I showed the tracking number and address and the lady behind the counter replied straight away 'that's in St George, not here'. The computer confirmed what she said and for a moment I stood there flabbergasted. 'I called UPS customer service twice, spoke to 3 different persons and they all said it was here according to the computer. You look into it on the computer and find it in St George? How can that be?' She replied 'Parcels for Kanab used to go via Cedar City but two years ago that changed to St George, the computer system at customer service however still hasn't been updated. It's in St George but let me call them just to be sure'.

It was indeed in St George... Contrary to UPS customer service, the lady at Cedar City was more than helpful and asked me where we would be going from here. Kanab, I replied. Ok, would it help you if I would have it brought over to Kanab? Yes that would help us a lot! I said. Ok, I'll make sure it's going to be at the Kanab airport tomorrow between 11.30 and 12.30.
But, how is that possible? I asked customer service yesterday if they could do that and they said no! She looked surprised and said 'of course we can do that'. 

What a wonderful lady! She put the new address in the system, then called St George and told them to get the parcel ready for transport to Kanab and even called the truck driver who was going to take it to Kanab and told him 'no matter what is written on this parcel, make sure it's in Kanab tomorrow!'
It was there at 11.45…!

Update 2: I received an e-mail from UPS, not saying sorry we messed everything up and had you guys running around for 3 days and 200 miles, no they offered us $50,- as a goodwill gesture… $50,- to compensate 3 days and 200 miles… But I wondered how they were going to pay me, so I accepted. There are many legal and well accepted ways of paying someone in this world but UPS dictated that I use a cheque… which they could only send to my home address. I'm travelling for a few months more I replied and cashing in a foreign cheque is rather expensive. Why don't you send me a $50,- note or put it on my Visa card? The reply was that their system could only produce a cheque, which would take 10 days to prepare(!) and that they could only send it to my home address… I told them to forget about it and donate it to charity.