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Do you compulsively check your UPS tracking number while waiting for a package to arrive? Sure, you might receive email alerts about when it departed for its journey, but sometimes you just want to keep checking in on its progress. Maybe some of this is excitement for your delivery, or maybe it's anxiety that something might go wrong. After all, everyone seems to have an experience with lost packages.
Its those delivery failures that can throw a wrench into the excitement of online shopping, and UPS has taken a lot of flack in this department. The company handles about 15.8 million parcels per day, so it's no surprise that some deliveries will experience a speed bump or two. Unfortunately that speed bump can be as much literal as it is figurative, and, according to a recent column from The Haggler at The New York Times, how the company handles these hiccups leaves something to be desired. The Haggler, or David Segal, writes about his and several acquaintances UPS shipping woes, including a recent experience that went beyond a delivery delay, and straight into lost territory.
First there was the case of the lost passport: Segal's rush-delivery passport was scheduled to arrive in time for a flight to visit a friend in Canada. Canadian dreams were shattered as the passport was "lost" and Segal had to cancel his outing. In breaking the news to said friend, Segal discovered that his buddy's golf clubs destined for California had wound up in Minnesota courtesy of UPS. And it took three weeks to discover this.
Then, in canceling his flight, the Delta agent with whom he spoke had a story of her own: UPS had "delivered" a damaged portable DVD player to her. (Read: the delivery man flung it into her yard wherein her dog found it and chewed it to bits.) UPS blamed the incident on the seller's poor packaging; the seller contested this and Ms. Delta had to shell out another $250 for a replacement.
And finally there was the triathlon friend whom Segal met for lunch (instead of going to Canada) whose bike's shipping container was damaged by UPS. The company argued that since the bike was undamaged, the specially made and insured-to-ship $400 container was not their responsibility.
Segal notes that in each instance, it's the poor customer service response that has left his friends with such a tainted opinion of UPS. For the sake of argument, Segal postulates that even if the company fails to deliver just "one-half of one-tenth of 1%" of shipped orders (a very low and probably conservative failure rate), that's roughly 8,000 dissatisfied customers every day — a comparatively small number, given that the company ships millions of packages per diem. But the fact that UPS evoked such aggressively disgruntled reactions from Segal's acquaintances was because of the unsatisfactory customer service they received when something went awry.
Seeing as dealnews readers surely ship more than the average consumer, we wondered what you all think of Segal's tale. Have you had similar dissatisfied experiences with UPS and their customer service department? Or have the brown suits done right by you? And since the company is increasing shipping costs this year by about 4.9%, do you expect better service for your money? We're interested in your (and your friends') dealings with UPS, and what you expect from the company after its price hike. [The New York Times]