Sunday, November 23, 2008

UPS: Utterly Pathetic Service

If you had to send something overnight, how would you send it? FedEx? UPS? DHL? I chose UPS because I thought they would provide reliable service. Little did I know, nothing could've been farther from the truth.

This clip concisely summarizes my experience and overall feelings about said company:

(Sorry that the audio is way off - our desktop computer isn't working, and this was the best I could do from the free DVD ripping software)

The average person doesn't send an overnight package that often. But sometimes, it's necessary - for example, if one forgets his/her green card when he/she leaves the country. My forgetfulness aside, I had a need for an urgent, overnight shipment from West Jordan, Utah, USA to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Having no (previous) preference of courier, I decided to go with UPS, who guaranteed the document to be delivered by the end of the next day.

Though the UPS Store told me that it would be delivered by 11:30pm on Wednesday, I started to get worried by 8:00pm. I mean, have you ever seen any courier on their routes past 7:00pm? Still optimistic, I called the UPS 1-800 to see what the status of the package was. To my utter dismay, they told me that it wasn't going to be delivered until the following day. "What?" I exclaimed. What happened to this trusted UPS guarantee of delivery? I was told that, because of weather delays in Omaha (the package had gone on a plane from Salt Lake, Kentucky, and Omaha before going to Winnipeg), the shipment didn't arrive in Winnipeg until 8:25am and didn't clear customs until 9:00am or 11:23am (the tracking history is a little unclear). But since the trucks left at around 7:00am, I would have to wait until the next day to get my shipment. How absurd is that? Are there no backup trucks that would make urgent deliveries from a shipment that was delayed? They knew before the trucks left the warehouse that the plane was going to be delayed - why was there no accommodation for important packages? Where is their sense of urgency for shipments that the customers pay a premium for to be delivered in a quick & timely manner? To what lengths do they even try to live up to their guarantee? Weather and customs delays, they explained, are out of their control and their guarantee doesn't account for them. I can understand that, but what I can't understand is why the envelope sat in the warehouse for 6 hours gathering dust while I depended on it to be delivered to me that same day. At the very least, I would have expected a phone call, notifying me of the delay and giving me the option to pick it up myself from the warehouse. I mean, I could have easily picked it up myself, because it was, as it turns out, an urgent matter.

Look! Even the envelope itself mentions how urgent it is. Extremely.

Did I mention that it was urgent? And that's why I paid a premium to get it sent overnight? By the time I called that night, the warehouse was closed and I couldn't go pick it up. There was nothing I could do but wait until it went out on the truck the next day for delivery. The problem was that I had a flight the next morning at 6:20am to return to Utah. So I had to call Northwest Airlines and pay the $50 fee to change my flight and call my boss to tell him I wasn't going to be in the next day. I was going to just change the flight to the next day (Friday), but my father suggested changing to Saturday, just in case. It turned out to be good advice, because I didn't receive my envelope the next day either.

What happened that second day still isn't clear. I was supposed to receive a phone call from the local facility in Winnipeg, but never got one. When I called around 1:00pm to see where it was, I was told that it was on a truck for delivery. A sigh of relief. But when it still hadn't arrived at 7:00pm, I called again. This time, the rep told me that it never was on a truck, but that it had been missorted and went to the wrong center. By that time, I was fuming. I told her to have them leave the document in the warehouse so I could pick it up because I couldn't rely on them anymore. I had one more day to receive that document and couldn't just sit around all day to have them not deliver it once again. Some guarantee they have. I now wonder if they could have gotten it to me without losing it completely.

But having them leave it in the warehouse wasn't as easy as one might think. You see, I was speaking to a representative at the call center in Nova Scotia, and she claims that the only contact they have with the hub in Winnipeg is a messaging service. I would then be relying that some hobo in the warehouse checked the messages and actually did what they said. Turns out that my doubts were completely accurate. I called once again the next morning, and I'm told that it is on a truck for delivery. Yes, that is what I'm told - but nothing on the tracking history showed that it was "out for delivery." I trusted them the day before that it was on a truck and wasn't to be misguided again. I asked for the phone number of the local hub, but they said that they didn't even have one. After some persuasion, the rep said that she could call them herself while I was on hold. The people at the Winnipeg hub confirmed that it was on a truck, and paged all of the drivers to see where it was because they didn't know which truck it was on. (does anything surprise me anymore?) Finally, I received a phone call directly from the local facility who told me that he had spoken to the driver of the truck that had my envelope and that it would be delivered by 2:30pm.

To my complete relief, it was delivered at 2:08pm by a hasty young man who had no sense of responsibility to represent his company in any circumstance. I was able to return home the following day.

Let me give a real-world, completely relevant contrast to FedEx's service. My cousin was in a similar situation, as she needed an important travel document to be able to return to the US. It was not able to be sent until two days after mine (Thurs), but she had it sent FedEx. It arrived at 11:30am on Friday, more than 2.5 hours earlier than mine.
I simply can't believe in how many ways UPS lost my trust:
  • They did nothing to ensure that my shipment arrived by the "end of the next day" as their guarantee stated. What they could have done: a) sent a backup truck to deliver after the shipment from Omaha was delayed; b) notified me to tell me that it was delayed and that it could be picked up from the warehouse.
  • They missorted the document but told me that it was on a truck for delivery.
  • They ignored my repeated requests to have them leave the document in the warehouse for me to pick up.
  • They refused to let me contact the local hub in Winnipeg and failed to call me from the local hub to give any status whatsoever.
Since this incident, everyone I've talked to has told me that they always use FedEx for overnight deliveries, including one of my friends who works for UPS. This friend also told me that envelopes often get lost or otherwise mishandled, so the service is not reliable. If that doesn't persuade me, I don't know what will.


Blogger nana and atom said...

OOO, utterly pathetic service. good one. well as said before, we should never trust a company who uses the color of poo as their color. poo stinks. so does ups. I hope they compensated you to the max! ps. who is this cousin that was silly enough to go to canada without a travel document to return to the states?! heh heh heh... well i'm just gonna thank you for forgetting your green card so that you could use UPS so that I knew NOT to use them and have my stuff FedEx-ed (and now always be FedEx-ed, overnight or not!) It's great that mine arrived before yours to further illustrate how lame UPS is. Boycott UPS!

9:26 AM  
Blogger Wongs D & MV said...

Well told, brother. Considering their core service is well, delivering packages in a timely manner, that is utterly pathetic. True, nana, it is poo.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Becca said...

I know a green card is a bigger deal, but when I was doing independent study from BYU, UPS lost one of my exams. FOR TWO WEEKS. An overnighted exam. Since they lost it, BYU obviously couldn't grade it, which means I couldn't get a final grade in my class, meaning I couldn't transfer the credits on time to my nursing school, which means I got in a lot of trouble and was almost dropped from the program.


10:43 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

"what can Brown do for you?" POO! that's what!

10:59 PM  
Blogger Cary said...

ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS Fed-Ex!! Fed-Ex is not only the most reliable and responsible mail carrier but they also give you little benefits for free that no one else will (without making you sign over your first-born child of course). For example, they automatically ensure any package for $100; they also automatically make any companies or businesses you send packages to sign for it, and their tracking numbers aren't just for looks--you can actually TRACK your package! Sorry you had to learn the hard way :-S But I'm glad you're back safe and sound.

9:05 AM  
Blogger the man said...

Boo UPS! You should do what all american do.. SUE! hahahahah! I hope your turkey turned out good!

12:24 PM  

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