UPS Christmas Fail 2014 and the Lies They Told

Updates below

When UPS let me down last year in delivering my Christmas presents to my family in Texas in 2013, I attributed it to the Amazon avalanche and let it go. But they’ve done it again this year with my package to the same sister!

This time they’ve got no excuses but that hasn’t stopped them from repeatedly telling me one thing all while doing another.

package tracking

You should know one thing about me. I scrupulously follow my packages until they are confirmed delivered by the recipient. Yeah I’m weird but there are worse things in life. So when I tell you that I noticed that the package had been “refused” an hour after it happened, I really mean it was only 52 minutes.

I texted my sister right away and she told me that no one had been to the house and my niece and nephew were home waiting for the package. There’s not a chance in hell that they refused the package that they knew contained their Christmas presents. I could speculate about what happened but it got so much worse after that, the point is moot now.

UPS Lie #1

My sister was about to start her shift at work so I started up a chat session with UPS to get the package back on track.

UPS Chat 12/23/2014They never called her.

UPS Lie #2

She called them several times that night and finally got someone who said they would get the package turned around and delivered that night. We know by now that didn’t happen because almost 6 hours after the package was “refused”, they updated the tracking to show that they were shipping the package back to me!

I had surgery on the 24th for a kidney stone so I couldn’t follow-up with them until Saturday. Meanwhile my sister emailed them and got no response.

UPS Lie #3

So I called on Saturday and talked to  someone who unequivocally told me that my sister would receive the package on Monday 12/28. It was a very polite and professional call. Too bad it wasn’t remotely true.

Then today I saw that the package has left Texas and has arrived in Georgia on its way back to Charlotte, NC where I live.

UPS Lie #4

I called again today. (Yes I recorded that call too. If I can see through the rage fog, I may even edit and post it.) My goal was to get the packaged turned around in the hopes that my family would receive their presents before 2015!

I was told that there’s “nothing they can do” to turn around the package until it lands on my doorstep. Even more that, no one else in this customer service chain of failure (my words) had the authority to tell me they would redeliver the package once the first delivery failed. She even tried to tell me that it failed because my sister no longer lived there.

Are you kidding me?!! How about you flag that package in any of the other stops in makes on its way back or when it gets here in North Carolina? The package gets scanned multiple times along its route and you can’t do anything about it? Bullshit!

Why are you making it the customer’s responsibility to reship this package? Customer service fail!

I have no more words.

Update: 01/02/2015

Now 2015 Continued Fail

Wow it really looks like there’s nothing they could do. Pathetic!

After I posted this article on Twitter I got a quick response from the UPS Customer Service  Social Media team.

“Thank you for your email. I’m really sorry for what’s happened with your latest shipment and completely understand why you’re frustrated. I confirmed our local teams are working to have your package delivered as soon as possible. Unfortunately, at this time I don’t have an updated delivery date for your package. I recommend you continue tracking your package on as more information becomes available. I understand this is an important delivery and truly apologize for the inconvenience. “

Yet as of today, the package has come back to Charlotte and it looks like they’re going to deliver it to me today. It only took 15 days and $16.93 for them to accomplish absolutely nothing.

tracking 1/2/2015

UPS has lost a customer. If this package touches my hands, I’ll  demand a refund then take it to FedEx today.

01/09/2015 Conclusion

My niece and nephew finally received their presents on Tuesday after FedEx delivered the package with no problems whatsoever.  Getting a refund from UPS wasn’t nearly so easy.

I got the run around between UPS and The UPS Store®. Didn’t you think they were the same thing? Me too. (It’s not like I went to Bob’s Bait and Tackle that just happened to have a shipping counter.) Each claimed that I had to go to the other entity for the refund. While on terminal hold with UPS, I took the third option. I filed a dispute with my credit card and had my refund in hours.

UPS’s scorched earth customer service policy has been very effective… at losing this customer permanently. I can’t help but look at this whole chain of events both as a customer but also as a user experience professional. UPS made textbook user experience errors at every decision point.

See my UX perspective on the Customer Service Channel  Failure.

2 Replies to “UPS Christmas Fail 2014 and the Lies They Told”

  1. So, all this really boils down to a lazy, rushed driver who decided to say the package was “refused” so he didn’t have to deliver it at all. When a package is refused they take it back to the UPS store and never have to try to re-deliver. Which is BS in my opinion.

    1. If I were willing to give them the benefit of a doubt—and I’m not really feeling that charitable right now—I’d say the driver went to the wrong house. Then upon being told that it was the wrong house, he got lazy and claimed “refused”. The end result is the same. Plus they can refuse me a refund which they did when I picked up the package today. That’s some “scorched earth” customer service policy they’re following!

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