Tales of Incompetence: UPS (Part 2)

So, I never wrapped up the story of UPS’s incompetence last time because, well, baby. I will now rectify that.

When last we left this sordid tale, Barry’s iPad was headed back to Apple after UPS idiotically failed to deliver it. A supervisor had promised to have the package intercepted at a UPS facility en route and then overnighted to me. Sadly, that same supervisor had never called back as promised, so screw him.

Anyway, the following day, I noted that — according to the tracking page on UPS.com — the package was just sitting in a facility in Illinois. Having exhausted my patience with the phone, I emailed UPS to say, in essence, “Hey, guys — send this thing to me!”

I got back a response saying, basically, “Gee, we’re sorry you’re having problems! According to our system, your package is being returned to the sender. Please respond to this message if you have any questions or if we can help at all.”

I began tearing out what little hair I have left. I had already told them the problem in my email! I responded, this time quite snarkily, informing them that they could “help at all” by doing as I’d originally asked and overnighting the package from Illinois.

A few hours later, I got an email informing me that, sadly, the package had left Illinois.

Now, I checked online and according to the in-scan and out-scan, the package was at the Illinois facility for several hours. Plenty of time for someone to grab it up and send it back to me, as was promised by the original supervisor.

A few days later, it was back at Apple. I’m sure UPS feels like it’s a job well done.

Here’s a screenshot of the UPS.com tracking page. Notice that there are four separate facilities where the package resides before it gets back to Apple: One in Illinois, three in California. At any of these, the package was supposed to be (and should/could have been) intercepted and sent back to me. But it wasn’t. (Note, too, that it says the package is being returned to Apple “as requested.” I never requested that.)


I made sure Apple refunded my money and then I just went to the damn Apple Store and bought it myself. So much for the convenience of ordering online.

A brief coda: When I called Apple to explain the situation and make sure I got my money back, the guy on the other end of the line groaned audibly when I said “UPS.” He spared no venom in blasting them and their hideously awful practices. So I’m not an outlier.

UPS failed on every possible level and at every conceivable opportunity. This wasn’t merely human error or a computer glitch. It was everything failing, every time. Total systemic breakdown.

It began when the website wouldn’t let me reschedule the delivery, then continued when the phone system similarly failed. Then a human being at the warehouse screwed up and didn’t deliver the package…and someone else at the warehouse did nothing to fix it. Then they accidentally put the package into the return queue…and the customer service people not only didn’t realize this, but dismissed my concerns when I called to have the problem fixed.

And then we get into the supervisor who promised to have the package overnighted…and didn’t. He also promised to call back…and didn’t. And then the fact that the package should have been flagged for immediate return to me was scanned at three UPS facilities, but never pulled aside. And the folks on the other end of my email who delayed long enough that the package left the Illinois facility before it could be sent back to me.

UPS had multiple opportunities to fix this problem. Instead, they failed on every level. I’m not sure how UPS can claim to “love logistics.” They clearly don’t know even know what the word means.

(Since I’ve been bluntly and brutally honest about UPS, I want to make sure I say this much: My actual delivery guy, the dude who drops off packages when UPS bothers to let him, is freakin’ awesome. Love him. Good guy. Lousy company.)

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