Thursday, July 12, 2012

UPS and My I Can't Believe This Rant

I might scream.  Seriously, I might.  You'll have to forgive me if this post is a grammatically compromised rant because I am angry.  Very,  very angry.  You may remember this post, describing my.... feelings... about the United States Postal Service and how they've lost so many packages these past months that they are driving me insane.

Why aren't you tracking these packages you might ask.

You see, about 30% of my business is in Europe.  I would say closer to 90% of my higher priced snoods go to Europe.  I really appreciate the business that has come my way from across the pond.

However, the USPS informed me it would cost about $10 more per package to send a package, with a tracking number, to Europe.  Now most people aren't willing to pay $13 in shipping for a $25 snood, so... I haven't added tracking options and raised prices (although I may have to add that option now and say it's the only way I can ensure delivery because things are so out of control).

After the USPS lost a number of packages this spring, I was desperate to figure something else out that would involve my customers actually receiving their shipments.  Now I should add, I've been shipping from California for years and I have never had a problem.  But the behavior of the USPS in Florida has been pretty horrible.  We'll receive a "hi, pick up your package that would have easily fit into your box at this warehouse 5 miles away, between the hours of 10 and 3" and then, upon picking up said package, will discover that it was received by the warehouse 7 days earlier.  Or in the case of Christmas, they delivered one of the presents that my sister sent the girls, and not the other, and then were baffled when we appeared at the warehouse when they were open again, and asked if there was a package (there was), because we couldn't have possibly have known it was there (and she had shipped during the "guaranteed" time period before the holidays).  Let's just say that it doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

I try to sympathize with the fact that the USPS is having problems.  Really, I do.  But at the same time I find myself constantly amazed by the level of incompetence they've demonstrated this year.

The lost packages had me feeling pretty desperate about my international shipments, however, when we left Florida.  I had a custom order that needed to go out, and after much debate, I went to the UPS store and paid $10 to ship the package.  I put the receipt in the cubby between the two car cup-holders, and proceeded to forget about it during the move west.  After all it was UPS.  I trusted (note the use of the past tense) them.

Today I received an email saying the package hadn't arrived yet.

Initially I was annoyed with UPS (and with myself when I realized the receipt had been tossed out).  I paid $10 to ensure it arrived, which was a definite shipping loss, and eight weeks later it hadn't arrived?

I looked up the number of the UPS Store we'd used and called.  I'd lost my package but could they use my info to track it?  Sure they could!

But our phone number didn't bring up the info.  Neither did Paul's name (he shipped it for me, while I waited in a fully packed car to get on the road).  And the recipients name didn't bring up the info either. I was starting to feel nervous.

Then he asked how much it had cost to ship the package.  I said $10.  And here's the part that has me furious.

"Oh, $10!  Yeah, we wouldn't ship to Germany for $10.  What we would have done was take the package to the post office and ship it through the US Postal Service for you."  For $3.

Are you kidding me.

I didn't yell, because I realize that the young man I was talking to wasn't responsible for this ridiculous turn of events.  Instead I thanked him and got off the phone before my head exploded from the stupidity.

I'm still trying to get this straight in my head:  So I took a package to UPS to avoid the USPS, and they took it, along with 3x more the amount it would have cost to ship it from the USPS, and then they went to the post office and shipped it from the post office instead of shipping it themselves.

I don't use Fedex because they've already told us that they ship through the USPS in Southwest Florida (if you ship us a package through Fedex it comes through the USPS and is just as unreliable).

And it looks like the USPS has lost yet another package, bringing the loss via the post office, in the past four months to $200.

This is ridiculous.  I have to change something with my international packages.  I just don't want to have to charge ridiculous prices because our local office is apparently ridiculously incompetent.


  1. *hugs*

    That is awful... I'm half afraid to send anything in the mail anymore honestly. I had two packages coming to me have issues recently (one got lost and the lady ended up remaking all our diapers and the other just got sent back to sender after going to the wrong state). And don't get me started on what FedEx has done to us...

  2. So both UPS and FedEx use the USPS, and the USPS is still losing money? WTF?

    And if both UPS and FedEx use the USPS, what's the point of either of them existing??

  3. Also, if Paul paid via credit or debit card, they could probably use that to bring up your package information.

  4. I used to swap a lot of cards and scrapbooking supplies with friends online and had tons of problems with USPS. One time we made "shaker cards" where you use a piece of clear plastic and fill it with tiny beads. Well, I guess the post office heard the beads moving in the package and jumped to conclusions. The packages were all late. Finally, the packages started showing up across the US ripped open and resealed with clear tape. Some of them were ruined. I got a good laugh but some of my friends were upset because they thought I was responsible for the shoddy packaging. If these were business packages, I may have lost customers!

  5. Stepson's birthday present from my in-laws was re-sealed and half of the Legos were missing.

    One month later, my teenagers expensive gift cards (again from in-laws in NY) never showed up. They were shipped back to in-laws and by the time we got the package it had been opened and the gift card was missing.

    All USPS.

    And if the envelope says "PHOTOS-DO NOT BEND!!!!", expect that sucker to be wedged in your mailbox!

  6. Apparently, UPS has had a contract with USPS since about 2003 to deliver items that have been first delivered to the local post office by UPS. I have noticed more and more items that I thought would be delivered by "Big Brown" actually showing up in my mailbox.

    I think the international bait and switch of which you were a victim is outrageous. This is the sort of things that needs to be publicized.


  7. Do you have countries where most of your shipments go? If so, see if you can find immigrant communities in your area that might have some tips. We ship frequently overseas and there is actually a network within our local immigrant community of our native country that organizes shipments and overseas them. When your package is one of a bunch that is going over at the same time, it is probably safer.

  8. I ordered something expensive not too long ago and the USPS lost it (despite tracking saying it had arrived. I was home and watched the mail carrier drive by, I didn't get any mail that day. I had been following the package online and was waiting for it, knowing it was supposed to arrive that day.). Specifically requested the company send the replacement via another currier. It was sent via UPS and when it had arrived in my city, what happened? They transferred it to USPS for delivery. It was unbelievable to me too that they could do that.

    I've also had the same issues with having to go pick up packages across town they could easily have delivered. Nothing but problems with USPS in Idaho, never had trouble in NJ.

  9. I must have some good fortune because I've been selling online since 2006 and honestly I have never once lost a package. I use USPS for a majority of my shipping. I also use FedEx, because here it is cheaper.

    Perhaps it's different for different areas but I know up here, USPS actually uses UPS planes to fly overseas since USPS doesn't have the funds to have their own. So not sure about that.

    What I do when I ship via FedEx, and you could look into it for UPS, is that I have a business account with them. So I print my labels online, which actually saves you money, and then it stores all your shipments, so you can easily look back into your shipments. Might be something to look into.

    I've been pretty happy with my service via the USPS, I know my mailman and he knows me, which is always nice, and if I ship internationally the postal worker at my local tiny office recognizes me as well.

    For those who say the package doesn't come via USPS, how long do you give them to wait? It can honestly take up to 6 weeks to get to them if you use first class, so for all you know if you don't wait a super long time it could be showing up later and then they just never tell you..

  10. Our local offices are giant with half hour waits and most of the packages go to warehouses, not the PO, so you definitely don't get the personal connection in Florida. I think it is a regional thing. I feel totally comfortable shipping from the offices here in California and have never had a problem.

    They get reported to me about 8 weeks after they're shipped and not received. A few have been received after that window that were somehow shipped "by sea" and went through sea port customs in the countries they were being shipped to, despite the fact that they were all shipped first class.

    On average it takes 7 days to the countries I'm shipping to, so I'm definitely worried after eight weeks when they still haven't arrived.

  11. I have ordered a number of times from you. although you post first class it usually takes six weeks to arrive. I'm in Australia but it gives an idea how long it takes. I don't complain to anyone about shipping until it hits eight weeks unless I've specifically paid for tracked or fast shipping. one of the reasons i purchase from you is that your shipping is so reasonable. I'd rather pay less and wait longer. unfortunately if prices went up I would have to shop elsewhere. that said I'm more than happy to wait while you sort out problems on your end if the package disappears.

  12. That is really helpful to know Rachel! It seems like there's a lot of variety, because I know one order took 7 days to arrive in India, and a few people in Germany had said it averaged 7 days, so i was panicky when it would reach 2 months.

    I think what I'll probably do is offer to do custom orders for those who want it faster or who want additional insurance at a greater price. That way people who don't mind waiting don't have to pay more (and I really don't want to raise my shipping prices either!).

    Thank you for the note and the info!


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