UPS told reader Jason to meet their delivery truck at a construction site to pick up a $600 microphone he spent $40 overnighting from New York. Bad Brown aborted its first delivery attempt after being scared off by a menacing buzzer at Jason’s office guarded by five smiling receptionists. When Jason called to find out how he could retrieve his package that night, he was told he could meet the truck en route. He didn’t realize that UPS was about to send him to a construction site. Try to guess if the driver showed up…
I work as a freelance videographer, and recently landed a high-profile magazine spotlight piece. The company that picked me for the shoot recommended that I use two wireless mics for the audio. I didn’t have two wireless mics and told them that, but I knew I could get one from a friend. The other I ordered from B&H via UPS’s Next Day Air service.
I ordered on a Friday but my order didn’t go through and ship until Monday. I needed the mic by Tuesday night (hence the overnight shipping) so that I’d be ready for the shoot on Wednesday. The package shipped out as scheduled, but when I checked the status of the shipment on Tuesday morning I saw the notice, “PKG DELAY-ADD’L SECURITY CHECK BY GOV’T OR OTHER AGENCY- BEYOND UPS CONTROL”.
I had never heard of that before so I did a quick google search. It turns out this notice isn’t necessarily used when a package is actually being held for security reasons. Rather it’s usually because a driver didn’t (or couldn’t) get beyond a security gate at the delivery location. In most cases it looked like the package was redelivered a few days later. I couldn’t wait a few days, so I called their customer service center to find out what I could do about getting the package that day.
A customer service rep said that somebody from the local distribution center would call me back within the hour. Surprisingly somebody actually did just that, although it turned out to be less than fruitful.
The conversation with CSR Kimberly included this gem:
Kimberly: The driver couldn’t get beyond the security gate.
Me: We don’t have a security gate.
Kimberly: I mean the security guard.
Me: We don’t have a security guard.
Kimberly: I mean the door was locked.
Me: There’s a buzzer. And five people working the front office. And they’re pretty attentive when delivery people come by. They don’t like pissing off the residents.
But Kimberly told me that the truck was long gone, and not coming back. She gave me the option to meet up with the truck or wait until 7pm and pick up my package from the distro center. I opted for the meet-up since it would (presumably) be faster (I figured I would need at least a few hours to read the mic’s manual, and learn how to use it before the shoot).
She told me I’d have to drive 12 miles to a construction site and wait for the driver to come. I thought she was kidding. She said she wasn’t. I was to meet a driver (who was meeting another driver) at 3:30 at a construction site west of a hospital somewhere near Universal in Orlando. I was stunned. I paid $40 for overnight shipping. And this is what I get for it?
It got even better when the driver never showed up. One of the two drivers was there, but this one knew nothing of the exchange and said that he had actually called for help because he was overloaded with deliveries. I brought a camera and took pictures of the meeting place. I thought maybe you’d get a kick out of them.
I called Kimberly back and wanted to know what was going on. I was pissed. I said that I needed the package and that I wanted a refund on the shipping cost. She called me back a few minutes later and told me that I could drive another 20 minutes to meet up with the driver who was now just a few blocks from my apartment building. The real kicker was that I only had 10 minutes to get there before he was going to leave again. This time I asked if I could just pick it up at 7 at the distribution center. She said that I could and that they would call me when the driver came back (they didn’t).
She also said somebody would call me back about my refund “soon”. It’s been five days and that hasn’t happened. I’ll probably start making those phone calls on Monday.
At some point I mentioned that I was going to be sending all of this to the Consumerist. I don’t think she knew what that meant, but I thought I’d give them fair warning.
Anyway, I picked up my package just after 7. The guy working the pick-up area threw my box on the counter. I winced. That mic cost me almost $600. Not cool. Especially after everything else.
In the end I got the mic, and did the shoot. I also got some swell pictures of a UPS truck in a dusty parking lot. Maybe you can use them for something.
Anyway, I thought you guys might find this interesting. Thanks for doing what you do.
Come on, UPS, put a little effort into your sketchy pickup areas. If you’re going to send someone to a construction site, have the decency to leave a note or a riddle directing them back to the distribution center. Nothing complex. We would’ve been happy with a post-it reading: “Gotcha! Return To Distribution Center. (Next Time Use The Post Office!)”