How To Get Past The UPS Phonebot

Luke writes, “I recently had a package delivered to me by UPS, and by ‘delivered’ I mean that they left a little yellow slip stating that they showed up and left.” Thanks to a burst of anger, he figured out how to get past the phonebot that intercepts calls. It turns out you don’t even need to add the curse word to the end.

Irritated, I called the number on the slip to see if I could have them leave the package next time they came by, or have the address changed so it would be delivered to where I go to work. But the robot who picked up the line only gave me the option of tracking the package which I already knew was at the depot. I pressed “0” and jumped through the menus for awhile, before getting exhausted and shouting “CONNECT ME TO A PERSON YOU BITCH!”

And that worked, I was connected to a CSR who talked to me and gave me some options.

When UPS messed up yet again and left yet another slip, I just answered “connect me to a person” to every query the computer put out, and it eventually connected me to a CSR who at least attempted to solve my problem.

I still don’t have the package, but it’s nice to be able to connect to a human being who will at least try to get me the damn thing.

So if you need to do anything with UPS, just chant “connect me to a person” constantly until the robot actually does so.

Hmm, we wonder if this would work with our real world USPS mailman, who won’t make eye contact and who throws packages up the stairs.

(Photo: Mykl Roventine)

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  1. SpdRacer says:

    I usually just scream “representative” or “operator” @ the f’in thing and it works. But we just stopped shipping anything with UPS, simply cause they wouldn’t allow us to leave a card on file to be billed since they want weekly payments and they always send the bill late! and then our shipper account gets disabled cause they are incompetent!

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      I had to call UPS recently over a similar problem and found that you can also just rapidly mash random keys on the keypad, pause for a second and the robot will do the “Sorry, I didn’t quite get that” routine. Repeat that 2-3 times and you’ll get connected to a person.

      • ohenry says:

        @Real Cheese Flavor: This is why I ship with FedEx.

        Easy to get a person, and generally ultra-helpful people.

        • RedwoodFlyer says:

          @ohenry:

          Agreed! And guess which one is unionized?

        • OPRAH says:

          Fedex is just as bad. They left my package a few blocks down at an address nowhere similar to mine. At that the packages were marked correctly so it was 100% Fedex’s driver’s mistake.

          • ohenry says:

            @OPRAH: Nah, as much as that sucks that’s a very small sample size.

            I used to work for a company that sold athletic goods (shoes, track wear, etc). Our normal rush orders were sent via UPS, and we had LOTS of problems with them.

            If a customer was nice to me and ordered a rush, I’d sent it with a FedEx rush. Never had any problems with them, and when we did, I just called them and they fixed it almost right away.

            Or even from my own experiences, FedEx rocks. Both times that I’ve bought an iPod from Apple’s web site, they offered free shipping with FedEx, and it got from China to Wisconsin in 3 business days.

            I have nothing but good things to say about FedEx.

  2. hammitz says:

    Last week, I came home to find one of those yellow stickers on my door that said that I needed to be there during the daytime to sign for the package. I called the 800 number, and the robot that answered had an option for changing the delivery address for my package. I told it the new address, it confirmed everything, and my package showed up at my office the next day. Why fight with the phonebot when it exists specifically to do what you want it to do?

  3. LaniCadizzle says:

    I’ve actually found that saying a curse word will usually get you to an operator as well. It seems as though their phone systems are designed to do such…perhaps they see it as a sign of frustration. I always get a kick out of watching my wifes face when I dial a #, say simply say “f*ck” followed by a “Yes I have a problem with…” She’s like who the hell are you talking too?!”

  4. I know when I worked in a mail room, “representative” always got me to a person.

  5. ctaylor says:

    I’ve had good success with “agent”.

    • jurisenpai says:

      @ctaylor: Agreed. “Agent” always works, even if the UPS phone bot tries to guilt trip you into using their menu system.

      But there is no option for “I’m calling to report my UPS driver for sexual harassment”!

      • Nick1693 says:

        @jurisenpai: “But there is no option for “I’m calling to report my UPS driver for sexual harassment”! “

        You could just try saying that. lol.

      • nsv says:

        @jurisenpai: But is there an option to call to request my UPS driver for sexual harassment?

        (Just met the new UPS driver today… mmm.)

        UPS has been great here. They always leave packages, they put them in the detached laundry room when I’m not home (it rains a lot here,) and one even insisted on helping me with a very heavy package.

        USPS is pretty good, though they generally leave the package directly under the sign that says “Please leave packages in the laundry room.”

        FedEx is *%(%#&*)#% (^% _)&%$&#!

  6. Recury says:

    I usually just curse a lot. Doesn’t connect me to a person or anything but it makes me feel better.

  7. yagisencho says:

    I start screaming ‘HUMAN! HUMAN!’ whenever I call in. (It works.)

    • Sunflower1970 says:

      @yagisencho: Yup. Same here, although I say “OperatorOperatorOperatorOperator” over and over until I’m finally connected. :) Works every time. I’ve also used it on other voice activated menus. Works every time like a charm :)

  8. ionerox says:

    Hmm, not so much news… as I believe the system tells you to say such if you want to talk to a person.

    Not that their people help a lot, last time I called it took 45 minutes, 3 transfers and having to repeatedly explain that “UPS delivered a package to me that is not mine” for them to figure out they needed to come retrieve the package (and that no, I will not bring it to the nearest UPS hub.)

    Although, 20 minutes later a very friendly CSR did call to confirm that I requested a pickup…

  9. mavrc says:

    This seems to work well on a lot of speech-based IVRs. Doing some demented chant of ‘OPERATOR HUMAN PERSON’ over and over was the only thing that got me to a human being when calling T-Mobile.

  10. ajlei says:

    UPS is ALWAYS doing this stuff to me, tapping on the door and then running off and leaving those stupid notes. I’ve become familiar with some of the employees of the local DC, and that’s someplace that customers shouldn’t have to be frequenting. All UPS does is shipping, shouldn’t they do it properly and not halfway?

    As for the phone thing, I’ve never had too much trouble getting a person on the phone.. although I think I tend to hit “0” anytime I run into a phone tree. Now that I think about it, I have used the “I want to talk to a human” before (with Earthlink) and it worked! It’s a good thing to take note of.

  11. I’ve done well with UPS’s phone system just pressing 0 at each prompt.

    I don’t talk to those answering things. They’re all programmed to take answers in numeric form (first option 1, 2nd option 2, etc.). I can even get through microsoft’s product activation hotline in 5 minutes without ever saying a word.

  12. quail says:

    Anyone remember the good ol’ days when FedEx actually had to program their phone system to ring at least once before the caller got a representative? Seems that for a year in the late 80’s people would get thrown off after dialing and then hearing a human’s voice without the system ever ringing. But I’m showing my age…

    The last time a phone system had me frustrated — HP/Compaq — I’d bash my fingers into the keypad and yell ‘help me’. Seemed to work faster than moving slowly through their byzantine phone hell.

  13. pwillow1 says:

    Like others, I’ve had good success with saying “agent” repeatedly for any phonebot I encounter.

    Does anyone else have this problem with UPS? I have a UPS guy whonever rings my doorbell if he has a package that requires my signature. He assumes (incorrectly) that I’m gone during the day. But I’m not, I work at home. Sometimes I’ve heard him stick a slip on the door (the one saying “You weren’t home, call for redelivery”) but he doesn’t bother to knock or ring. I’ve yanked the door open just as he’s about to sprint to his truck.

    Other times I’ve been at home waiting for the delivery only to find a note pasted to the door, no doorbell having been rung.

    I’ve had to take to putting a note on the door saying (in HUGE letters) “UPS, I’M HERE! PLEASE RING THE BELL!” Incredibly, one time the UPS guy ignored this completely and left another slip.

    Complaining to UPS never gets me anywhere. The operators always tell me I just didn’t hear the bell. They’re useless.

  14. MyPetFly says:

    I wonder what would happen if you said “FedEx” or “DHL” into the phone?

  15. Joe Eversole says:

    I recall somewhere (damn me for not having sources) that some IVRs are set so that when they detect profanity, they transfer to a human. So, you might start reading Carlin’s 7 dirty words to the IVR and see what happens.

  16. Gamethyme says:

    The UPS voice response system isn’t very bright. After three attempts to understand you, it’ll give you a human being if it doesn’t get what you’re saying – it’s marginally faster than saying “representative” over and over and over.

    I use it as a test to see who’s listening to me at the office – random gibberish seems to get me hung up on, but clear sentences that don’t make any sense it all work. I usually start with “Feed me a gorilla,” and follow it up with “Half-trained phone monkey,” or “Underpaid disgruntled phone monkey.”

    Works like a charm.

  17. GirlCat says:

    Something about UPS, USPS, DHL and FedEx has been confusing me for a very long time. Why don’t they deliver packages? I mean, when they go back at the end of the shift with packages still on the truck, isn’t this a problem? I’m not being sarcastic! I have a doorman now, who is worth his weight in gold and Christmas tips, but when I didn’t, they were always leaving slips, even when I was home. No doorbell ring, just a We missed you note. I guess it was preferable to when they wouldn’t ring but would leave unattended packages on my stoop, which was next to a subway stop. But doesn’t it cost them money to *not* deliver packages? I guess not for USPS, because the majority of postal workers just seem to slog through every day as though they were slaves in some Orwellian dystopia, but aren’t the others working for actual businesses with production quotas and such?

    Can anyone illuminate this weird “business strategy” for me?

    • Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

      @GirlCat:
      It’s all of them!
      I once had this problem with the parcel post truck driver in Chicago.
      I was sure he was writing out the slip ahead of time & if you weren’t there with an open door for him, he just left the slip.
      Finally I caught him at it, he didn’t ring the bell, he just stuck the slip on the door & was leaving when I caught him. He gave me the package, but I had the slip & brought it into the PO the next morning with the complaint.
      The next time I saw him he was walking a route delivering letters!

    • amuro98 says:

      @GirlCat:
      All they have to do is say “Person wasn’t home. Oh, look, I finished my route in record time today! That’s a bonus for me!”

      Seriously, they are apparently under such ridiculous time restrictions that they no longer have the time to do their job properly. Package needs a signature? No time for that! Slap a sticker on the door and run to the next delivery!

      My local UPS guy won’t even come as far as my porch. If I’m lucky, he’ll fling the package from as far as he dares, then high tails it back to his truck. The only way I know we have a package is when you hear him peeling rubber down the street.

  18. sleze69 says:

    I guess “Deliver my damn package!” doesn’t work either…

  19. ogsoleysol says:
  20. winstonasmith says:

    from personal experience, i have found that words like ‘bomb’ and ‘explosive’ work swimmingly well. however, getting them to pick up a package that has been misdelivered is an ordeal. two weeks, and i’m still waiting.

  21. synergy says:

    That’s odd. I’ve only ever had to call UPS a couple of times, but I distinctly remember talking to a human being each time and it wasn’t a hassle to get one. Granted, it’s been about a year or two since I have called UPS, so unless it’s changed in that time…

  22. Canino says:

    I called UPS one time and was told that if you’re expecting a package that must be signed for and you won’t be there, you can leave a note saying “I give permission for UPS to leave package number 1Zxxxxxxx on the front porch.” and sign it. Make sure you write UPS on the note real big and leave it taped on the door so the driver won’t miss it.

    I’ve done it several times since then and I’ve never had a problem. With online tracking you know exactly what day you need to leave the note.

  23. Tremblor says:

    I have to call Fedex and UPS for work quite a bit. When it asks me to play with the robot I just speak nonsensically, after 3 tried it usually sends me to a human. I have fun with it and often go with “Klaatu Barada Nikto”.

  24. SamitaCachimba says:

    The customer service reps are no better. Your best bet is to get the number for your local UPS hub and call then directly. All the customer service reps do are send text messages to the hubs anyway and from experience the hubs ignore them.

  25. Robobagins says:

    Funny, I had a similar problem this weekend, with FedEx. They left a note saying they had delivered my package that required a signature(A day early) to my neighbor. And when I went next to ask next door to about it, they told me they didn’t know “F***ing S*** about no package.”

    Lovely, $1200 of equipment down the drain. So I called up the number on the slip after shouting “Complaint” 5 times with no help, I just started swearing about wanting to talk to a live person. Well the CSR told me my package was delivered to my neighbor, and then picked up again when the delivery person realized their mistake, and that it would be out for delivery the next morning. End of story, I got my package, but when I have the choice I’m going with anyone but FedEx.

  26. TMMadman says:

    Why didn’t the OP just use the UPS website? It is extremely quick and easy to get the delivery address changed. You wouldn’t be able to say leave it by the door, but I know for a fact you can use the website to change the delivery address or force them to leave it at the depot.

    FedEx on the other hand can go screw themselves because their website is completely useless.

  27. JonathanAmyntor says:

    I work at a UPS Store and I have people call & ask me all day long about their boxes. It’s really easy to get a hold of someone at UPS. You call the 1 800 number then press zero. Then the IVR will say “I’m sorry, I can get you to an agent but…” when this happens, press zero again. I have to call UPS multiple times every week and I promise you pressing zero twice works.

  28. Ummm…You just dial zero.

  29. RomeoEnyalius says:

    A couple of years ago I read an article about a list that paulenglish.com that provided the company’s name, phone number, and secret pass codes to get through to a human on the other end. For example MasterCard – Press 000 at each prompt, ignoring messages. – 800-622-7747. The info Paul had on his site has since move to gethuman.com. It is great, I use it all the time.

  30. Small Package companies use phone-bots because their (the small package company’s) employees are so important and you are not.

    Hack, hack. Cough, cough.

    Remember that phrase “so important” the next time you talk to the drones.

  31. nightswimmer says:

    I work at a financial services company and customers ask me constantly how to get past the IVR… the secret is not to say anything. It will prompt you twice and then assume it’s not understanding you and route you to customer service. Of course, then they get angry that they have to provide their social security number. When people complain about that I offer to put them back through the IVR; then they suddenly have no problem shouting their SSN into the phone.

  32. MartinLemming says:

    Interestingly, I once tried loudly saying an obscenity (I think it was f*ck) to a voice-response line – either for my bank or my credit card, I don’t remember which. I got a representative, but they were acting strange and saying strange things, like “I can see why that might be upsetting.” It made me wonder whether the voice-response system had flagged my call in some special way because of the cursing… and if the human phone rep who picked up was surprised to not be walking into a gale of angry shouting.

  33. LVP says:

    “Connect me to my package!”

  34. nemamook says:

    I had to talk to UPS the other day for a missed package, and because I was already peeved for whatever reason, when the robot lady came on the phone, I demanded “I just want to talk to a f#¢&^$@ agent!” It worked so well, and so fast, that I was still giggling by the time a human got on the phone! :-)

  35. VenitiaFucci says:

    zero worked for me.

    i had a ups guy stop by today after he had already attempted to deliver a package. it was the weirdest thing. now i have to figure out how to get my roommate who works from home to answer the door. she just ignores it. it’s really frustrating.