There can be a lot of obstacles the United Parcel Service needs to overcome in its efforts to deliver packages — no one is home, the address is wrong — but one might think there’s some kind of policy regarding who can send a package back where it came from. One might think that only the intended recipient can return a package to sender, but as Consumerist reader Kathryn found it, that isn’t always the case.
Kathryn writes that she had been waiting for a package from a retailer when something interesting and confusing popped up on the tracking page for the item. It suddenly showed that the package had been refused when UPS tried to deliver it while she was at work one morning, and then again later in the evening.
After a chat representative assured her someone would call her by the end of day, and no one did, she called UPS up directly to get to the bottom of the situation.
“When I got through, I was basically told that someone must have refused the package. I informed the lady on the phone that I live alone, was at work at the time the package was ‘refused’ and so that wasn’t possible,” writes Kathryn.
The rep kept insisting that “We deliver to a location, not a person, so if we go to that location and someone refuses the package, the driver sends it back,” writes Kathryn.
When the rep suggested that perhaps a neighbor had gotten involved, an alarm bell sounded for Kathryn.Why would a neighbor, or anyone else for that matter, be able to refuse her package? That couldn’t be what UPS was saying. Or could it?
“So if you turn up at my house and there’s a random homeless person sitting on the doorstep who says ‘naaah, she doesn’t want that,’ the driver returns it to the sender?” Kathryn says she asked the rep, who replied, “Yes, ma’am.”
She adds that UPS didn’t apologize for what would appear to be its mistake, and as it goes with these situations, of course the package never made it back to the retailer.
“I would have been out $90 except the retailer refunded my money, with a profuse apology for something that was clearly not their fault. Apparently any old passer-by can dictate what UPS drivers do with your packages, if they happen to be near your house at the time.”