UPS Won’t Give Refunds During Holidays

UPS ground doesn’t give refunds during the holidays.

That’s what reader Brian found out after a UPS package didn’t arrive. He checked the tracking code to find “someone” requested it held for pickup.

Brian called UPS. They said that if a driver can’t find the apartment, he will put a hold on the package and a postcard gets sent out. Brian found this odd as UPS delivered a package to him the day before (perhaps by a different, less lazy driver?)

Brian asked for a refund. UPS said they don’t give refunds on packages delivered December 11-26 due to:

• weather
• “driver flex time”
• high volume

Ergo, because UPS is busy, it can’t be held accountable for flubs.

If you’ve still got some packages to ship out, you might want to consider something other than UPS ground. — BEN POPKEN

Brian’s letter, inside…

Brian writes:

    “I just had a weird conversation with UPS. They had a package scheduled to be delivered to me on the 14th. It hadn’t arrived so I checked the tracking online. It said that at after one delivery attempt, SOMEBODY called to ask that the package be held for pickup. That person wasn’t me… I hadn’t received any notice of an attempted delivery. I called them.

    The first woman I spoke to let me know that sometimes the delivery men can’t find the apartment, in which case they place a hold on the package and, I suppose, never tell you. She said something about sending out a postcard, but I haven’t gotten one yet. She didn’t know if one had been sent, just that sometimes it happens. The whole thing is weird because they had delivered a package to me the day before.

    When I asked for a refund she gave me a more interesting answer: We don’t give refunds during the Holiday season. When I asked why she said because of the weather (it’s been 45 and sunny in DC all week) and, due to the quantity of packages in transit, because of “driver flex time.” I couldn’t get an exact clarification of what that meant.

    I asked for a manager who confirmed that between December 11 and December 26 (he wasn’t sure about the ending date) packages shipped by UPS ground were not eligible for refunds due to the high traffic of the holiday season. I pointed out that it seems like the holiday season would be the most important time to offer refunds due to the personal importance of delivery. He agreed, but said that it was the policy of the company regardless.

    They were both, however, very friendly and got on the phone quickly. So +1 for phone staff, -1 one for strange policies. Oh, and -10 for never bothering to deliver my package or to tell me that they weren’t going to deliver it.

    I’ve got their names, but it hardly seems important. The no refund policy just seemed weird and crappy. They ultimately said that I’d have to get the shipper to ask for a refund anyway, as I hadn’t paid for the shipment (seems sort of reasonable), so Amazon will be my next phone call.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. It has always troubled me that during a time when the customer needs maximum accountability, shippers like UPS get by with just the opposite.

  2. Falconfire says:

    Its not just UPS. DHL and FedEx both have driver accountability clauses that basically tell you that they are not accountable for screwups if you use them. You have to REALLY fight to get things made right. I had a driver deliver a part I bought online to not just the wrong house, but to the wrong county and town a few years ago. Even said on the tracking data ON THEIR SITE where it was supposed to be delivered to, and where they actually delivered it to.

    Took over a month to get them to fix it, kept saying I requested it despite admitting having no records or evidence I did.

  3. mfergel says:

    Well, that isn’t much difference than the USPS. They don’t actually guarentee delivery times on priority mail either, regardless of the time of year.

    Personally, I don’t even bother with UPS and FedEx anymore. I almost exclusively use DHL and haven’t had a problem with them yet and I ship about 10 items or more a month.

  4. CamilleR says:

    Try writing to the UPS home office (the adress is on their web site.)
    A few months ago UPS supposedly left a package on my doorstep, but it wasn’t there when I got home. I contacted the shipper who contacted UPS. I then had several converstions with UPS consisting largely of me saying “I did not get the package”. They then told the shipper that I had ackowledged getting it. I pointed out their lie and they promised to reopen the trace. A week went by with no action and I decided to send a semi-nasty note to UPS pointing out their poor customer service and the fact I would try to avoid using UPS in the future. Two days later, I got an apology call from the local UPS office, they informed the shipper I had not gotten my package, and a replacement was shipped.

  5. Falconfire says:

    Well, that isn’t much difference than the USPS. They don’t actually guarentee delivery times on priority mail either, regardless of the time of year.

    not actually whats being said here. In this case the driver got lazy and just drove on and dropped the package off back at their station to have the customer pick it up. Its not a time issue, its a actually doing your job issue.

    When I worked at the post office, we actually sent out couriers who did just packages in situations where it was time sensitive as if it didnt arrive on time, we would have to give a full refund. Infact you had better pray you didnt come back with a package ment to be delivered on your route regardless of why simply because the managers would check out why and possibly write you up for it.

    Obviously small postoffices might not be as strict, but ours was.

  6. USPS does garruntee delivery with Express Mail. I just recieved a refund for a package I mailed express overnight to Maine. It’s supposed to arrive before noon. It arrived at 12:30. Full refund. ~$40.

    However you may feel about the USPS in my humble opinion, it’s the best package delivery service there is.

  7. FLConsumer says:

    Which UPS service was used for the package? If you were using their lowest service (UPS Ground), I would expect some, but not much, sympathy from UPS. If you used anything better, then ride their ass and get soem money.

  8. RumorsDaily says:

    FLConsumer, This is my story. The tricky part is that I requested (and paid for) two day service from Amazon, but it was shipped via UPS ground. My guess would be that Amazon knew that the location they shipped from was close enough that it would actually arrive in two days (which it did according to the tracking information). UPS won’t give me credit for it being a two day package delivery because, on their end, it wasn’t.

    When I get a few minutes today I’ll hash out a complaint letter to Amazon and ask for my shipping to be refunded.

  9. kerry says:

    Falconfire is right – I had a bad USPS carrier a couple years ago who repeatedly failed to deliver a package or leave a slip. After a couple calls to the post office his manager sent someone to drive the box over, without me even asking (her exact words were “are you at home right now? Good, stay there” and 10 minutes later there was a guy at my door with my package). A week later my mail delivery suddenly got a lot more consistent, I think my original carrier was fired.
    As for UPS, it’s the same with FedEx. One time I stayed home from work to wait for a package, and saw the FedEx truck drive by my building. I waited a few minutes and checked the tracking, only to see that he’d put in “attempted delivery, customer not available” which was total BS. I called FedEx and they made a big show of trying to make it right, insisting they would send the driver back, but after 4 phone calls they never did and I had to get on a bus to go to the FedEx station and pick it up myself. Jerks.

  10. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I’ve had a great number of problems with my regular USPS in the past few months. They used to deliever it to my door, now it is to one of those community mailbox structures that apartments often have.

    Long story short, a package was said to have arrived, and I confronted the postal worker who said I had a bunch of children’s toys in my lawn, and he left the package on a table by my door.

    I have no toys in my lawn, no children, no table…hell, no space for a table! Yet they wouldn’t admit any mistake.

    I also got a birthday card in the mail last week. It was postmarked the last week of October. O_o

    I cross my fingers now whenever something gets sent to me.

  11. rekoil says:

    I used to live in an apartment complex where the UPS driver had a routine of going to the management office with the day’s packages, telling the desk staff that these were the day’s failed deliveries. Then he’d go from building to building putting yellow stickers on the doors. Caught him red-handed one day that I stayed home to receive a package – the tracking site changed to “delivered” even though I hadn’t heard a knock on the door, so I opened to door to see the guy walking away into the elevator…with no packages in his hand.

  12. johnnydekalb says:

    Speaking as a UPS employee, just because a driver found you one day does not mean that a different driver delivering in your area the next day will. Residential deliveries may be shuffled between 2 or 3 drivers on a day to day basis.
    Remember, just because it’s sunny where you’re at doesn’t mean the weather is so peachy where your package is coming from. Bad weather in Louisville, where our main hub is, or Memphis for FedEx could mean late packages all around the country.
    Starting today, commit times for Next Day Air packages are bumped back to noon.

  13. junkmail says:

    kerry, that’s pretty funny since I had the EXACT thing happen not too long ago. I was actually standing on my balcony watching when the driver “attempted delivery”. I, however, jumped on the phone and had a driver back at my door within 30 minutes. It pays to bitch, FYI.

  14. acambras says:

    Yeah, I haven’t had great luck with UPS, USPS, or FedEx while living in apartments. I too have had the “we attempted delivery” line handed to me, even when I was at home all day. Even when the delivery person is good and really does make an attempt, it’s hard to be home (or count on neighbors) to receive the delivery.

    I have packages delivered to my office. I know not everyone is able to do this, but if you’re able to have something delivered to your workplace, it makes things easier. The UPS and USPS people that come to our office are great.

  15. delfuego says:

    FedEx suspends its guarantees around the holidays, too; I posted about this a while back. Frustrating.

    I, too, had *horrid* problems with UPS drivers when I lived in Brookline, MA — about a dozen times, I’d catch them putting a “missed delivery” tag on my door WHILE I WAS HOME. The first few times, bitching and moaning to the UPS substation actually did nothing, but eventually it yielded me a phone number to someone high enough up in the UPS chain that calls to him got things resolved. So totally painful, though.

  16. scoobydoo says:

    UPS is simply terrible. I’m pretty much the last house on the route of my driver, so this time of year if he gets here and is tired he’ll simply drive back to the depot and hope he feels better the nest day. The ONLY way I can get my packages on time is to send MYSELF an overnight package with delivery before 10:30 next day, that way he HAS to stop at my place. And while he’s here I’ll ask for the rest of my stuff. I currently have 21 packages “out for delivery” that have been stuck like that for the past week.

  17. Sudonum says:

    I have had nightmare experiences with DHL since they took over Airborne. I sent payroll checks to a job site in FL and they would up in TN. When the checks failed to arrive on time my employees called me and I called DHL after checking their web site. Long story short, it took DHL a week to deliver an “overnight” package during which I had to wire cash to a couple of very unhappy construction workers.
    I was staying at a hotel and had sent the package through their Business Service. I went to them to complain and get a refund and the first “manager” I spoke to said they had nothing to do with DHL and refused to refund my money, even though DHL had said they would give me a complete refund. I finally went to the Front Desk Manager and he gave me a complete refund AND promised to deal with the other manager. In most hotels the Business Office reports to the Front Desk

    As to USPS their Priority Mail is tops in my book. Had a package sent to one address, it was delayed, then I rerouted it in transit and they sent a courier to my house when it arrived, one day late than originally promised to the original address!

  18. misskaz says:

    I prefer receiving USPS packages (unless sent to my office, as acambras suggested) for one simple reason. If I miss a USPS package, I merely have to travel 5 blocks to my local post office to pick it up. The post office has Saturday hours. Whereas if I miss a UPS package and don’t manage to re-route it to work, I have to go waaaay out of my way to pick it up. Oh, and the pickup center is open the oh-so-convenient hours of 9-5 M-F or something like that.

  19. RokMartian says:

    Why is he even dealing with UPS? If I have a problem with a package that I didn’t sign for, I deal with the company that is shipping to me, not UPS. They would be the ones I would be seeking a refund from anyway. If no signature was obtained, then whatever company you purchased from to ship it to you is the first place I would call – if they did not specify to obtain a signature, then I would expect them to ship it out again to me and let them deal with UPS.

  20. alicetheowl says:

    I don’t use UPS, and I ask people shipping things to me to use ANYTHING else. Two years ago, my roommates had all of their Christmas presents shipped to them. Christmas came and went, with no sign of the presents. Then they checked the creek behind the apartment; there were bits and pieces of the presents, mostly smashed or unusable. UPS had dropped the box on the doorstep, hadn’t even bothered to knock, and walked away. Some neighborhood kids strolled up, grabbed the box, stole what they wanted, and dumped the rest in the creek.

    When my roommates asked UPS why they hadn’t even knocked, they got the reply that that wasn’t standard practice anymore; they’d changed it that month to “save time”.

    So because a driver couldn’t be bothered to spend three seconds raising his hand and rapping it against our door, ALL of their Christmas presents were lost? That reeks of a bad business decision to me, busy season or no.

  21. juri squared says:

    I agree that the USPS is the way to go, even though I don’t particularly like my carrier.

    I once had a package delivered via Airborne when I lived in a crappy student apartment building. I was waiting around for it to show up so I could go home for the weekend. Eventually I checked their tracking info and lo and behold, it was listed as “delivered.”

    I called them up, waited while they called the driver, and they somewhat snottily informed me that they HAD delivered the package and rung the doorbell, but nobody answered.

    I responded that that’s wonderful, seeing as how there were no doorbells in the entire building. (This was the sort of place where you just walk up to the apartment you want and knock on the door.)

    Eventually the driver figured out that she’d left it at the ENTIRELY wrong address. Lucky for me (and Airborne), they managed to retrieve it and deliver it an hour later.

  22. rlee says:

    USPS pulled a similar stunt on me just this past Saturday. Delivery — through my mail slot — came while I was sitting on my sofa 10 feet away. When I wander over later to look through the mail I see a cheery “sorry we missed you” card for a certified letter! Uh, right. No doorbell, no knock; just onto the porch, shove the letters, gone again. I’m pretty sure the carrier wasn’t even there long enough to fill out the card on the spot…

  23. formergr says:

    After once redirecting a missed package from hom addressto my work address, for the next two years UPS in Chicago would occasionally decide of their own initiative to randomly redirect other missed packages to my work. This once resulted in the oh-so-humorous situation of walking to my office cube one morning to find a 90-lb convection oven/microwave sitting there. That was a tough one to get home.

    It took a number of calls during the two years to convince them that it is inappropriate for them to redirect packages on their own, that some people’s bosses aren’t as cool as mine and would get really steamed about large packages showing up at work, and that I may eventually leave the frickin’ company and would prefer not to have packages delivered there once I’m gone. Duh.

    Not to mention that some people (not me!) might have “discreet brown packages” that they prefer not to have show up at their place of employ :)

  24. flyover says:

    Consensus seems to be that USPS is best? I need to ship a fragile package tomorrow & want to get the best & not waste time at a crap place.

    Shipping wine from CA to MI…

  25. acambras says:

    Formergr, a co-worker of mine once had four new tires delivered to the office. That one kinda tried the boss’ patience. :-)

  26. kerry says:

    flyover – USPS is great for ease-of-pickup and general holiday consistency, but I don’t know how much I would trust them with fragile items, I get a lot of seriously beat-up packages through USPS. If you want to do USPS and don’t want it to break go with a solid package and Express Mail, they seem to treat the express mail packages with a great deal of respect. Otherwise go with DHL, they seem to be the least abusive of the major carriers.

  27. FLConsumer says:

    I don’t trust USPS at all… they don’t support tracking. You’re lucky if they’ll even admit that the package is in their system… getting a “delivered’ status out of them is hit-or-miss, even if the package was delivered.

  28. edfitzfish says:

    I shipped a pkg on 12/27 UPS next day air saver from SC to SoCal thru a UPS Store in Bluffton, SC. It was supposed to be delivered on 12/28 before close of business to my home. Ups Tracking shows the pkg was delivered at 1:37 pm, but when I arrived home at 2pm, no sign of the pkg. All of my Christmas gifts from my ailing mother were in that box. The UPS store tells me I’m S.O.L, and so does UPS. I spent close to $100 to ship this thing. UPS has ruined my holiday!