Shipping Showdown: What’s The Best Way to Ship?

Good Morning America tested all the major shippers from the USPS to FedEx. What did they find? The USPS took the longest, wasn’t guaranteed, but was the cheapest. Stores offering shipping services, like Mail Boxes Etc., were a rip-off, they charged an extra $8 to $15, and tagged on “Saturday Delivery” charges and fuel costs. Best to go straight to the source. —MEGHANN MARCO

Shipping Showdown [ABC News]


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  1. 24fan24 says:

    I have found DHL to be cheaper than USPS in many cases. The disadvantages with DHL compared to USPS though are no free boxes and no free home pickup.

  2. dibbers75 says:

    I sell a lot on eBay and just use the USPS….supplies are free for Priority, although a large box can add an extra 8 ozs to the weight, therefore throwing you into another size/weight classification. If you’re not sure of the weight of an item, just mail USPS Flat rate Priority which is $8.10 regardless of weight and destination. I always get delivery confirmation for my peace of mind that it arrived, or you can pay for signature confirmation as well

    I’ve used UPS twice and on both occasions the items were severely damaged! WTF!!!???
    Even though one of my buyers purchased insurance…the UPS claimed it was “irregular and oversized” and would not reimburse him for the damage done to his item. He spent almost $200.00 to have this shipped to him, (it was a hood off of my old Miata), so I provided the local UPS branch with my before photos….blah, blah blah…turns out the item had been machined where on the box it was posted, “hand carry only”. Of course they apologized and refunded the money after much belligerance.

    So I only ship with the USPS, I may try FedEx when they figure out how to actually leave a package addressed to me at my door and not my neighbor’s.

    BTW….someone need to teach those UPS drivers how to drive a little safer, they’ll damn near run you off the road if you’re not defensive enough.

  3. 24fan24 says:

    I agree, UPS seems to be the worst (and slowest) shipper around.

  4. inzain says:

    Disclaimer: I own a Postal Annex store which is somewhat similar to Mail Boxes Etc. (the main difference being that we don’t get bribed by UPS/FedEx/USPS so we offer all three to customers).

    Stores offering shipping services, like Mail Boxes Etc., were a rip-off, they charged an extra $8 to $15, and tagged on “Saturday Delivery” charges and fuel costs.

    I beg to differ. For the vast majority of shipments, my prices are actually cheaper than that of going “straight to the source”. If you were to get a FedEx/UPS account to mail your Christmas gifts, you’d be paying anywhere from 5% to 15% more than what you would pay at my store. Going to a UPS store or FedEx/Kinko’s location is even more expensive than getting your own account.

    The reason is that my store sends about 200 packages a day. This causes FedEx and UPS to put my shipper account into tiers much higher than most mere mortals can attain. Even adding in my profit margins, you’re looking at less or about the same cost to ship your presents. The only time our prices aren’t comparable is when you’re shipping packages less than 1 pound via UPS or FedEx.

    As for Saturday Delivery: you get charged that anywhere. The truth is that UPS and FedEx air do not regularly deliver on Saturdays, so if you need your package to arrive on Saturday, you need to pay these extra costs no matter where you go. The alternative is to go with a faster service that’ll get there on Friday (whch is usually cheaper than Saturday delivery) or a slower one that will get there on Monday.

    Now, obviously, all shipping stores are a franchise, so this may differ from store to store (especially stores that aren’t as busy as mine). I would recommend you look up prices and different shipping methods before you go into a store to make sure that specific store isn’t trying to rip you off. But, for the most part, shipping stores aren’t bad. The reason I opened one was because I loved walking into a shipping store around Christmas, getting friendly and quick service, and paying the same as those saps in the giant lines at the post office.

  5. Fuzzy_duffel_bag says:

    I’ve had bad experiences with all of them.

    When I lived in Providence, RI, on more than one occasion I witnessed drug deals involving DHL drivers.

    UPS delivered an amp from Ebay that seemed to have been trampled by wildebeests. The amp was fine, but the box was completely destroyed.

    Fedex wouldn’t deliver to my house because the ship to address had the name of a business on it (I run a small record label, and the ship to also had my name in it, which was also posted on the house). I asked them if they had ever heard of a “home business,” but they still refused to deliver. They also lost a case of CDs coming from the pressing plant, and denied it was their fault, even though 4 of 5 boxes made it, and the missing box had been scanned it, but said “entry scan – box no longer in possession of FedEx.” Basically, we got it, but then we lost it, too bad.

  6. adamondi says:

    I used to really like FedEx, but they have had some really weird things going on lately. I got a package delivered just yesterday that their tracking system said was still 2000 miles away. Not until several hours after delivery did their system finally say that the package had in fact traveled to my state. They also used to be faster than they have been in the past year or so.

    I think just about everyone has had bad experiences with all of the major shipping companies. The real question is: what can be done about it? They seem to all suck equally, much like the major airlines. But there isn’t a whole lot of hope for true competition.

  7. ilyk2gruv says:

    You wouldn’t take your child to a cut-rate doctor that didn’t guarantee their health. You wouldn’t take your vehicle to a cut-rate mechanic that didn’t guarantee their repairs. Why would you take your packages to a cut-rate carrier that doesn’t guarantee delivery? Dollar for dollar, the private carriers – DHL, Fedex & UPS – provide a better service.

    RE: Shipping Showdown – The rates that were charged in NYC far exceed the national average. NYC is arguably one of the most expensive cities in the US. Plus, this story was far from comparing apples to apples. For a better comparison, these ‘news’ people should have sent all their packages using Ground Services, had the Post Office add $100 in insurance coverage and Delivery Confirmation. I’m sure the results would have been much different. They didn’t do their due diligence and should be fired.