UPS Supervisor "Exceedingly Helpful, Concerned, And Very Proactive." Really? UPS?

Andro ordered several props on Wednesday that he needed for a seminar this weekend. He paid extra for 2nd day air, but on Thursday, he noticed an odd error on his package’s tracking information: “LATE TRAILER. GROUND MOVEMENT CAUSED THIS DELIVERY DELAY”

Along with that, new delivery date on tracking page was listed as July 23rd, the Monday -after- my seminar. Alarmed, I dialed the 800 UPS line in hopes of expediting the shipping, or even upgrading it to overnight if possible. The first representative I reached was very unhelpful – I was told that ‘UPS commits to deliver packages within set timeframe, but takes no responsibility for delays.’ – I was told there’s nothing he could do for me; an inquiry about his name or service number went ignored, and upon asking for call to be escalated, he hung up on me.

Not ready to give up yet, I called again, and my call was answered by “Steven”. Steven seemed more than happy to help me – he said he’d upgrade the package to overnight shipping, quoted me the upgrade price, and took my payment information (since original shipping was paid by vendor, I didn’t want to tack it onto their account). By this time it was quite late, so I went to bed, quite relieved.

The next morning, friday the 20th of june (today), I checked tracking again – to see apsolutely no updates on the tracking page. I promptly called UPS again and, after explaining to representative about delayed package, attempt to upgrade, giving someone my credit card info and receiving no confirmation e-mail or status change on tracking page, she immediately forwarded my call to the supervisor.

The supervisor, Ms. Melinda McGill, listened carefully to my sad tale without interrupting. She then proceeded to explain that CS reps have no ability to escalate or sell the upgrades to existing shipments in transit, expressed her worry that someone might’ve scammed me out of my credit card number*, and comitted to checking phone logs to see who I spoke to. Afterwards, she spend additional 15 min on the phone with me, establishing the whereabouts of the package and trying to figure out if she can get it into my hands before the seminar. At one point, she asked to call me back, as she must inquire with shipping manager at the location package was last seen. At this point, I expected she’d just use it as an excuse to get off the hook and I’d be back to square on.

However, I in fact received the follow-up call from miss McGill less than 30 min later, and she proceeded to ask some additional details about package, to help her locate it in the truck that was apparently sitting at the sorting facility in Kentucky. She also mentioned she noticed destination was a business address, and asked if I’d like to change the address in case they were to attempt saturday delivery – something I myself completely forgot about (office is closed on weekends). Again, she asked if she may call me back… I went back to waiting.

Eventually, I received one more call from her – roughly 30 minutes later. She informed me that she arranged for the package to be expedited and re-routed to my residential address, expressing at the same time her regrets over the messed up shipment and possible security threat to my credit card. Overall, she was exceedingly helpful, concerned, and very proactive about making a customer happy – something I really didn’t expect based on my previous UPS interactions.

*And, for those of you worrying I had my credit card stolen because I was so naive, worry not. Since I shop online exceedingly frequently, I have made it my habit to use secondary, temporary, easy-to-terminate credit cards for all non-in-store transactions; thanks to that, I was able to immediately block that card and requested that WellsFargo work with FBI & UPS on tracking down the potential thief…

Wow. Melinda could have easily fed Andro the company line, but instead, she got to work and fixed his problem. Andro also deserves credit for closely monitoring his package, and for using a disposable credit card number.

(Photo: jurvetson)


Edit Your Comment

  1. dbeahn says:

    UPS will no doubt fire that supv. for violating company policy and being helpful…

  2. @dbeahn: I’m not so sure… UPS has been promoting their package re-routing and expediting superpowers lately.

    I hope this supervisor gets one heck of a bonus along with a pat on the back. Not sure wether that will happen or not, but she deserves it.

  3. RumorsDaily says:

    Why are we focusing on the one good thing they did when the only reason they had the chance to do it was because of the three bad things they did first?

    This wasn’t an ordinary mistake. It was an ordinary mistake followed by a disrespectful call center employee and a potential thief. Way to go UPS!

    UPS deserves to be dragged over the coals for making this guy go through all this trouble to get the package when it was said it would be delivered by, not celebrated for fixing their own series of odd mistakes.

  4. MrFlashport says:

    I am amazed. My experience with UPS is they are the Wal-Mart of shipping companies. Every package that gets sent to me via UPS I add an extra 3-4 day delay to their “whenever we feel like it” delivery time. I urge vendors NOT to use these clowns in brown but some do. I am in metro Atlanta only 2 miles from one of their biggest sort centers, not to mention about 10 from their corporate HQ…yet packages sent GROUND from Canton, GA (about 30 miles away) and are supposed to be delivered 1-2 days take 3-4, usually the tracking shows them sitting in a terminal. Calls to their customer care after fighting your way through their IVR are answered by clueless drones.

    I use FedEX and unlike UPS who closed all their company owned service centers, FedEX has always gone out of their way to help me, even pushing a night drop-off past the 8:30PM cutoff and the girl personally took the package to the back of terminal to place it on the truck which was literally pulling out of the bay to go the airport. They always deliver to and from on time and the folks that work in their sorting centers have called several times to confirm addresses (my crappy writing on airbills) and follow-up the few times something was a miss with tracking information.

    Sounds like the person you got who finally took charge must have been a former FedEX employee. UPS needs to hire more of them and everyone should read the “Expedited Shipping for Dummies” book who works there.

  5. weez says:

    Ups is the worst. You should see how they treat your packages in the warehouses and they could careless about customer service. I used to work for them and it changed my whole vision of the company. I will use fedex or dhl for everything

  6. @MrFlashport: Umm… Wow. Not to belittle your comment, but my experience is just the opposite. FedEx never seems to get stuff right for me, and UPS does. Disclaimer: I don’t ship often (more than once or twice a month is an abnormality), and live about 1/2 mile away from a UPS center/7 miles away from a FedEx center.

  7. iotashan says:

    Just yesterday I was expecting a UPS ground shipment. I’d been watching the package since it shipped 4 days earlier, and it made standard progress across the country. Friday morning, I saw the “Out for delivery” status for the package, and put my mind at ease. Friday 4pm rolls around, and still no package. Now, this was to a residential address, so I was mildly concerned, but not too worried… They deliver till 7pm. At 6pm, and still no package, I call UPS, and the rep tells me that there are no problems, that the package will be delivered. I call back again at 7:15pm, and the rep tells me that the driver is running a little late, but the package will still be delivered that day. At 8:30pm, I call back, and the rep tells me it’s still out for delivery, and the driver will deliver as late as 11:59pm. I call back at 9:30pm, and the rep tells me that the local facility is now closed till Monday 8:30am. I ask her to get ahold of the driver, and she says that while he’s still out delivering packages, the only people the driver is in contact with is the (closed) facility. I asked what happens if he gets stranded or in an accident, if he has to sit and wait till 8:30 Monday morning, and she replies “Yes.” At that point, I ask to speak to a supervisor, and am placed on hold for 20 mins. I call customer service (while on hold) on my cell phone, and ask for a manager, who picks up instantly. I explain my ordeal to him, and he takes 30 seconds and tells me that the last scan of the package never shows it getting onto a delivery truck, and that the shipper has to open an investigation on Monday.

    On a hunch, I print out my tracking info and head over to the UPS facility (at 10:30pm). The package handlers are loading up the delivery trucks for Saturday deliveries. I ask one of them if there’s any way they can find my package, and he has me go to the office. The people in the office were a bit surprised, but VERY helpful. They see that my package is in the facility, and a few mins later they emerge with my package. Now, I live in a relatively small city, so I’m sure someone who tries this in, say, New York will probably get stopped by security in a nasty way, but you might also get lucky like I did.

  8. ihatemylife says:

    FedEx s*cks.. period.. I had a package sent ground delivery from NYC to Massachusetts (one day transit time UPS) yet it took 7 days to arrive since it was sent “ground”.

    UPS ground shipments from NYC to Massachusetts (one day transit time, no matter how it is sent).

    FudEx wants you to pay more for one day shipment whereas UPS it doesn’t matter… pay ground or overnight it will get from NYC to MAssachusetts in one day.

  9. Bourque77 says:

    In my experience with both fed-ex and ups (i despise ups btw) the tracking systems for both are usually dead on if they say it will be delivered on july 29th it is. Try working for ups they dont improve much in that area either.

  10. Major-General says:

    I am amazed. Customer service from UPS. I wonder if they decided to crush the box it was it, as our local delivery driver does, along with making threats against my family members. Corporate of course did nothing. DHL can’t deliver a cat out of a paper bag.

    FedEx or bust for my shipping. It’s cheaper and arrives on time.

  11. yg17 says:

    Customer service sucks with both Fedex and UPS. But what I like about UPS is how recently, they’ve began guaranteeing (maybe it’s not actually “guaranteed” as in money back if they screw it up) ground delivery times for a package from one place to another. You can go to their website, enter a zip code, and get a color coded map of the US showing how long a package will take to get to another point in the US from that zip, or how long it will take to get to that zip if shipped from another point.

    Typically, anything within 300 miles or so is overnight if shipped ground. A couple months ago, my cell phone broke and I needed a new one ASAP. I found a reputable company that sells unlocked GSM phones who ships out from the Chicago area. I’m in St. Louis. So rather than pay outrageous overnight shipping, I ordered from them, opted for cheap UPS ground and still got my phone the next day.

    And on that note, a coworker of mine used to work for UPS and says that on short routes (for example, Chicago to STL), packages shipped next day or 2nd day air still go by ground on a truck. So not only are you paying maybe 10 times as much, it’s still not technically “air.” I suppose it isn’t that big of a deal as long as you actually get the package the next day, but it’s still a ripoff.

  12. timmus says:

    “UPS commits to deliver packages within set timeframe, but takes no responsibility for delays.”

    Let’s look at that word “commit”. The dictionary says “to bind legally or morally”. Therefore UPS MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Commit does not mean “pussyfoot a deadline”.

  13. Terek Kincaid says:

    The only reason he got this support was because his card was stolen. This was a PR CYA on UPS’s part. One of their call center employees stole a card number on the job. That makes it UPS’s responsibilities, and they can get the bejezzus sued out of them. UPS is playing nicey-nice and praying this guy doesn’t get a lawyer to sue them for negligent hiring or whatever. If he leaves with a good taste in his mouth, they’re hoping he won’t think about it any more. If they had been rude to them, he’d be looking for a way to get back at them.

    In short, if you have a problem with UPS, pray your CSR is a thief.

  14. MadMolecule says:

    So how does one go about getting a “disposable credit card number”? I hate using my card online.

  15. ReverseCarpetbagging says:

    Man, I haven’t willingly used UPS since my freshman year of college (which was almost 10 years ago). It involved sending my friend a cd. He was in the same state (South Carolina) and had to have the CD in 3 days. I sent it and watched it go from Charleston, SC to Florida to North Carolina to South Carolina. Let’s just say, 10 days later, I decided to look into Priority Mail. IMHO, Priority is the best thing oing, whin it comes to sending packages these days.

  16. stevekal says:

    Some info shown in UPS tracking is real, other info is ‘assumed’, or ‘derived’.

    When your package is actually scanned, that’s a physical scan. At some point your package is ‘assumed’ to be on a particular truck, or at a particular location, so it gets a ‘logical’ scan. If that scan is mistaken (your package really isn’t on the proper truck), then your package will still be shown “out for delivery” all day, until after the driver is done for the day; then your package will get a delivery exception.

    I don’t think you can tell online which scans are physical, and which are logical. I think the phone agents can find out, if they really want to.

  17. stevekal says:

    virtual credit card numbers:

  18. ivieso says:

    why is people still using UPS. FedEx shipping is cheaper and they deliver ground packages in 4 days instead of 5 UPS days. FedEX has more carebear in them, UPS I just wanna kick them in the nuts sometimes.

  19. cozygal36 says:

    I avoid UPS if I can. I have found that USPS is the best and reliable service by far.

    There was one time when I was home all day waiting for a package and the driver didn’t even bother to come upstairs to my apartment, instead he had someone in the lobby sign for the package and of course neither UPS or the company that I bought it from would give me a refund since it was signed for and delivered.

  20. yg17 says:

    @ivieso: As I’ve said, I’ve had UPS deliver packages in 1 day, it all depends on where it’s shipped from. And I’ve seen FedEx hold packages at the local facility when it’s arrived a day or 2 before those 5 days for ground passed. Much like cell phone service, the quality of shipping company A over shipping company B depends on location. 5 years ago, I would’ve said FedEx was awesome and UPS sucked, but over those 5 years, here at least, it’s switched around. FedEx’s tracking blows. I’ve had tracking say a package was still in California when it was sitting on my floor at my house in Missouri, hours after being delivered.

    And, I avoid USPS for shipping whenever I can. FedEx (the few times they didn’t screw up a shipment) was able to get a package of mine from Hong Kong to Missouri quicker than it’s taken USPS to get Netflix DVDs to my house from the NF distribution center no more than 25 miles away. Something just seems wrong with that. There’s a reason USPS is so cheap (well, used to be anyways, rates have gone up quite a bit over the years). You get what you pay for. Not to mention USPS’s tracking is a joke, even worse than FedEx’s

  21. oneswellfoop says:

    This is the complete opposite of every experience I have ever had with UPS… I use them when shipping is free from online vendors via UPS and do so begrudgingly. Most of the delivery guys I have ever encountered have been friendly and helpful, but I have to reality check myself and remember that they are not the UPS reps that have not provided the negative experiences I’ve had in order to be polite to them(my hate for UPS runs deep). I don’t want to make someone who has no responsibility for my feelings have a worse day due to my biases….but UPS can go to hell.

  22. BenMitchell says:

    Shipping is a dubious business to begin with. You have to contend with so many unforeseeable factors that it is far to easy to miss that delivery date. But the fact is that these companies get more then 80% of their packages done just right and on time. The other 20% is understandable, when you have to consider all then have to do. I hate to say it guys – but if you can’t show a little understanding then you are no better then the businesses that you berate. Of course the exception is Wal-Mart – they should all be strung out over the coals – :)

  23. Melov says:

    If you really think the FBI & WellsFargo are honestly going to try and track down someone that may have stolen your information then you are retarded.

  24. Melov says:

    On the topic of UPS, I hate them. I live in an apartment so when I’m not home they drop my packages with the managers office, without my permission. They don’t even tell me they dropped it at the managers office. They leave a fake name on the card and I have to hunt it down everytime.

  25. Charles Duffy says:

    @Melov: If nobody actually tries to use the stolen number, that’s right — chances are nothing will happen. If there is an attempt to use it, having the appropriate parties already having some background significantly increases their chances of following up (in a timely manner) and prosecuting the case.

    Use of stolen credit cards costs Wells Fargo money; they have plenty of interest in prosecuting it effectively, both to stop the individual thief from acting again and to add to the general deterrent level associated with that crime. As for the FBI, there are circumstances under which they very much would be actively involved — if the CSR is selling numbers collected to an out-of-state criminal organization, for instance, or if the number shows up in the database of some group they’re investigating — and it doesn’t hurt to fill them in.

  26. ThyGuy says:

    There are way to many things that can go wrong to cause a package to become late. One day when I was sending items off at fed-ex; I saw this guy cussing and screaming at one of the service people. Why?

    Because the plane his package was in had to land because two of the engines caught fire in the air.

    So, to make sure his package arrives on time; he wanted a pilot and crew to risk their lives and continue to fly with two engines on fire? I wish the people that were on that plane were the ones he was yelling at. My response to how he was acting, “Fuck you, sir! We’re not going to send pilots on suicide missions on a faulty planes because you don’t want your package to be a day late. Please, take your refund, and a reality check and thank you for choosing fed-ex!”

    Disgruntled employee, employee negligence, employee shortage, weather conditions, government restrictions, car accidents, Traffic, flight delays, computer malfunctions. These can be unavoidable and you can’t blame the company if these do occur.

  27. Baz says:

    I produce marketing tours, and whenever I have sufficient lead time I always go UPS, because their account-based pricing is excellent. For overnight or second day packages, Fed-Ex is the way to go.

    Earlier this year, UPS lost a big package of mine. It was a 80lb hard case with equipment inside, valued at $800. I was shipping from NYC to Austin, TX and I dropped the package off at the big UPS sort facility in Queens to make sure that everything was kosher regarding packaging, labeling, etc.

    The package was blessed shippable, and off it went, with 2 weeks to make it to Texas. UPS lost the package somewhere in Houston – completely off the grid. This is a 5’10” hard plastic golfclub flight case – completely disappeared. We had to send a replacement package overnight to make our event deadline in Austin, that shipment cost around $300 alone. When I filed an insurance claim with UPS (always insure your package) I wrote a very courteous yet strong letter asking to be reimbursed for the lost package, as well as the replacement overnight shipping charges. Even thought they were not obligated to contractually, UPS DID refund my overnight charges, and I only paid for the original ground shipping. They also sent us a check for the lost package, and the whole process took less then one workweek. I was very impressed, and based on this experience I will continue to use UPS for heavy shipments. Additionally, UPS’s commercial online shipping is SWEET – specifically their VIP “Quantum View” interface. Very nice…especially for a small 2-person company like ours.

  28. RebekahSue says:

    I hope that Andro sent this letter to UPS Customer Service and/or Human Resources/Personnel, and didn’t ONLY send it to the Consumerist. (I have a feeling that they, as a company, don’t read this site.)

    Allen Hill
    Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Public Affairs
    55 Glenlake Pwky Northeast
    Atlanta, GA 30328

    Consumer Affairs
    55 Glenlake Parkway, NE
    Atlanta, GA 30328

  29. htrout13 says:

    UPS, FedEx, DHL… They’re all the same… And we lose every time.

    Most of the time packages get to the right place at the right time. It’s the rest of the time that drives us batty!

    I spend too much time tracking down packages that were delivered to the wrong place – both business and residential screw ups… I find it’s easier for me to start pounding the pavement then to wait for them to resolve the issue…

    My favorite response from customer service after a package was mis-delivered was that they couldn’t talk to the drivers until they got back – there was no way to reach them in the field. hmmmmmm

    Yesterday I was tracking my daughter’s Harry Potter book, UPS showed it as In Transit – it was 8:30am Eastern and the website showed it was in transit at 10:49am… not sure what time zone the package was in! So as we waited and no updates were showing up online we were wondering if our status would change to ‘Out for Delivery’ but it never did. Around 11:30 a knock at the door – it was a man from 3 blocks away – the package had been delivered to his house – left at the door. Different street, different house number and different TOWN!

    The real question now is – do I call to complain – as I did not have the package delivered to me by UPS… Thankfully it was just Harry Potter, and I could get another at a store – but what if it had been something important… You have to wonder!

  30. vladthepaler says:

    What is a disposable credit card number? Might be a good topic for a future Consumerist article.