Would UPS Lie About Delivering Harry Potter To Stay In Amazon's Good Graces?

Jason Kottke was home Saturday at 3:36 pm when UPS claims they attempted to deliver his copy of Harry Potter. No notice was left on Kottke’s door; the neighboring doorman saw no UPS truck; UPS’ own website shows that the package never transitioned from the penultimate status of “In Transit To Final Destination” to “Out For Delivery.” Why would UPS lie about delivering a copy of Harry Potter?

Here’s what I think happened. I think UPS’s network was overwhelmed by Amazon’s Potter-volume in some parts of the country and they had no way to deliver all those packages. (The forums for the book at Amazon and Google Blog Search are full of similar complaints from others…warning, spoilers! UPS even offloaded some of the volume to the USPS for “last-mile” delivery.) So, UPS just marked all of those packages they had no intention of delivering as “oops, we missed you, you must have been out”.

Let’s go back to Amazon’s guarantee, which states that the refund “does not apply if delivery is attempted, but no one is available to accept the package”. Amazon would be pretty angry with UPS if they cost them a bunch of money due to refunds and, more importantly, the loss of a bunch of customer goodwill…maybe Amazon would switch a larger portion of their formidable package output to another carrier, for instance. So UPS intentionally misclassifying those deliveries covers their ass with Amazon and covers Amazon’s ass with regard to the refund.

Kottke bought the book from Barnes & Noble and is asking Amazon for a refund. If his theory is correct, UPS owes Amazon and their customers a huge apology. Of course, UPS drivers also have a tendency to say you weren’t home so they can finish their routes faster. Was your copy of Harry Potter delayed by fiendish ghouls? Tell us in the comments.

Harry Potter and the Phantom Delivery [Kottke.org]
(AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)


Edit Your Comment

  1. mopar_man says:

    Was your copy of Harry Potter delayed by fiendish ghouls?

    No. I have absolutely no interest in the HP fad so I haven’t even glanced a book, much less purchased one.

  2. swordfish2eva1 says:

    I ordered a copy off of amazon for a friend and she has yet to receive it, I did get the refund but its status still says in transit. WTF HELP!

  3. remthewanderer says:

    I notice that Jason is from Manhattan. My sister also lives in Manhattan and she did not received her copy from Barnes and Noble. She ordered the book online with shipping through UPS. Or so she thought. The book was being shipped by a company called laser ship.

    As of now she still does not have her copy. I know there was HUGE volume for this book but why wouldn’t companies be prepared like it is Christmas or something?

  4. judahb says:

    i pre-ordered the book to my house and it didnt come. So i called amazon and they are sending it out for free now. i dont know if it was UPS’s fault or amazon’s but amazon was great in dealing with me so no complaints.

  5. UPS even offloaded some of the volume to the USPS for “last-mile” delivery.

    I know that in places where UPS doesn’t deliver on Saturday they got the USPS to do it. It came up in the forum. I haven’t gotten the second copy I ordered but I’m not gonna panic yet.

  6. Framling says:

    My copy from bn.com arrived Saturday, but the UPS tracking page still says it’s “IN TRANSIT TO FINAL DESTINATION.” So… I don’t know.

  7. qwickone says:

    I ordered from Amazon and I knew that UPS was handing it over to USPS. I got my book on Sat afternoon but the packaging was DESTROYED. The box was open, the dust jacket was folded over and smushed, and the hardcover itself was damaged. Boo on Amazon for using this delivery method…

  8. Finine says:

    My Amazon purchase was actually delivered on Saturday by the post office. It was in the mailbox Saturday afternoon even though we were sitting in the house anxiously awaiting the brown truck. My tracking number also still shows IN TRANSIT TO FINAL DESTINATION.

  9. hollerhither says:

    UPS/Amazon listed my copy as “in transit,” not “out for delivery,” which made me anxious, but the USPS must have delivered my copy — I found it in my mailbox late Sat. afternoon.

    I’ve noticed that tracking doesn’t get updated sometimes when carriers are overwhelmed (holidays), and some carriers are better than others. That said, delivery services had MONTHS to prepare for this — preorders also gave Amazon and BN.com a good idea of what to expect well before Sat.

  10. yasth says:

    UPS delivered them to USPS for saturday delivery(as they don’t have that many saturday drivers), and can’t directly track them afterwards. But no super chicanery is involved.

    Mine didn’t come on the right day either, which is quite sad, perhaps it will have come today. I suspect the hand off was kind of glitchy.

  11. MikeB says:

    I got my copy via USPS, will have to check the box to see if it was from UPS originally. But I never received a tracking number.

    I am thinking that UPS is having some issues with updating the status online. I bought a LCD from Amazon and received the tracking number. Everything looked good for a delivery on the 19th of this month. The status was last updated on the 18th to show that it was in transit to Greensboro, normal shipping path I guess, with an expected delivery of the 19th. I kept checking the site all day on the 19th and the status did not change. It wasn’t until about 5pm (UPS delivers in my neighborhood between 5 and 7) that the status updated to show that it went out for delivery around 6 that morning.

  12. sncreducer says:

    @mopar_man: So why the hell are you even posting here?

    Oh, to show us all that you’re too cool to read Harry Potter. Color me impressed.

  13. B says:

    My copy was delivered by USPS at around 10 am, at least two hours before the mail arrived. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

  14. jtlight says:

    I had thought my 2 copies would be delivered by UPS. I had a tracking number and everything. I was unformed at 6:16am that my copies had been delivered (I live in a large building), and been signed for at the dock. So at around noon, I went downstairs, and my copies Harry Potter were being delivered by the United States Postal Service.

    I really don’t know how that works…

  15. txinfo says:

    I preordered my copy of HP7. I never received an email of anything to say that I would not be receiving my copy on Saturday as Amazon had guaranteed. I checked my email on Saturday and Amazon had emailed me at 1:00am. That’s right. One hour AFTER the book had been released and said that I would not be receiving it today. Thanks for the heads up. Then later on Saturday, around 4:30pm I get another email from Amazon saying my order had just shipped and the anticipated delivery date was July 27. That’s right. 6 DAYS LATER!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Amazon did refund the cost of the book as promised, but I would have much rather have actually gotten the book when they had guaranteed. I might be a little more sympathetic if they had maybe told me on Wednesday or Thursday, so I could make other arrangements, but to wait until 1:00am on Saturday is just UNACCEPTABLE!!!

  16. falonsade says:

    I live in the middle of nowhere, so I wasn’t expecting my copy from amazon.com to be in on time. I received mine via USPS’s ‘last mile delivery’ – but I wasn’t made aware this was how my package would be handled. When I phoned amazon Saturday after the ‘deadline’, the explained that while it might have been delivered through my regular post, because it wasn’t delivered to my doorstep by 7PM. I was awarded a full refund – thanks amazon! I don’t blame anyone – I literally live in the middle of nowhere.

  17. acambras says:

    Big picture-wise, it wouldn’t shock me if UPS said whatever they had to in order to keep Amazon’s business — that’s got to be a pretty huge account. They’ve certainly lied to me, even when there wasn’t a great deal of money at stake.

    My Harry Potter experience: I’m not into Harry Potter, but I had at least 2 opportunities to get the book very easily this weekend. I was in WalMart on Saturday, and there was a big display by the registers — not mobbed with people at all, and plenty of copies available. Then yesterday I was in the grocery store (Big Y – a New England chain). Every week they have some sort of special sale item that’s prominently displayed at registers (for impulse buyers), and often cashiers will ask you if you’re interested (“Would you like some Entenmann’s Donut Holes today?”) Apparently, this week’s special was the new Harry Potter book.

    So I’m bewildered by the idea of anyone having trouble getting their copy.

    FYI, I didn’t go anywhere near a bookstore late Friday night.

  18. Starfury says:

    I didn’t bother to pre-order the book. Sat AM I got up around 7am, got donuts, then went to Target and picked up a copy. Shelf full of books, no lines. Less than $20 and I’ve got my copy.

    If 7am sounds early to get up on a Saturday: I work 5am-2pm so 7am is sleeping in.

  19. wring says:

    UPS dropped the HP 7’s to the post office (USPS) as UPS does not deliver on saturdays. I was actually pissed that my book didn’t come in on july 20th when it was shipped on july 18th via 2 day delivery (amazon prime). I guess Amazon signed a deal w/ publishers that the book by all means should not be delivered earlier than the 21st. Oh wait it says that right on the box that I got :P

  20. @mopar_man: Well, that’s one way to contribute to the discussion: exempt yourself. Classy.

    Anyway, things of note:
    1. The poster went ahead and bought another copy of the book, which made me kind of wonder why they pre-ordered it in the first place.
    2. As far as I can tell, it’s not sold out anywhere, or at least if it is it probably isn’t across town. So while the demand wasn’t enough to sell out the books, it WAS enough to bring down UPS. Kind of funny, really.
    3. The poster got his book (for those too lazy to click through)
    No word from Amazon yet, but the USPS (not UPS) delivered my book Monday morning. It had a UPS sticker on it with instructions to the Post Office to deliver it to me. No update on the UPS tracking page that its been delivered.
    4. Manhattan? No wonder.

  21. castlecraver says:

    I received mine via USPS after “In transit to final destination” appeared on the UPS tracking page. No problems with my book, however..

    This has happened more than once with UPS. They say delivery was attempted, and I was home, so I know it wasn’t. About 50% of the time, a slip was left, but the rest of the time there was no evidence of anyone ever even trying. No knock on my door, no message, no nothing. Just the usual “delivery attempted, rescheduled..” on the tracking page. It got to the point where I had to actually leave a note by my mailbox indicating to the UPS driver that I was expecting a shipment and I was there to receive it to have any sort of an assurance that he’d actually make the extreme effort to get out of his truck and press the buzzer.

  22. Gopher bond says:

    Those UPS SOB’s lie all the time. If it’s getting late and their last deliveries are out of the way or they forget to deliver your package while they were in your area, they just mark them down that the customer was not home and then head back. When the only incriminating evidence is a loose post it note attached to your door, you really have no recourse.

    A few times I’ve schedule delivery to occur on days when I’ve been home. I’ll check the UPS website and the status will be “On Truck for Delivery” or whatever and no UPS truck shows up. This has occurred multiple times. The one time I spent the entire day at home, in front, landscaping my yard and not one UPS truck came by. I’m on a cul-de-sac, I’d have seen it. Then I check on the UPS site the next day and it says “First Delivery Failed”.

    Bunch of lying bastards if you ask me.

  23. Greeper says:

    First Hermione and Ron die, and now this!!

    Note: just kidding. I didnt read it, so chill out. It’s a joke. Dont hurt me!

  24. DeeJayQueue says:

    Holy crap, Wegmans had like a ton of these on a table by the door. It seems to me like for once supply has met and exceeded demand. I bet the people who camped out feel silly.

  25. fallenlord says:

    Well, I do happen to work for UPS. And that is weird, as down here in Texas, they had drivers come in on Saturday to deliver all the copies (there were somewhere around 1200) or so. So while I don’t know the problem with that general area, it does seem a bit off, as they had it all organized under the header “Harry Potter Day” (and no, I’m not kidding, that’s the actual header on the list of drivers/loaders they had come in).

  26. alteredcarbon says:

    I’m not sure about the delivery of the HP books, but my experiences with UPS in most everything else is that they most assuredly *DO* lie to cover their asses. They have on more than one occasion told the shipper they attempted delivery when I know for a fact they did not (1) because I was home during the delivery timefrane, and (2) because there wasn’t a post it note informing me of attempted delivery. UPS is just like any other corporation…they lie, cheat, steal and obscure the facts to protect their bottom line. That’s SOP for *any* business.

  27. aluminumtulips says:

    I have never read the Harry Potter series and have no interest in doing so, other than reading them to my son (but he’s only 2 right now). I would reccomend works by Howard Phillip Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, or Jack Vance for tales of the fantastic and strange. These writings are timeless.

  28. chrisgoh says:

    When my copy had not arrived with my regular mail and it was mid afternoon, I checked the UPS tracking info and found this message – “THE RECEIVER REQUESTED A HOLD FOR A FUTURE DELIVERY DATE. UPS WILL ATTEMPT DELIVERY ON DATE REQUESTED / DELIVERY RESCHEDULED” I called pretty peeved because as the receiver, I certainly did not request a hold. I called UPS and was told that it would be delivered by USPS with my regular mail. I said I got my regular mail hours before and no book. They put me to a manager. Manager says the message is certainly misleading, but the hold was due to the publisher not the receiver and the book should still arrive. Happily, UPS delivered a few hours later. Interestingly, while running errands on Saturday, I must have passed 5 different UPS trucks out making deliveries.

  29. mhutt says:

    The last three HPs I just bought at target or wherever I happened to be the day of release. I agree that they understand the demand of the new book and make sure they have enough on hand. No need to pre-order and wait for someone to screw up your delivery.

  30. Thorimm says:

    Lasership is the same-day/next-day provider for B&N in NYC.

  31. Jasmo says:

    I bought my copy in person, with cash. It took 5 minutes.

  32. chrisgoh says:

    Two points

    First, for those wondering about the need to preorder – I did it purely for convenience and price. Took me 30 seconds to order from Amazon and no trip to the store.

    Second, it is always a good idea to get in the good graces of your UPS delivery person. They don’t usually deliver until after I get home in the evening. If I’m expecting something, I usually listen for the truck and walk out to the truck usually getting to it just as they fish the box out of the back. Saving them 30 seconds walking to the door at the end of the day always seems like a little thing that helps them out.

  33. Youthier says:

    @Starfury: Ditto. I got up at 8am, bought it at Target, bought a delicious Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit from McDonalds, and read with some interruptions until 6:30pm.

    I absolutely did not trust Amazon, UPS, USPS, Fed-Ex, or DHL to deliver on the release date and I had no problem obtaining two books. I knew there was no way I could sit around until 7:00pm waiting for my book to come.

  34. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    Yeah everywhere I was this weekend had a huge pile of them. But UPS does lie a lot, and the bastards cant even knock when they do leave a package. I ordered over 1k of computer parts and I was home the whole day no kock nothing. I asked for signiture conf. I think they just scribbled on the pad and said it was me….sumbitches..

  35. remthewanderer says:

    lasership screwed up my sister’s order but I think they get bonus points. I just talked to her and she got the book Sunday morning.

  36. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: oops Knock not kock..I really don’t want them to do that.

  37. kimdog says:

    I’ve gotten burned in past year with delivery, so this year I just bought mine on Saturday morning. Much less anxiety! And I only paid about $3 more than the Amazon super discount.

  38. BStu says:

    My girlfriend had her copy shipped to me and being paranoid, I wrote a note for the UPS guy insisting that I was home and to leave the book if there was no answer at the door. Then a USPS guy comes around 10:30am to drop it off. I actually know for a fact that UPS is delivering in my area (a friend was getting tons of overtime working for UPS that day) but I guess they still couldn’t handle the volume here.

  39. LowerHouseMember says:

    Picked up my copy on Sunday at Borders. Then again I wasn’t in any hurry; I read the leak last Monday to avoid being spoiled by the internet like I was with the last book.

  40. North of 49 says:

    Was your copy of Harry Potter delayed by fiendish ghouls?

    Amazon.ca didn’t even say that it was ready to be picked up by Canada Post until July 21st. They had a notice on their website saying that Canada Post was going to deliver on Saturday and to be patient because it could be as last as 6pm.

    At 6:55pm pst, I got Amazon.ca on the horn. I had confirmation from the person who bought the book for me that yes, it had not been shipped yet. The CSR on the phone confirmed that it was a gift, that it had indeed not been shipped and then double checked my post code.

    I won’t even go into the kids begging us for a copy at every single display on Saturday…

    Anyway, guess what? I was one digit off the area that they were guaranteeing delivery, but because the book was bought back in March before they had finalized the delivery areas, they had screwed up. Basically, we live in a suburb of a major centre in Canada, but the post code changes from V3 to V2 where we live. V3 were being delivered, but V2 weren’t.

    So, Amazon.ca CSR did the only thing possible: Refund the money on the purchase. The giver has confirmed that the refund was given.

    It still hadn’t showed today. The tracking number shows that its in the big depot a hundred klicks from here. It says it will be delivered between the 25th and the 27th. If it doesn’t show by then, I plan on having words with them again.

    If I had known that they weren’t going to deliver, I would have used Indigo.ca or even prepaid for it at my local bookstore.

  41. dwarf74 says:

    Wow, I can’t believe I never made the connection before! Harry Potter fans don’t deserve adequate customer service from UPS! Thanks, mopar_man!

  42. 3drage says:

    UPS actually sent the packages to USPS for delivery. Probably due to the time sensitive date. So UPS’s site would show delivery to the area (meaning your local PO) but it would be the mail carrier that would put it in your mailbox.

    In other words, this article is uninformed and pretty sensationalist. BTW you could have picked it up at Walmart for about the same price and not had to pay shipping. There were pallets of them.

  43. @DeeJayQueue: I bet they don’t since most people who get their books at midnight aren’t doing it because they expect them to run out.

  44. DJShay says:

    I bought a copy for a friend from Amazon because I’m a prime member. She got it with her regular mail delivery Saturday morning at around 10:45 est. No worries here. I’ve never had a problem with Amamzon.

  45. modeps says:

    My wife got her copy on Saturday morning at 10:30am. Delivered by USPS. She has finished it already.

  46. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @mopar_man: Awww, look who’s the coolest commenter on Consumerist!

  47. esqdork says:

    It’s not a secret, UPS and FedEx both lie about attempted deliveries all the time.

  48. alerievay says:

    For Book 6, I preordered from Amazon, since I’d never had problems in the past. I hadn’t lived in Brooklyn before, though, and didn’t realize that USPS wouldn’t even attempt to delivery any Amazon packages on the Harry Potter release day. We watched the package delivery guy walk up and down the block, putting package notices in several mail slots and decided we’d never preorder again.

  49. hollerhither says:

    There are those of us out there who don’t like doing business with Walmart. Applying an overused conceit:
    Book: $17.99.
    Shipping: Free.
    Avoiding the mall and a 40-minute drive: Priceless.

  50. leejames says:

    Why would UPS lie about delivering a copy of Harry Potter?

    Perhaps they were under the effects of a Confundus Charm?

    … I’ll show myself out.

  51. burgundyyears says:

    Not an HP fan, but went with friend to get it at Meijer at midnight. Got there perhaps half an hour early, he waited in line, I did some grocery shopping, and with the deal they had going on that night only he got it for $13 with $30 additional purchase. We were out by 12:15AM. Natch.

  52. SadSam says:

    I ordered the Half Blood Prince thru Amazon and paid the extra for the special delivery. Prince arrived about a week late and I had to go out and buy another copy as I couldn’t wait. This time around I just bought it at B&N. I wonder what the % is for Amazon’s on time promise for Harry Potter, I also wonder whether UPS does any Christmas time type of staffing for HP.

  53. MissPinkKate says:

    Why anyone in NYC would trust their mailman/UPS guy/Fedex guy to make an important, time sensitive delivery to their residential address is beyond me. It’s been made clear to me time and time again that they could really give a shit.

  54. Barkin says:

    Here is how that works with UPS/USPS. UPS has contracted with the Postal service to deliver parcels to areas that are too far out, or Saturday delivery or places they don’t feel like going because it may cost too much. These “drop shipments” are made to the back dock of your local post office and in UPS’s eyes they are DELIVERED. The USPS then has to take the parcels and sort them to carriers where they are delivered in the course of their rounds. Usually this does not occur until the next delivery day. Harry Potter books this time did not come to the local Post Offices here in north Texas on the expected dates of Thursday, a few came in on Friday and a few others on Saturday. But for sure not as many as we were led to believe would be arriving. These were the ones that came thru the normal USPS channels and not as a drop shipment. How do I know this? I and spouse both work for Post Office and have first hand knowledge. UPS does NOT deliver on Saturday unless you pay a HUGE surcharge. so if you want Saturday delivery, at a reasonable cost, the Amazon Priority Mail would have been what you should have selected. 2-3 day with no extra cost to deliver on Saturday. You get what you pay for.

  55. dibster says:

    My mailman gave me a call Saturday morning. He came up to the door of my apartment and we proceeded to have an awesome chat about the box packaging, the definition of the term ‘Muggle’ and the fact that UPS in Studio City had dumped all 800 copies of the off at the post office for them to deliver.

    I had it by 11:30 by the United States Postal Service. Might actually tip the mailman this year!

  56. visualbowler says:

    mine showed up at 10:10am on Saturday

  57. MameDennis says:

    The UPS guy dropped ours on the porch a little before 9AM on Saturday. Couldn’t have been happier.

  58. maximeyocks says:

    Actually, this happened with a package unrelated to the book thing. I checked online and it said delivered and the UPS driver, upon return to his facility, said and I quote “It didn’t look like anyone was living there.” Yeah. Are you f*cking serious?!! UPS lies. I used to get my packages about 9-10p. I would wait up for them if I knew I was getting a package. Whatever. UPS sucks.

  59. axiomatic says:

    Mine was in my mailbox on Sat the 21st. UPS has never put things in the mailbox before, but this time it was. No biggy, as long as it got to me on time.

    Great Book BTW. Great ending, although the epilogue was just fan service.

  60. 3drage says:

    @hollerhither: I was merely stating that if people are impatient enough for the book there are other options available to them. Whatever your prejudice against Walmart might be, they, as well as other retail stores had plenty in stock with no missed delivery times or shipping fees.

  61. Mine was another never transitioned to “out for delivery” but was delivered by my mailperson (on the right day at my regular mail delivery time).

    @qwickone: “the dust jacket was folded over and smushed, and the hardcover itself was damaged.”

    I can’t remember the last book I got from amazon that wasn’t dinged or damaged. And yet I keep ordering ….

  62. Chicago7 says:

    Hey, it could be worse. The USPS used to throw our whole apartment building’s mail through the metal gate, regardless of whether there was a puddle of water there or a snow pile. They didn’t even try to get it in the building.

    I ordered the Harry Potter CD version Sunday and it says on Amazon that it will be delivered between August 3 and August 8. Wow. I usually get stuff delivered next day or in 2 days from Amazon.

  63. rouftop says:

    Early on the release date, I passed a couple of delivery guys carrying piles of HP books in Seattle. They didn’t look like they belonged to any major company, wore no uniforms and were probably just hired for the day.
    Later that afternoon I freaked out when I arrived at my apartment and saw no books at the usual delivery spot. It turned out they had entered the building and left the books on each apartment’s doorstep.
    Kudos to whoever managed delivery in Seattle! I’m glad I didn’t have to suffer without the book.
    Now, back to my post-Potter depression.

  64. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    My fiance and her sister, who are nuts about Harry Potter (their mom was a public librarian), were literally taking turns guarding the door all day Saturday to receive the book I pre-ordered from Amazon (I was out of town). They called me Sunday morning to tell me it hadn’t arrived. I called Amazon and they said they showed that delivery had been “attempted.” It most certainly had not been. This afternoon I checked my mail and there was a note from USPS in the box that had not been there Saturday afternoon, saying I could pick the book up at the post office (it literally had “Harry Potter book” handwritten on the slip).

    Well, I do happen to work for UPS. And that is weird, as down here in Texas, they had drivers come in on Saturday to deliver all the copies (there were somewhere around 1200) or so.

    I live in Texas and this is the second time in a row this has happened with a HP release-date delivery. Yes, I went to the store and bought the damn thing, and told Amazon where they could shove it.

  65. myls says:

    @alerievay: Something similar happened to me with book 6. My boyfriend and I were staying at his mother’s at the time, and his book was delivered just fine. Unfortunately, I forgot to specify “c/o: [boyfriend’s mother]” and the post office wouldn’t deliver. I ended up just having her pay me for the copy and going to B+N on my own…I guess that’s a testament to my own stupidity, rather than a consumer complaint.

  66. jrsey says:

    I used to work for a large car aftermarket parts shop in the midwest. Every day I would see some stupid shit pulled by UPS.

    The best was when they left several packages on the steps of a home that had burned down.


  67. racermd says:

    Another comment about how UPS lies to cover its own &@^@#.

    Where I live (a fairly quiet suburban street), UPS typically drops packages off at the door regardless of any signature requirements or much less having someone answer the door. Also, the delivered packages tend to be heavily damaged.

    The FedEx staff in our area are *far* better about such things. Packages arrive in better shape, the drivers actually get signatures, etc.

    What’s funny is that *all* the companies in our area seem to wait until just after we leave (i.e. for lunch, run a 10-minute errand, etc) before attempting delivery. It’s like they have spies in the neighborhood just waiting to report that someone has left our home.

    But I’m not paranoid or anything…

  68. homerjay says:

    I don’t care about Harry Potter, but they’d better not pull this shit when my Flash Gordon DVD preorder gets filled next month!!

    FLASH! Ah-AHHHH!!!

  69. toddkravos says:

    I’ve nothing of real value to add other than:

    – The book is selling for 8.00 at my Costco (as of Sunday morning)

    – UPS stinks. I’d rather use the USPS. I have mail order meds and for the first 3 months at my new residence the meds never showed up until the “third attempt”. I’ve changed the delivery location to my mom’s house 30 miles east of me. Since then, no problems.

    – Drivers are randomly audited on their routes, you can safely bet that this will cause a lot more
    random (and silent) audits to occur. Likely at the request of Amazon / B&N

  70. Echodork says:

    Received mine at 3:30pm on Saturday, as promised.

  71. Tallanvor says:

    I got up around 11:30 on Saturday (late night eating good Greek food the night before) and walked over to Tesco’s and paid £10 for mine. -It wasn’t worth it to me to spend an additional £50 at Tesco’s to get it half off, or to spend 20 minutes each way on the tube (and spend a couple of pounds) to get it for £5 at Asda – although Walmart would have been losing money on the deal, which would have brought me some joy.

    There definitely wasn’t any need to order this one ahead of time, even though it has been the fastest selling.

  72. MommaJ says:

    UPS delivered a pile of HP books to my daughter’s camp, out in the boonies, right on time, so no complaints here. Pre-ordering from Amazon was tons better than driving to the next town to Walmart and dealing with their hellish parking lot, long checkout lines and rude, stupid cashiers (yeah, it’s hard to find good help in the Northeast, but they truly hire the bottom of the barrel).

  73. Major-General says:

    Simple answer: yes.

  74. catastic says:

    Was your copy of Harry Potter delayed by fiendish ghouls?

    Nope, I found it in front of my door Sat. afternoon. I ordered from Amazon.com and everything was perfect. I wasn’t even expecting it Sat. since I had got free “super savings shipping” from Amazon and their deal said only standard or higher shippings was guaranteed for release date dilivery. Hooray for Amazon.com

    BTW: I live in Northern NJ about 10 min from NYC.

  75. FijianTribe says:

    I’ve had problems with both FedEx and UPS delivering to my home (regular house not apartment or anything) and they will sometimes just drop off the package without a door bell ring even though people are home. Usually we hear them running off, because if we have something delivered its pretty important.

  76. valthun says:

    Mine copy as well as my roommates copies were sitting on our landlords doorstep, one floor below. Lazy delivery men. But I still had it, and it was delivered within the time I went to the liquor store on the corner and back.

  77. RebekahSue says:

    we preordered from costco. Final price was around $14 – the price was low, and then they emailed that they were taking more money off.
    then costco said that they were having the post office deliver it. we had it by 2 on saturday.
    i’ve slept out for ozzy and alice cooper, to get better seats; i’m not sleeping out for an identical book for the sake of having it fourteen hours earlier. i will, however, preorder if the difference in price is a gallon of gas or a dozen used books.
    right now, my 67 year old mom has it. she retired, in part, to have more time to read, so i hope she enjoys it.

  78. picantel says:

    I was waiting the entire afternoon for the ups truck that never came. Went to go get the mail and voila, it was in the mailbox. USPS delivered it.

  79. chalicechick says:

    I got it at Borders, no worries.

    UPS has always been good to me, FedEx has been better and DHL left my wedding photos in a puddle. (They were wrapped in plastic inside the box, but still…)

  80. eli_b says:

    In other news, millions of other books arrived safely at their destination. Because there are other books you know. Even grownup ones.

  81. Bryan Price says:

    I got mine when the postman arrived, which is at the earliest 3:30pm, and a lot of times after 5pm. I had no idea that it was being delivered by USPS. Had I known, I would have just gone out Saturday morning to buy the damn thing.

  82. formergr says:

    I had a little freakout when the email Amazon sent me (I pre-ordered ages ago) last week said I’d get my copy Saturday guaranteed, and had the UPS tracking number.

    I knew UPS Ground doesn’t deliver on Saturdays, so I thought I wouldn’t get it until Monday. I called Amazon to ask, and the very patient and friendly customer service rep said UPS would hand it off to USPS for the last mile and I would definitely get it.

    My Saturday mail delivery often doesn’t come until 5 pm on a good day, so with the added weight of the booksslowing my carrier down, I got it around 7:30 pm.

  83. kingoman says:

    @mopar_man: Do you rain on parades in your spare time, too?

    I had no interest in Potter books, either… until I read one.

    It is certainly your right to keep your mind as closed as you wish, but uninformed (and therefore completely useless) posts do not contribute to the dialog.

  84. cindel says:

    Ok first of all UPS don’t deliver on Saturdays unless they requested it be with those big ugly orange stickers saying “Saturday Delivery” on those boxes. Why Amazon would use UPS instead of USPS for HP mania is beyond me; they should have known. Second, I know several people that haven’t gotten their book from Amazon yet.

    I got mines Saturday morning.

  85. Avedis says:

    I left my front door open, and was home all day within eyesight of my open door. Despite having ‘Saturday delivery’ from UPS via Amazon, and an estimated delivery date of the 21st, no package arrived.

    The next morning I checked UPS’s tracking website, and they said they had delivered the package at 2:47pm PDT on the 21st.

    Amazon refunded me the full amount 5 minutes after I filed an electronic complaint, so I went to the local Costco and bought a copy there (they still had plenty on Sunday).

  86. juri squared says:

    My copy was delivered via USPS right on time. The mailman brought it to my door, complaining about the 20 or so slips he’d already had to write (this was at 11am). He also told me that orders from bn.com weren’t scanning properly.

    Since the same mailman left book 6 in my mailbox on launch day, I’m betting that there were a lot of pissed off people checking their mail later in the day.

  87. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    This is the first time we ever “pre-ordered” a book from Amazon. I was thoroughly impressed! It was delivered by the USPS – in my mailbox by 9:00 AM Saturday. I didn’t think I would see it until Monday or Tuesday, and was really surprised to see it Saturday – smart deal they have with USPS. The packaging was in great condition, and the book, too. Based on this, I’ll order from Amazon again – and it was cheaper to buy it like this than at the stores I was at on Saturday!

  88. JPropaganda says:

    I pre-ordered. Oh I pre-ordered. It was guaranteed. I stayed home ALL DAY. UPS still had no updates. I check today, and all of a sudden I see THIS message:


    I call UPS. They tell me, oh we passed that off to USPS. I call USPS. They tell me my address is deliverable (duh – i get mail every *$&@ing day!)

    I’m so frustrated right now.

  89. JPropaganda says:

    @JPropaganda: Forgot to mention that this was listed as in the afternoon on Saturday. I got no attempted delivery. Nothing. Zero.

  90. Snakeophelia says:

    In the past, I did the pre-ordering, I did waiting at the B&N stores until midnight, the whole shebang. This year I decided to take it easy and figured I’d pick up a copy at BJ’s on Sunday or something. Turns out a friend of mine pre-ordered two copies from B&N and stayed at the store until 1 am on Saturday morning, then called me and asked if I wanted the second copy. She delivered it to me at noon on Saturday. I didn’t have cash on me at the time, so she said I could pay her later.

    Now THAT’S the way to do it. :)

  91. ReverseCarpetbagging says:

    Happens all the time. Whether it’s FedEx or UPS, I’ve been home, waiting for packages, only to find online that they attempted to deliver the package and I wasn’t home. The best one was when I waited in my front yard, in a lawn chair, with my laptop. FireFox was set to my FedEx tracking number. At 5:58 pm, nothing. At 5:59 pm, nothing. At 6:00 pm, they “attempted” to deliver my package and I wasn’t home. I guess they just broke into my backyard and tried to deliver it to the nonexistent doorway that was there. Sometimes, you give a call to either the distribution center or to the company where you bought the product. Never hurts.

  92. North of 49 says:

    so it seems that it isn’t Amazon, but UPS that is the problem for most of you…

    I won’t go into details of what I think of UPS. It isn’t good.

  93. Candyman says:

    As for lying drivers; believe me that’s one thing their supervisors HATE, but can’t do anything about unless there are enough complaints to make a case against them. All of them do it, all of them deny it, and they all have union protection. Blaming the company for this is just plain silly.

  94. superlayne says:

    Accio, Deathly Hallows!

  95. Nick says:

    Amazon.com emailed asking if I wanted to upgrade my super-saver shipping and have guaranteed delivery on Saturday by UPS instead (for more money, of course). I declined, of course. USPS delivered my copy on Saturday afternoon, right in my mailbox with the rest of the day’s mail. No problems here. Hooray for the post office.

  96. Mary says:

    Actually, I’ve heard this story from several people who ordered through Amazon. Interesting.

    Glad I work in a bookstore AND didn’t care that much.

  97. SBR249 says:

    Glad I got mine at Costco. They had boxes and boxes of that book lying around and for $18.19, that’s almost 50% of the [bloated] cover price of $34.99. I love Costco.

  98. Elara says:

    This is exactly the reason I didn’t preorder this time- the Half Blood Prince came on time to my house, but so many other things have not that I just resigned myself to getting a copy when I could find one. Luckily, they were all over my local B&N yesterday.

    And to the snobs on here- get over yourselves with the “I’m too good to read crap like Harry Potter” attitude. No true book lover, fantasy/sci-fi genre or otherwise, would be so incredibly judgemental. You don’t like it, then don’t read it. But don’t be a jerk about it.

  99. digicrom says:

    It was a strange delivery sequence…. I received a UPS email on my phone at 11:00PM Friday the 20th saying it had been delivered at the ‘Dock’, and signed for by ‘Klein’.

    This flipped me out so I called UPS, they informed me of the delivery arrangement with the USPS for the final mile, and I was assured that I would receive my book on Saturday the 21st.

    Saturday morning I went out to run errands and on the way home saw that the mailman was at our community mail boxes. I stopped to pick up our mail and the book, which he did have, but he asked to verify my ID to make sure it was actually me. He then explained that USPS was instructed to not leave books on door steps as they were being stolen (by your neighbors?).

    In the end no real drama, just an unusual set of circumstances.

  100. Chicago7 says:

    I canceled my order from Amazon and bought the CD version at Borders. It was $4.32 more. (that’s just the state tax)

  101. a_m_m_b says:

    not troubles here as we prepaid + picked up in person @ our local Barnes-n-Noble :)

  102. a_m_m_b says:


  103. nojo says:

    @mopar_man: Percy was always the git of the family.

  104. CamilleR says:

    I pre-ordered from Amazon and opted to buy something else in order to get the free shipping. I was quite surprised to get home from work Saturday to find the book waiting on my doorstep since I didn’t even think it would ship until this week. After reading about all this UPS/USPS nonsense I’m really glad I went cheap.

  105. htrout13 says:

    I’m loving the fact that it wasn’t just me…

    If it wasn’t for a neighbor who lived blocks away from me (in another town I might add) I would still be waiting…

    My book was delivered to him – my address was on it but go figure!

    I’m still trying to figure out how to make the complaint to UPS since they dropped the package off on his doorstep – no knock no nothing – and still haven’t brought anything to my door!

    Yeah UPS Rocks!!!!

  106. acambras says:

    Jeez, I don’t understand the commenters who are hatin’ on Harry Potter. I’m not a fan myself (nothing wrong, just not my thing), but I think that any time you have people (especially kids) READING, that is a great thing. Hopefully, HP fans who otherwise haven’t been big readers will be inspired to read more.

  107. chrysalid says:

    My boyfriend preordered the book for me from Chapters, and it was supposed to be delivered to me by Canada Post between 8am and 6pm on Saturday the 21st. When I got off work at 8pm that night, I ended up stopping at Walmart to pick it up because Chapters was sold out and my original copy did not show up. It is now midnight on Monday the 23rd and still no sign of my book. If there were going to be an eighth Harry Potter, I know where I’d be getting it.

  108. Buran says:

    @Candyman: Uh, no it’s not. We can’t blame a company for having shitty service and stupid lazy employees? They most certainly can do something about this.


  109. synergy says:

    @eli_b: FTW!

    HP – the cause of global warming.


  110. LizS says:

    I used Amazon’s free shipping instead of standard shipping. Standard and up were guaranteed for Saturday delivery, but not their budget shipping.

    It was delivered on Saturday, much to my surprise! In perfect condition, courtesy of USPS.

    Even though I was busy, which is why I didn’t care when it was delivered, I was still happy to see it and at least get a little start on it.

  111. GeekChicCanuck says:

    Dang! It sucks that everyone seems to have had such bad experiences getting their copies of HP 7. The library (fortunately) had no problems.

    We received our 50 copies prior to the release date (even though we couldn’t open the boxes, as per the contract). Early on Saturday morning, myself and two other staff opened the boxes, processed the books and added them to our catalogue. We then delivered the books to the branches ourselves. Public services staff tell me that the kids (of all ages ;)) were very happy.

  112. spidra says:

    I had to wait ’til today to find out what was what. Because it was being sent UPS, I opted to have it sent to work (since UPS usually tries to deliver when I’m at work). No book at work. Checked Amazon’s site to get the tracking number and UPS says it’s delivered. It’s not. I’ve written Amazon to get a freakin’ explanation.

    I guess this is my karmic punishment for not buying at a local independent bookstore like I should have.

  113. larrys1690 says:

    Personally, I don’t trust either UPS or the post office for time-sensitive deliveries…
    Preordered mine at the local Books-A-Million, got off work a little after 11pm, got to BAM just in time to miss the costume contest (sob) but just before the checkout line formed…
    Out the door, book in hand by 12:05!!!

  114. North of 49 says:

    Mine is still sitting 100 miles from me.

    I love being able to track parcels. ;)

  115. BillyShears says:

    I’d say I trust UPS about as far as they usually kick the packages I have delivered to my home, but that would imply that I would trust them quite a bit. Oddly enough, the boxes addressed to my office arrive just fine.

    In short, I fully believe any story involving UPS drivres claiming to have attempted delivery, but really just didn’t even bother. I haven’t had to yet, but I fully intend on not accepting any package that they “attempted” to deliver three times in a row, resulting in them keeping it in their warehouse.

  116. MadLibrarian says:

    The UPS issue isn’t isolated to Harry Potter. I’ve had other shipments listed as “Out for delivery” and then the online status is updated at the end of the day to claim I was not at home.

    In each case I was home and not distracted. I was consciously aware and waiting for the package. More importantly, in the five years I’ve lived in my house, UPS has never knocked or rang my doorbell to obtain my signature. UPS always drops the package at my doorstep, and doesn’t ring the door bell or knock. My only clue to a package arrival is if I hear the truck drive up or drive away. As a result, I check my front door step every half hour within a two hour window that I expect the UPS van to arrive.

    I simply conclude that when my UPS driver is running behind schedule, he falsely marks some recipients as being not at home. I can’t think of another explanation. Is there one? I now use USPS whenever I can, FedEx second.

  117. I receive literally dozens of packages from Amazon every year, and about half of those are left at my door, which is inside the apartment building. I’ve never had anything stolen. I’ve never once been left a note that an Amazon package couldn’t be delivered unless I was home.

    Except for this Harry Potter book. It never arrived, as I was gone for most of the day.

    For the first time ever, the mailman left a note on my door saying that they were expressly told NOT to leave these books at anyone’s door. Which surprised me in part because I was told this was coming via UPS. Which would have been less a pain in the ass to pickup, since I’d have to wait an hour in line at my local post office vs. 5 minutes at the local UPS center.

    Alas, after whining and bitching, Amazon has comp’d my entire order. Thats right: they’re refunding the full cost of the book. However, I already ran out and bought another copy, so I don’t need it, and told them I’d be returning it anyway.

    I usually love Amazon – but I won’t be using them the next time I’m relying on a delivery.

  118. I was kicking myself for not pre-ordering, then for not going to the release parties in my city, but then my husband showed up at 10am with a copy he had picked up for 20 dollars. I have an awesome husband. :)

    To AluminumTulips: What in gods’ names makes you think we don’t read other books? What is with this condemnation of adults who read 800 page sagas? And I have to say, Deathly Hallows is REALLY not for kids. There’s even a swear.

    I’ve read almost every suggestion you listed. You have unfortunate taste.

  119. Gundamgrl says:

    wow. at first I was like, well at least UPS hasn’t lied yet on their site, even though my book is mega late. But sometime between midnight last night and 7ish this morning their tracking added “notice left” for 7/21 1:55 p.m.. I’m like you’ve got to be kidding. I was home all day saturday and plus all packages go to my apartment’s leasing office which i’ve gone 2x to and both times they haven’t gotten it. What irks me is the lying. I mean they updated to “notice left on 7/21” on the 24th!! So yes, UPS is covering their own ass, and yes they are fiendish ghouls. Amazon better collect money from them for having to issue so many refunds. I already got my refund on saturday when I called them, so I’m a semi-happy camper.

  120. Scott says:

    Mine was delivered USPS on Saturday morning. It even had a note to leave it in the event no one was home.

    My beef is that I ponied up for the standard shipping (I ordered a CD as well so I was over $25) thinking that was the only way to get delivery on the 21st. My sister is slightly more frugal than I and had it shipped super saver shipping but received it Saturday as well. So I paid the $5 or whatever shipping was for nothing.

  121. @Scott: You had to pay for standard shipping to guarentee it for Saturday delivery. Your sister got lucky.

    There’s even a swear.
    @spiderjerusalem: HAH! Seriously, this so isn’t for little kids.

  122. melissasaurus says:

    I pre-ordered the book in February from Barnes and Noble. It was shipped via Lasership since I live in Manhattan. Their tracking says that they attempted to deliver on 7/21 and 7/23 – my roommate and I were home at both times. When I called Barnes and Noble, they gave me the option to cancel the order, which I did. I tried to get some sort of remuneration for the problem (when you order a book in February, you kind of expect it to be there on time, not 4 days late). They implied that I was lying about the shipment, I spoke to 2 supervisors and even as a very frequent customer and a BN member, they refused to do anything. I definitely will not order from them again.

    As a side note – has anyone ever noticed that the Lasership delivery people look like they’re 12 years old?

  123. mcpeepants says:

    @remthewanderer: LaserShip is a local courier B&N uses in Manhattan for some reason – it’s fun sometimes making them deliver a DVD from the 21st & 6th ave store to our 22nd & 5th offices eheh

  124. yanamal says:

    Almost the same thing happened to me, but not with Harry Potter, and there wasn’t any kind of rush at that time. I ordered a game from buy.com, and it was shipped by UPS; UPS said they delivered it at a time when I was home, but obviously they didn’t. I contacted UPS, and they “determnined” that “no delivery attempt was made”. However, when I contacted buy.com for a refund, it turned out that UPS told them that they did deliver the game(so they wouldn’t give me a refund).
    The moral of the story is: UPS is just shady, regardless of whether they are overwhelmed. Oh, also buy.com has a pretty crappy customer service system.

  125. Scott says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Yeah, I know I paid for the guaranteed Saturday delivery but saver shipping said it wasn’t going to be delivered until a week or so after the 21st. And I think it’s pretty obvious that Amazon didn’t make any distinction between shipping methods when they actually shipped the book to pre-order customers.

  126. North of 49 says:

    9 am: Accio Deathly Hallows. Nothing.
    12pm: Accio Deathly Hallows. Still nothing.
    7 pm: Accio Deathly Hallows. Nada. Phone call to Amazon.ca. Refund issued to the giver of my copy.
    Sunday: there’s no mail on Sunday. What was I thinking?
    10 am: Accio Deathly Hallows. Nada. No mail, just bills.
    9:30 am: Postie tells me that he saw my copy at the mail depot and it would be around later today. It was apparently “too big” to go by normal mail carrier.
    10:30 am: Accio Deathly Hallows! Package postie brings my book to my door and we have a laugh over how Amazon.ca handled the promise of delivery in Canada on the 21st. Canada Post is union and although I know a lot of the carriers would have loved the overtime, the union might not have gone for it.

    So now I have my book. Time to barracade myself in my a/c’ed bedroom away from the children…

  127. kingoman says:

    @cindel: Actually, the deal Amazon and UPS have *is* for Saturday delivery, specifically. And because that’s the *only* thing they have to deliver that day, you’d think they’d get them all delivered!

    I didn’t do this for this book, but I did it the first year they did it (book 5, I think) and it worked fine. Of course, there will be a percentage of problems in any process where humans are involved. I’ve had spotty success with UPS over many years, for a variety of reasons, but almost always because of human error.

    But I agree, you’d think with a very high-profile event such as this, they’d do everything they could up front to minimize the problems and there do seem to have been more this time.

    At least there’s no “next time” for them to worry about.

  128. crazylady says:

    I didn’t get my copy in the mail by the Saturday promised delivery, so a call at 10pm to Amazon got me a nice refund. The nice lady there told me they offloaded the delivery to USPS, which should have delivered the book by Saturday.

    It’s Tuesday, and the Amazon lady told me to call back to get another copy of the book (rush delivered and all for free) if I didn’t receive it by today.

    I couldn’t wait, so obviously I went to b&n right after I called Amazon on Saturday night to get a copy for about the same price.

    I’m tempted to call for another copy, but given USPS’s suckiness, I’m thinking that if I call back for another copy, I might end up with three (one I got on Saturday, and two from Amazon for free).

  129. James Marino says:

    Not only didn’t my package arrive, but UPS claimed it was delivered! (left at front door.) When I called UPS, they had multiple stories (It was left with a neighbor; It was re-routed to USPS; It will be re-delivered when I am home, [I was at home all Saturday]) — I got nowhere with UPS. Amazon, however, refunded my money AND sent me a free HP7. Amazon knows that it will make the $19 back on me this month alone!

  130. Trackback says:

    Pick It And Stick It by Nicholas Freilich Michael Vick is going to hell and, in all likelihood, jail. But, did you also know that he is a card-carrying member of Al-Qaeda? According to an already infamous complaint filed by Jonathan Lee Riches (Copyright!)