Why Does The UPS Store Ship Packages With FedEx?

Alex shipped two packages to San Francisco from the UPS store in Boston. One was delivered, the other wasn’t—until without any explanation or notification, it arrived back at Alex’s house in Boston on a FedEx truck. Huh?

Alex isn’t really sure what happened, and UPS isn’t saying much. He writes:

Back on the 15th, I shipped two packages from a suburb outside of Boston to a single address in SF. On the 21st one of the packages arrived at the destination address, but the other did not. Figuring that it must have just ended up on another truck, I waited, assuming it would soon arrive. And it did! Only…. it was delivered to the return address back here in Boston, and believe it or not, it had arrived via Fedex Ground with no accompanying explanation whatsoever.

Shipped via UPS, returned via Fedex?

Baffled, I called the UPS customer support line. I didn’t figure that they would be able to explain what had happened, but I did assume that they would easily be able to either reship the package or refund my money. Unbelievably, they claimed that they could do neither.

Although I wasn’t aware of this fact before now, apparently UPS the shipping company and UPS the store are not run as a seamless entity. The customer support operator explained to me that because I shipped through a UPS store, I am am now a “third party” to the shipping transaction. I hired the Store to ship the package for me, making them the shipper, not me. She further claimed that her part of UPS could neither provide me a refund nor explain to me what happened, and that only the specific store that I used to ship the package could help.

Confused, I explained to her that my problem wasn’t with UPS the store but with UPS the shipping company. I had both of the receipts for the packages in front of me, and both showed identical addresses on the ship-to field. Since one of the packages had arrived, and since the UPS tracking system couldn’t locate the other (because it was in front of me!), my problem was with the shipper not the store.

At which point things got worse. Not only are the Store and the Shipper separate entities, but each Store is separate from every other Store. So I couldn’t just go to any Store to get help – I had to go back to the original shipping location to get a refund!

I explained to her from my perspective as a paying customer, this was like being told by the Post Office that each individual USPS location was its own unit, and that if I had problems I had to take it up with whatever branch I had used to mail my letters. It didn’t matter that all of the signs said “Post Office,” or that a single centralized entity took care of processing all of the mail behind the scenes, because that just wasn’t how they were organized. She laughed, apologized, and told me there was nothing she could do.

By the time I got off the phone with her, the manager at the UPS Store had left for the day, so I now have to wait another day to get this resolved. In the meantime, I’ve shipped the package with the Post Office, and will never – ever! – ship with a UPS Store again.

All of which is a long, round about way of suggesting that you warn your readers about the UPS Store. They have a common name, but don’t let that fool you! If something goes wrong, UPS 1-800 Customer support will not be able to help.

Its back to the Post Office for me!

It’s not unheard of for companies to use their competitor’s services, but this is especially strange. If UPS won’t refund your money or reship the package, ask if they would instead be willing to pay FedEx to ship it to San Francisco.

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