UPS Overcharges Art Gallery $650, Offers $160 Refund

Hang needed to ship three large pieces of art to Japan in time for a gallery opening, but UPS had other plans. Rather than weigh the boxes properly or fill out the right customs forms, UPS decided to charge Hang $1,600 for a job that should’ve cost $950. Because the customs forms were improper, one of the boxes was returned as undeliverable, while another was stuck in customs and didn’t arrive until after the opening. Hang only wants UPS to refund the $650 overcharge, but UPS thinks Hang is being greedy.

Hang writes:

I work for a small gallery in [redacted] and three months ago we had to return several large paintings to an artist in Japan for an upcoming gallery opening. We went to the UPS Customer Center at [redacted] to ship the paintings. The clerk who helped us, Chris, filled out all the paperwork for us and charged the artist $1,600.00 to ship the three boxes. Shipping the same paintings in the past usually costs only $950.00 so we were a bit skeptical. After a week, one of the three boxes was returned to the gallery as undeliverable and the other two boxes were stuck in Japanese customs. Several calls with UPS turned up the fact that the clerk who helped us had filled out the wrong customs forms. I even spoke with Chris’ supervisor, John, who told me that Chris [redacted] was never trained to fill out customs forms. Really? Was he also not trained on how to use digital scales? He marked an 18 lb package as 40 lbs and another 18 lb package as 0.20 lbs according to my receipt. It’s clear to me now that the artist was grossly overcharged by about $650.

The third box ended up arriving after the gallery opening. Needless to say, the artist was very upset. I’ve called UPS multiple times and each time they would admit to screwing up but they would also be unable to refund over the phone for a brick and mortar location. How convenient! I ended up filing a BBB complaint on May 24. Every few days, they would write a response promising that someone will contact me that very day, yet it took two weeks before someone made contact.

The artist had chosen a delivery method that was supposed to take four business days. Two of the packages took two weeks and the third took almost a month. The artist then had to pay ridiculous customs fees for the return of her own artworks. Meanwhile, we’ve spent several hours wasting our breath with UPS. Their final compensation for all our trouble was $160 to cover the custom fee, as of now, they still refuse to return the $650 from the incorrect weigh in of the packages. I find their pathetic offer downright insulting after the ordeal they put the artist through. Any other quality company would have offered a full refund for something that was entirely their fault instead of heming and hawing for months on end.

If UPS doesn’t come around, have a chat with your credit card company and see if they can’t help you recover the overcharge.

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