UPS Refuses To Listen To UPS, Won't Release Package To Authorized Person

What is the standard for a UPS store pickup center to release a package to someone who is not the addressee? Ace writes that apparently, one needs more than a signed note authorizing the pickup and an order from a UPS call center. What should have been a routine package pickup turned into a bizarre slap-fight.

Ace writes:

I witnessed a disturbing scene at the UPS pick-up counter in [redacted], CA yesterday…

A young woman was there to pick up a package and had brought a signed note (from the package’s recipient) authorizing her to pick up said package.

The counter people said the note wasn’t enough and they wouldn’t release the package. She countered by saying that she had spoken to he UPS call center and was only doing what she was told by them (and she had traveled some distance to do so).

She them proceeded to call said center and got the SAME advice from them, and gave the phone to the counter person. The counter person then proceeded to tell his OWN call center that they were wrong, and she wasn’t getting the package.

The customer, visibly upset, asked to speak to a supervisor, who came out promptly. The supervisor them told the customer the exact same thing — that the note wasn’t enough, no matter what UPS’ own call center had said.

Frustrated beyond her own tolerance, the girl smacked the supervisor and ran out. The supervisor ran after her yelling, “I’m sending that package back.”

The counter person then tried to play it off, by saying to me, “That happens here every day.”

Shouldn’t UPS get their own house in order, rather than subject their own employees to physical abuse?

It’s likely that the employees at this particular UPS store were not direct employees of UPS, but that the store is a franchise location. Still, the concept of “franchise” means that it’s part of a brand, and theoretically a unified brand means that policies are, um, consistent.


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  1. FatLynn says:

    Well, slapping someone is obviously never okay, but it’s pretty ridiculous for UPS not to know its own policies. And it’s ridiculous to have this level of security when you figure they will randomly throw packages on your doorstep.

    • amuro98 says:

      Yeah, next time just have it delivered to a house. The driver will leave it somewhere near the doorstep without a signature. And if you’re lucky, when he throws the package from the middle of your driveway, he’ll hit the side of the house so the people inside will know to come get their package.

      • Happy13178 says:

        I LOLed when I read this. Never seen a more accurate description of UPS’s service. It’s a good business opportunity though…the first person who starts a shipping company that doesn’t treat their customers like crap will make a bloody fortune.

        • goodfellow_puck says:

          Yeaaah, the reason they’re generally such crappy drivers is because they get paid below min wage (Salary plus “you don’t get to go home until ALL the packages get delivered!”). Most people wouldn’t work for that, so it can be people who can’t get jobs elsewhere. They know they won’t get fired for stuff like that, since so few want to do the job.

          Now, a shipping company that pays it’s employees decently with benefits? The closest thing is your friendly USPS…and that doesn’t work out so well either. In profits, or correct service (although my mailman is awesome, so there are clearly many great employees out there).

          • MauriceCallidice says:

            Funny, from what the UPS driver who delivered to my last retail job told me, I’m pretty sure they make a whole lot more than minimum wage.

    • lukesdad says:

      The slapping was my favorite part!

  2. pop top says:

    While I can see why the woman would be frustrated, she shouldn’t have assaulted the manager. I don’t see it said anywhere if she asked anyone at the UPS Store (which IS different from UPS and doesn’t follow the same rules, as we’ve read on here several times) what she would need to do to have them release the package to her. That should’ve been her first step after finding out that the form wasn’t good enough.

    • stopNgoBeau says:

      I’m with you on that. I am a UPS Store box user. Regardless of what any call center says, the manager at that store knows who I am and that I am the only one to pick up packages for me. I have called and asked her to release it to someone else, and she did, but she knew that request was coming from me (its nice to know when you have a good vendor-customer relationship). A note wouldn’t cut it.

      I think there is an issue with UPS and the UPS Store sounding like the same entity, and I wish they would have just kept the name Mailboxes Etc (or MBE), but those of us who are box holders at a UPS Store are made aware of the disconnect, and we know what the store policies are regarding third-party receivers.

      • nosense22 says:

        It’s 1 company and 1 brand. Any distinction is purely due to corporate policies (and maybe tax reasons).

        They need to have a policy (whatever it its) and employees need to follow it.

        • cgpeanut says:

          No it isn’t one brand one name. It is one brand and an independent business person. You have UPS selling these franchises ,to our vets, also and the usiness model is not profitable. Period. Yet they misrepresented the model to the franchisee to get them to sign on to their dog and pony. The overhead that UPS imposes on them require them to have the mark up on other items to cover the overhead. UPS uses these centers to consolidate the residential market and thinks they have a god given right to abuse the owner.

        • jason in boston says:

          Just like Verizon and Verizon wireless are one company?

        • cgpeanut says:

          The UPS store owners are not UPS employees!!!!!!!

        • Cavinicus says:

          Yeah, the statement that the distinction is made for tax purposes is utterly incorrect – UPS Stores are independently owned franchises. UPS bought out the profitable Mail Boxes Etc. franchise system and ran it into the ground, which is a whole ‘nother story and spawned massive litigation that still continues.

    • cgpeanut says:

      If the customer was receiving a package at The UPS Store that means that the person had a mail receiving box their that had a contract that the stores customer had signed. That would control the action of the Store manager and not the UPS call center rules.

  3. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I’d bet the call center got it wrong. I had a problem with UPS and got bad info from two call center reps. Took an EECB to resolve the issue, but I got calls from corporate customer service and the call center managers apologizing for the reps.

  4. .b.e.x. says:

    I love smacking people when I don’t get my way. Not.

  5. buckeyegoose says:

    Yea UPS needs to seriously just take these all over and run them directly, then maybe more people will go there over FedexOffice for printing and shipping services. I avoid UPS Stores like the plague, even the most basic, small item that would fit in a 6x9x12 box ends up costing nearly 10.00 BEFORE shipping, there is the box (which is already marked up), the packing peanuts at 3.99/measuring box (supposedly the save box size they use to fill the small bags you can purchase as well, and if it only takes half the box, u’r still charged the full price) then there is a packing charge for the damn employee to actually do all that, then we get to what it costs to actually ship the damn thing, which they quote UPS retail rates, but the store gets charged UPS daily rates, another nice profit margin there too.

    • davidc says:

      Where as I avoid “Kinko/FedEx” like the plague. Their attitude about shipping is like: *sigh* don’t you know I only where this “FedEx” shirt cause they would fire me if I didn’t … and I really have better things to do then to deal with your package.

  6. Package Man says:

    I’m a pack and ship store owner myself and I would have done exactly what this UPS Store did. How do I know that the note is legit? If somebody comes in with a note and I release the package to them and then it turns out not to be legit, I’m on the hook for the cost of that package. Not gonna happen, sorry. Not in todays litigious society.

    • knoxblox says:

      I certainly wouldn’t be happy about not getting my package either, but I notice a key piece of information…

      The woman called said call center HERSELF. This is a common confidence trick, where a fake “authority figure” (actually, a second con artist, called directly by the first con artist) instructs the “mark” to give up the goods to the person standing in front of them.

      If the woman had directed the franchisee to call the call center through their own phone tree, maybe the franchisee would have had more “confidence” in her story?

      Now, we’ll never know if this was actually a con, but it’s definitely the kind of trick I wouldn’t fall for if someone was trying to get something from me in my store.

      • VaultDweller says:

        Wow that’s a really good point, I would never have thought of that. There really are some sneaky people out there.

    • Radiating says:

      How on earth would anyone besides the receiver be able to figure out that the package is at your store? They’d have to have some contact with the receiver.

      • RandomHookup says:

        While this isn’t a useful strategy for stealing a package from someone, it could be useful in an internet scam. I steal a credit card and order stuff sent to your UPS Store box (easy enough information to obtain). I use a forged note to pickup and then disappear. You get blamed (or at least questioned) about the ruse.

      • LACubsFan says:

        I agree with UPS. How do I know the letter is valid? What if this was a disgruntled for employee and knows the person gets packages sent there?

        And if some crazy lady slapped me I would have chased her down and tackled her ass HARD…. and then call and wait for the cops.

    • nucwin83 says:

      I agree. Unless there is a number on the package that you can call to verify the recipient intends for someone else to pick up the package, it really should be held for the listed recipient.

  7. PunditGuy says:

    How would the store know whether the signed note was really from the package’s intended recipient? I could walk down hallways in an apartment complex and take the “tried to deliver” notices off any door, create a note, and score some packages.

    • jbandsma says:

      If it’s a UPS -STORE- and not UPS, there will be no ‘tried to deliver’ slip on your door because only UPS delivers. The UPS Store only holds till pickup.

  8. lettucefactory says:

    Wait, what? Smacked the supervisor? Wow, that’s pretty vile.

    I definitely agree that there should be consistiency across the brand, despite the franchising. And if that consistiency can’t be maintained, maybe UPS needs to stop putting its name on those stores.

    But damn. Hard to have sympathy for someone who assaults when she doesn’t get her way.

  9. qbubbles says:

    She smacked the supervisor?? Wtf?

  10. comatose says:

    I’ve had several run-ins with UPS stores in several locations. I don’t step foot in one unless absolutely necessary.

  11. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    Why didn’t the customer call whoever she was helping out to get verbal confirmation of the package pickup with the manager? What a screwy person. There are better ways to go about things.

    • Tonguetied says:

      And if the person trying to pick up the package has a confederate who can pretend to be the legitimate recipient? “Why yes, my name is blah, blah and I live at blah, blah, blah. Please give my friend the package…”

  12. Sorry4UrInconvenience says:

    I agree with the supervisor here. There was more than just an indiscriminant package at stake, the store was responsible for the PROPERTY of another individual. If you expect to pickup someone elses property with just a handwritten note and a clueless callcenter employee that’s probably located a thousand miles away on the phone, you’re only kidding yourself.

  13. RipCanO'Flarp. says:

    There is a reason the govt oversees ups….Oh wait.

  14. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Sending the package back because a 3rd party slapped a supervisor. Now THAT’s professional!

    They should call the police and press assault charges. I’m sure they can figure out who it was when the police interrogate the addressee.

  15. H3ion says:

    This is why everyone carrying a firearm is such a good idea. Slapping is so passe.

  16. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Hmm, As far as I know UPS doesn’t usually hold packages for pickup at their stores. Their local depot, yes. So to me that would indicate the recipient is a customer of the UPS store to receive a package there. That is the core business that was mailboxes etc before the UPS store acquisition. I think the store management took the correct action.

    • ericfate says:

      They do if you call and specifically ask them to after the first delivery attempt.

      • cgpeanut says:

        No that owner is under no obligation to receive a package for a random person. You have to have a rental box with them. I do know that UPS is running test pilot programs in several areas but the majority of UPS Stores are against it. Why would I want to take on the liability of a package and warehouse it in my store that I PAY THE RENT ON, NOT UPS.

    • Package Man says:

      It’s a UPS Store so they probably received the package for a customer who has a Mailbox with them. I rent mailboxes to people and they receive UPS and FedEx packages all the time.

  17. areaman says:

    Why does the city of the UPS store have to be redacted?

    Also I like having things delivered to work. Having someone pick up your package and the packager go for being slap happy is a symptom of how dysfunctional they (the go for and the person who gave a note to the go for) both are.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      That’s what I do, have it sent to my work. That way there will always be someone there to sign for it and it won’t end up being stolen off my stoop, or denied or anything else. Since Amazon has that dumb thing where you don’t know whether it will come by mail or by UPS, I don’t have to worry about it. The only time I send to my house is when it’s small enough to fit in the mailbox and I know for sure it’s coming by mail, like with a third-party seller.

      • SunnyLea says:

        I thought this was a good idea, too.

        Until work told me to stop having packages sent here.

        So now I have a UPS Store box (which also provides someone to sign for packages). I would be pretty ticked if they gave someone else my package based on a note.

  18. LaurelHS says:

    “Shouldn’t UPS get their own house in order, rather than subject their own employees to physical abuse?”

    UPS didn’t subject the employee to physical abuse, the woman did.

  19. KyBash says:

    I don’t advocate slapping anyone, ever, but I understand her frustration.

    Both UPS and UPS stores are horrible to deal with if you don’t conform in even the slightest way to what they want a customer to be.

    You’d think if that sort of thing ‘happens every day’ they’d wake to the fact that they’re a bunch of idiots.

  20. Gulliver says:

    As a third party, I can not imagine you know the whole story.You do not know what was said on the phone between the “call center” and the employee, and you have no idea what was originally requested originally on the package. I can think of 100’s of ways somebody trying to pull a scam could do whatever they want with this. Do you think you could walk into a bank with a note from mommy to let you withdraw money from somebody else’s account? I guess a note from mommy to buy cigarettes and beer for their teenage kid would be accepted as proof the store sold it to mommy not the kid.

  21. teke367 says:

    The connection between the UPS store and UPS itself pretty much ends at those three letters. Also, those policies can change based on the location, and the experiences we had. When I worked there, we usually didn’t require a signature to drop off a package, unless it was at an area where experience suggested that was a bad idea.

    Also, even in areas where we didn’t require signatures, certain types of packages always required it (high value electronics, Giants tickets, etc). And certain customers had to sign no matter what (if they had too many missing packages). Its totally possible that both UPS and the Store are correct. UPS may require just a letter, but the store is probably within its rights to require more.

    The few times I had to deliver a package where the sender required a signature (as opposed to required by the location, etc) it had to be the name on the package to sign.

  22. adamburnside says:

    I had a similar hassle with the Post Office. USPS damaged a putter that was shipped to me (tire tracks on the package). I went to their OWN website to get the info I needed for compensation. I went to the local Post Office with EVERYTHING I was told to bring, but the local guy said the website was wrong and I needed X, Y and Z, which I of course did, because what else could I do? I sent a letter of complaint and of course I never heard back.

    • Package Man says:

      If it’s not too late, contact your local Post Master and don’t leave him alone until you get satisfaction. That’s the only way to get things done with the Post Office.

  23. Skankingmike says:

    Requirements Present the following identification at the time of pickup:

    * Recipient: Government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or military ID
    * Recipient’s Representative: Company ID or a letter authorizing package release

    Of course this is ONLY for UPS Customer Center.

    The UPS store is different and does not follow the same Hold procedure.

    They are not NOT UPS.

    Remember that.

  24. Ace says:

    Hi — I’m the witness/OP for this story. Contrary to several replies, ths was NOT a “UPS Store” — this was the UPS pick-up place in (redacted) CA, owned, and operated by UPS, and for good reason, has a very heavy security presence in the pick-up area and parking lot.

    Personally, I would not have slapped the supervisor (duh), but would have called the police, and let UPS expalin to the cops why they have self-contradictory policies.

    • msbask says:

      You would have called the police because UPS wouldn’t release a package to someone who clearly wasn’t the recipient?

      What do you think the police would have done or even should have done?

      Sorry, the note, and call to the alleged call center, would not have persuaded me to turn over the package to that woman either.

    • cgpeanut says:

      read the above a letter is referring to if the package is to a company then you need a company id or a letter (by the way on the company letter head) giving you permission. I see no reference to a note allowed for an residential individual person. Maybe I am interpretting it wrong though

    • FBI says:

      So the discussion is NOT about a UPS Store?? Why does the photo show their sign? My experiences have always been positive at these stores.

  25. Gnort says:

    My last delivery from UPS will hopefully be my last ever. After being at home for 2 of their “delivery attempts” and them doing nothing more than leave a note (the last attempt was the same, no contact attempt)….and then being told to drive 30 minutes – one way – to the airport in my city to pick it up, I’m pretty much done with them.

    Never mind they didn’t buzz my apartment once (common practice among delivery people). They didn’t send the package to the closest UPS store 2 minutes away, they sent it to the freaking airport!

    As it stands right now, I refuse to buy from an online vendor that is going to use UPS instead of USPS or Canada Post.

    I don’t hit them, I just refuse to use them. Last time I was in one of their stores for a package pickup, there was a sign that said “Verbal abuse of employees will not be tolerated!” and I knew they ran a pathetic excuse for a delivery company.

    • LaurelHS says:

      Yeah, Canada Post did the same thing to me. I was home during the “delivery attempt,” but they didn’t ring the doorbell, so I didn’t know they were there. When I went to the Post Office to get the package, I told the lady behind the counter about this (mind you, I didn’t slap her!) and she said she had received many similar complaints about deliveries.

    • Britt says:

      They wouldn’t send it to a UPS Store. UPS Stores will only take them if the sender requests them to be sent there, and even then it’s at the store’s discretion.

  26. zandar says:

    Someone gets slapped at the UPS Store every day??

    And yet, they stay in business.

    Our capacity for abuse at the hands of corporations is astonishing.

  27. Bye says:

    I’ve seen what Brown can do for you, and though I’ve often been briefly tempted to slap many of the UPS folks I have had the unfortunate opportunity to deal with, I just try to avoid them whenever humanly possible.

    That said, I have to drive to the downtown depot this Saturday to pick up a signature-required package. Pray for me.

  28. FrugalFreak says:

    I bet it is a subpoena or something illegal in package and won’t release it in hopes of nabbing package owner.

  29. mistersmith says:

    My local UPS Store has jerked me around before. They are horrible, lying, thieving c*nts. The last few times I’ve had to deal with them they’ve tried to charge me to receive packages, tried to deny insurance claims, refused to release packages with my name and address on them, etc. My solution to dealing with the UPS Store: DON’T EVER DO IT. If you have to go in there to pick up a damaged package or something that’s being delivered to you, distract them, pick it up, and leave the store. Let them try and call the cops if they want, just get the hell out with your stuff.

    My local FedEx/Kinkos rules, btw.

    • Britt says:

      They’re allowed to charge you for package receipt because you’re technically using them as an alternate address, not a UPS depot. The store itself is holding it on your behalf, and they might not want to do it for free – It’s the same as asking a buddy up the street to watch for your package, and delivering it to their address. Some stores are pretty small, and they don’t have the space to be storing packages for pickup – Hence the existence of the UPS depot. Stores aren’t required to receive any packages if they don’t want to.

  30. raz-0 says:

    UPS policy is to not release a package to someone other than the addressee at their own customer counters.

    But at places like the UPS store, they release stuf to the employees all the time despite them not working for UPS or being the recipient. Same goes for the drivers at any large business without a single shipping/receiving mail room.

    So yeah, as far as policies go, it’s kind of odd.

  31. calchip says:

    In general, UPS stores suck. They’re all owned by franchisees, prices are generally really high, and with a few exceptions, service is lousy because most of the employees are minimum wage kids who don’t know and don’t care.

    Worse, UPS itself doesn’t do shit to enforce its own rules on the stores. On more than one occasion I’ve called UPS corporate to complain about the actions of a UPS store and they’ve done nothing other than have the manager of the UPS store call me and tell me that he’s not interested in solving my problem.

    These stores need to simply go away. The (now almost nonexistent) little mom-and-pop mailing stores have always been much, much better on customer service, and they are not limited to just selling UPS services.

    • Britt says:

      Hey man, I work at a UPS Store and the two of us who work there are absolutely dedicated. We ARE a ‘mom-and-pop’ store, and UPS services are completely minor to what we actually do. We focus mainly on printing and graphic design. That said, we also offer DHL and CanPar as shipping alternatives.

    • Gryphons Master says:

      Just For Your Information, The UPS Stores offer much more than “just UPS Services”, they also offer mailbox rentals, copying, Printing and Binding, Document finishing, USPS services and stamps, and in many cases DHL shipping for international packages.

      The UPS Services offered at The UPS Store are priced the same as UPS Retail except for some minor things such as Rural Delivery Surcharge and Declared Value Coverage. UPS Charges us (The UPS Store franchise) retail or higher for the delivery area surcharge so we have to charge more for that. UPS is “self insured” for declared value coverage, we (The UPS Store) have to buy our own through the MBE approved vendors. In general, $200 declared value coverage is less at The UPS Store than at the UPS Hub, but that starts to reverse above $300 declared value coverage.

      When you have a complaint about a The UPS Store location, you need to call the franchisor (Mail Boxes Etc. Inc in San Diego) not UPS, Inc. We are NOT franchisees of UPS, we are franchisees of MBE. UPS will do nothing but refer you back to the store because they don’t own our stores or the franchise, they merely own all the stock of Mail Boxes Etc. Inc. and expect it to operate as an independent business entity. The franchise is still owned by mail Boxes Etc., Inc.

  32. Peacock (Now In Extra Crispy) says:

    Yah, my big beef with UPS is that they do hit and runs. The driver throws the package on my porch, rings the doorbell and takes off running.

    I don’t have a dog, vicious or otherwise.

    Or a shotgun.

  33. chocolate1234 says:

    I used to deal with this at my old job all the time. The call center was always giving people the wrong information, and never really cared about fixing it because they didn’t have to deal with customer’s face-to-face. Here’s hoping UPS is better at remedying this situation than my company was.

  34. Gryphons Master says:

    O.K., so the OP has already stated that this was NOT a The UPS Store location, it was an actual UPS Customer Center. And the UPS Call Center was wrong, its not UPS’s policy to release a package addressed to a person to anyone other than that person. Packages addressed to a company may be released to an authorized representative of that company if they have a letter on company letterhead so authorizing and can show their ID.

    I am sorry to hear that some of you have had bad experiences with a The UPS Store location, I can tell you that is not the norm. Its also not the norm to staff stores with high school kids, they’re usually in school when we are open.

    The UPS Stores are all franchises of Mail Boxes Etc., Inc., not franchises of UPS. Mail Boxes Etc., Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of UPS, Inc. and operates as an independant entity, as witnessed by the fact that the biggest competitor The UPS Store has is the local UPS Hub. UPS, Inc steals customers from The UPS Store all the time by giving these customers their own 6-digit shipping account. Once the customer has that account, The UPS Store becomes a great big expensive drop box that receives little or no compensation from UPS, Inc. and NO compensation from the former customer.

  35. BillyDeeCT says:

    At least it’s not as bad as receiving damaged goods and being lied to about a claim investigation and then UPS saying that the consignee cancelled the request for inspection. *I* was the one who received the damaged property so how could somebody else cancel my request for *my* property? They also promised that I would hear back from them by the end of the business day today and haven’t. I guess UPS soon will be acquainted with my state’s Attorney General’s office.

  36. MishunAcomplisht says:

    I LOVE it! This is what customer “service” bullies in retail get when they go OUT OF THEIR WAY NOT TO HELP A CUSTOMER. They get what they deserve. They are NOT hired NOT TO help customers.

    The fact the “manager” backed the bully up justified the slap on manager’s face. The whole place should be boarded up after corporate fires their worthless flea bitten asses, and while I wouldn’t have hit them myself for fear of arrest, I WOULD HAVE hung around their facility for days on end getting in their face and making their lives hell in the store and in the parking lot until they were fired.

    It is the CUSTOMER’s money, the CUSTOMER’s package, and UPS is interfering with commerce and other people’s property and transactions.