UPS Refuses To Deliver Package, Messes Up My Daughter’s Birthday

Julie currently lives far away from her daughter, and went her a wonderful box of gifts from cosmetics retailer Sephora for her recent 14th birthday. What a lovely surprise! Or it would have been if UPS hadn’t refused to release the package with a mere signed slip because it had been redirected after getting sent to Julie’s billing address initially. The package was significantly delayed past her birthday, and the surprise became significantly less fun.

Two weeks ago I placed an order online on for my daughter’s 14th birthday (my daughter is currently with her Dad and Step-Mother). One of the gifts was a set where she could try fragrance samples, and then there was a coupon to pick up a full size of her choice in the store. I imagined her opening the box and having a fun time trying all the fragrances and picking out which one she liked the best.

I received the shipping confirmation and waited for the package to be delivered, all in the meantime my daughter asking me every day for hints of what was inside. She was excited too to receive it.

On her birthday (2/27), I looked at the online tracking status, and I noticed that the box had been delayed due to adverse shipping conditions. I also noticed that the box was inadvertently being sent to my billing address, instead of the shipping address. The two addresses are about 45 miles apart. I contacted Sephora and asked them if they could direct UPS to ship the box to the correct address, which they did promptly. When I looked online later at the UPS tracking information it showed the updated information for the re-direct, so I thought all was fine. I told my daughter it would be another day or so for her package to arrive, and that was it.

I continued to check the tracking number. It took UPS 5 days (3 business days and a weekend) to redirect the package 45 miles. I was really surprised, but still accepting, because, hey, weather and mistakes happen. We were eagerly awaiting the package to be delivered on Monday, 3/4.

At the end of the day Monday my daughter tells me they didn’t leave the package – they left a slip on the door saying, “signature required.” I thought that was odd, Sephora has never required a signature before. I called UPS customer service and was told that all my daughter and her step-mother had to do was sign the slip and leave it by the door, and he would leave the package the next day. So they did so, and we waited for the package to be delivered on Tuesday.

Please note that my daughter’s step-mother works at the school and is unable to be home during the day to pick up packages, and neither is her father as he is at work. My daughter is at school.

On Tuesday, I go online to look for the delivery confirmation, and it says that again the driver wouldn’t leave the package. Flustered, I call UPS customer service again. I was starting to get really annoyed at this point, and the rep I spoke with basically had no answer other than, “it’s at the driver’s discretion to leave a package,” implying that the driver thought it wouldn’t be safe to leave the package on their enclosed porch in a small town residential neighborhood (where UPS has left packages for them for years now). She told me that she would have someone from the hub call me to discuss the delivery within four hours.

Four hours later, as you may have guessed, no phone call from the hub. So in desperation (knowing that Wednesday is the third and final delivery attempt) I went onto UPS’ Facebook page and reached out there for help. I was contacted by a [B] via email, and I want to say that his attempts to help me with this delivery were stellar, but it became clear he had very little real power for change.

[B] and I wrote back and forth, and he assured me that he had talked to the hub manager and that the driver would leave the package at my daughter’s door the next day. He also told me that the hub manager would call me that night, which he did not do. I was counting on Benjamin’s influence to get the package delivered.

Yesterday I went about my business, hoping for the best. Later in the day I received an email from [B] stating that the driver refused to deliver the box yet again. I was very upset as you might imagine. [B] called me and we discussed the situation for a while, and he told me that he was going to escalate the situation and ask for an exception, that he was going to enter notes that they would have to read, so on and so forth. He also said the hub manager would call me again to discuss.

This morning I woke up and had a voice mail on my phone from the hub manager. He said that he was going to direct the driver to leave the package today on the porch, and he said he told him personally to do so. I was encouraged, but then I looked online and the package was marked as lost! I messaged Benjamin and asked him, and he said he would try to find out what happened.

Finally this afternoon I receive another call from the hub manager. He says that they located the package on the driver’s truck, but the reason that he wouldn’t leave it was because it is UPS policy to require an in-person signature for a re-direct, which is the first time anyone mentioned that to me! He said that he spoke with his district manager and she refused an exception, so they wouldn’t leave the package. He offered to hold the package at the hub so they could pick it up in person on Saturday, but at this point I was so upset I told him to send it back, my daughter shouldn’t have to drive to pick it up, and I was going to just send her shopping for her birthday (since she didn’t receive the package) anyway.

It’s now a week since my daughter’s 14th birthday, and she has not received her gift from me. I am sad that every day she has asked me when it will arrive and what is in it, and every day I’ve told her, “it should arrive today” and “It’s a surprise!” Well the surprise is that she actually never received it all. I am very saddened by this, especially since I had no idea that UPS would have this policy. Had I known, I would have had the package go to my billing address and delivered the gifts to my daughter myself.

I think this policy of UPS is just ridiculous. The shipper (Sephora) requested the re-direct, directly from them, I wasn’t involved in that communication at all. To then mandate a signature to leave a package when the shipper hasn’t requested one is terrible. I won’t be ordering my daughter’s birthday gift like this again.

Sephora granted a refund and otherwise provided the great customer service they’re known for…other than requesting the redirect in the first place.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.