I recently had an issue shipping a package from my local UPS Store, and the saga that ensued seemed so incredible to me that I wanted to share it with you.
I had done some work for a colleague that was extremely time-sensitive — she needed to receive these materials on the morning of May 18th. I packaged up three binders of material and addressed them to her location at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. She sent me her UPS account number to ship the box with.
I finished packaging everything up on Sunday, May 15th, then left for the Think Tank blogger conference in Chicago that week. My husband took the box to the UPS Store in Huntley the next morning to ship it. He called me on his way to work and said that the UPS Store refused to allow him to ship it with my colleague’s UPS account number, saying “we don’t do that,” so he paid for the box — a whopping $176.53 charge for a 13-pound package with second-day AM delivery.
I returned home from my conference three days later on the evening of Wednesday, May 18th, and I learned that this very expensive package not only did not arrive on time — it hadn’t arrived at all. I left a message for my colleague apologizing profusely for missing the deadline — neither of us knew where the box had gone, as UPS had said it would arrive by 10:30am on Wednesday. The next morning, I went over to the UPS Store.
The manager, James, casually said ‘Yeah, that box didn’t get there. That address doesn’t exist.”
I assured him that the Rio Hotel and Casino absolutely exists at 3700 W. Flamingo Road in Las Vegas and has for close to 30 years now. I asked to see the shipping paperwork that the UPS Store prepared at the time of shipment.
As I looked at the paperwork, I saw the problem:
The recipient’s address was entered into UPS’ system as 2700 E. Flamingo Road instead of the 3700 W. Flamingo Road I’d written on the box.
Even when you hand-address a package, the UPS Store staff creates another label with a barcode for shipping. At the time of shipping, whoever created the label for my box typed the wrong address on it. This error prevented the package from being delivered.
I asked what could be done, as the error wasn’t mine — I had written the correct address on the package! James said “Oh, that’s not our problem.” I asked which employee had mistyped the address of my package, and James said that he, himself, had.
I was beginning to get irritated. I reminded James that we’d paid close to $200 to ship this box with two-day AM shipping. James said, “There is no guarantee that an item shipped two-day will actually arrive within two days.”
James pulled the paperwork out from Monday morning when my husband had originally shipped the box for me. He tapped the signature line and said that when my husband signed it, he was verifying that the address on the package was correct. The fine print above the signature line reads, “I acknowledge and accept terms & conditions in force for tendering shipments through this location and certify that address, contents and values provided for this shipment are accurate in all respects.”
I tracked the package (you can too at this link – enter 1Z8W5E200754657256) and interestingly, UPS’ tracking states “The company or receiver name is incorrect” instead of noting that the actual street address entered into their system was incorrect.
The box did arrive on Thursday morning at the Rio, and my colleague verified that both the business name and handwritten address were correct on the package we sent. She said there were now two labels on it, one stuck over the other, and she sent me photos of the first label with the mistyped 2700 E. Flamingo Road address, then peeled it back to reveal the second label UPS applied once the package reached Las Vegas with the correct 3700 W. Flamingo street address.
I asked James to follow up with UPS and ask if there was any way to refund even a portion of the $176.53 I paid, as again, it was not my fault he had misaddressed my package at the UPS Store causing the package to arrive a day late. He called me the next day to tell me that UPS declined to offer a refund, but the owner of this UPS Store location would offer me a $50 credit.
Honestly? I wish James simply would have said “I’m sorry.” At no point throughout this ordeal did he apologize for his mistake — in fact, he immediately threw blame back to me and my husband for not verifying that his label was correct before the box was shipped.
I’m sharing this story because I honestly had no idea that customers, not UPS, were liable for errors on the address labels created by the UPS Store. I found this situation frustrating for many reasons, especially since the correct address was hand-written on the box in Sharpie and remained visible and uncovered throughout the entire shipping process. (At what point does common sense kick in and say “Oops, the Rio is further down the street and hmm, that’s also the address actually written on the box…”?)
If you’re shipping something with UPS, read the entire label and the fine print — all of it — before signing the receipt. My husband said that when he shipped the box, James told him, “Sign here so we can get this shipped for you.” Perhaps the UPS Store should also point out to customers that the fine print essentially says, “Sign here so we won’t be liable for our own errors.”
UPDATE: On 5/27, I received the following email from UPS:
Response By Email ( April P. ) ( 05/27/2016 04:14 PM )
U.S. Eastern Standard Time (US EST)
Dear Jill, Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. I’m very sorry for the level of unprofessionalism that this store has displayed regarding your concerns. The UPS Stores are individually owned franchises. As such, I’ve escalated your concern to their Corporate Offices. I’ve asked that they call you back by the end of business day Tuesday, 05/31/16.
I hope that this is helpful for you. Please let me know if you need any further assistance.
Sincerely, April P.
UPS Social Media Team
UPDATE: It is now June 2nd. I have not yet heard from the UPS Stores corporate office.
UPDATE: It is now June 8th. The UPS Store’s corporate office has reached out and is looking into this matter.
UPDATE: Today, August 1st, I received a full refund for this shipment. My local UPS Store staff apologized for the matter, though it was not the fault of the staff members currently working when I came in today. I was informed that James is no longer working at this location. A very nice employee, Mike, assisted me with the refund, and the manager has given me a $25 shipping credit toward a future shipment. I’m satisfied with this resolution.