Saturday, May 7, 2016

My Nightmare Experience With UPS

I've owned an iPhone 4s for nearly two years. At first, it was a really good phone for me, aside from the fact that it seemed to bleed power quickly and I couldn't change the battery. When I had an Android, I kept a spare battery handy, so I could switch them out when one ran out of power. That's one thing I liked about Androids over iPhones. Still, I soon grew to love the 4s, which had better performance than my old Android anyway.

However, after the last software update for my 4s, it didn't perform as well as it should: it began to get very hot when I used it for several minutes at a time or when I charged it, it would sometimes freeze-up when I tried to text, etc.

I decided to upgrade to a new phone with my provider, Credo Mobile. I called them and ordered an iPhone 6s, which Credo told me would be sent out via United Parcel Service (UPS) two-day delivery. It was sent out on April 18th and I was supposed to receive it on the 20th. I checked the UPS tracking number which verified the date of shipping and expected date of delivery. Everything seemed fine.

When the 20th came and my phone didn't arrive, I checked the tracking information. It had arrived at the UPS facility in Louisville, KY on the 19th and the tracking information indicated that it hadn't left there. I figured that the computer system simply hadn't caught-up. I called UPS to check on the status of my delivery and was told that the two days didn't start on the 18th, but on the 19th, because UPS hadn't actually received it until then. So, the delivery would take place on the 21st. Fine. Whatever.

Well, the 21st came and my iPhone still didn't arrive. According to the tracking information, it still hadn't left the Louisville depot. I called UPS again. At first, the operator tried to convince me that it was still in transit, but soon realized that the iPhone had been at Louisville for two days and hadn't been scanned-out. He told me that it seemed like my package had been "misplaced". I corrected him by stating that it had obviously been lost.

Upon realizing that he now had a lost package report to make, the operator told me that UPS' procedure in such cases was to file a Lost Package Report and do a search in an attempt to locate it. This search would take eight business days, since UPS doesn't work on weekends. So, the eight days began on April 21st and would end on May 3rd.

Needless to say, I was upset. I vented my frustration on Twitter, which elicited the response of the Help Team. They replied to my tweets by asking for my tracking number, so they could look into it. Each time, they told me the same thing: it was under investigation as a Lost Package.

Curious as to whether others were experiencing similar problems, I searched for "@UPS lost" on Twitter and found others complaining about their lost packages. Noticing people mentioning lost cell phones and computers, it gave me a feeling that I may never see my new iPhone, after all.

There have been news reports of UPS employees helping themselves to packages in the past. Articles from 28 January 201320 July 2015, 22 October 2015 and other incidents made me doubt if my iPhone would ever find its way into my hands, since iPhones, iPads and other expensive electronics seemed to be the preferred items to be stolen.

It's not like FedEx was immune to employee theft, either. Four FedEx workers got busted earlier this year, in fact.

I have no idea if a US Postal Service employee has ever committed mail theft. Of course, theft of US Mail is a much more serious offense. While stealing from UPS or FedEx could be prosecuted under theft statutes in the states where they occur, theft of US Mail is prosecuted under Federal law and the penalties are much more severe, something that any Postal Service employee would know very well. If you steal from UPS or FedEx and get caught, you only have to deal with the local police or sheriffs. If you steal US Mail, you'll be facing the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which is no fun, at all. You can't escape the Postal Inspectors even by leaving the United States, since they can follow you to whatever country you escape because they have international authority.

Anyway, back to my recent experience.

My options seemed to be limited to waiting-out the eight business days until the investigation was over. I made sure to notify Credo about the lost package and they waited for UPS to get in touch with them whether to report the package found or to inform them that they couldn't find it. If they couldn't find it, Credo could ship me a replacement and send paperwork to UPS for reimbursement for the lost iPhone.

Out of frustration as the eighth day approached, I contacted UPS on May 2nd to see if any progress had been made. A woman named April sent me this
Dear Duane,

I'm very sorry for the position that you're in. At this time, there's nothing new. The investigation still has until the end of business day tomorrow, 05/03/16, to conclude before moving on to the next step, if needed. I will continue to monitor this for you and will contact you again via e-mail by the end of business day on Wednesday, 05/04/16.
Sincerely,
April P.
UPS Social Media Team
May 3rd came and went. I waited for April to email me on the 4th, but she didn't. I then sent UPS an email, to which I didn't receive a reply right away. So, I called them and spoke to an operator named Derek.

At first, Derek was under the impression that the eight days hadn't yet elapsed. After he double-checked, he realized that we were now in Day 9 of an 8-day investigation, so time was up. Rather than admit that the package was lost, Derek stated that the investigation team had requested an extra day to look for it. I was understandably angry at this. The 8 days had expired and now UPS had given themselves more time, without informing me that they would do so. I pointed-out that, if they could arbitrarily give themselves one more day, what would stop them from giving themselves another day after that or another week or a month?

Derek argued that they only needed one more day. So, I asked if I could call beck the next day and mention that "Derek had assured me it was only going to be the one extra day" to which Derek stated that he couldn't commit to that, since the investigators could, in fact, extend it again. So, UPS could take their sweet fucking time looking for my package and I had no option but to wait for it to be over.

Again, I called Credo to keep them updated. Like me, they were upset with how UPS was handling the situation. Not only was a customer waiting for a phone he had ordered weeks ago, but the phone was likely lost and Credo couldn't file for reimbursement until they received notice from UPS that their investigation was over and the phone was, in fact, lost.

A little after midnight, I called UPS again, since Day 9 was now elapsed and we were in Day 10. They had taken an extra day and it was gone. Again, the operator told me that the investigators needed more time.

Furious, I called Credo again. I explained to the operator that UPS seemed to be dragging their feet on my lost package and had zero problems giving themselves extension after extension, while expecting me to sit and wait for them. To my relief, Credo agreed with me that I had waited long enough. UPS had used-up their eight days and it would be grotesquely unfair to expect me to wait any longer. Credo sent me another iPhone 6s via UPS Overnight delivery, which arrived right on time. I was understandably concerned that they were using UPS again, considering my first one had disappeared into thin air. But, Credo has a contract with UPS, so they were my only option. I hoped that the Overnight delivery would travel through a different path within UPS than the two-day delivery, to avoid whatever black hole into which my iPhone had disappeared.

I was surprised to receive an email from April at UPS later the same morning as my last call to them and she sent this:
Dear Duane,

I apologize for the delay in my response. I was out of the office unexpectedly.

The investigation has been concluded and they were not able to locate anything. However, it was noted that the description provided was insufficient. Do you have any additional details that you could provide to conduct the step involving our search of our Lost and Found department again?
Sincerely,
April P.
UPS Social Media Team
I suppose it's too much to have expected her to have someone else in her office to contact me if she was out. Whatever. I told her that it was an iPhone 6s, shipped to Honolulu by Credo Mobile. I didn't miss the part where she stated that the investigation was "concluded", but then went on to say that the description of my lost package wasn't detailed enough, as if it were somehow my fault that they weren't able to find it. Later, I received this message
Dear Duane,

I'm sorry. To search for "iPhone 6" can pull up multiple entries. Do you have the serial number? Color? Anything else?
Sincerely,
April P.
UPS Social Media Team
I then told her that it was Space Gray and I gave her the device number. "Multiple entries" made me wonder if there are piles of lost iPhones sitting in their Lost and Found Department. I later received this
Dear Duane,

Thank you. I've reached out to my corporate contacts in our Lost and Found department to perform a search again with this updated information. As soon as I hear back from them, which I expect today, I will let you know.
Sincerely,
April P.
UPS Social Media Team
As if the information I had already sent wasn't specific enough, I received this ridiculous message:
Dear Duane,

I've heard back from my contact and have been told that this, too, is too broad of a description to allow an effective search. Was this phone new in the box, with all of the accessories? How many gigs did it have? Were there any accessories? Is there anyway to contact the shipper to request more details?
Sincerely,
April P.
UPS Social Media Team
It was coming from Credo Mobile, so of course it was "new in the box"! By the way, what possible fucking difference does it make how many gigs it has? Do they have mountains of Space Gray iPhone 6s' sitting in their Lost and Found Department?

Since I received this last email on the morning my replacement was due to arrive, I didn't reply right away. At this point, I sincerely felt like they were simply fucking with me. I won't believe that the "label fell off", if they try that excuse with me. Credo ships their products out in brown cardboard boxes and the label is a sticker placed on the side. On one side of the box is the word "CREDO" stenciled in bold, black letters. On the other is a sticker about the lithium ion battery the iPhone contains. Anyone looking at the outside of the box would probably realize immediately that an expensive electronic device, like an iPhone, is inside.

To put this as plainly as I can: for the label to fall off the box, the box would have had to be torn to pieces!

Much to Credo Mobile's credit, by new iPhone 6s arrived as promised and I am making myself acquainted with it. I made sure to have Credo declare the other iPhone lost or stolen and have it blacklisted.

If it was stolen to be sold on eBay, Craigslist or somewhere else, then whoever sold it is going to have their customer coming back to them for a refund pretty quickly.

I wish I could say that this was my first negative experience with UPS, but it isn't. I won't go into details of my previous problems with them. But, there are some companies that I have stopped buying from because they send their merchandise via United Parcel Service and I won't subject myself again to the poor customer service that I have suffered from that company.

At least two companies from whom I've bought goods have told me that many of their customers have also complained about UPS' service quality.

If I could avoid it, I would never again buy from a company that ships by UPS. Unfortunately, that isn't the case, since there are some purchases I need to make for my job and those companies use UPS exclusively.

So, I'm basically fucked when that happens.


Duane Browning
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