This is a story of the worst customer experience I’ve ever witnessed, let alone been part of. It’s a long story but bare with it, as I want to save others from what I’ve been through. You need to hear how UPS are probably the most terrible company I’ve ever dealt with. Read it, share it – help me stop them screwing over the little guy.
To paint a backstory, I was living in Sweden and was in the process of moving back to the UK. I had work items such as my computer that I needed to take back. As the items were valuable and important we decided to go for UPS. They might not have been the cheapest option, but we were under the impression that they were a reputable firm who would take good care of our things.
We wanted to get booked in early, so we tried to arrange the collection 2 weeks before we needed it, but we couldn’t book that early as UPS doesn’t allow it. You can only book with a few days notice, so we waited.
4 days before we wanted the collection, we went back to book again. It took an hour to go through the booking process as the website was extremely difficult to use and threw up a lot of errors, but eventually we got it all done with a collection booked in for the Friday. We needed to print labels for the boxes, but we didn’t have a printer at home, so we decided to print the labels off at our old office 2 days later.
Thursday lunchtime we got all ready to print off the labels, only to find that it wasn’t possible, as you are only allowed to print off labels within 24 hours. It was bizarre. There was no apparent reason. They actually paid developers to implement that feature. There was also no warning of this at any time during the booking process, or when you got to the page to print the labels. If we’d known at the time we could have arranged to print them earlier.
So we phoned up and asked for help. We were told that unfortunately all we could do was void the booking and book it again. It was frustrating, but we went into our booking and began the process of cancelling, only to be shown an error message that ”One or more boxes couldn’t be voided”. So we called again. This time we spoke to David, and he told us that he could rebook our collection for us, and he would also arrange for the driver to bring manual labels we could fill out. Huzzah! We spent the next half an hour on the phone going through all the details of the shipment and were told we could pay by card as requested. We were saved we thought. Thanks David!
Later that day a driver turned up to pick up our packages. We were rather confused as we didn’t have anything booked until the next day, either from our original booking nor the one we had placed over the phone. Nothing was packed so we explained and off he went. It was a simple mistake and we gave them the benefit of the doubt. We didn’t realise how indicative it was of what was to come. We got all our boxes packed up that evening ready for someone to collect them the next day between 10am and 4pm.
On Friday, 3pm rolled around and we were a bit nervous that there was only an hour left of our slot, so we rang to check the status. First off we were told our booking had been cancelled, then that David, our friend from earlier, had put in the wrong address. Then during this first call (of many that afternoon), she hung up on us.
We rang back, yet again, and this time spoke to Ali. He told us that David was wrong and ”must be new” because it is not possible to pay by card if you are using manual labels. He told us, in an incredibly unhelpful and accusative tone, that we would need to print the labels. It took multiple attempts to even get through to him that we didn’t have a printer at home, and it was now getting very late to go somewhere else to print things off. He wouldn’t believe us when we told him you needed a library card (which we did not have) to use the printers at the library.
He then told us to drive to a UPS centre (which we later found out meant Mailboxes etc), and acted horrified when we explained that we didn’t have a car, and that not only would a taxi be very expensive but also that getting 100kg worth of boxes down to a taxi from our apartment would be extremely difficult, especially with my history of having a bad back. There was a reason we booked a pick up after all. I asked to speak to his manager, but he told me that he had no manager and was the highest member of support staff. We were denied.
On top of all that, he was then accusatory and extremely rude. He made my flatmate break down in tears when she was speaking to him by aggressively accusing her of not booking early enough, despite us explaining that we had tried to book 2 weeks earlier, and when I was speaking to him he arrogantly told me that it obviously wasn’t important to us as we couldn’t commit to a collection at 7pm when we had a 7pm dinner reservation for our goodbye dinner which people from all over Sweden had travelled to attend and which we had already pre-booked our meals. At that point I had to hang up.
We were distraught. We had no idea what to do, and how to have our stuff shipped back. It was late Friday afternoon and we were leaving Monday morning. There was no time to arrange for a new pickup or competitor. Moving was already a stressful time, but UPS made our lives so much worse.
Despite having been told that it was cancelled, a UPS pickup driver arrived at our door at 3.45pm. He handed over the labels, but without payment (it turns out you need an account to use them which takes weeks to apply for) he wasn’t going to be able to pick them up. He suggested we call and try to pay over the phone, but we tried and it wasn’t an option. This is where one of the many problems lay - we’d entered our credit card details on the Tuesday, but between the ridiculous label time limit rule and David’s incompetence, we’d lost our chance of using that to get our stuff back.
We decided that there was nothing else we could do but take the packages to the "UPS Store" (Mailboxes Etc - Who were so much better) ourselves. We called the store and they told us UPS collected from them at 6.30pm, so we had to rush as fast as possible to get ready for our night out, book a cab, and lug 7 boxes totalling 100kg from our apartment, down in the lift, out to a taxi, and then into the Mailboxes etc store. I was sweaty and unprepared for my leaving do, but we could make both.
The assistant at the store was very helpful in getting our order processed as soon as possible, and the driver kindly waited until it was finished so he could take all the packages with him. After hours on the phone and the website, and 8 calls with 5 people, we were so relieved. Our packages were finally on their way, and we could relax. You would think that’s the end of our story, so did we – but unfortunately it gets worse.
I received my packages the following Wednesday as I was supposed to, but only to find that my computer was extremely broken. We’re not talking small damages, like a scratch or dent that you might expect from transit, but as if it had been dropped or thrown from a large height and hit something hard like metal to dislodge it. The case was bent, screws were ripped out of their holes, and it was not in good condition at all. It wasn’t even possible to turn it on. The polystyrene casing around it had also been obviously snapped in the same place on both sides. A few other small items in another box were also broken.
I explained to my American contact Christy (who proved to the the only person wanting to help us) about all that happened. She apologised and arranged for the UK support to message me. I got a call eventually telling me I had two choices: Either someone comes to pick up the package, or someone comes to my house and has a look at the damage in situ. I chose the latter. I was told I’d be rung back about arranging a date for them to come over. It never happened.
I was awoken one morning a few days later with a UPS driver saying “I’ve come to pick up your package”. I was confused and explained what I understood was supposed to be happening. He told me that they don’t come around to look at it, only to pick up. I told him he’d pack my computer up as it wasn’t ready, only for him to tell me he couldn’t wait and he’d come back tomorrow, to which I had to tell him he absolutely would not. I wasn’t going to experience any more delays, so I packed it up and he took it away.
After a while of hearing nothing, I had to message them again. I was told that it was on its way back to Sweden as they were the suppliers. I explained that I was in fact the supplier and it wasn’t a delivery from a shop out there. They didn’t understand. I had to fight for it to get sent back to me as it being in Sweden would not allow for anything to happen.
It arrived back today, still broken, and in fact with even more damage done to the box. I was told by UPS that not only would they not honour my claim of lost earnings from being without my computer for so long, but that also I would have to deal with Mailboxes Inc as they were who we had the contract with. UPS are wiping their hands of it, despite us only using Mailboxes because UPS told us to because they let us so badly down. Mailboxes also had no involvement with the shipment whatsoever besides entering the details and taking the payment. UPS were responsible for the handling and delivery.
All I want is my computer fixed after UPS broke it, after they insulted me, after they lost me 2 weeks worth of work time. You would think my case would get escalated and someone would be doing whatever they could to fix this nightmare, but besides Christy, it seems that no-one could care less.
Don’t let UPS screw over the little guy. Don’t support them, and don’t let this happen to other people.
Edit: After 117 Retweets, I got another email. But still feel fobbed off. I'll let you know how it changes.
Edit 2: It's now almost been two months. My computer is still sitting broken - despite having said it's vital to my work. The blame was put onto Mailboxes, Inc. The company we were forced to use by UPS themselves. Mailboxes, Inc. have refunded me for my shipment. However, they now battle UPS over paying for the fix. Two months – and many times hearing "we're sorry" by UPS. I just want them to fix it, but they're content with the knowledge that this has been shared with over 200,000 people who see this behaviour. Not sure what else to say.