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Author Topic: USPS/FedEx/UPS Horror Stories  (Read 4164 times)

Steve Litscher

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USPS/FedEx/UPS Horror Stories
« on: January 26, 2018, 03:21:50 pm »

In light of the "oil on electrical parts" thread and the USPS incident, I wondered if anyone had any truly cringe-worthy experiences with our dutiful couriers here in the States.

I've been fairly lucky... only two incidents come to mind:

1) I sold my first two items via eBay circa 1998 - a pair of Adcom GFA-555 amplifiers. I sold them to a guy on the east coast and prepared them for shipping (I live in Wisconsin). Each amplifier was shipped in its original box, and each original box was double-boxed, with the inner box surrounded by plenty of packing material. The outer boxes were 2-core, heavy duty boxes. 

The guy called me when they arrived and said, "I hate to tell you this, but your amplifiers arrived today, and they are absolutely throttled. I didn't even accept them."

I was shocked and nervous. I had plenty of insurance on them, so I awaited their return. When they got back to me, I couldn't believe my eyes. The outer boxes were completely shredded, with packing material hanging out of them. One of the shipping labels had been re-applied with strips of  duct tape, and the other had massive dark black "burn" marks all over it. There were gashes on the *original* boxes, and one of the GFA's had a huge dent right in the middle of the bottom of it. The other one wouldn't power up...

I filed a claim, and a driver came to pick-up the boxes. He gave me a receipt. After a few weeks, I called to inquire and UPS claimed they never received the amplifiers. We went around-and-around, and I faxed them the claim receipt. They eventually paid me for the amplifiers, but they were never to be seen again. I wonder what ever happened to them both times (the shipping out, and the warranty claim)... I sort of miss them...


2) My friend sent me some photos of a shipwreck he was restoring underwater (he restores shipwrecks in Lake Superior). The envelope arrived with blue footprints/boot prints all over it - like someone stepped in paint and then stomped the life out of the envelope. I took it to the post office because the photos were damaged as a result, and the clerk said, "There's nothing we can do."

I said, "Is it common policy for the USPS to stand in paint and then step on packages?" And the clerk said, "We don't have a policy against it."

HA!! I wish I was making this up....

Got any good ones?

Keith Broughton

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Re: USPS/FedEx/UPS Horror Stories
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2018, 04:47:33 pm »

We shipped so "yeast samples in water"(nudge...nudge..) from Buffalo to S Carolina.
I packed the "samples" myself and used plenty of bubble wrap.
Most were cans.
The courier sent info back to us that the package was "un deliverable".
We have not seen the package and suspect someone opened  it 'cause even if it were dropped from the back of a truck, I know it would have survived.
Claim made, awaiting payment.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: USPS/FedEx/UPS Horror Stories
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2018, 04:59:13 pm »

Anyone who has been in business for any duration has horror stories about shipping problems with all carriers. Over the decades they kind of blur together, but there is probably a special room in hell for postal workers while I expect some of it is institutional. 

I have a (personal) problem with the PO (USPS) that is a little convoluted so try to follow along.

I live in a really small town so could just about get mail addressed to my first name, but the PO workers are sticklers for following rules. I live literally across the street from my local PO and when I bought my house I inherited my PO box. I get street delivery to my house of parcels from UPS/FEDEX/even LTL shipments.... but as far as the USPS is concerned my street address does not exist... In fact it didn't when I first moved here over 30 years ago. The 911(?) street address registry only issued me a formal 4 digit street address a couple decades ago (and I dutifully put house numbers on my house) but here comes the catch-22, gotcha. Shippers do not use the 911 database to verify street addresses but instead license the USPS address database to save cost, 

I have some websites tell me my street address isn't real when I try to enter it, while simultaneously they decline to ship to PO boxes. I traced one such issue all the way back to UPS that admitted using the USPS database and suggesting I talk to them.  Have you ever tried to get the PO to do something different???

I am not alone with a bunch of neighbors who have the same exact problem.

I have a couple fun examples of how this has bitten me.

Just a few weeks ago I got a termination notice that my house insurance was being cancelled for non payment. I didn't connect the dots at first because I have had this policy for some 30 years, so i cut a check and sent it off. I finally realized that the address of record used by the insurance company was my street address that the PO does not recognize, while it did for the last 30 friggin years, and did manage to give me my policy cancellation notice.  OK that one I could fix, I called my insurance agent and got them to send paperwork to my PO box, but you have to realize you have problem before you can fix it, and I simultaneously get junk mail from that same insurance company addressed to my PO box so after 30 years I thought I was OK.????

Same problem (sort of) but a couple decades ago.... When I first moved here 30 years ago I paid my tax bill like clockwork every year, but since I was new here I didn't realize there was a different town and county tax bill. After several years of me not paying my county taxes, because I never received any bill, I did receive an auction notice that my house was up for sale due to nonpayment of taxes. WTF....   And why could I get the auction notice in my PO box, but no tax bills...... ?

I did my best imitation of a calm person and went to the county assessor's office with check in hand to prevent my house selling at auction.  :o   

But the USPS IMO "should" recognize box holders street address and give me my damn mail.

It gets kind of twisted when the USPS partners with FEDEX or UPS to make last mile (across the street) deliveries... The postal workers always give me crap for not using my po box on all addresses, while I had a vendor today refuse to accept a po box address on an order. It's also amusing when I get an email that my package has been delivered, when they dropped it off at the PO instead, so I need to know to go there to get it, or I'll find it the next morning with my regular mail. That used to happen with my running shoe orders all the time. 

Catch-22....     Maybe I need to hire a lobbyist to beat on congress, to beat on USPS management...  8) I could stick a physical mailbox at the end of my driveway and force them to deliver mail to me (across the street from their driveway), but I like the PO box... Back while I was working at peavey I could get my daily newspaper from my PO box at 7:30AM and read the front page before driving to work (8 miles up the road). Of course now I am lucky to get the box mail by 10am. 

JR

PS: I just googled my address for street view and they were close, only a couple houses up the road... In the past they have missed by several miles. Sometimes I get confused phone calls from new package delivery drivers who were vectored miles away by the bad database info.

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Lee Douglas

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Re: USPS/FedEx/UPS Horror Stories
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2018, 05:38:47 pm »

I had a demo amp from Butler Amplification (5K MSRP) that I needed to I needed to send back.  Had an actual DHL rep in my office walking my secretary through their shipping process.  I commented to the DHL rep, as I walked by, to be sure that this shipment was insured for $5000.  Guess what got lost?  The DHL rep didn't insure the shipment, like I told him to.  Guess who got to pay for all but $200 (the standard coverage) to replace that amp.  I'll never use DHL again, for that one. 
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: USPS/FedEx/UPS Horror Stories
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2018, 05:54:03 pm »

When it absolutely, positively had to be there yesterday. . .  ;D ;D

SNL
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: USPS/FedEx/UPS Horror Stories
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2018, 06:16:44 pm »

As much as we like to bash on the USPS, it is one of the fastest, most reliable governmental or quasi-governmental delivery services in the world.

I can send a letter across the country for $0.47 and be reasonably confident that it will be there in 2 or 3 days.

I can send it just across the border into Canada, and the recipient MIGHT get it next month.
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Steve Crump

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Re: USPS/FedEx/UPS Horror Stories
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2018, 09:31:09 pm »

I sold a Evox 8 on eBay not long ago. My wife went the UPS store and told them the size and weight of the item to be shipped. They sold her all the packaging. The speaker was basically new, I used it maybe 4 times. I packaged and shipped from GA to AZ. The buyer contacted me when he received the package and said that it looked like it had been through a tornado. The packaging was torn all to hell and the speaker had cosmetic damage. He emailed pictures to me. He said when UPS dropped it off the driver acted like he could barely tote it. The buyer said he could make the repairs, but wanted a discount because of the damage. I contacted UPS, they sent a person to asses the damage, they told the buyer that they had to carry it back to the center and would be in touch. The next thing I know it is back at my shop, beat all to heck. UPS emailed me that they were denying the claim because the proper packaging was not used. I called the claims number and told the UPS rep that their retail store had provided all the packaging, so I got put on hold and then ask what will it cost to repair the speaker. They offered me $100. I painted the damage and still have the speaker and have learned I am not a shipper.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: USPS/FedEx/UPS Horror Stories
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2018, 10:13:06 pm »

I sold a Evox 8 on eBay not long ago. My wife went the UPS store and told them the size and weight of the item to be shipped. They sold her all the packaging. The speaker was basically new, I used it maybe 4 times. I packaged and shipped from GA to AZ. The buyer contacted me when he received the package and said that it looked like it had been through a tornado. The packaging was torn all to hell and the speaker had cosmetic damage. He emailed pictures to me. He said when UPS dropped it off the driver acted like he could barely tote it. The buyer said he could make the repairs, but wanted a discount because of the damage. I contacted UPS, they sent a person to asses the damage, they told the buyer that they had to carry it back to the center and would be in touch. The next thing I know it is back at my shop, beat all to heck. UPS emailed me that they were denying the claim because the proper packaging was not used. I called the claims number and told the UPS rep that their retail store had provided all the packaging, so I got put on hold and then ask what will it cost to repair the speaker. They offered me $100. I painted the damage and still have the speaker and have learned I am not a shipper.

The UPS stores area franchises.  They have no clue how to pack heavy items, across the country I have had about a 10% success rate.  The cool thing is they have to carry their own insurance.  If it is not packed to UPS specs they pay very quickly.  It's just hard to get the owners to start the process.  A call to corporate and clear documentation that the standards are not met usually greases the wheels.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: USPS/FedEx/UPS Horror Stories
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2018, 10:46:28 pm »

I spent 5 years sorting packages for UPS many years ago-I understand the frustration when a package gets damaged-but I've also been on the other side trying to get stuff routed quickly and with proper care.  We routinely corrected wrong zip codes/state abbreviations, etc-and routinely repaired poor packaging. 

The blue paint scenario?  Another shipper probably shipped paint incorrectly packaged-or maybe there was a malfunction/mistake?  Now you have blue paint on the floor and in trying to deal with it you step on it and accidentally on a package (I tried to avoid it and we did our best-but it happens-anything over get out of control in audio land?).  At this point,no matter how bad I feel what can I do?  Ideally,you apologize to the recipient-but you probably never get to see them.

We handled over 120,000 packages in a 3 hour shift.  At a "failure" rate of .01%, that's still 12 packages a shift -and thats one shift of several at one hub of dozens.  I wish they were perfect....

Recently I had a next day air package that didn't make next day.  We had a machine down and I paid almost as much for NDA as the part cost.  It was frustrating-and it took a phone call or 2, but in the end I didn't pay for service I didn't receive.
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Brian Adams

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Re: USPS/FedEx/UPS Horror Stories
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2018, 11:16:54 pm »

Not damage related, but a couple years ago my girlfriends son ordered something fairly expensive (for him) from Amazon, using his own money. Shipped to the house via USPS. Amazon sends tracking information, and my girlfriend and her son watch its progress. After a few days they see that it's in town awaiting delivery, and he's excited to get his new stuff. Then the tracking shows that it's going to a forwarding address, at the customers request, which we of course didn't request. But, get this, after contacting the post office, the forwarding address is the same address as our house, the original address. OK, fine, it'll come back around in a few days. Then the same thing happens again. It's just about to be delivered, but at the last minute it's forwarded to the same address. Again. So we talk to the post office, and they're sorry, they'll try to get it right next time. Then it happens for a third time! So we talk the the post office again, it's been 3 weeks and the package hasn't been delivered because for some reason it's being forwarded to the same address and no one can tell us why, other than that the delivery guy maybe isn't the best.

Eventually, after almost a month, one of the women who works at the post office delivers the package to us. After her shift. She's off the clock, and in her personal vehicle. She apologizes profusely, telling us that one of the guys that works there is an idiot, and this should have never happened, even though it happens all the time with that guy. Within a week he's off our route. I feel bad for whoever got him, but at least he's not delivering (and repeatedly not delivering) to our house anymore. I'm not sure he works for the post office anymore (at least I hope he doesn't).

But at least the package got here in good condition.
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