UPS: Tracking and Customer Service Failure

Photo by William J.Image via Wikipedia

Recently I ranted about UPS’s delays and customer service level – oh, boy, little did I know then just how bad UPS Customer Service can really get.

Four out of five packages I dropped off at the same UPS store a 2 weeks ago still showed “Billing Information Received” status a week later.   In UPS lingo this means the shipping label was created, but the package was never received by the company.  There’s nothing to track, as far as UPS is concerned, the package really doesn’t exist.  This was what the Customer Service agent repeatedly told me anyway, further explaining that the only way  this could have happened if I either did not send the packages at all, or did not properly attach the labels.

Of course she did not have an explanation on how the fifth package safely arrived in the meantime – after all, I did not dropped them off at UPS according to her theory.  If it’s not in the system, it doesn’t exist. Only when I asked her if she was accusing me of lying did she change tone, and recommended we put a tracer on the lost packages. Since these were returns to ShoeBuy  using their return labels, they were considered the shipper, not me, so they had to initiate the trace.

ShoeBuy is a company with amazingly good Customer Service – since Zappos is often referred to as to epitome of Customer Service, let’s just say ShoeBuy is like Zappos, often with lower prices.smile_regular They picked up my email immediately, and they probably carry some weight with UPS, since the non-existent packages were found in no time.  The tracking information below tells the whole story:

The packages never entered UPS’s tracking system, there’s no sign whatsoever that I ever sent them from California, yet they miraculously showed up at the destination, ready for delivery upon ShoeBuy’s inquiry.  So much for the rock-solid tracking system…I understand the first step, i.e  a UPS store clerk forgetting to scan the received packages, which then got loaded on the truck anyway, but how were  4 packages then able to bypass all further stages of scanning?

But let’s finish this post on a positive note: it’s a story of good Customer Service, after all – just not by UPS.  ShoeBuy, upon finding what happened, immediately refunded my money, before they even received the packages from UPS.  Wow!  They know something about keeping customers happy.smile_regular

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  1. DUHHH!!!!!!!!! says

    RS and ARS labels dont get scanned because new employees dont know that they are actually real labels. where in the building they use similar ones that for bulk items. so before you go blaming the company just think how a person(s) mistake can make a whole thing look worse(because you know you get shity people no matter what company you deal with it the luck of the drawl)

    • DUHHH to you says

      Luck of the DRAW, I think you mean. The internet is slowly killing the English language.

  2. I am in the midst of a similar experience. I shipped a handheld PDA through a UPS store, and shipped 200 miles via UPS Ground to my daughte at Texas A&M in south Texas. Delivery was promised by Thursday @ 7 pm, as she needed it for a Friday class. But it was never scanned into the system in the Dallas area on Wednesday, then after being “lost” for about 30 hours, it miraculously turned up via UPS’ first scan in MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA! UPS officials are at a loss to explain how an unscanned package can “stowaway” and end up 1000 miles away. The package is now scheduled for Saturday delivery via UPS air from Alabama, but there is NO EXCUSE for this package to have ever left the state of Texas! Ridiculous!!!

  3. I am so sick of UPS losing packages and sending me bills for packages that were PREPAID!!! Obviously, their management team is made up of total idiots.
    I sent 3 packages out on July 8th. 2 of them arrived on time but the 3rd is still missing in action, and I was told this morning that I can’t file my claim loss because I don’t have the original invoice. Well, when I placed the call to have these packages picked up, I was told that the driver would have the proper forms on the truck for me to fill out.
    Again, management should have made sure that the trucks were fully stocked with the NECESSARY materials needed to do the job but of course the driver did not have what was needed. He told me to simply write all of the address information on the boxes and that someone from the terminal would call later that evening with the tracking numbers. I have a tracking number that simply says “Exception” when you pull it up on the website.

    UPS-WHAT A JOKE It’s too bad that they put BullSh*t as their main priority.

  4. The problem is that this 100 year old company is a monopoly. If you work at the hub (where packages are sorted) you’ll find outside of supervisors most workers are like drones. And the union is “not” really any help…they will only spend money if they can make a 2/3 roi. So if customer service sucks, that’s because the workplace is like a plantation!

  5. How does a parcel get shipped without scans still get delivered? Simple! It just means that the humans who sorted it failed to scan it when they moved it, but that they still made the right delivery decisions. In this case, the package was likely merrily on its way to its destination (or already there) and was updated manually after the fact so you could click on a webpage and be happy. In fact here’s betting it was updated so quickly because it was already at shoebuy!!

    On a seperate note, a 7 day ground delivery from CA to MA doesn’t seem slow to me… I’d be surprised if the return label was for anything but the slowest service possible, if I were shoebuy I know I wouldn’t be in a rush to get your returns…

  6. Paul, I agree, UPS personnel made the right decisions…but this, and other incidents I read make me wonder if they easily fall back to secondary (manual) method since they got used to not trusting the system.

    My next mishandled UPS delivery just three weeks later was a lot worse:

    – From NY it went to Southern CA instead of Northern CA.
    – Traveled in the LA area for 2 days
    – Next week showed up in Sacramento in instead of the SF area.
    – I started calling UPS, they saw something was wrong, but again told me I had to get the vendor initiate a trace.
    – While waiting for that, two days later the package showed up in Vancouver, WA.
    – Next day it showed “out for delivery” status, which was completely impossible. Called UPS, who confirmed I should believe the status, pkg. would get all the way down here by the evening.
    – few hours later they woke up, updated status and took two more days to bring it down here.

    Bottom line: the package was traveling around in CA and WA for 9 additional days AFTER it arrived to CA, and after UPS was told several times it was going the wrong way.

  7. All 5 of my online purchased from different vendors in the month of august have had no UPS tracking updates beyond the label information received.

    It appears that UPS has a new policy to simply ignore tracking (at least for ground parcels). USPS generally does the same thing, showing the label creation and not updating tracking except to show when a package has been received. Highly annoying.

    • UPSucksnFedExcretes says

      It's been my experience in the past three months that none of the shippers USPS, UPS or FedEx show an estimated delivery date at all any more. Kind of makes the tracking number pointless in my bookd.

    • I had a package shipped this past Monday, March 5th and still the online tracking site just says "label created" – should I be worried?? Thanks.

  8. How about UPS delivering my package that never left my desk!?!! I cancelled my shipment and pickup requests. Seven days later it shows my package arrived; they even have a signature!! The UPS supervisor “called the company” that signed for the package, and the company said I returned both items I ordered. Ha! I was only returning one item that still sits at my desk! The company I work for ‘used’ (past tense) UPS services for the nine years I’ve been there. I am the one who processed the shipments. Now Fed Ex, or any one else, has our business! It is very obvious to me that UPS has tracking issues and absolutely poor customer service!

  9. 😕 UPS is the worst shipping company I have ever dealt with. I too had a recent delivery shipped to me and there was no tracking to be found then shows up. In addition, their service has gone down hill over the years and these employees who deliver call themselves good union employees.

  10. i recently bought a pair of shorts from oldnavy and it was shipped by UPS.the arrival date was set for tuesday and i placed it on the stated that ever since the 22 it has been in new jersey and today is the 26i called and complained and the bitch had the nerve to say it was probably lost.come on man if the bitch had to say that then there must have been billions of lost packages.they really suck balls

  11. I paid for overnight shipping of a law book I needed for the following week. When the book didn’t arrive, I called the company. The book had been returned to the company because supposedly no one was home to receive the book. To the best of my memory, not only was I at home, but so was my husband.
    The driver did not leave a note that he had attempted delivery nor did he leave the package with a neighbor, as is customary.
    BUT, the best part is, when I tried to file a complaint with UPS, “Juan”, informed me that there was no way to file a complaint because the driver did not leave a package. When I was requested a supervisor, I was put on hold, and lo and behold! the line went dead.
    I would be an idiot to use UPS again for anything.

  12. I recently have such big ordeal due to UPS poor&silly system, too.
    I visited a UPS store in Houston last Sat to send a package containing Christian Dior consmetics of $700 bucks to a customer in San Antonio, TX.
    That was actually asked by my aunt working for CD.
    The customer is a regular customer of her, and she used to send her packages thru USPS.
    BUt it was saturday afternoon, so I chose to use UPS.
    I didn’t know what would happen..
    More than a week pasted, the customer informed aunt the fact she hadn’t received it yet.
    I checked the printed label receipt of UPS.OMG!!!
    The street name&zip code..I haven’t written on the form.
    Well, not chekcing carefully what the UPS clerk typed into their system is my fault.
    However, who might think the professional clerk of world-wide company type the information totally wrong?!
    Not even mistyped some letters, though…
    My aunt didn’t want to buy insurance on it as she has never had problems with her packages so far over 10 yrs.
    The trash (who got the package) not reporting the misplaced parcel should be blamed and go to hell. However, UPS should be the first to be blamed and they should go out of business!!!!
    We still waiting for UPS store’s answer, but they told me they are going to compensate for us only 110 bucks through the clam ㅠㅠ
    I should make up 700 dllrs for my aunt…ㅠㅠ
    I and my husband are having a serious financial diffculty due to his bankruptcy…what a bad luck it is… ㅠㅠ

  13. I work for usps customer service and its not the agents fault that they couldnt find your package. Its the post office, if its not express mail they dont have to scan the package at the post office. They only do that as a courtesy. Plus you cant track a package while its enroute to a post office or destination. The customer service people only document, they are not apart of the resolution process.

    K THNX

  14. Britton,

    We’re talking about UPS here, not USPS 🙂

  15. I have been waiting on a package that was originally to be delivered yesterday. I was wondering where it was, so I checked and it was two hours away for me and so, I figured, SURELY, it would arrive today, so I patiently waited. It didn’t arrive today, so I checked to see what the deal is and notice that the delivery time had been rescheduled for today, but alas, it never arrived. Why, you ask? Well, even tho, it was only two hours away from me yesterday and due to arrive today, it somehow, mysteriously ended up in TN, which is 7 hours away!!! How could it end up even further away from me??? So, I guess, it won’t even get here tomorrow, even…there must be some serious ‘tards employed at UPS….

  16. Bill Blaylock says

    UPS has become worse than the US Post Office. They take forever, can not track packages, won’t stand behind their own insurance when they damage a product and customer service is useless or worse. I have 4 nightmares in the last 2 months and all are from UPS failure to perform.
    I do not know if they are union and this is the result of union worker slow downs. But in 6 months they went from a reliable company to total disaster. I will refuse to purchase anything shipped via UPS – from now on it is Fed Ex or I will buy it locally

  17. ups sucks!! I live in an apartment and twice i’ve had things shipped via ups instead of trying to deliver the merchandise to my door the lazy asses dropped the stuff off in the blows.

  18. the same thing happen to me many times, too. and shipment got return. so as the USPS and FedEx, too. How can we make them to do the services?

  19. I got a package via UPS today, but it was supposed to be delivered to another address. I tried calling UPS twice, got nowhere. What, once it’s delivered it’s no longer their problem? It certainly isn’t my problem either. Looks like whatever is in the box is now mine.

    • Mississippi Mama says

      I had the same thing happen to me three times, the first time they delivered packages to my home i tried calling their cust serv i got a disconnect line, busy signal, and electronic operator which did not give the option of cust serv. Then a cust serv line that said they were all in a meeting. So I kept trying for hours and finally got an actual person and i explained to him that they delivered thirty-three packages to me including industrial supplies and sixteen five gallon buckets which are extremly heavy, and taking up half my garage which was blocking me from parking in my gararge, he told me the only way they could pick them up was if i would lift each package and read the tracking number, i explained to him that i am a five foot one inch, hundred and five pound women and i can not lift these boxes, he told well that’s the only way they could pick them up. So i had to call the company who the packages belong to and they sent someone from there company in KS to pick the items up.

  20. Terri, I guess they expect you to personally drop the package off at their location….since it’s their fault, we should inconvenience ourselves to fix it. Lol…

    • Mississippi Mama says

      Chris, I have even had to do that because they would not pick up the packages, but i don’t live near one of there distribution centers so i just drop it off at the post office.

  21. OMG!!! That’s ridiculous, that they won’t pick the flippin packages back up….incredible….


  22. I have had the worst experience with UPS over the last month. I ordered an arcade stick from play-asia. It arriced after a week (im in New Zealand)but the box was broken aswell as the stick inside it. I emailed UPS. was asked to take pics and was given a timeframe of 8-10 days for them to make a decision. After 12 days I rung. They read me the report that was sent to manager from my pics. It was totally incorrect. So I had to wait again. today it has been 21 days and I get a call saying it is a fault with the stick (yea thats why the outer box is totally crushed on the same side a!) what a joke. On top of this I was told over and over that people would call me back but they never did so I had to keep calling them (only once a day on days after the day they said they would call me) and then they accused me of being to angry and telling me I am calling them too much!?
    So they have copped out and will not replace the stick.
    Lucky I ordered from the amazing play-asia who have sent a replacment stick now even though it is clearly not their fault.

  23. I had ordered a Jersey on the 21st, it was shipped on the 23rd, but the status remains on Billing Information Recieved. I ordered it last week so that I can wear it for the Superbowl but from what it seems, it isn't happening. It was suppose to be 3-5 days delivery. It isn't the fact that it has not arrived yet, its the tracking that gets me mad, I would just like to know when I'll recieve it although its already late.

  24. I'm sure no one plans to fail, many of you fail to plan, and need someone to blame for your mistake. misery love company .Daniel 3-5 BUSINESS DAYS. If the package was shipped on the 23rd (Friday) you can expect Delivery on Monday 2-2-09. Simple if you need a package before a certain date Ship at a faster service I really like this site

  25. MAD CUSTOMER says

    US MAIL far out does UPS in Customer Service, UPS should cleans the company of inept management ( NOT DRIVERS) and start over with high scholl drop outs..

    Asked these jerk offs to check some flowers being deloivered today to confirm the address
    and person flowers were going to only to find address is correct, but person it was goiung to
    is not being shown, there are 500 employees that work at this location..even though I have
    confirmation from my shipper that both address and recipent are shown..

    So you think UPS would resolve this no way.. CUST. SERVICE SUPERVISOR AT 800 742 5877
    to add persons name and he indicated he could not do it…interesting since all trucks are computerized…..

    I'm so pissed I cannot even finsih this message without destroying my computer..

    A word to the wise do not use UPS.

    • JR Reidd says

      I agree they completely suck. They have now botched two 2 day shipments in two weeks, and the most frustrating part is talking to the morons that work there..they know absolutely nothing. I am done with them, I switch to fedex immediately and even if they're not better at least I'll know I'm not using UPS anymore…begone with the idiots.


    I ordered a part for my motorcycle on Wed morning, they shipped it 2 day air, so it should have been here on Friday. Well I have been home all day waiting for delivery, did it happend, no. I called customer service tonight, said they had until 11pm to deliver it. Well here it is 11:38 pm, no package. He, also told me that if the item didn’t show up, then it would be delivered on Monday, so will I get my shipping fee back that I had to pay? I said how about Sat, sorry he said, but you didn’t have it delivered by air on Sat.
    I asked for the distrubution center manager number or district number, sorry nothing.
    This really P!$$’S me off. I will from now on, tell all vendors I deal with to either have things delivered by FEDX or DHL, or won’t do business with them again.

    Last but not least, the web site still shows, In transit, and has been since 9 AM, shows destination scan at 0700.

  27. deborah Liza says

    OMG !!! Can you please tell the manager at the 144 north 7th st. in williamsburg brooklyn he needs to learn the meaning of customer service! The success of a bussiness relies on it !!! He was on such a power struggle with me , he actually terminated my mailbox. This is fine because i was receiving other customers important mail in my personal mail box!! Around the corner champion wireless offers 60 dolllars less on the price and better service !!! Good luck UPS , with this guy on your side , its impossible to maximize profitability !

  28. UPS shipped my package from Colorado to California on 12/16.

    My package has been to Salt Lake, Sacramento and back to Colorado…. on it’s way back to California and stuck somewhere in Salt Lake AGAIN since 12/23.

    I will never ship via UPS again.

  29. Tuan Ton that says

    Just track my shipping

  30. USPS uses UPS to ship packages.

    So who else is there?

  31. EDWARD
    i recently sent a printer to ca. The customer called and said the top corner was smashed, because someone dropped it. I called ups and told them I had a damage claim. Normally ups covers damaged items for $100.00.So ten days went by ,and I called customer service.They told me the item was not packaged correctly, and denied the claim.The printer was double boxed,and packed correctly. This is a good way to save money for ups,they do this so often,and someone should check into these cheaters.Iwill never ship anything ups again.

  32. For of you complaining about the UPS Store messing up and then blaiming UPS, you should get your facts straight. UPS Store is a completely separate company from UPS. UPS Store pays UPS to be able to use the name, and they schedule nightly pickups from UPS. That is their only affiliation. UPS Store clerks do not have the ability to scan a package only the driver who picks it up can. For people who said it went days without a scan when you shipped it cross country, that is because it travels by train when it is long distances. When it is on the train it only gets scanned when it goes to the train and when it is taken off.

    The trucks are not computerized for whoever said that. They have a tablet that has the ability to read labels, clock work time, and receive messages from the center.

    And yes when you as a company are responsible for a million+ packages at once, some of the idiot hourly workers do sort them wrong. And yes they do keep track of that and it goes on the supervisors record and can hurt them for promotions.

  33. Very Upset Customer says

    It is a shame to know UPS do not keep records after 6 months. In this case, customer should be very careful. I think this is not the type of service the community needs. The location on Hooper Avenue in Toms RIver, do not give you a tracking slip when you drop you package off and you are left on the wrong end if you package do not reach its destination and if you need to track it a year later, you are doomed! This is very bad business.

    I would never use UPS ever. Not good for customers.

  34. marie marotta says

    i recently shipped a printer from my college to home. when i received it i and it was damaged. i contacted ups and the ups driver said they will contact us once they inspected it. he gave me a tracking number. now i tracked the number and instead of reimbursing me for the damaged printer they delivered it back to the ups store and no one knows anything about it. what good is it insuring the package. I will never ship ups again. i am writing this for my granddaughter.

  35. ARS Label / Drop Off Packages: When you decided to use a Pre-paid label BEWARE the consequences! Bought something at online store and returned the items back to them using their ARS Label. Brought it to UPS Store the associate scanned in the package and stack them with the rest of the other packages waiting for UPS driver to pick up. After 2 weeks I contacted the online store and they emailed me back and said to check back later. It has been over 2 months now.That cost me $375.00 Finally, Iearned from my local UPS Store that everytime you USED those ARS label I void my right to that package but yet I am still responsible until the company said that they have received the pacakge. Almost always ARS label ONLY cover your item up to $100 (the standard UPS coverage for lost and damage). And the only person you can initiate any investigation for lost or damage package is the owner of that UPS Acc#. just like Zoli mentioned. In my case is the online store; doubt that they will do any investigation or refund my $$$$. Pt1

  36. I have had issues with UPS only recently, but upon yahoo and google searches of UPS sucks, etc.. I am in awe. The most irritating aspect of all of these sites is a response from UPS employees. The complete cop out and Pass The Buck attitude epitomizes the entire corporation and their so called affiliates who "pay to use the UPS name". Their customer service agents and supervisors are a shameful horrid cancer that is slowly but surely eating this company from the inside out. Because of this company's size and age it may take longer to self destruct than most of us would hope for, but total destruction seems the only logical destination. On a brighter note, present and future companies will have a model of infinite 'what not to dos when dealing with your customer(s).

  37. Susan Sargent says

    I have spent the entire evening on the phone with UPS. First they said they did not need to make the 7 PM deadline package was to arrive today..then at 8PM they updated the system to say it was not coming till Monday.. Shame on Nordstroms or anyone who ships UPS. I will never never again buy from merchant that ships UPS. Meanwhile my daughter gift took from the 14th to the 25th of April to arrive..That is if it arrive on the 25thh.. Boycott merchants who use UPS

  38. Grunting says

    I ordered an air compressor (not the can version, but an actual machine) for home use to clean out my computer, and that was on the 9th. My shipping date was suppose to be for today, and when I went to check the tracking when I was first notified via email. Logged into my online store account clicked the ups tracking link and all I see is:

    “A UPS shipping label has been created. Once the shipment arrives at our facility, the tracking status–including the scheduled delivery date–will be updated.

    Label Created On:


    No updates what so ever. I’m going to try and avoid any UPS shipping be it ordering from an online store or shipping a thing.

  39. And the saga continues for those of us stupid enough to even believe UPS might clean up their act. I have made 5 attempts to get packages picked up from my apartment to return to and I keep getting notes and voicemail messages from the drivers that either my buzzer doesn't work or I haven't been home. Both are complete LIES. My scheduled pickup times have been from 6pm to 9pm and the driver in my area is usually on his route closer to 4-5pm which must be when he is leaving me notes and voicemails. The VM was time stamped at 5:25pm. So, I know he is just trying to wrap up his shift and avoid getting my packages when I've requested. When I called UPS about the pickups, they said they could not find the information. I made two pickup requests online and two over the phone just to see if there would be any change in behavior. I was told on my fifth call this evening that the local call center would call me within an hour of my call. Well, as you might guess – NADA. When I called the 800 number I had to get supervisor on the phone who in turn told me the all the drivers for the center had gone home – and it was 8:45 pm. I subsequently found out that the call center is in Central America so there isn't much they can do to help with local issues if the local center isn't responding. Is this company for real?!

  40. I used to think they were good (compared to the Post Office!) Now they seem to be competing with the PO. I’ve watched a pkg tracked for 4 days now, back and forth between Houston and Stafford, TX. 10 miles for Pete’s sake! Great weather for over a week now…

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