On Monday June 2, UPS attempted to deliver a package to my home. It was from the US (I live in Canada), so there was an import charge and sales tax to pay, and as I was not there to present a credit card, they left a note. Fair enough.
So I wrote a note asking the driver to call me to get a CC number or to tell me where to pick up the package, and stuck it under their notice on my door. Next day, no call. I suppose I should not be surprised, I already knew that their customer service sucked. So I called the customer service number later in the afternoon to figure out where the package might be so I could go pick it up. I find out that the depot handling our area is in a little town about .5 hour drive away. That depot isn't in their online database of locations, AT ALL. I checked several different ways. But customer service did some digging and said that it's in Hanover, even though officially their system says that my area is in fact serviced from a different city 1 hour away (Owen Sound). It's a nice day, so I don't care - I decide to go to Hanover to pay for and pick up my package.
On my way there, I check the UPS app on my iPhone, and a brand new entry says "Owen Sound, The receiver has requested that we hold the packaged for a future delivery date." Which is NOT what I requested, I requested a call with information about where to pick up the package - NOT the same thing. Nonetheless, clearly the driver interpreted "pick-up" as code for "do nothing and let the customer sort it out", and decided to return the package, but to Owen Sound.
So I make a left at the next rural highway, and head instead to Owen Sound.
Owen Sound was more than the anticipated 30 additional minutes away, and after my GPS running me to the wrong address, then calling to find out the actual address and having difficulty getting there (despite GPS), I arrive at the depot at 6:45pm. The lovely and friendly woman there tells me that the package is, of course, in Hanover. That UPS services Kincardine from Hanover, not from Owen Sound. That this has been true for about 4 years or more, and that the manager at the Owen Sound location regularly asks when are they going to fix the data in the system that keeps sending people from Kincardine all the way up to Owen Sound when it's actually serviced out of Hanover.
She's nice, but there's still no package. Awesome. So I call the CS number. A very friendly man answers and tells me that there's nothing he can do. And that he can't reschedule delivery for the following day because it's after 7pm. Getting annoyed, I say that it's their screw-up and so they should compensate me for my trouble, and I ask them to drop the brokerage fee. He says he can't do it all, but he can more than cut it in half and discount me $10. I was shocked enough that he would do that much that I took it rather than ask for $15. I was half-way to pleased that they did that. Further, he called the depot in Owen Sound and they committed to ensure that the package would go out on the truck the following day. I was actually starting to think that they had good CS - the recognized when they screwed up and compensated the customer. Nice.
So now it's Wednesday (today). Not really trusting them, I called in again to validate that they did in fact put my package on the truck. They say no, at first, because the delivery info in the system hadn't been updated, though the case notes for my call-ins HAD been updated. So they called the depot while I waited on hold, came back and said "Yes, the package will be delivered today. The estimated time of delivery is 5:15 pm."
I'm happy. The computer stuff I ordered will keep me busy this evening. Great. Awesome.
So I get home at 5:00, and I wait. 5:15 comes and goes. 5:30 comes and goes. My joy has turned to ashes, as it dawns on me that they screwed up. Again. Finally, at 5:40 I decide to call the depot to ask what happened to my package. They check and say, of course, no, the package did not go on the truck, the system says so. I ask them to call the depot, which they do. The get back to me and say that they couldn't raise the depot, so they put in an urgent message and guarantee that I will get an update call within the hour.
I wait. 6:20 comes and goes and I can't wait any longer because I don't trust them any more. They give me the runaround as usual, then tell me I have to wait until 6:40, because that's the commitment time. That's one hour after they sent out the urgent message. I don't like it, but that's fair, so I wait. 6:40 comes and goes. 6:50 comes and goes. 7:05 comes and goes and I call in AGAIN. The person I get can't help me. She can't call anyone. She can't get me the package. She can't do anything. Now I have officially begun to lose my cool. I start venting - no package yesterday, no-one called, can't pick it up because no-one called and now it's too late anyway so even if I wanted to do the drive I can't get it, what are you going to do about it. She refunded me the rest of the brokerage fee AND the taxes, but can't do anything else. I thanked her for that and asked for a manager, because I want my package.
So she puts me on hold. I suspect that they put you on hold and literally get up and go look for a manager. It's not like they have a separate call *** for escalated calls. While she does that I wait, on hold, for a manager, for over 20 minutes. No check-ins to see how I'm doing, nothing. Then, insult of insults, the f'ing system hangs up on me because I've been on hold too long.
So I call in again. I demand to speak to a manager, and no, I will not tell you why thank you very much. It takes 3 rounds of negotiating with the front liner, and telling him that I've already been put on hold for a manager, then hung up on, before he commits to escalating. He also commits to checking in on my call every few minutes to ensure I don't get cut off, which I have to admit, he did.
In fact, I would like to take a moment to say that almost everyone I encountered up to this point tried to be helpful, and really did understand my frustration. The problem over at UPS is systemic, not due to poor CS reps or bad training. They were really nice, professional, and when they COULD do something to help me, they DID it. It's just that UPS is really bad at logistics, and as an organization don't really give a *** about their customers. That lack of care is illustrated not by their friendly reps, but by the way their system and processes are set up to push all the liability of their poor service BACK onto the customer.
It took another 20 minutes to get a manager, but I did, thanks to the nice front liner who did check in every 3-4 minutes and ensure I was still there.
The manager is where my care really goes down hill. He is polite the entire time he tells me there's nothing he, his manager, or GOD can do for me. He very politely apologizes for my troubles, and tells me the package will be delivered tomorrow.
This I don't want to hear. If they'd not had their heads up their ***, they would have known where my package was, told me the correct information rather than a string of BS (not any one person's fault, a fault of the company's systems, database and internal communications. I mean, why don't they know that the Hanover depot services my area, and not Owen Sound?) then I could have driven to Hanover and picked it up. Not that I relish driving for over an hour, and using MY gas money, but at least then I'd be putting my new computer together now instead of writing this scathing rebuke of all things UPS.
So now I'm pissed. I put this evening aside specifically to work on this computer, KNOWING that my parts would be here. You know how I know? Because THEY TOLD ME SO, ONNA PHONE!
Why can't I just reschedule my life so that I have the time tomorrow, you may ask? Funny you should ask. If I didn't have to go back to Toronto for the weekend tomorrow afternoon, then I could. See, I was supposed to be able to have my parts on Monday, but that didn't work. I was supposed to have my parts on Tuesday, but they screwed that up. Now I'm supposed to have them tonight, but they screwed that up too. Just how many times am I supposed to "reschedule" to accommodate their screw-ups?
This is my logic. I believe in it. The manager, however, didn't give a ***. He just patiently said the same thing over and over and over, like a broken record. I'm very sorry Mr Mason, we will deliver it tomorrow.
So I ask, "Really? And what compensation do I get for you screwing up my evening?" "We'll compensate you by delivering it tomorrow." "Seriously? You'd deliver it tomorrow if it was ME who messed up and hadn't paid first, or whatever. What do I get for my lost time?" "We'll deliver it tomorrow." "Really? And why should I believe that. You said you'd deliver it yesterday, and didn't, and then you said you'd deliver it today, and you didn't. What's different today?" "I assure you that we'll deliver it tomorrow." "That's not good enough. You promised to deliver it today." "I'm sorry, Mr Mason, we'll definitely deliver it tomorrow." "This is my package, that I paid for, that you were paid to deliver two days ago. I don't want apologies or assurances, I want my package." "You'll get it. Tomorrow."
Around and around. The more smarmy and cloying his "assurances" and deflections, the angrier I got. I swear, their "anger reduction" strategies are deliberately the opposite of their name. I finally said "I want compensation for my lost time and frustration, and if you can't help me, then I want to speak to YOUR manager." "My manager is not in until tomorrow. You can call back tomorrow."
Now my temples are throbbing and I'm seeing red. Not only has my planned night of catharsis over a new server been dashed, this *** is ruining my evening even more by placing all of the liability for their screw up on me.
"No, you will have your manager call me tomorrow." "OK."
"Tomorrow?" "Tomorrow." "Really? What do I get WHEN he doesn't call me tomorrow?" "He will call tomorrow, and you can discuss compensation with him." "Really? I want your name and ID so when he doesn't call, your complaints department will hear your name." "I'm Joel, and my ID is MNL5RYB."
He's got me. I'm tired and frustrated, my fire of righteous fury is burning out, and he's outlasted me. He's got me. And he knows it now. His job was not to fix my problem. CS managers don't solve client problems. His job was to tie me up until I burned myself out and then send me away, to tell me to f**k off in the politest possible terms, and he did his job well. You know how I know all that? Not just because cynicism is the only philosophy that reveals the truth of human actions, and not just because I've worked in a call center in my youth. Because after arguing about the reliability of his assurance of a phone call I know I will never, ever receive, and after ending our call, he forgets to hang up the phone right away, and in the background I hear him say to someone else, and I quote, "Now that's how you DO IT!"
But this is 2014, and I will get the last laugh. Because there's Facebook, and blogspot, and the BBB, and sites like this one, and more than anything there's Google, who will make sure this post is seen by any and everyone who does a search for UPS Customer Complaints or UPS SUCKS.
Product or Service Mentioned: Ups Delivery Service.
Monetary Loss: $500.