In 2010, UPS reported an annual profit of about 3.4 billion dollars! I did not say 3.4 thousand, or even 3.4 million….I said 3.4 BILLION dollars in PROFIT! Not total sales mind you, but pure profit! After dealing with them for the past 10 years or so, it is easy to see how they did it. They rip us off repeatedly! They are one of two monopolies in the shipping industry. Their closest competitor is Fedex, but there is a large gap from the number one position UPS holds, to the number two position Fedex holds, when speaking of sheer size and revenues. So in a sense of the word “monopoly” it is my opinion that UPS fits the mold. Let me tell you as few things about how they operate.
Let me start by saying that their actual delivery service operates well, and they do a good job for the most part in delivering packages on time and reliably. I can also say that it is their drivers and not any other reason that cause this reliability. With every position above the drivers, their company starts to fall apart more and more the higher up you go. Their customer service is amongst the worse I have ever experienced!
Firstly let me tell you about their account reps that are supposed to be supplied to every customer they have. They have few, and they are extremely difficult to get a hold of when there is something that needs to be addressed. As well, in my case, my rep (the actual person) would seem to change frequently. This makes it difficult to build any sort of personal relationship with them that would promote them having a good understanding of my needs as a company utilizing their services. As well you can never call your rep directly. The only thing you can do is call and leave a message and maybe they will return your call. On many occasions this took days, and seemed to be totally dependent on the individual rep I was dealing with, as to how long it took them to reply to me.
The next thing that jumps out and screams ridiculous is their billing. They billed WEEKLY. This is almost unheard of in the world of business, and I know of no other companies that bill this frequently. Most business bill monthly or per transaction as required by each specific industry standards. As well, their terms are net due in ten days from date of invoice. This does not match the billing cycles of many industries as most are net 30 or at minimum, net 15. So as you can see, many business that utilize UPS must pay the UPS bill well before they receive money from their customers for that shipment. Thank God that in my case my customers paid me prior to receipt of whatever it was I was shipping to them.
Now as stated above, their actual delivery reliability I would rate as very good. However, on the occasions that they did screw up, this is where their customer service shines as one of the worst I have ever experienced. Understand that UPS has delivery guarantees. These guarantees are imposed upon any type of service they offer, including Ground service. Each service comes with a time guarantee, that states they will get the package there in that guaranteed time, or the shipping costs will be refunded. Yea right!!!
Understand that the UPS shipping software is very comprehensive, and has many automatic features to help you track a given package from start to finish. Funny though, that in the times that they failed to deliver the package on time, this automatic and comprehensive software had a planned flaw on the part of UPS. You see even though this system was so good, when it was time to put in a claim for a late delivery, I had to physically call them on the phone and request a refund, even though their system allowed them to know fully well the package was delivered late. Tell me why this had to be done this way, as every other part of their system was automatic up until the point of a refund being issued. Then it was my responsibility to put in for it manually by calling them, when they had the full capability to issue a refund automatically! Now remember, they are difficult to reach on the phone, so this added to the frustration as well!
Now their guarantees were such that they would refund you shipping costs if any package was delivered later then the guaranteed time stated. HOWEVER, if it was late due to some sort of weather related issue then the guarantee was void. Well guess what? EVERY SINGLE TIME A PACKAGE WAS DELIVERED LATE, they would say it was weather related, and this simply was not always the true case!! They would lie imagine that! It got to the point that I started pulling weather reports in an attempt to verify and prove that they were fabricating these claims of bad weather, and caught them a few times in these lies to no avail.
One of the final straws with them that caused me to finally cancel their services, was a shipment that happened this past season of 2011. I had five boxes of fish valued at about $3000 going to Montana by their Next Day Air service. With the outrageous shipping rates they charged, this particular shipment cost about $1200 just for shipping! This is in addition to the costs of the fish mind you. Well it was four days later the fish finally arrived, and I am sure you can guess the shape they were in.
So as usual I called to put in a claim for the shipping costs, and guess what they said? You guessed it….the shipment was delayed due to weather! So I immediately went online and pulled the historic weather reports for the area that they had said had the weather and caused the delay. In this weather report the only weather that was reported was a little rain for a period of one hour. I am not talking a downpour here, but a light rain, and it did not last long. So I relayed this information to my rep. He then said he would get back to me. So I get a call the next day, and he stated that light rain was the delay even though he himself could not explain why. I then asked why then it took another three days for the fish to get there. He replied that once there is a delay that it backs up the entire system which can cause further delays. This is a crock! If this were true, they would still be attempting to make up delay time for the very first shipment that was ever late in the history of UPS! Even though I argued the point, it fell to deaf ears, in a company that simply does not care about their customers.
You see, we need them, and they know it. They run their company with this monopolistic attitude, and feel that there is not much we can do about it. Well, I did something about it, and quickly canceled their service. I have now opened an account with Fedex, and I must say I like them better already. Fedex rates are far cheaper then UPS, so this should also allow me to pass this savings on to my customers. I suppose time will tell as to their reliability, but I can say that I am impressed so far when speaking of my original expectations.
So if you would like to help rid UPS of their monopolistic powers use another carrier such as Fedex.
Fedex is every bit as bad as UPS with their poor customer service, and they are just as monopolitic as UPS! Fedex is far worse however at their delivery service. They constantly damage, and even lose shipments. In 2014 they lost 40% of my shipments of fish for an average of 3 days each time. Luckily my fish are healthy enough and strong enough to withstand their careless handling. I am forced to switch back to UPS because they at least have a better delivery average and don’t lose as many packages. Both carriers have gotten too big for their britches, and could care less about customer service. Both carriers as well charge ridiculously high prices for very poor service as well! What is a person to do?