Thursday, January 26, 2012

The End of UPS

It's easy to see in this current world how businesses are not able to make it. Small companies, large all seems to come down to really poor business decisions, bad personnel, lack of communication, lack of follow-up, and lack of care for customers.

Take, for example, our most recent issue with UPS. We had a fiddle damaged in shipment in July of 2011. When I first received a call from Crawford, the company that handles all of UPS' claims, I was told they wouldn't even file a claim because I hadn't packaged the item correctly. They hadn't even seen the item yet! First of all, we buy special boxes for our fiddles and we only ship fiddles in cases. This particular fiddle was shipped in a wooden case with bubble wrap both inside and outside the case. The boxes are 36" x 12" x 10", and they are brand new -- shipped to us via diesel truck on a pallet.

I argued with the lady, who I didn't even realize wasn't with UPS at that point, until I finally got her to agree to file a claim. I was then told that the instrument sustained damage due to the heat, and that UPS was not responsible for any heat damage. They claimed that the neck had come loose from the fiddle at the glue joint. For those of you who don't know, fiddles are put together with heat-sensitive glue called hide glue. If this hide glue gets very, very hot, it might come loose. UPS claimed that this is what happened to the fiddle. I explained to the claims rep (Tamyra) that we had mailed a whole bunch of fiddles out during the heat and that none of them had sustained any damage. I did not think it was heat damage, but I had yet to see pictures or the instrument itself. I told her I didn't know if I wanted to continue using UPS. She told me she didn't care because she didn't work for UPS! This is when I found out that I was talking to someone at Crawford instead of UPS. I didn't know that UPS outsourced their claims.

I eventually got the fiddle back (October 2011) and was able to look at it myself. At that point, I saw that the damage to the neck of the fiddle was not at the glue joint. The heel itself was cracked in half where there wasn't a joint.

I called UPS back to see what I could do. At that point, I was originally told by UPS that this claim had already been denied twice, which was news to me, and that there was no overturning the decision at this point. I tried to call my Sales Support Representative, but found out that she no longer worked for UPS. When I tried to find out who my new rep was, no one seemed to be able to tell me. I eventually got the name of Jessica W. and spent quite a bit of time trying to resolve the issue with her. It all started with a phone call and then an e-mail to Jessica.

October 13, 2011 - Phone message and e-mail to Jessica. I attached pictures of the fiddle to the message.

This fiddle neck did not separate at a glue seam. It is broken at the heel. There is NO SEAM in this spot so it is impossible for it to have been caused by the glue getting hot as there is no glue in this spot. I just got this back from the customer today.

I will be contacting you again regarding this. Thank you.

October 20, 2011 - Finally received a response from Jessica.

When it comes to claims, all I can do is gather information. Crawford is the company that makes the decisions on the claims. I can not overturn these decisions. I did send the information on and explained what was explained to me. I will send this information to the Account Executive for your account to see if they can do anything. However, they must follow the same lines, we can only gather information, Crawford makes the decisions.

October 20, 2011 - My reply to Jessica.

Thank you for getting back to me. Who is the Account Executive for our account, and who do I need to talk to at Crawford? Also, how do I get in contact with these two people? Thanks!

October 26, 2011 - Haven't heard anything from anyone. I sent another e-mail to Jessica.

I am still waiting for your answer. Who is the Account Executive for our account, and who do I need to talk to at Crawford? Also, how do I get in contact with these two people? Thank you.

October 27, 2011 - Response from Jessica.

I have reached out to the AE for your account and am waiting on a reply. I will see if I can find a contact for Crawford, contact information should be on the information you received on the denied claim. How much was the product insured for?

October 27, 2011 - My reply to Jessica.

I believe I insured it for $800, but I am unable to access the history on the UPS website so I don't know for sure. Is there some other way I can look this up? Thanks.

November 14, 2011 - Still haven't heard from anyone. I sent another e-mail to Jessica.

It has been several weeks since I have heard from you again. No one has contacted me from the insurance company or from UPS. I asked on October 20, who is the Account Executive for our account, and who do I need to talk to at Crawford? Also, how do I get in contact with these two people?

November 15, 2011 - Response from Jessica.

I spoke with the Account Executive, she is only able to go to $200.00. The contact at Crawford would be on your claim information that it was denied and the contact information should be there as well.

November 15, 2011 - My reply to Jessica.

You still haven't answered my question. Who is my Account Executive and how do I get in touch with that person? Thank you.

November 16, 2011 - Response from Jessica

Your Account Executive is Alice D. and I reach out to her yesterday, she will be contacting you.

November 18, 2011 - I guessed at Alice's e-mail address since Jessica didn't provide it, and sent the following message.

As you can see from the accompanying messages, I have been corresponding with Jessica since October 13 and still do not have any answers to this UPS claim. I even spoke with Jessica prior to this and sent pictures, but did not get the violin back until the beginning of October to be able to send actual pictures of the damage to Jessica.

Jessica does not answer my questions and has been completely ineffective in helping me solve this problem. She did finally tell me you were my Account Executive. What can you do to help me with this issue? I think everything is explained in this e-mail if you read from the bottom up. If you need more pictures and/or information, please let me know. I will do whatever I can to help you out.

November 28, 2011 - Sent another message to Jessica.

I still haven't heard from anyone.

December 9, 2011 - Jessica's reply (finally).

I have sent another message to the AE to get in contact with you.

December 12, 2011 - Alice finally responds to my e-mail of November 18th.

My name is Alice Duncan and I am the account manager for Southwestern Illinois.

I received your message from our support team on Thursday, December 8th as well as from Jessica asking me to get in touch with you regarding this damage from July of 2011.

According to what I see in our records, the violin got too hot in transit and therefore separated from the base and there was no damage to the exterior carton. Due to this being a heat related damage, Crawford has stated the claim will not be paid according to our tariff terms and conditions noted below.

If you feel the need to pursue this further, then you will need to pursue this through legal action and I can no longer be involved. I am happy to send you further information on packaging guidelines and suggestions to help avoid this situation in the future. I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused both you and your customer.

UPS Tariff Terms & Conditions: Perishable or Temperature Sensitive Items:

49.3 Exclusions from Liability

UPS shall not be liable or responsible for:

– loss or damage to articles of unusual value (as defined in these Terms);

– loss or damage to Prepaid Letters;

– loss or damage to any package resulting from insects, moths, vermin, inherent vice, deterioration, dampness of atmosphere, extreme of temperature, ordinary wear and tear, or that which occurred or arose prior to or after the course of transportation by UPS;

– loss or damage to any package resulting from improper, inadequate or unsafe packaging or wrapping that fails to meet UPS's published standards related thereto set forth in the Terms or at;

– loss or damage to Perishable Commodities to the extent the loss or damage results from exposure to heat or cold or the perishable nature of the item; – loss or damage to human remains, fetal remains, human body parts, or components thereof;

– loss or damage to fluorescent tubes or bulbs;

– loss or damage due to war risks, acts of God, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, nuclear damage, acts of public authorities acting with actual or apparent authority, acts or omissions of customs or similar authorities, authority of law, the application of security regulations imposed by the government or otherwise applicable to the shipment, riots, strikes or other labor disputes, civil unrest, disruptions in air or ground transportation networks, disruption or failure of communication and information systems, or natural disasters;

– loss or damage to any package for which UPS has no record reflecting that the package was tendered to UPS by the shipper; or

– loss or damage to any package containing articles that shippers are prohibited from shipping, that UPS does not or is not authorized to accept for transportation, that UPS states that it will not accept, or that UPS has a right to refuse.

Thank you for you time.

December 13, 2011 - My response to Alice.

I was wanting to talk with you on the phone. The fiddle DID NOT sustain heat damage. I have the instrument here and the neck is broken in half and it is not on a glue joint, therefore it cannot be heat related. The instrument was well packed, in a box that is purchased especially for violins, and it was in a suspension case surrounded by bubble wrap. Please call me. Thank you.

December 27, 2011 - Posted on UPS' Facebook page in response to another person's complaint that UPS was not honoring its damage claims.

Join the club! I'm a business and they won't honor claims here either, even though we've only had 2 claims in 5 years! In fact, no one at UPS can tell me who is my account rep or the boss. Wow! What a bunch of people who don't seem to know anything!

Within 18 minutes, a UPS Facebook Rep responded with the following message.

Chris, if you are the shipper of record we can research your claim. Send in your tracking number and contact phone number to Thanks, Seini

I then responded with the following e-mail.

I hardly know where to start. I have been dealing with a claims issue since July. I was originally told my account rep was Jessica Wiggins. After dealing with her for many months, I was then told it was not her but was Alice Duncan. Alice will not return my calls, and all I get is her voicemail when I call. I sent her e-mail messages and asked her to call me, but she told me she couldn't help me and to just hire an attorney if I wanted to dispute the claim. I told her to please call me anyway because I really don't understand what is going on and why the claim isn't being covered. I was originally told it was improper packing. Then it was changed to hot temperatures making the glue come loose. When I got the violin back here at the shop, it was not broken on a seam, so it could not be hot temperatures making the glue come loose. This is what I was trying to get across to Alice, but since she won't even talk to me... I ended up getting in touch with your claims company again and was then told the claim was denied because there was no damage! I really don't get it? Do these reasons just keep changing and changing until a person just gives up?

I filed a complaint that my account manager would not call me. I did this several times actually. I was told I would get a call back with 24 hours. I never did.

Eventually, I got in touch with Louis at xxxx. He seemed very responsive at first. Told me to call him back when I got in touch with the claims company and that he would help me. I did that, and now Louis won't call me back. I asked to have my account manager changed from Alice to someone else. Apparently, that hasn't happened either.

on 12/8 - I talked to an unknown person at UPS
on 12/12 - I talked to Sandra
then Derrick
on 12/13 - I talked to Gabe
on 12/21 - I left a message for Louis to call me
on 12/22 - I left another message for Louis to call me
on 12/27 - I filed another complaint with Sheila

These are not the only calls or e-mails that I have sent. I have yet to hear from my account rep. I thought the account rep was supposed to be the one to help me with this. We have had our business account for several years now, and we've only had two claims. It's not like we're milking UPS. I have kept most of my e-mail correspondence with Jessica Wiggins and Alice Duncan. I can provide you with that as well, if needed.

How can a company this large not have a person that can call me back and help me with this issue?

December 27, 2011 - Response from Seini.

Thank you for sending in your e-mail. I was able to confirm that the Account Manager assigned to your account is Alice D. However, claims issues are handled through our claims department as the local reps are out in the field. If there is a claim that you would like researched, please send in your tracking number for review.

My reply to Seini.

The tracking number is xxx. The package went to Scott A. It is now back here at our shop. I had the customer mail it back in October after waiting and waiting to try to get this taken care of. Do you need pictures? I kept the original box and packing material, and they have been sitting in our showroom with the violin since October.

The only other claim we had was taken care of immediately. That time, I dealt with Dawn S., who is a Sales Support Representative for the Illinois District. The number I have for her is no longer good, so I assume she is no longer with the company?? When she helped us, she actually came to our shop and looked at everything personally. We buy specific boxes for our violins, they are oversized, and the instruments are packed in suspension cases and also bubble wrapped. The cases are then bubble wrapped in the box. Dawn took one look at everything and then took care of it. Why can't I get anyone to do that this time? Why won't anyone call me back or give me the name and phone number of who I need to call?

Late December - Somewhere along the line, I was given the name of Jeff S., who apparently works for Crawford. I called him on the phone and was told that my claim was denied because there was no damage to the item. Are you kidding!!! I told him I had the item here and was looking at the damage. He said it was *new* damage...

December 28, 2011 - Response from Seini.

Thank you for sending in the requested information. Through further research I was able to find a note made on December 23 indicating that re-inspection arrangements would need to be made regarding your dispute of the denied claim. Please advise if you have not heard from anyone to make inspection arrangements and I will follow up with the claims group for an updated status.

My reply to Seini.

No one has contacted me regarding reinspection. The last person I spoke to was Jeff S. who said that I needed to talk to someone from UPS because the violin had not been damaged according to them. Someone was supposed to call me again today by 5:00 p.m., but still no one did. This is how it has been for months.

Response from Seini.

Thank you for the update. I have reached out to a district representative for an update regarding the noted re-inspection. I will keep you updated as soon as I have any additional details to provide.

December 29, 2011 - Received an e-mail from Seini.

I have received notification that the district office will be contacting you today to setup re-inspection arrangements for your package. The inspection arrangement should be for noon tomorrow.

December 29, 2011 - I was contacted by Trish S. who is the District Security Manager of UPS. We made arrangements for Marianne B. to come take new pictures of the fiddle and contents of the box.

December 30, 2011 - Marianne came and took the pictures. She was very nice and professional. She gave me her card and told me to contact her if I didn't hear from anyone within a couple of weeks.

January 23, 2012 - Haven't heard from anyone again. I sent an e-mail to Marianne.

January 24, 2012 - My husband, Earl, decided to get involved because I'm too nice. I have no idea how many people he "spoke" to. He even contacted UPS headquarters in Atlanta. He was also lied to the same way I was. We always get the line that someone will call us back within 24 hours or within one hour, or whatever. It never happens!

I spoke to Kurt H. and also to Ken L. Told the story all over again making it as short as I could. Kind of hard to do at this point! Ken is the Sales Operations Supervisor. He told me that our file got sent to the wrong office. He also said Jessica and Marianne were no longer working for UPS. Hmmmm.

Eventually, Ken told me that UPS doesn't *insure* packages. Something about a lawsuit filed some years ago and that it was determined that UPS couldn't send and insure its own packages. Not sure what the extra fee is we pay then... Also, if you notice the exact wording of Jessica's October 27th e-mail, she asks me how much I insured the package for. If UPS doesn't insure packages, then why would one of UPS's agents be asking me how much I insured a package for?

Ken was always nice and also called me back and kept me informed about things.

January 26, 2012 - Ken called to tell me that UPS had denied our claim because the item wasn't packaged properly. When I asked what was improper about the packing, he couldn't tell me. After all, as I stated earlier, we buy boxes especially for shipping our fiddles, we ship the fiddles in cases, and we also pack around the fiddles and cases.

Guess what FedEx will insure??? We had a customer ship a fiddle to us that wasn't even IN a box. It was shipped in its case only. The fiddle was basically DESTROYED. FedEx took care of our customer.

This is the end of UPS. Hello FedEx.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of my experience with Dell Computer. Why don't these large, otherwise reputable companies realize that their *horrendous* customer service, particularly the outsourced companies, is causing them to lose business?

Anonymous said...

Would be nice if u had the time to research customers havin the same problem to hire a lawyer to act in everyone behalf in a larg law suite.your friend an satisfied customer .

Anonymous said...

I had similar issues with a UPS Store who I actually paid to package and ship three high value light fixtures. They were all destroyed. I have been forced to sue The UPS Store. The facts are here: