EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor
Your emails to EcommerceBytes
For consideration, send your email to ina@auctionbytes.com with "Letters to the Editor Blog" in the subject line! Remember to include your name as you would like it to appear in the blog.
Wed Sept 21 2016 13:38:57

Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Holidays?

By: Reader

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
Hopefully this is not indicative of the upcoming holiday season:

Out of the 8 packages I shipped over the past 10 days, here is the story of 6:

1) UPS: Following up on an item I shipped UPS, the driver put in that the tracking info that the receiver was not available and it was an unsecure location. I emailed the buyer and she told me she had a package stolen about 6 months ago. She gave me alternate shipping address and by the time I got back to the UPS website, which was only about 10 minutes, the package said it could not be rerouted and was being sent back to sender. 

Problem is the address they were sending to was not the shipped from address, but a residential address 50 miles away from me, the return shipping on the label. Tried to explain to the rep that the package is on its way to a residence that drivers can't get in and out of due to long, heavily wooded driveway and no space to back a truck up in and it needed to be rerouted back to the shipper's "ship from" location on the label. They said it could not be rerouted. 

The day it was due to be delivered to the wrong address, I checked and driver noted that it was undeliverable and was being sent back to return address on the label. That would be my address, the shipper, of which I had asked the rep to reroute it to in the beginning.

So far, this poor box has had 5 attempted deliveries, in 2 different states and with all that being said, this is a large glass platter. I wonder if it will make it back to me in one piece??
 
2) UPS: Another piece of glass that was so overpacked, I lost money on shipping but that was OK since I had a bit built into the handling charges, so it was only a couple dollars. The box was a New 14x14x14 200# ECT, item wrapped in bubble and peanuts. Buyer told me it was received broken, the box had a "dent" but "not too bad" and sent pictures of a shattered cake stand. Waiting for a refund from UPS.

3) UPS: Used eBay shipping to create 2 labels for a UPS item that had to ship in 2 packages. eBay shipping gave me two different label tracking numbers. One box delivered and the other never scanned from the point I dropped it at the UPS store. 11 days after, buyer placed an issue with eBay. Called eBay to see how this was going to be handled since UPS put in a tracking "Incident/Exception." eBay was pretty good on this one BUT here I am 8 days later and still no box found. 

This item is a lamp that had to be shipped in 2 boxes. Buyer has 1/2 of a lamp. UPS sent me a claims notice but when I go to file it, the website refused and said a claim was already issued. I have sent my rep an inquiry on this and am waiting for an answer. 

Yesterday, the UPS rep said they were going to physically check the lost and found area and needed a picture of what they were looking for. Today is the last day and I need to work with this buyer to find out what he wants to do. He has been very considerate so far.

4) USPS; Checked tracking this morning on USPS package and there has been an attempted delivery 2 times on a small package. I contacted the buyer with the updated info so hopefully they will contact the postal service in their area.

5) USPS: One more small USPS package that is also on its 2nd attempt to be delivered. I contacted the buyer and added them to the tracking updates from USPS. I hope this one gets caught in time.

6) USPS: Small item, wrapped in bubble and peanuts, again in a 12x12x12 200# ECT box new. Item was only 8" long x 3" diameter and had plenty of room for space when packed at an angle. Arrived broken. Placed a claim with USPS. They eventually got hold of the buyer and had him bring the box to them. Thankfully he kept all the packaging materials. He contacted me to say they accepted responsibility and are issuing a refund to me.

Just to note to all shippers: It appears that UPS and USPS will not be leaving packages as in the past. I do not use FEDEX (yet). The reasons being stated on line are "unsecure locations." There is too much theft going on and drivers are unwilling to take any chances as they are ultimately responsible.

So if you are shipping, the best thing to do (at least for me) is to not depend on just the tracking number to be sent to the buyer thru eBay. 

These are my suggestions (others may already be doing this but for those of us that have never had issues in the past, this is really going to help):

1) Automatically add yourself and the buyer to tracking updates thru the carrier website, not eBay.

2) Buyer says not received 30+ days down the road.

3) It is your record to be used with eBay since it will show all the steps taken to either deliver or return a package to you and can help to avoid defects since you have proof.

4) I am urging all buyers that if they have an office or business location that I can ship to, that is the safest way to avoid any of the above.

5) If the buyer knows they will not be around to accept a package and they want it left at their house, they should leave a note for the delivery person, sign it and date it so the driver has a record to fall back on if the package goes missing. (learned this from FEDEX).

So, just a heads up for the holiday season for all ecommerce sellers!
Thanks, 
Linda




Comments (10) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho   Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 21 17:59:14 2016

This has become the norm rather than the exception.

USPS is so worried about giving special treatment to Amazon and the Chinese that they don't have time for the peon shipper anymore.

Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho   Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Sep 21 19:06:31 2016

1A.  UPS acted IMHO acted responsibly.  There was a history of theft at that site so they didn't want to leave it.  Would you have preferred they left it and it got stolen?  Probably not.

In the past when I've had this happen, they leave a note on the door of the delivery address to state they attempted to deliver a package.  I'd ask why that wasn't done in this case.

2. I received a package once that had tire tracks on it. Sometimes you really have to wonder about these guys.

4&5.  Well this one, as you know is your buyer's fault.  The good thing for you is that for your stats on Ebay, the attempted delivery counts as delivered.  So if your buyer files an INR, they won't win if you handle it correctly.

While I certainly understand your reluctance with UPS as they clearly did a few things wrong.  The same does not hold true for your problems with USPS.  They did their job, it is your buyers that are non responsive.  With the exception of the broken item, but USPS is taking care of their error as they should.

Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho   Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho

by: Linda This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 21 22:33:49 2016

Well, I got Item #1a returned back to me. After 3 attempts at delivery and 3 states later with additional attempts at delivery at an incorrect address, it arrived broken. Box was crushed and peanuts falling out of a gaping hole.
Marie, question for you. If 1a is also an attempted delivery like 4&5, eBay won't ding me?

Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho   Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Sep 22 02:45:00 2016

Linda,

That first one is really strange.  I have no idea why they didn't leave a note on the buyer's door.  Similarly USPS leaves a note in your mailbox when a delivery attempt was made and giving you a timeframe in which to contact them or go pick up the packages.  In my experience UPS normally does something similar.  But for whatever reason there was, in the way you described it, they didn't do that.

So if they just took it upon themselves NOT to deliver it and never even contacted the customer about delivery, I'm not at all sure Ebay would honor that as a real delivery attempt because UPS did not give the buyer any opportunity to address the issue.

You certainly are having some significant problems with UPS.  If I were in your shoes, I'd do whatever I could to get answers to why UPS did not even attempt to work with you and/or your customer to deliver the item the first time.

Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho   Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho

by: Surplus This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 22 06:19:04 2016

There are definitely issues going on at UPS right now.  I think they are bringing on the extra holiday help and training them now.  I think that is a major part of the problem.  I have had to file 3 UPS damage claims in the last 2 months.  This is more than I have filed in the last 2 years.  We sell vehicle parts and industrial items.  These are items not easily damaged except if you are really brutal with them.  I've been shipping every day for the last 13 years so I am pretty sure it is not my packing methods.  UPS has paid all the claims without issue but unfortunately my buyers ended up with damaged items.

Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho   Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho

by: Jester This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 22 06:50:48 2016

I have had no problems recently with USPS, Fed-Ex or UPS and I seldom have over the last 8 years.

Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho   Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho

by: GotToGetOut This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 22 07:16:13 2016

Jester, I agree. I don't know how many items Linda usually ships but to have so many problems with UPS deliveries in a short time period is very surprising. I have very good luck with the shipping end of my Ebay sales and I sell delicate china and crystal.

I only ship about 30 - 40 items a month but I only have a problem with maybe 1 out of 100 items. I usually ship Fedex, Smart Post or US Mail. Recently I've been shipping mostly with Smartpost because it's often a $2 - $3 savings for a 1 - 2 lb. package. I know people have complained about how hard it is to collect on these but I haven't had any damage on any smart Post package and I feel the $2 savings on 100 items is worth it, even if I have to pay for the damaged item myself. I feel the same about shipping first class where I can save $2 - $3 on a $10 item that is under 1 lb. The post office doesn't provide insurance but it's worth self insuring since I have very little damage. If I ship four $10 items and have 1 of 4 break and have to pay for the damage, I'd break even with the shipping savings. This is a moot point, though, because these small packages rarely break since they're easy to package carefully.

Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho   Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 22 10:28:06 2016

The only thing I can add to that saga is that in addition to secure padding inside the package, etc., I not only tape down the box flaps along all edges (basically an H pattern on top and bottom: across the middle and down each edge) but also glue the outer flaps to the inner ones. (Elmer's white glue is all that's needed.)

This adds a phenomenal amount of rigidity without adding extra weight, so that other boxes stacked on top of mine cannot press the top flaps down into the box; they're essentially laminated into a board.

Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho   Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho

by: Linda This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 22 17:12:48 2016

I have been selling on ebay for 14 years and ship mostly glass and fragile items. I used to work with a company that had to do "drop tests" for Fingerhut so really do know how to pack. I also have sold packaging materials both custom and standard so feel I do know what I'm doing. I have (again) never had so much damage. I think the last time I had to place a claim was about 1 1/2 years ago. And that I think the buyer dropped an item. Maybe shipping companies are like automobile companies and "banK" on damage being done at expect to write it off. My UPS driver and the store I drop at are awesome people. They just can only shake their heads in wonder...Linda

Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho   Undeliverable Packages on the Rise ahead of the Ho

by: Linda This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 22 17:14:27 2016

@jester, I was the same, never had any real issues with any of the shipping companies. If I did, I sure wouldn't be in this business! :)



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.