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Does UPS routinely lie about delivery status?
11 points by Zigurd on June 19, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments
I'm an Amazon Prime customer. Since signing up for Prime, I have found that the package delivery status has become noticeably less reliable. There were always odd seeming revisions to package status when I was using best-effort delivery, but now that I am supposed to get two-day delivery, I find that the status is misreported, indicating my package was delivered when it was not.

Have you noticed a similar drop in quality of status information from UPS and/or Amazon?

For a while there was a UPS driver in my area who would flag me as not being home and who would not leave one of those we tried to deliver stickers on my door -- this despite the fact that I could see the apartment entrance from my window and he never even visited the building. I would have to call the national UPS customer support number, and they would call some local dispatch office, and the driver would show up super pissed off within the hour. This happened a few times until a new driver started on the route, and after that I have had no issues at all.

Probably not as bad as my neighbor who found out that the USPS mail guy was forging her signature on certified mail...

Has anyone else been hit, when sending items via UPS, by UPS's "weight" calculation?

I purchased a pair of shoes that I needed to return, going back to Italy, and I received a quote from UPS - having entered the weight on the parcel I had received - of around £50. Later, after UPS had picked up the parcel, I noticed they had charged me somewhere in the region of £80-100.

I rang up and they explained that UPS doesn't use normal weight but rather a UPS specific "weight" that also incorporates dimensions (i.e. two items that are different sizes but weigh the same will have different UPS weights).

I looked on the site and they were right - there was some information about it, plus a calculator for working it out. I must have completely missed it. To their credit, they did refund the difference and I only had to pay the original quote, but I do wonder how many other people miss it and end up paying more for their postage.

Here's how to figure out the "billable weight": http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/ship/packaging/di...

Dimensional weight is the standard measure for large carriers now. The changeover at UPS started way back in 2007. UPS does it, FedEx does it, and USPS does it for certain classes of packages. You can thank large shippers like Amazon that often put a tiny product in to a huge box with a bunch of air bags: weight alone doesn't capture the fact that fewer of these boxes can be shipped per truck/flight than if it were packaged more efficiently.

Oh it totally makes sense - the thing that surprised me was how it was called weight on the form, so I just copied the weight across from the parcel I had received. I'm sure it was partially user error, but UPS could certainly have done more to make me aware that there was a difference.

If you're sending parcels regularly, I'm sure this is all well known, but this was the first time I'd sent a parcel myself (instead of just going to the post office and have them handle it).

They ask for both the weight and the dimensions of your package so that they can calculate the billable weight for you when you purchase a shipping label. You're not asked to calculate it on your own. I don't know what went wrong with your shipment. http://i.imgur.com/32R1nF6.png

Hm, that form is perfectly fine. I wonder if it changed (the problem I had was about a year ago) or whether it was a different site I used (e.g. a UK site) or something. I was definitely only asked for dimensional weight.

Thanks for looking into it.

Edit: have just checked the UPS site myself and they have a much nicer quote interface than I remember, including dimensions and weight.

I have a bit of inside knowledge of the subject having worked for UPS and been out during Christmas time delivering packages. Here is what happens:

Drivers get in trouble if they miss a commit time. To avoid getting in trouble, they will scan the package and mark it as delivered - which results in the delivery status being updated. When they make the actual delivery, they will not scan the package (because it's already left the driver's possession according to the earlier scan).

All package tracking is done based on scans/events. Some of those scans are of the actual package (like above), others are based on inheritance (a trailer containing 500 packages leaving San Francisco will show that data replicated down to each of the packages). UPS only publicizes a portion of the tracking data to its customers - there are events captured at a much more granular level of detail that you can usually get out of CSRs if you call and inquire.


I really doubt UPS does. But I do think 2 things happen, one has already been mentioned about how UPS delivers the package to USPS (so as far as their tracking is concerned its delivered), then it takes USPS another day.

The other one is when Amazon uses laser (lazer) ship. I cannot stand that company. They are horribly late, constantly mark packages as delivered when they aren't and their drivers (at least in our area) treat our packages poorly. We have called Amazon and filed a number of complaints about Lazer ship and honestly in the past 4 months or so we haven't had anymore packages shipped via lazer ship. I don't know if our complaining helped or what but man am I glad. We love our Amazon Prime and order a ton of stuff using it, but it was starting to become a problem.

Twice i have noticed from USPS (of all companies) that they say delivered one day but it's not actually delivered. It could just be me and me not seeing it. It happened at work and there are a lot of deliveries regularly.

Happens to me pretty regularly when Amazon ships via UPS and then the local delivery (also to my workplace) is handed off to USPS. (You can see the transfer to USPS if you track the package via the UPS tracking site.) The USPS delivery always arrives on the day after I get the delivery notification e-mail. That's also the day after Amazon promises it will be delivered, effectively making Prime a 3-day service instead of a 2-day service. Articles shipped all the way via UPS usually arrive as promised after two days.

That must be whats happening. The package, in these cases, always arrives the next day (third day).

Is it actually UPS delivering the package? Many of the prime packages go through lesser known delivery companies that have been accused of fudging when packages are delivered.

Every time I've seen a delivery, it's been a UPS truck. But that's a good question. I'll check to see if I'm getting UPS tracking numbers. Recently I've relied on the status that's integrated with Amazon's site.

Curious whether parcel delivery companies have their drivers manually validate when the package has been delivered. Or is the status an estimate based on time/progress?

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