View Full Version : Rip-off Courier - any advice?

22nd Sep 2005, 11:09
A few weeks back, I sent a parcel from here in the UK to Las Vegas.

Parcel was weighed and measured accurately (I have the records here).

Iíve now received a demand from UPS demanding more cash. Further to speaking with them on the telephone, they are telling me the parcel was 88cm tall instead of the 47cm that I recorded... This is the 2nd time this has happened, and I can only assume that theyíre either on the swindle, or there is a problem with their automated measuring device...

Last time they did this, I paid up, for the sake of an easy life...

UPS arenít disputing the weight, merely the dimensions... Itís my word against theirs...

Itís not a lot of money, and I guess most people will just pay when ordered to by a multi-national corporation... However, they must make millions a year from this type of practice, and itís simply not right for me just to drop my pants.

UPS have refused to accept my side of the story, and are adamant that their automated system never lies...

If I refuse to pay up, what will they do? I assume theyíll apply for a CCJ? If I go to court to defend the CCJ, will I get compensated for time off work?

The way that these companies can pick on the independent operator like this really isnít fair... Iíve contemplated paying purely because I canít afford a day out from work to defend the CCJ...

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Thanks in advance.

22nd Sep 2005, 11:13
I sincerely doubt they will apply for a CCJ based on the value of a parcel, far more likely to write off the debt. The answer is to ask for photographic evidence of their measurements. If you're certain your right, then this should prove it. Next time, come to me.:p

22nd Sep 2005, 11:23
The onus is on them to prove it, I'm sure. They can't get a CCJ against you without proving it to a court. But, as with anything like this, don't ignore it, try to helpful; just don't pay until you have the proof.



22nd Sep 2005, 11:26
Yeah, but when they've got you by the parcel...

22nd Sep 2005, 11:34
Tell them they've got it the wrong way up and it's 88cm wide.

22nd Sep 2005, 11:44
Tell 'em it was a houseplant and it's not your fault they took so long to deliver it that it grew...

22nd Sep 2005, 12:08
Tell them you are switching to Fed Ex.


Biggles Flies Undone
22nd Sep 2005, 15:04
Tell them to return the parcel to your local office and make it available for your inspection. Also make it very clear to them that if they are right you will pay but if you are right and they are wrong you will sue them for business interruption and improper behaviour. Make sure that you tell the person who handles your call that it is his responsibility to see the matter through.

Onan the Clumsy
22nd Sep 2005, 15:51
Tell them you've already paid it, but that you sent the payment...by UPS.

Krystal n chips
22nd Sep 2005, 16:35
Have you any other evidence to support your claim--other than the original parcel of course--ie was it a "one off" item or are there others available to show the item was clearly within the dimensions provided ?.

Check your PM's please.

Onan the Clumsy
22nd Sep 2005, 17:04
Q) Why do UPS wear brown uniforms?

A) Because who would steal anything brown? :yuk:

22nd Sep 2005, 17:08

First time I post here, although I've lurked around for ages

I've worked for UPS customer service, Dutch/Belgium departmet, (but in Dublin :ok: )

First you have to find out where the parcel is. Is it in the UK, no problem then you can check yourself. If its already in Vegas and accepted, there is little you can do. If signed for it can't be send back to the UK (customs issue)

Signed for means that you are up sh*t creek without a paddle, although I could never explain that to the costumer. It means that UPS will keep sending letters, threats etc etc etc until they got your house. Sorry, but the fine print gets into work.

But first try to find out what the dimensions are that you send. Because UPS uses that fun dimesion weight thingy. Meaning if a parcel is too light they will charge the dimesion weight (h * w * d)/6000 = dimension weight.

In 10 months costumer service this happened to me once or twice that there was a dispute about the recorded weight. Most of the times it turned out to be a confusion between dimesion weight and the real weight. And off course with the inches and CM stuff, which gets into the way.

No system is perfect offcourse, but happening twice in a row with the same customer seems highly unlikely to me. Otherwise I would have had the complaint more often.

Good luck:\

22nd Sep 2005, 17:42
The weight was 13.9KG, so I recorded 14KG.

The box was a standard box I use, that I've sent many times before, so I know there's no ambiguity dimension-wise.

I have noticed UPS to be £20-or so cheaper than Fedex / DHL etc to the US - the only philosphy I can come up with is that they deliberately under-quote, knowing they can levy surcharges once the parcel is delivered (which it was, over 3 weeks ago).

When you say "fine print", what can they do? If my associate in LV declares the size is correct, it's our word against theirs.

Scum :yuk:

Send Clowns
22nd Sep 2005, 18:03
47 cm is knee-high or a little above. 88 cm is getting on for waist-high.

Talk to someone (the most senior person you can get hold of, ask each person for their supervisor/line manager - you are doing to them what they are to you, making the time expense more than the issue is worth) and explain the box dimensions as being about knee-high in its longest dimension, and that you can show them a similar example if they care to send someone round. Point out that 88 cm is a ridiculous figure.

They have no proof, and using intuitive methods such as it being knee-high (rather than measurements you might have made a mistake with), with another example of your standard box, with you having actually seen the parcel, there is no way they can win in court on a balance of probability. Counter sue in the small claims court if they do waste your time, malicious prosecution or something. I don't know whether you will have any chance of winning or not, but it is not worth their time an more than it is yours.

Call the local paper - they'll love the David/Goliath story. As soon as they get in touch "for a comment" UPS will be off your back like a scalded cat. The publicity inherent in ripping off customers is terribly damaging, whether or not they think they're justified. You can bet you've already lost them business just here - we'll all remember the risk, and use their competitors.

22nd Sep 2005, 18:11
The reason why UPS is cheaper the DHL/FedEx is because its have a better system in the USA, as far as I know. The quote you receive from internet or from customer service agent are all being retrieved from the same system (IntlDI, if you insist to know). So it isn't possible that they up the price or give you a wring quote (given that the information they use as input is always the same)

With "fine print" I mean that it probebly says somewhere on the AirWayBill (the transport contract) that the price of the parcel is measured during transit. Meaning that UPS reserves themselves the right that if they measure a parcel and use that information for price calculations. If they find out that a parcel is of a certain size or weight they will bill you for their measurments, no matter what you fill out on the air way bill.

This does inded turn out to be a case of your word against that UPS, but alas. You signed a contract basicly saying that UPS is always right.

Your partner in LV signed for receipt, meaning that he accepted the parcel and thereby finalising the contract for UPS, all they are doing now is collecting their money, on measurments made somewhere in the supply chain.

sorry, not here to defend UPS, left the company months ago. Just telling you how they see it and what and what not can be done about it. Often you won't get a straight anwser for the departments involved, or they don't feel obliged to call back. Good luck with different parcel services...:cool:

PS, if you want I can run it through the system, what is the exact size, weight and the two postalcodes. And the price you received as a quote and the one you actually had to pay. What about the online tracking system, they also report the weight of the parcel, is it 14kg on there as well?

Send Clowns
22nd Sep 2005, 18:48

Unfair contracts are not valid. I don't know about US law, but certainly in the UK if the contract did effectively say that UPS had the right to charge for dimensions it measured even if they were wrong then that clause of the contract would be void. If it charges anything other than advertised fees then it would lose the case too. The court would accept a combination of WG's estimate of size and an example box above any in-house UPS measurement of the box by someone who measured thousands that day and might make an error or by any machine which can always be faulty or make an error. 47 to 88 cm is a huge difference!

22nd Sep 2005, 18:51
They're not disputing the weight, only the size...

The quote I got was over the 'phone, not online.

The first person I spoke to @ UPS customer-service barely spoke English, and had such a rich dialect that I had little option but to ask for someone who could speak English (I felt bad, but what else is there to do?)

After having asked for an English-speaker, I got put through the telephone lines, to endure hold music for minutes. I only got back to a human when I called back...

There's something not right here...I know it...

So heads they're right, tails they're right... What nationality is UPS' parent-company I wonder?

22nd Sep 2005, 19:16
I never read the fine print myself, (nobody does). Just saying what I remembered from my time as customer service agent, and how it worked. They way I put it doesn't sound like a 100% fair contract, but most likely the exact text in the transport contract is different and 100% legal. The difference in reality between the 100% legal text in the contract and my not completly fair explanation is just the difference between reality and court.

What more important is. There is no procedure within UPS to solve this sort of problems. If there is no procedure nobody can help you. Sounds harsh, it is harsh, but it is reality. The costumer service can only help you if there is a procedure, you can jump high low, stand on your hands and talk to any manager you'll get on the phone, but the result is the same. No procedure, no solution.

One more question, did you use a written air way bill or one created on the internet?

Because if its a handwritten airwaybill I might know where the cause it. You see, the written airwaybills are tricky, a picture is taken of them, and send to mexico, where about 500 mexican women feed the info into the system and connect it to the trackingnumber. This is the only step in whole system where humans come into play. I do believe that the weight is measured somewhere along the way, automaticly.

Parent company is based in the States, someone from the States I spoke to said that they have more laywers then drivers, and I have no reason not to believe him :cool:

One piece of telephone advice though, don't get mad, swear or scream. You are most likely to reach a real/true anwser if you stay cool and proffesional. If you get mad, the person on the otherside of the line will either loose intrest in finding a sollution, or will just promise something to you of the line, both which doesn't really solve the case.

PS, just advice for an ex-employee, no right reserved et al.

22nd Sep 2005, 19:38
Bill was hand-written, no part of transaction was done via Internet.

Because of the previous extra charge, I'm nervy about electronic business, therefore made sure to keep things human as much as possible.

If they need so many lawyers then it stands to reason they may well be lacking in scruples...

Thanks for the advice.

Send Clowns
22nd Sep 2005, 20:07
Regardless of how it is written, Sammie, there is no way in British law they can charge you for an 88 cm parcel if the parcel was 47 cm. Any fine print that said they could charge you for the wrong service would simply not be valid. It seems they have written ro WG saying that the box was 88cm, so all he has to do is persuade a court that it is not and he wins the case. However he loses because of the time, so he just has to persuade UPS that they have too much to lose.

Surely every company, even UPS, has a way to write off small debts without admiting fault at a fairly junior management level, for public relations reasons?

Have you tried Watchdog or You and Yours (Radio 4), WG? I'd still go to the local rag though.

22nd Sep 2005, 20:25
Send clowns, Im not a lawyer (thanks you-know-who). Just that I think there is very little one can do about this. See, UPS moves about 10 million parcels a day. I'm sure that any thing that can go wrong has gone wrong about thousand times before and that lawyers have looked into each special case what the position of UPS is. Companies protect themselves rather well....

Anyway, if you want to go to court, the parcel was presented in the UK, and thats where you also have to go to court.

GW, one more piece of advice. So if its a handwritten AWB, you must have copy of it yourselves. Right? (if not, you might be able to retrieve it by fax from the parcel centre where the driver brought it after collection).

Well, if you got the AWB, try contacting the "Billing Department" If the UK has the same system as our Dutch/Belgium franchise has off course. The costumer service department takes care of parcels in transit, when they are signed for, they can do little for you.

Once you received a bill and you disput the amount UPS charges you, the billing department is best to contacted. These people should have a little bit more advanced schooling then your average customer service representative, because they do a little bit of accounting as well. Another advantage is that the billing department HAS to call you back and solve problems personally, so you'll speak to one person only.

Discuss your situation, it would be helpfull if you got pictures of the box. Ask them what weight and dimensions is entered in InternationalDI (name of the system used globally), check if the dimensions is the same at each station the parcel passed.

Computers tend to make less mistakes then humans. (unless they are fed the wrong info off course) thats why I would prefer the internet. Its (relativly) easy to understand, no weird accents, and there is no mexican house wife that might not understand your particular handwritting. :suspect:

Good luck

Send Clowns
22nd Sep 2005, 20:36
I know Sammie, but a lot of those companies rely on the lawyers to browbeat people who have no time to argue rather than win cases. I know of a case brought by a huge company, which brought many such cases including against a friend's business (OK I'll say it, Microsoft was the giant); they have had there way with many small companies until one businessman realises he has nothing to lose, or is too pig-headed to give in to bullying. He stands up in court and the court finds for him. A bit too late, my friend did not have time to stand up to them and had already lost several thousand. And given up using MS software and recommended alternatives to his clients.

They cannot charge for 88 cm if it's a 47 cm parcel. That is against the trades descriptions act and the sale of goods act at the very least!

B Sousa
22nd Sep 2005, 21:05
The package was sent. They accepted it and it was delivered correct. You paid for the service and I think they will have a fun time collecting more money.. Just make sure the package was delivered before you dump their mail. If they still have the package, have someone measure the dam thing or pay the money to make sure its gets delivered.
Next Time, FEDEX, DHL whatever.......

22nd Sep 2005, 21:26
If I were you I wouldn't spend any more time or energy worrying about it. If you have a similar box as you say you have, take a photo of the box with a tape measure open beside it. In a brief letter explain the photo is the same box before being sent and you took the photo because they tried to con you before.
Every time they write demanding money resend same photo and letter hand writing 'copy' and the days date.
If it ever did come to court you have a proven paper trail of trying to show them where they have made an error.
Don't use UPS again.