Day: January 19, 2018

Shipping Shenanigans

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I do a lot of shopping online.  And of course, when you do shop online, you have to deal with shipping issues.  Normally it’s no problem because when you’re shipping to yourself, you already are confident the address that you’re putting down is your own because you live there.  When you’re shipping to others, that’s when the shenanigans begin.

Case in point.  My girl has recently moved to a different part of the state that she lives in, and for her new job I wished to supply her with a few items that will come in handy.  What I’d originally planned on was sending her a spare GPS (Magellan) I have here, along with a car charger for her phone and a charger splitter that I had purchased for my trip to see her last November.  Seeing as I would have had to go to the post office after work, I was thinking that it was entirely possible that the items wouldn’t arrive in time for her needs, so I went to Amazon to have all the items shipped at once, brand new and she could have them before the end of the week.  At least that was my intention.  She’d supplied me a day or so earlier with her new address, but she’d forgotten to mention that there was an apartment number included.  To compound the problem, mail isn’t delivered to the said apartment complex, so her sister with whom she moved in, has a local PO box.  UPS doesn’t deliver to PO boxes, they deliver to physical addresses.

So, I put in the physical address that I had, clicked on the payment option and hit send.  Thinking that all was hunky-dory, I went to work.  Later in the day when my girl and I were chatting via text, I mentioned what I had done and she asked the very reasonable question “Did you put in the apartment number?”  Uh-oh.  Now we have a problem.  Immediately I went to the Amazon app and tried to cancel the order, or have them change the shipping information.  Since there’s no simple way to change that, I tried again to cancel the order.  Naturally, since at least 4 hours had passed, and Amazon expecting things to be just fine, couldn’t cancel the order.  I had to wait until I got home from work to contact them and try to get the address updated.  Which I did.  And the comedy of errors continued.

Amazon seems to prefer that you use their chat system to contact them, rather than making a phone call or using email.  Tuesday evening I used that, spoke to one of their call center people (Jay) and explained my problem.  Well, he seemed to think it wasn’t going to be an issue.  After a few moments of waiting, he stated that he was going to “monitor the shipment and contact the carrier to update the address”  Great, I thought, now we’re getting somewhere!  After having thanked him and given him good feedback on the survey that popped up, I messaged my girl and told her that the items were due to arrive on Thursday.  Except that they didn’t.  Thursday came and UPS didn’t have the correct address.  I know that because I checked the UPS website and was informed that they had tried to deliver, but without an apartment number they could not.  So the box stayed on the little brown truck and was driven around her area all day.  I was at work, without the use of my phone (or computer) so I wasn’t able to do anything until I got home again that evening.

I contacted Amazon again.  New chat, new call center person, more headaches.  What I should have done was contact UPS directly, but since I wasn’t technically the shipper of record, I thought (quite reasonably) that they wouldn’t accept any address changes that I offered them.  So I went to Amazon again.  And was disappointed, again.  The new call center person (Vipan.  These are obviously non-native English speakers because the syntax is all wrong and they’re definitely not in the US..but they seem to try to get you to believe they are) apologized profusely for the problem and recommended that he cancel the entire order, refund my money and I could start a new order with the correct address.  I have to admit I did a double-take with that one.  The order is already nearly at its destination!  Why cause UPS the double problem of shipping something back to you, and then shipping another IDENTICAL package, but with one small addition to the address!?!  I realize Jeff Bezos is a bazillionaire, but I think even he would think that was a bit stupid.  I countered with what I thought was a reasonable suggestion.  Why couldn’t our intrepid customer service rep do what his colleague had suggested on Tuesday?  Contact the shipper and update them on the address.  Well, I was informed that ‘they can’t do that’.  Um, huh?  Excuse me?  Your colleague on Tuesday seemed to think it was not only possible but what he was going to do!  So either he was lying, or you are Sir.  Either way, he could only provide me with 800 numbers to the various shipping companies (USPS & UPS) and I could take the time to do it myself.  I’m actually surprised I didn’t have a real headache at this point.  If I’d known that I would have contacted UPS as soon as I’d had a shipping ID number.

After getting off the chat with our intrepid call center gremlin, I called the UPS number and got an automated system.  I listened to the options, but none of them were for customer service.  Apparently, with UPS, you can’t get a real person.  So, I navigated the menus and came to the part where I could update an address.  Which I did.  I confirmed the correction and hung up.  Thinking that -finally- it was completed, I contacted my girl and informed her that the package should be arriving today.  Although in the back of my mind, I was less than confident this was the last I’d heard about this particular shipment.  And I was right.  This morning at 8 am UPS called looking for the name of the person on the shipment.  After confirming that it was indeed UPS on the phone, I supplied (again) the apartment number to complete the address.  Apparently, the automated system didn’t get it right after all.  I’m hopeful that they’re going to get it to the destination today.

A comedy of errors isn’t always that funny.