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How Not To Ship Computers 1554

Posted by timothy
from the worst-case-scenario dept.
jutus writes: "I recently relocated for work from Canada to Florida, and on a suggestion, shipped my equipment (well-packed), with UPS Ground. I've posted some images of the destruction my shipment was subjected to by UPS. UPS Ground does not insure international shipments, so basically I'm up shit creek, no paddle. They have been giving me the textbook run-around for the past week. UPS Canada blames UPS in the U.S., and you can imagine who UPS down here in the States blames. As of yet, UPS has not even attempted to negotiate any compensation for my loss due to their severe negligence ... For Gods sake, use FedEX." My luck has gone the other direction -- I've mostly had good luck with UPS and some misdeliveries with FedEx. Would be nice to hear from any UPS employees reading this about what could have led to the damage jutus illustrates.
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How Not To Ship Computers

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  • by migstradamus (472166) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:32PM (#2571359) Homepage
    I sold a server on Ebay and had it packaged at a "Mailboxes Etc." in Manhattan and shipped UPS to Pennsylvania. The person who got it says it looked like it had been dropped from at least four feet, enough to crack the entire (metal) case. I had bought insurance, and UPS sent someone over to the guy's house to examine it. They have to make sure it was packed to spec or they blame the sender (Mailboxes Etc. in this case).

    Despite their basically admitting it was damaged during shipment and that it was packed correctly, this was over two months ago and I'm still waiting for something to happen. They don't give me a point of contact so I have to start from scratch every time I call. Total mess.
  • UPS lately? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Matt2000 (29624) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:32PM (#2571362) Homepage

    I've been shipping things with UPS for the past few years, and only in the last 6 months have started noticing a large amount of damage to my stuff and to my friend's stuff. 3 of my friends had to send stuff back due to UPS damage during shipping.

    Has anyone else noticed an increase in damage lately, or is it just me?
  • by Psymin (154718) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:33PM (#2571384)
    How long does the claim process take?
    Once the claim paperwork is received by UPS, a check is typically issued and mailed to the shipper of record within five business days.


    link [ups.com]

    I assume its been more than five days? .. Darn misleading FAQs anyways ..
  • by MooRogue (223321) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:35PM (#2571401)
    Well, not to defend UPS, but i thought i'd share my own experiences.

    I shipped a number of packages via UPS ground when moving from TX to CA, among them was a computer and a few boxes full of books.

    For the computer, I actually had the original box that the computer case came in, along with styrofoam padding on top and at the bottom with a sturdy cardboard box. I also made sure that all the screws were tight, all the wires were bundled up inside. Box arrived slightly banged up, but no major damage. The computer booted up on the first try with no errors. I had actually thought that some connections would have been shaken loose during transport.

    However, the box full of books arrived in pieces. In fact, when the UPS man came to deliver the box, it fell apart before he made it to the door. It was the same kind of cardboard that the computer box was made of, but was significantly heavier... I didn't care much about the books since they were just textbooks.

    Moral of the story? Well... use the original box if you can, don't make things too heavy or the UPS people will most likely kick the heavier boxes around, and insure things that are expensive!
  • Fourth wheel (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lars Mooseantlers (512201) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:40PM (#2571466)
    Not surprising at all. I have several clients in the mail order business (they ship between 20-100 pkgs per day) and they all say the same thing- FedEx isn't perfect, but they are *far* better than UPS. Last spring I ordered four wheels/tires from TireRack.com. UPS delivered three. That's right, a person at UPS saw four of the same thing coming through and decided that only three really needed to get there. That was the last time I used UPS. YMMV, but I doubt it. So pack your gear well, insure it(!) appropriately and don't use UPS. -LM
  • by josquint (193951) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:42PM (#2571482) Homepage
    ...that he couldnt insure due to international shipping?!?!?!
  • I saw this once... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by muleboy (123760) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:43PM (#2571494)
    I was waiting for a flight at DC National airport watching the planes go in and out from the observation area. A 747 with "UPS" on the side pulled in nearby, and the cargo bay door (which was about 15 feet off the ground) opened. Before long, large boxes came flying out of the cargo bay, falling at least 10-15 feet down to the shuttle. Some of them bounced, some didn't. They unloaded the whole cargo this way as I watched.
  • by NecroPuppy (222648) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:43PM (#2571500) Homepage
    Last time I checked with UPS, over half the people there said that lower parts of Canada didn't count as a foreign country.

    Wonder when that changed...
  • by salmo (224137) <mikesalmo&hotmail,com> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:45PM (#2571522) Homepage Journal
    I live in Memphis and have friends who lift boxes for FedEx (which is based in Memphis). Most of the people working there do something else during the day (school, second job, whatever) and work FedEx at night. Just think about it. You're making little money lifting boxes. You boss gets pissed at you for being too slow. So you speed things up a little bit and occasionally punt a box or two when no one's looking to keep up the pace and relieve the aggression.

    My general rule is never ship anything you can't replace and always get insurance. So in the case of a computer, make sure you have nice backups of everything. That way in case it gets killed, they'll replace the machine and you can replace the data. And if it's an old machine, maybe it'll be a good reason to get a new one!
  • Re:Your Mistakes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. Sketch (111112) <mister,sketch&gmail,com> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:45PM (#2571525)
    My roommate works for UPS and he tells me that if they see "Fragile" on the box, they will actually kick it around in the warehouse

    Why not test this to see if it is more widespread? Send a package with an audio recording device to record peoples voices and idealy with some kind of camera thing looking out to see what's going on outside the box (to get faces). Make sure the package has fragile clearly marked all over the box and send it across the country (or to re-create this poor persons experience, send it from the same place in canada to the same place in florida hoping it will take the same route). It would probably be best for the audio recording instrument to be sound activated to conserve audio recording space and to keep some sort of time stamp on the various recordings, same with the video.

    Just my opinion.
  • Re:Your Mistakes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geigertube (265640) <.geigertube. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:47PM (#2571548) Homepage
    UPS is not the only company that does this. I used to work for RPS, and the amount of damage and theft of packages was outrageous. Anything that was breakable and wasnt packed to survive nuclear detonation was trashed. Workers would regularly open packages that shipped to retailers and lift articles of clothing, drop kick 'fragile' packages across the loading docks, etc. etc. etc.

    However, looking at the pictures, I dont think that the computers were packed properly. If they were in the original styrofoam casings, they probably would have been fine. Bubble wrap (unless you want to wrap it a foot thick) wont cut it for computer equipment.
  • Go with USPS :) (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jgaynor (205453) <jon AT gaynor DOT org> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:51PM (#2571587) Homepage
    Who remembers this article [slashdot.org] a while back?

    The USPS, even when faced with items such as an unwrapped deer tibia and rotting wheel of cheese, had a 64% received rate. Right now they're looking alot better than UPS or Fedex.

    The "experiment" is documented here [improbable.com] at the Annals of improbable research.
  • Hassles with UPS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John Harrison (223649) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <nosirrahnhoj>> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:01PM (#2571678) Homepage Journal
    Years ago I used to rewire old monitors to display funky patterns when I ran my stereo wires through them. Some day I may put up a web page describing the process. I have made a winamp pluggin that simulates the effect, which I will also post some day when I am not so lazy/busy with other things.

    Anyhow, I bought an old Mac at the Goodwill for $5 and then modified it to make the funky patterns and shipped it to a friend for his birthday.

    I went to Mailboxes Etc. and told them I wanted to ship it UPS. First they wanted to double box it. That alone would have cost $150, and would have substantially increased the shipping costs as well since double boxing makes things huge.

    After convincing them that I had spent all of $5 and about two hours of my time on this, I conviced them that they could single-box it. However, they made me sign something that stated that it they broke it, it was my own fault.

    Then while filling out the form there was a box for value. I put a sideways '8' since it was a one-of-a-kind item. They went crazy again and asked why I had done that. I replied that it was a work of electronic art that interacted with music in a unique way. That really worried them. This all occured in Palo Alto and maybe they were used to shipping strange expensive stuff.

    Finally I crossed out the value and put in a big '0' and claimed that if it wasn't art then it was junk. That confused them but finally they shipped it, single boxed, for a total of about $70.

    The moral of this story?

    Mailboxes Etc. doesn't appreciate a smart-ass.

    addendum: My friend painted it with gold paint and used it at parties. It was even more popular than his lava lamp.

  • Re:Worthless (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dbday (3900) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:04PM (#2571708)
    Your average UPS employee is so damn busy he or she doesn't have time to play games with boxes.

    What most likely destroyed this shipment was it's journey along overcrowded belts, where it was squeezed mercilessly betwixt 200 80lb. boxes of greeting cards and 80 dell or gateway boxes. When a friend of mine worked there, he said he'd wince when he'd see a wrapped gramma's xmas present nestled between industrial shipments.

    UPS does home consumer shipping as a sideline: they're more worried about pleasing their corporate customers.
  • by jutus (14595) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:12PM (#2571770) Homepage
    Thanks for the hot tip!

    Man, if only PC manufacturers had similar policies.
  • UPS stories (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Smegma4U (301112) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:19PM (#2571825)
    Two funny UPS stories which highlight the kind of service they have:

    My roomate in college worked at UPS during the summer, and he said that if a box was fragile or looked interesting they would often "accidently" open them by throwing them in front of trucks as they pulled out. The box & contents would be battered to hell, and they would get to find out what was inside. Also, if something was put on the conveyor belt and it was a little too large, they would kick it until it would go down the conveyor belt.

    The second story concerns some books that were supposed to be delivered to me. I lived on 927 S King St. and my package was dropped off at 199 W. Madison St., which was approxiamtely 7 blocks away. I was lucky that one of my friends just happened to live there, or else I never would have got my package. According to UPS's tracking site, the package was delivered to my house. Ever since then, I've tried to ship FedEx whenever possible.
  • by Stormin (86907) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:20PM (#2571833)
    I used to work at a company that sold computers. Two major UPS experiences come to mind.

    The first was a computer shipped from Albany, NY to florida. The box arrived with some minor bumps, but it was packed well and there was no damage to the interior case. But there was this odd ratling sound and it wouldn't boot up.

    Turns out that the machine had received such an impact that it had knocked the CPU and heat sink/fan out of the socket. This was a pentium system with a ZIF socket... consider the amount of force required to get a chip out of once of those sockets when the lever is set to the LOCK position. Of course, diagnosing this problem over the phone with someone who had no idea what was inside the computer...

    Another machine was shipped downstate. It arrived dented so badly the case didn't stay together. The client filed a claim, and UPS inspected it, then sent it back to us so we could get them an estimate to repair the damage. (The fact that the client was the state of NY may have impacted the way they handled this.) The way UPS packed it to ship to us was interesting - a box nearly five times the size usually used to ship a mini tower. Inside were these form fitting foam pieces. Not just corner blocks - the entire thing. It was some kind of expanding foam that expanded to a certain point and froze in place.

    Just today, I had a different problem with UPS which makes me less likely to deal with them in the future. Namely, the driver doesn't feel like coming to my address today so he marks "Nobody Home" and doesn't even bother to show up.

    Things I've learned over the years:

    - Insure the package. The more fragile it is, the more insurance. As my boss used to say "Insure it enough to scare them." It works, too.
    - Just because the tracking info says "Out For Delivery", don't take the day off and wait for the package. The driver may decide he doesn't feel like delivering it.
    - You can never over-pack something
  • by sn0wcrsh (157693) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:24PM (#2571873)
    A year ago I had books mailed to me by a friend.
    Approximately 300 miles of travel. 10-15 books in a medium sized box shipped UPS ground.

    When I received the package there were F*cking TIRE MARKS on the box. How they managed to run over a box a foot high is beyond my comprehension.

    Oh joy.
  • Re:Your Mistakes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:28PM (#2571903)
    Believe it or not, Wal-Mart and K-Mart sells concentrated deer pee in a jar. Hunters use it to lure deer.

    One of the most awful smells you can imagine.
  • Re:Ummmmmm, no. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cafination (469476) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:35PM (#2571950)
    If you want to use molded foam, but don't have the ones that originally shipped with the machine, you can go to just about any hardware store and buy expanding foam insulation. My brand of choice is "Good Stuff". (really fun stuff, come in a spray can)

    Find a box that will give you 4 to 6 inches clearance on all sides. Spray a layer of the insulation (about 4") on the bottom of the box and let it cure. Now wrap your beloved computer in a static bag (well ok, I used a garbage bag, but I'm not going to give any advice that might pop a board), seal the bag with duct tape (ooh ooh, it's water proof too). Now set your little friend on the layer you've already let cure, and fill in the rest of the air space with the expanding foam insulation and let it cure... instant molded foam padding.

    granted, when your computer arrives you have to use a knife to unpack it, but it's worth it. Cost to you, a couple hours, and a couple bucks for the insulation.
  • by geoffeg (15786) <geoffeg@sloth.GIRAFFEorg minus herbivore> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:40PM (#2571990) Homepage
    A few months ago, I took a tour of a shipping company that I will not name but will refer to as FooBar Inc.

    The tour was at night, when shipping companies come alive and really start moving things. The tour was fun (seeing the shipping crates, all the people running around like crazy, etc) until I got to one of the sorting wharehouses. The packages to be sorted would be pulled into the wharehouse where people would go through each package and THROW it onto one of three conveyor belts. The topmost belt was about 5 feet high, the middle at about 3 and the bottom on the ground. I was totally shocked to see the the people doing the sorting THROW (not toss) printers, iMac's, monitors, tv's and other fragile equipment onto the belts. Sometimes they would miss and the package would fall to the floor, ignored until someone came around, picked it up and tossed it onto the wrong belt. Higher up in the wharehouse, where the smaller packages where sorted, the sorters would also throw the packages into the wrong chutes, toss the packages on top of the equipment or onto the floor.

    Now, I'm not blaming the sorters (completely). They are payed minimum wage to do a horribly shitty and boring job. I do blame FooBar Inc for not paying these people right or not doing more checks to see how things are running.

    After the tour, I never shipped anything the same way again. Recently, I've been either having a packing and shipping store do it for me. If I don't do that I pack the item in multiple boxes (usually 2 or 3) with little styrofoam peanuts between each box. It's a complete pain in the ass to pack (especially larger objects) but it seems to do the trick.

    If you want something shipped right, don't ship it, take the package to the destination yourself.

    Geoffeg
  • Re:Your Mistakes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arnex (238036) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:49PM (#2572050)
    When I worked in radio we regularly shipped audio equipment for remotes via UPS and FedEx. Everything was always insured and marked "FRAGILE" but we also had these little "BB-in-a-paint-capsule" things we'd tape inside the crates... these were rated such that the BB would break the glass at a given G-force, so you'd know just what trauma the package had suffered in transit. Regardless, I never saw one arrive with an unbroken capsule.
  • by aussersterne (212916) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:57PM (#2572104) Homepage
    How about drivers who don't care to ring your doorbell or check if you're actually home?

    My first experience with this was with a $500 package that was late by two days... and then a week... and then a week-and-a-half. The tracking system said "delivery made" but there was no package. Repeated calls to the service center revealed nothing until finally one day a rep said "there's a note in the system that says 'green box' so do you have a green box around your house?"

    A light bulb appeared above my head, and I went outside with a look of disbelief on my face. I found the box (containing a high-end RAID controller) at the bottom of one of my *recycle bin* at the side of the house, beneath tons of cardboard and plastic. Two more days and it would have been recycled. What sort of idiot delivers a package to a recycle bin?

    Well, the second time this sort of thing happened (system says delivered, but I haven't seen the package), I *asked* the rep if there were any delivery notes in the system. This time the note was "tree" and I found a box containing a Sun 3/80 *up in the branches of my 14' pine tree* in the dead of winter. The driver actually seemed to have climbed the fence next to the tree to place the box in it. They're sturdy branches, but it still seems ridiculous to me.

    Calls to UPS about these incidents resulted in the following explanation: sometimes when the individual isn't home and the address is difficult to reach, the driver may leave the package on the premesis in a "non-obvious" area so that he doesn't have to return. I guess a recycle bin and a tree are UPS's idea of protecting me from thieves... Of course all of this ignores the fact that I was home all day on the day that BOTH of these deliveries were supposedly made...
  • Re:Worthless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Puff65535 (135814) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:58PM (#2572112) Homepage
    Mod parent up, my Dad did 6 months at UPS and this is exactly what he described. As a side note he felt it was all the unions fault, they had managed to jack up the pay rate and as a result management used those stop watches to try and get their moneys worth from the overpaid workers (not sure if this is still the case now, but it was in '73)
  • by amoups (536894) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `alocegdod'> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @08:09PM (#2572201) Homepage
    I currently work for UPS, and the sad truth is that we cannot fuck up a parcel that is properly packed. My hub alone ships thousands of Dell and Gateway pieces a day, and I myself personally see several hundred in one 4 hour sort. Both the Dell and Gateway boxes are made of sterner stuff than your average moving box, and both have sturdy moulded styrofoam packing, not peanuts. Bubble wrap will not save something as heavy as a cpu or monitor. I have seen a Dell monitor box fall three stories without suffering so much as a dented edge. I have seen my coworkers jumping up and down on a Gateway box with the deliberate intention of destroying it, but only leave dirty footprints. I have also seen what happens to boxes when the contents are poorly packed. UPSers are overworked, and underpaid, and they're Union. Management walks all over them, despite Jimmy Hoffa Jr.'s best efforts to curb them. Moral of the story, pack well, INSURE EVERYTHING, and never buy Gateway. Dells are ok. (Ok, so I'm biased...)
  • by Maul (83993) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @08:45PM (#2572398) Journal
    Most of the time I've used UPS, things have gone well. However, one time I sent rare piece of artwork I had bought at an auction via UPS to myself, as I was on vacation. It was mounted on cardboard. I packed it correctly, making sure UPS was properly warned not to bend it.


    Surprise, when I recieved the package at home, it had been bent. The mounting cardbord had been totally destroyed. Fortunately, I was able to remount it at the place I got it framed, though there is a permanent crease in the piece towards the top that is noticable in bright lighting, if you know what you are looking for.


    This kind of peeves me to this day, since there are only two copies of this in existance. The artist has the other one.

  • by gswallow (115437) <gswallow@netgawds.com> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @10:01PM (#2572684) Homepage
    Yeah, we pay shipping "insurance", and just to years back I can remember when UPS lost this [ttnews.com] lawsuit.
  • by djweso (230770) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @10:52PM (#2572878) Homepage

    Would be nice to hear from any UPS employees reading this about what could have led to the damage jutus illustrates.

    I worked for UPS in West Michigan for about a year [1999-2000]. One of my jobs was to unload a semi full of IBM desktops, thinkpads, NEC monitors, and HP printers and scanners [some other computer items] every night. This ment hundreds of desktops went through my hands in the matter of 1 hour or less [my shift was only 4 hours]. Although they were not handled with kid gloves, I never saw one that ended up like that. Trust me when I tell you that if that had come through our site we would've heard about it from our managers.

    However, I have seen pacakages this bad or worse. It happens. The logistics of moving insane amounts of packages in short periods of time mean that problems are bound to arise. Plus there is a serious human factor involved. Tired, hurried, inexperienced, or lazy workers can cause this sort of thing. Also managers directly effect the quality of the work being done. UPS has the training to properly handle packages out there, but like anywhere, it's up to the workers and managers to implement.

    I can't say much about claims, other than that they tell us the amounts that they pay out every year and its hefty.

    As to what could've led to this, any number of things. A bad wall [imagine a giant game of tetris in a semi] could have done it, a jam in a chute, it could've gotten caught on the belt, or even a mad worker [it happens, fast food workers spit in your burger too]. Another possiblity is that heavy packages [over 70#s] were sent too early on the belt and crushed the pachages. Heavy packages are saved until the end of the night to try and prevent this.

    One last thing November and December are the times of the year to be extra careful about packaging and the like. The numbers of packages that are handled during these times of the year increase significantly.

    weso

  • Re:Your Mistakes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by erpbridge (64037) <steve@erpbridEULERge.com minus math_god> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @11:14PM (#2572952) Journal
    Another thought is to try a "This end Up" indicator, that has the liquid and spill-over indicators if the package is tilted more than a certain degree. Remember, put it on perpendicular sides, not paralell sides... Or, if you want, on all 4 sides. Granted, that won't show you damage, but it will give an idea of that aspect of shipping.
  • Re:Your Mistakes (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2001 @12:15AM (#2573137)
    A few years ago I loaded trailers for UPS. The packages would come down a series of conveyer belts, then down a Big Fucking Metal Chute (TM) onto a set of rollers into the trailer.
    This would work fine, IF there was a steady flow of packages. Unfortunately that is usually not the case. They tend to come in surges, and almost every time there is a surge there is a jam. The jams are broken up with metal poles.
    After a jam has been broken, a sudden surge of packages flow into the trailer. Sometimes they fall off the chute. Sometimes things fall off belts as well. Packages also get mangled in the machinery.
    Employee damage is also a factor, but it is often out of anger or frustration. Once I threw a television set across a trailer after it flew down the Big Fucking Metal Chute (tm) and hit me in the face (it was the 3rd package to do that that evening).
    I honestly don't think most other shipping companies are better. I wouln't ship anything without insuring it.
  • by wings (27310) on Friday November 16, 2001 @12:40AM (#2573194) Homepage
    I used to do that type of thing too, although I used old TVs. I started with black and white, and migrated to color later.
    I used a separate amplifier to drive the deflection coils in the TV. Having a separate amp both isolated it from my stereo, and allowed adjustment of the level, balance and tone controls for best display, independant of the stereo volume level. I used an AGC circuit to compress the audio levels slightly so that when the audio level was adjusted to give nice patterns at high levels, the quieter passages didn't collapse to an indistinguishable dot.
    Color was the best addition. Through a separate board, I split the audio into low (below 300Hz), mid (300 to ~4KHz) and high (above 4KHz) bands. I ran each of the three signals through an attenuator and hacked them into the red, green, and blue low level video inputs respectively. I was doing this this way back before computers were fast enough (Pre IBM PC days) when TVs were made with mostly discrete components, and that you could easily get to the individual circuits to make the necessary modifications. Computers got fast enough to do the same type thing in software about the time the Pentium 100's came out. Today, with Gigahertz processors and fast video cards, it could make for a nice OpenGL project. ;-)

    Later.

    wings
  • Similar Experiences (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slyph (128349) on Friday November 16, 2001 @12:43AM (#2573200)
    I had almost the exact same experience (twice) with my systems.

    The first time, I used all the original packing material, plus I filled in all of the open spots with packing peanuts. Basically the damage looked identical to the pictures, except that my monitor had a forklift sized whole through the side of it. They replaced the monitor (after about six months) because it was obviously their fault, but they blamed me for incorrectly packing my systems in the original packing. They stated that the system had been shipped in the box ONCE, and so the box was not sturdy enough to handle a second shipment. Each of the pieces of styrofoam was broken at least once, and the inspector said that it looked like it had been dropped on the corner, but that since I didn't pack it correctly, it was my fault. I got a reinspection of the package, and the second inspector said that that much damage couldn't have happened in shipping, and again blamed me. I was never able to get a third inpector, and UPS stated hanging up on me when I called to ask.

    So I bit the bullet and bought new systems (luckily the hard drives were salvageable). The next time it came to ship my computers, I went straight to MailBoxes Etc., who promised me that they could pack anything that I wanted to UPS spec, and that if something was wrong, they would pay me directly and then haggle with UPS. Something went wrong. This time, however, UPS again passed the blame to Mailboxes Etc., and the guy from Mailboxes came to my house, took one look at the carton and insurance forms, and basically signed me over a check right there. Still lost the systems, but this time I had the money to replace them even better.

    So, I guess the moral of the story is to find someone who will pay when UPS won't, because they never will.
  • Re:Your Mistakes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aethera (248722) on Friday November 16, 2001 @12:58AM (#2573225)
    Nope...every now and then those labels and the "this end up" labels aren't put on well. The guys at the distribution center see then, grab them, and keep them to replace any other shockwatch stickers they *accidentally* break. Seen it happen at least a dozen times a month in the busy recieving room of my old office. And most of the offending packages were international shipments via UPS Ground. Needless to say, they no longer receive our business.
  • Re:Your Mistakes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by diadem (464192) on Friday November 16, 2001 @01:39AM (#2573301) Homepage
    Doubt that will work. When I was in highschool a few years back, a friend of mine had a tape recorder in his locker, and left it on play accidently. When it ran out of tape, it made a clicking noise. The faculty assumed it was a bomb, and cleared out the entire school (except for a few teachers who apparently were soposed to poke at it or something to see if it was real). Recording devices have the possiblity to do the same thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2001 @02:40AM (#2573459)
    By the way, I'd just like to say (although it's offtopic) that I appreciate you opening yourself up to many inevitable patronizing comments by submitting this. This is actually a public service -- I certainly knew no better than you about such things, and reading all these comments has been very informative. So, sorry about getting screwed over, and thanks.
  • by TheMCP (121589) on Friday November 16, 2001 @04:18AM (#2573613) Homepage
    This sort of thing happens all the time at my house, and it's not just UPS - it's also the postal service. My house has three apartments and two front doors. The doors have package delivery instructions in the window. UPS and the postal service routinely ignore the instructions.

    The postal service frequently leaves packages on the front porch in full view of the street. The house is on the most major street in town, in the most densely populated city in the US. Sometimes they leave all the mail there, too, even though we have mail slots. There's also almost always someone home in the house who can receive a package.

    I got angry about it and called the post office to complain and they blew me off, telling me they're allowed to do that. So, I called the postal police. (Did you know the postal service has not one but three internal police agencies?) I took my time and called each one and said, in the most innocent voice I could manage, that I don't know what the rules are and I don't know if they were the right person to be talking to but it just doesn't seem right for them to leave our mail on the front porch in full view of the street in the most densely populated city in the country and then tell me it's okay because it's "a secure place", and could they please help me? (Imagine me trying to flutter big eyelashes over bambi eyes here.) The postal police got all indignant on my behalf and told me they'd look into it - all three branches.

    None of them ever told me which one was the right one to be talking to, but it *did* get me a phone call from the postmaster, who sounded nervous and promised to make the problem stop happening. The postal service still leaves packages on the porch, but where they can't be seen from the street, and I haven't found the general envelopes-and-magazines mail on the porch again since.

    UPS doesn't seem to give a damn. They just leave the packages in plain sight. We've had packages ripped open and robbed, or just stolen entirely. We just tell whoever was shipping to us and then they have to deal with UPS.

    This week I received a package via UPS, and they left it on the porch. They clearly were trying to do something "non-obvious"... so they took my recycle bin and put it on its side and placed the package behind it... so from the street it looked for all the world as if a child had made a clumsy attempt at hiding a package on the porch. (They could have just put it in the corner of the porch which isn't visible from the street, but no...) Of course I was home at the time, and they didn't ring my bell.

    Airborne is the only delivery service that seems to do a good job here. They ring the doorbell, wait for me to answer the door, and get my signature, every time.
  • by hexx (108181) on Friday November 16, 2001 @11:13AM (#2574484)
    This comes from an extensive history of long distance computer shipments... Boston to LA, LA to Jacksonville, Jax to Seattle, Seattle to NYC, etc.

    1. Use the MFG's original boxes if you saved them. If not, :

    2. Do not use loose fill (otherwise known as peanuts) to pack your equipment, neither FedEx not UPS will pay on claims where this was used (been burned twice).

    3. Double Box! This is a necessity. It may seem stupid, but if you double box almost any claim will go through without question. (You can use loose fill in between the boxes).

    4. Take photos BEFORE and take photos AFTER (preferably upon delivery, with the driver or truck in the picture, snap with him walking away if you need to).

    5. If the box is damaged, have the driver (deliverer) note this. Make sure he/she does.

    6. If you ordered something from a store and the box is damaged, just refuse it.

    7. Pray.

    Now remember, FedEx is NOT a box shipper. They like to deliver letters (big money, small hassle), and thus I have had MUCH better luck with UPS. But here it's trying to choose the lesser of two evils.

    Hope this helps someone. I've lost way too many computers in shipping.

    On a side note, in college I shipped a 'cinder block' from Boston to Pittsburgh. UPS broke it. No joke.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lantz

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