Thursday, April 14, 2011

UPS = Unreasonably Priced Shipments

I had to make a rare return of some items I ordered via the Internet. It was one of those situations where I thought I was ordering the correct product based on the photo and description of the item. It was a small item – small enough to fit into an 8 x 11 inch padded envelope. The shipment came with an automatic UPS return label, but the company also said they would deduct about $7 from my credit if I used the label.

Thinking that I could ship it for a lot less than $7, I headed over to my local UPS store, where I was told this small envelope would cost me over $16 to ship. Sixteen dollars?!?!? I was flabbergasted. This seemed completely out of whack. I decided it would be less costly to use the ARS label…but then I decided to drive to the nearby post office and check out their price. It was worth the drive – it only cost a little over $3.00 to ship that envelope – and with the package insured as well.

What does UPS provide that the post office doesn’t? Frankly, in the case of this shipment, nothing. OK, maybe those high prices cover the cost of those big brown trucks. What I don’t understand is that our local UPS driver travels the same route every weekday, he’s driving down my street daily around 2:30 in the afternoon, and he doesn’t even stop at every house. The postal carrier, however, stops by every morning, including Saturdays) and the carrier stops at virtually every house. It seems to me that the US Post Office has to work harder and cover more homes, yet they still charge a lot less. UPS may want you to think they are better at what they do, but the USPS still has that economy of scale that makes shipping less costly.

The bottom line is that $16 is far too much to pay to deliver a small envelope and UPS should be ashamed of themselves for charging that much. It also should be noted that many people take the US Post Office for granted, they certainly are the better value, despite the fact that they don’t have big brown trucks. So for me, the next time I hear that UPS slogan where someone asks “What can "Brown" do for you?” the answer from me will be “nothing.”

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