Fraud? Bah Humbug, UPS!

UPS does not appear to stand for “United Promise Service”.

The saying once was “What can brown do for you?” That may have also been the time when the business meant it.

According to the always reliable Wikipedia: “Fraud is commonly undersImagetood as dishonesty calculated for advantage.” Not a formal legal definition, but practically accurate.

One of the big news items this Christmas is that UPS has allegedly failed to deliver a backload of Christmas gifts. Well, everyone makes mistakes.

But this year, UPS promised a service, didn’t deliver as promised (my personal example in a moment), made several errors, lied about it and then didn’t do enough to correct it. In my case, the package was ultimately delivered by Christmas (albeit 4 days later than contracted) but for many others this was not the case.

My example:

The promise: I contracted UPS to ship a package Next Day from New York to California, intended to arrive Friday. It was scanned by UPS prior to the cutoff time, and into the UPS system accordingly. This constitutes a contract for service: I ask you to do the service, you accept my request and I pay you and you accept the payment. Contract. I didn’t sign any waiver. I didn’t sign any terms of service. I just paid, and you took it.

The failure to deliver the service: The package was sent Thursday. It was sent “Next Day Saver”, which means it should arrive Friday, by later in the day. It didn’t. It arrived Tuesday evening. Four full days after it was guaranteed (note the word “guaranteed”) to arrive.

The errors and lie: In addition to the well publicized promise to do whatever they could to make sure problems are corrected, while not continuing regular operations during Christmas to assure promises are fulfilled, UPS told me the original delay came from when my shipment was placed into an incorrect bin, misdirecting it and causing added transit time to redirect it. A second error: UPS continued to post status reports on my shipment, indicating the shipment was out for delivery (It was not—a later update indicated it had problems in the shipment facility, which makes it impossible to be out for delivery, In fact a customer service representative told me the shipment had actually been placed into the wrong bin, again. Therefore, the status that it was out for delivery was a lie.)

Not solving the issue they caused: Even when the problem was identified and the location of the package was determined, UPS would not do anything to make up for the problem. I asked them to arrange for the shipment to be available to deliver Saturday, and they would not (or could not) do so. However, not only did the package not arrive the following business day (Monday), it arrived two additional business days later—the exact opposite of solving the issue. Seriously–who does business like this, making a mistake and then essentially doing little-to-nothing to correct it? 

Money back isn’t enough: My understanding is that I will eventually get my money back since the service contracted was not accomplished, and apparently not as a result of force majeure. However: in cases of proven fraud, even if the defrauded party receives the entirety of their money back upon discovery of the fraud, this does not eliminate the charges of fraudulent conduct against the defrauder.

The main question is this: Surely UPS must know their own capabilities. Even if previous weather caused delays and backlog, as suggested by their spokesperson, they must have been aware that they had only so many planes, trucks, personnel, facilities etc. Why did they continue to accept packages intended for Christmas, when they must have knowingly been unable to deliver them in time? Is this not a knowing act of contracting a service when you are fully aware you cannot deliver? Isn’t that dishonesty, calculated ultimately for the advantage of UPS’s income?

Fraud is commonly understood as dishonesty calculated for advantage.”

I suggest UPS, and governmental investigators, should examine if this behavior and business practice indeed constitutes fraud. In the meantime, ask yourself if you are willing to do business with any company which practices “dishonesty calculated for advantage.”

Today is Christmas, and you might ask why I’d be writing this today, of all days. Because today is Christmas. A time for honesty, good will, and brotherhood, etc. Just looking out for you, since it seems someone else didn’t.


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