UPS South Africa – incapable of delivering a parcel

One would reasonably expect, that a courier company such as UPS would strive to do one thing well: delivering parcels.

I recently ordered items (a 480GB SSD via Fedex and some Gelaskins via UPS) from the United States. The Fedex order was shipped on the 19/1 and was delivered on the 23/1. The UPS order was shipped on the 17/1 (arrived in Johannesburg on the 19/1) and after much reluctance from UPS and several escalation calls was eventually delivered on the 25/1.

UPS South Africa - poor customer service

Click on the tracking records below to get an understanding of the dismal service delivery – and it needs to be noted, that UPS in the past was less enthusiastic of delivering parcels – at times they did not want to deliver to a residential address (the parcel was dropped at a post-office, despite the shipping being door-to-door) and other times, delivery was not attempted without me having to phone them.

UPS South Africa - poor service delivery

While I was excited to receive my Gelaskins on the 20th January (the tracking did say “Now in transit for delivery” I was reasonably expecting delivery on Monday 23rd January. That Monday I was told, that delivery was already attempted twice (no indication on tracking information) and a 3rd attempt was on hold since UPS could not contact me.

The delivery was supposed to happen on the 23rd by 4pm, but UPS did not show. On the 24th I was told that import duty was due, and I asked for the inspection of the parcel prior to delivery and then pay online while the courier is present. The courier arrived at 3pm at our business and within the 2 minutes it took me to finish a conference call, the courier disappeared. He then arrived again at 17:10, refused inspection of parcel prior to payment and said that his shift is over and he needs to leave (considering that inspection and payment would have not taken more than 5 minutes).

Insulting is that the tracking information was updated at 17:01 (almost ten minutes before I actually spoke to the courier) and a subsequent tracking update at 21:00 of another failed delivery attempt (in fact there was no delivery attempt as it was confirmed by our security company).

Another delivery was scheduled for the 25/1 by 12pm. By 2pm the courier still had not arrived, but I was promised that he would be there by 4:30pm. Phoning UPS at 4:15pm and escalating to a supervisor, it became apparent, that the driver had just arrived at the depot and did not attempt delivery.

It took several escalation calls until UPS decided that they will arrange special delivery at my home the same day by 7pm. The driver did arrive before that and although the parcel looked “man-handled” and folded in places, the content itself was in good condition.

Since this is not the first unpleasant experience with UPS and previous similar incidents and complaints did not resolve the root-issue, one needs to ask the question: “Why is a courier company like UPS incapable of fulfilling it’s core business service – delivering parcels on time?”

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  • Space_Chief

    It’s not just UPS. I’ve had problems with UPS several years ago when Amazon used them. I complained to Amazon and Amazon.com actually refunded my full UPS shipping fee. Anyway lately I’ve had issues with rude support and unclear communication from TNT. I threatened to file a European Commission Consumer dispute against TNT (as they’re a Dutch company) and that shook them up a bit. And let’s not forget the TNT/FedEx policy of not accepting COD or cheques as customs payments, something that EMS does and everyone except Airborne Express (now part of UPS) used to do. And don’t get me started on the excessive brokerage fees couriers charge. I therefore recommend EMS and only EMS except when EMS is not available or can’t be used. EMS can’t be used to ship batteries, eg. laptop batteries from Japan. I’ve had to have a domestic Japanese market laptop battery shipped from Noppin via FedEx –  it required an additional toll free number information and registration with an international hazardous materials tracking service.

    EMS is ideal. They accept cheques and cash. They deliver quickly. They also charge 0 for brokerage and only R35 for the inspection fee. They can be tracked online and can be insured. Of course they are significantly cheaper. For some reason Korean shops and sellers are not able to ship via EMS to South Africa, and insist on using TNT.

  • Geoff Burmeister

    I must quantify the statement above, we are a cruise operator doing bookings urgent goods were sent to us from Madrid, I received two calls 14 days after shipment where I could not understand one word the person was saying on the telephone, then I had someone demand money, for what. THese guys UPS must be the worlkds worst freight people and they do not have a clue about service nor do they emply people who can speak English in an English country

  • Geoff Burmeister

    Dont try and contact them and speak to anyone in authority they put you through to some idiot called Melanie with the excuse Paul Horsefeldt in not in and they cannot find the PA Karen Botha, switchboard tells you she is Karen Voster what a bunch of plukas 

  • Tonyvolpino

    I am waiting a box from Italy, a simple present from my parents to my son.
    UPS call me and said they can deliver because the invoice is in a language that they don’t understand.
    Damn if a company have international business how can’ t translate from the country of origin to the receiving country? But really believe that is UPS South Africa a gang of incompetent, always they screwed up (is not the fist box and they have always an excuse!