Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why UPS is inferior to FedEx (and others)

Ballenger Motorsports has had a FedEx shipping account for a long time. FedEx service was set up completely in a single 5 minute session with an excellent level of tracking visibility and billing.

Ballenger Motorsports has had a USPS shipping account for a short time. USPS service was set up completely in a single 5 minute session with a mediocre level of tracking visibility and billing.

Ballenger Motorsports has had a UPS shipping account for months. UPS service has, to this day, not been set up to an acceptable level of service in any way. The process has worked something like this so far:

1) Establish account, enter information username password. Account checks my business DNB # and apparently my credit is good. So far so good.

2) Hmm…. I can’t use billing, adiminstration, or quantum view services, I wonder how I set these up. After a brief search and a call, I apparently need to have an account representative do this. I have to wonder why? Why can’t I just set this up as with UPS competitors instantly? Apparently my account reprenstative works 9-5, m-f which is not helping me on a saturday afternoon. Isn’t there someone who can just set this up or some automated system? Apparently not.

3) 1 week later, my account representative finally decides to contact me. I ask to have billing and quantum view setup and to have admin acccess.

4) 2 weeks later, my account representative finally actually sets this up for me. The username and password do not allow me complete access (or so i think). I get my billing pin information in the mail. I finally get emails for my developers key and xml access key (which appear with no key, I actually have to view the source of the message to find the key).

5) I am unable to setup the same username and password for all services. I try lots of combinations and finally get my basic and billing center to have the same access information. I am unable to get Quantum View working properly at all. I contact my account representative with my problems and ask for a simple setup… really, just please make this all work with my single username and password. Apparently she isn’t able to do very much and I truly fail to understand why these representatives exist as the extent of the support and help I get is a phone number for someone else. Why do I need a person to set this up when an automated system should have done this initially?

6) I contact support and meet a condescending individual who proceeds to tell me that asking for a single simple login to do everything is ludicrous and outside of the “UPS universe of possibility”. It is at this moment that I wish I had a record button on my business phone. I am also subject to a very forceful explanation of what “case sensitive” means. When my issued password fails to work, I am told that I am unable to type. I go through the forgotten password process (despite having the seemingly proper one) which is supposed to email me. After hours, no email. The support individual tells me that it was sent instantly and something is wrong with my computer. Thanks man… it’s not like I can’t test it’s function; I send myself several emails from different accounts successfully while I’m being told my computer is broken.

7) I gather the pieces together and this is what I have figured out so far. First you need to establish a UPS account. Then establish a ups billing account. Then get an account rep to establish a Quantum View admin account (This will only take 6-8 weeks apparently). Once this is done, login with the initial accounts to and delete your original account. Go to your billing account and alter it to your desired username and password. Login with your Quantum view manage account and establish a new account with the desired username and password. Create admin access for this account. Now delete your undesireable account name and password.

8) This system is inherintly flawed, annoying, time consuming and stupid. No one at UPS can do much about it and no one seems to care. I just got bounced from point to point wherein there was supposedly always a problem with some other system. I am frustrated, I have lost time and money because of this ludicrous bloated wad of crap that they call UPS and I STILL don’t have this setup properly.

UPS is the only shipping company with which I have received damaged packages (due to mishandling). UPS also randomly decides to improperly change the size and weight of some of my inbound & outbound packages such that their shipping cost more than doubles. As an example, I purchased a package from Uline that weighed 37 lbs and was 36x31x8 in size. UPS adjusted the pricing for this shipment for a 56x30x8 package which moved it to an oversize class 3 package which changed the calculated shipping weight & cost to 90 lbs and an oversize charge of an additional $40. When I call them to correct this problem, they seem to change without question but really, why should I have to call for an adjustment that they should have never made in the first place?

I would love to stop shipping UPS altogether. Nothing about their system is good but I recognize that some customers will desire this service and I will either offer service as an option if requested or leave it as a normal option and put specific text recommending against Interestingly, I can see my inbound packages through my bills but with no other method. How is this company in business?

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