Last week, I ordered 5 copies of The Secret of the Lantern for a radio interview I have coming up on Thursday, April 14th. I ordered the books last Tuesday. They were shipped on Friday. I have no complaints there. I didn’t pay for expedited printing. My complaints are all related to the dynamics of how those books are shipped.
Problem 1: CreateSpace Shipping Options
They offer just three options for shipping your package to you. Standard at $5.95, Expedited at $15.94, and priority for $27.95. You are told that if you choose standard it will take them 11 business days to get the books to you, 8 business days if you choose expedited, and 7 business days if you choose priority. You are not informed about how the books will ship. You are not given an option to chose anything other than these three options.
CreateSpace chooses for you. Rather than choosing the most inexpensive option for you, with the quickest service possible, for only $1 more than the $5.95 they are already charging, they choose to ship the hybrid method of UPS with a USPS hand-off for actual delivery. If they used USPS they could guarantee a 2-day delivery from the time the books are finished printing, a service I would happily pay more to receive. If I didn’t want to pay the extra rate, they could use book rate service and give me an even cheaper option, but if I had to take a guess, they have a deal with UPS and they prefer not to give their customers more options.
Problem 2: UPS REQUIRES an Upgrade of service to Help You
My package ships from CreateSpace on Friday, April 8th. The books arrive in Dallas, Texas at 11:19 am. I find this out about an hour later. I know the package was addressed to the wrong place. I want to change this. I can’t change it without paying them $3.50 more for it. I ask them to hold the package and let me pick it up. They won’t let me pick it up unless I pay them $3.50 to do it.
Problem 3: UPS Holds On To the Package Rather than Handing It Off
It would be one thing if they had already handed the package off – AS THEY WERE PAID TO DO – but, this would mean delivering the package ahead of schedule. So rather than err on the side of creating a great customer service experience, they decide to hold on to the package all day long. They have it, but I’m not allowed to come get it, and they won’t hand it off to the post office until they are good and ready to do it. In point of fact, it still hasn’t gone out to the post office as of this post.
Problem 4: UPS Agent Hangs Up On Me
I contact UPS to try and get some assistance. When I become upset over this bizarre policy, I get hung up on. I’m not cussing or screaming, I’m simply asking for explanations. Apparently, that is grounds for being hung up on.
Problem 5: Twitter Account Promises to Help, Does Not
I use Twitter to try and reach out to UPS for help. I get a promise they will. I explain the situation – AGAIN – and get told that I should not be charged to hold the package, then told they won’t hold it unless I pay. “This is a nice package here, ma’m. You wants me to hold it for you? Now I gotta charge you handling.”
Even though the package is already in their possession. And they have been holding it all day long. (Update: They transferred the package to their Mesquite facility and held it for another full day.)
What Can Brown Do For YOU?
My conclusion? Not a whole heck of a lot unless you pay them more money. I’m sure there are those who will say, “It’s just $3.50. What’s the big deal?” The big deal? It’s almost a 50% markup on what I’ve already paid. I’m not asking them to deliver the package to me. I’m just asking that they let me pick up the package they are already holding. I’m actually trying to save them time and money – and they want to CHARGE me for it.
What I Will Be Doing
I will be letting people know that I won’t be using UPS if I have a choice in the matter. I’d rather give my money to the USPS. The flat rate shipping doesn’t cost that much more. Correction: They do charge for me to hold a package. However, they don’t deliberately hold on to a package of mine or delay in putting it out for delivery in order to attempt to get me to pay them more money. I will also be encouraging people not to use UPS if they can use USPS instead. After all, there isn’t a lot that UPS offers that USPS doesn’t already do, do better, and sometimes do cheaper. UPS might want to keep that in mind.