Herat Antique Oriental Rugs










A UPS Experience

When it comes to money the invariably hapless customer and the ‘lawyered-up’ corporate behemoth are in a genuinely adversarial relationship.

Life experience has taught me it is best not to trust one’s adversary!!

This is all a lead-in to my recent UPS experience, one that may be instructive to dealers, collectors and anyone using this company.


In October, I exhibited at ARTS-2011 at the Capri in San Francisco.

I packed three boxes of rugs and related things for shipment to SF.

I delivered them to a UPS Store where they were weighed, measured and otherwise prepared for transit by 2nd Day Air.

My receipt included tracking numbers and the actual weight of each box.

Helpful Hint # 1: Keep This Receipt Where You Can Find It.

The boxes arrived safely; however, this little article is about honesty and transparency in UPS billing practices not its delivery record.

About a week after my return I received a UPS bill for shipment of the three boxes from Miami to SF.

It was substantially more than the customary charge for this trip (I have made comparable shipments in the past).

Helpful Hint # 2: Carefully Read the UPS billing Invoice.

According to the invoice, each box weighted exactly the same.

Given the content of each box (rugs), this was hardly possible.

Helpful Hint # 3: Do Not Assume the UPS Invoice is Correct!!

UPS assured me that it was all very reasonable, all very correct and all very understandable.

UPS admitted that the weight of each box was probably not the same.

In fact, UPS candidly admitted that it had no idea what each box actually weighted.

UPS POLICY: When an employee or duly authorized agent of UPS fails to perform his/her job correctly you, the customer, not UPS suffer the consequences.

Of course, it is not written this way in the policy manual but the result is the same, especially when money is involved.

The ‘very reasonable, very correct and very understandable’ UPS explanation went like this:

We, UPS, do not know the actual weight of each box.

We have no idea what each box actually weighted because the UPS facility where you delivered the boxes never sent the appropriate paper work including weight information to the UPS billing section.

True, you the customer have the actual weights on your receipt but as implied in the very fine print of the very long contract to which you, the customer, agreed, we (UPS) do not need to know what each box actually weighted.

So, we sort of ‘made-up’ the weights based on a completely arbitrary formula written by our highly paid lawyers for use by UPS in situations like this.

Of course, implicit in all this is the unsettling thought that this must happen with troubling regularity at UPS.

Anyway, it is all nice and legal and, if you are really persistent and have a little luck, you may be able to find it in the very fine print of that very long contract.

The UPS ‘formula’ was recited to me but the details hardly matter because the entire ‘formula’ is divorced from the reality of UPS incompetence.

Luckily, I had my receipt.

You know, the one with the real weight of each box.

Not surprisingly, the real weight of each box was substantially lower than those arrived at by the UPS ‘magic formula’.

A Heart Warming, Free Enterprise Ending:

The ‘make-believe’ numbers appearing on the original UPS invoice were adjusted to reflect the truth.

‘Adjusted’ is their word, not mine.

But remember, despite the recent observation by an American political figure, a corporation is not a person; and a corporation is not your friend.

A corporation such as UPS is nothing more than a statutorily created business entity whose sole purpose is to make as much money as possible.

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