There surely is a reason why UPS uses the colour brown for their corporate identity. The symbology is all there. The brown uniforms and the stupidly old fashioned looking delivery trucks. Now I know the reasons why. It's because UPS is the most uselessly shit delivery service in the entire world.
I used to think that this accolade belonged to Citylink, but alas no. UPS takes the award for uselessness in every single category.
First of all my initial package - my Glidecam X-22 arm for those interested - was supposed to have been picked up from me first thing on a Tuesday morning since I told them that the delivery time was urgent. Instead the driver picked it up at 4pm in the afternoon!
I had prepared three proforma invoices as instructed, which all clearly stated that the package contained something that was being sent back to the original US manufacturer for repair under warranty at no charge. I was told that the UPS driver would take care of the rest of the important paperwork (this bit is important for how the story unfolds later on).
So, away the parcel goes and I start to regularly keep my eye on the tracking system on the UPS website. What happens seems to me to be ridiculous. The package was sat in a UPS facility at the airport for over 24 hours before it went anywhere near a plane. 24 hours! What the hell was being done to it? Hello?! Did the part about it being urgent mean anything to those people?!
Anyway, it finally went on its way, late. Upon arrival in the US is again sat for a while. I received a phonecall from UPS saying that it was being held up because it didn't have a value on it. Keh? So I talked through this and finally got the package to move further down the chain by having to send them an email with details confirmation (try explaining to customs what a Glidecam arm is!) Eventually Glidecam received the package okay. All very well and good, if unnecessarily slow.
Glidecam did the modification job on the arm in double quick time, more power to them. And they sent it back to me via UPS the same day that the mod had been done.
Then it got held up at US Customs again. I was told that they needed proof that the item was sent to the US by me in the first place and I was told to send them another email with details of the contents of the package and the original tracking number. I thought this would sort it all out, but noooo. I was then told that they had checked their records and that there was no mention of it going out for repair under warranty. The useless idiot of a UPS driver hadn't filled out some obscure part of the waybill form stating that this was the case.
So why in the hell did I have to create three proforma invoices for Customs if everybody in the fucking world is just going to ignore them?! I forwarded them the email I had sent to UPS when it was originally sent to Glidecam confirming its contents. The UPS lady had no idea who the email address I had sent it to represented. But she said she'd look into it and sort it out.
A look at the UPS tracking website now shows my package at East Midlands Airport with "Import Scan" written next to it. It has been in this state since 2am this morning. The schedule clearly says that it was intended for delivery today (17th). Well as far as I can tell my Glidecam arm is just sat in a warehouse somewhere going nowhere. It's as if UPS just sit on things purposefully holding them up.
How can sending a simple parcel be such a problem? I've since found out that despite the fact the parcel should be free from Customs charges UPS will still try and charge me an exorbitant "Brokerage Fee". So not content with charging the fucking earth for their services (although in this case Glidecam have footed the bill) they also want to charge their own ransom fee on top! They don't tell you this before hand, they just turn up with the parcel and expect you to pay it.
Yes, I know some of you will tell me that my problems are customs related and out of UPS control. Well, no they aren't. They had all the paperwork necessary, but all the information that I gave them just seemed to fall into a black hole somewhere. Plus when there is an Express delivery parcel there is no excuse for it to be simply sat in a warehouse going nowwhere for an entire day!
Never use UPS. Stick with your country's native postal and international parcel service. I've never had a problem sending big packages via Royal Mail or Parcel Force. UPS could well stand for... well, I'll let you figure it out!