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June 15, 2021

UPS Delivery of Custom Lenovo Build from China to UK - Not Good

Heads-up: This post covers all the frustrations in trying to get a parcel delivered to myself. It was a new computer and Lenovo selected them as carrier - not me. Because of the value it had to be delivered to my address and my address only.

It was supposed to arrive on a Monday and actually arrived in the afternoon on Wednesday.

So I stayed in for three days rather than one. UPS systems (web and app) kept giving contradictory and inconsistent information and there was no way to sensibly talk to the company about the problems and what was happening - their phone number just responds with useless recorded massages and hangs up. On Twitter they just trot out standard messages rather then meaningfully investigating. I’m actually surprised that a supposed first division company struggles so much with customer care. But the core problem seems to be their old and very creaky IT systems. Love the neat vans and drivers, but I’d never dream of using them myself.


No apologies but this post records in forensic detail the failure of UPS and its poor IT systems and lack of decent customer care. Nobody really seem to know with accuracy if a parcel is on a van for delivery or not.

My new Lenovo Thinkpad X1 was sent from China on the 9 June and UPS immediately showed an estimated delivery of Monday 14 June between 12:15 and 15:15

The journey routed as follows

Heifei > Shanghai > Incheon > Cologne (Koeln) > Castle Donnington > Stansted > Feltham

In the early hours of the 14th (supposed day of delivery) there were a number of strange tracking reports involving the parcel moving from Stansted to Feltham, the latter being the depot that actually loads the van for delivery. There was:

Stansted: Arrived at Facility
15:30 14 June

Stansted: Warehouse Scan
16:08 14 June

Feltham: Destination Scan
04:58 14 June

Feltham: Out for Delivery ** < Later, after 22:00, this was removed from the tracking Hstory
04:58 14 June

Stansted: Departed From Facility
05:00 14 June

Feltham: Arrived at Facility
06:30 14 June

Feltham: On the Way
6:30 14 June

What this seems to show is that the parcel arrived at Feltham before it left Stansted and it was immediately shown as Out for Delivery. But the last tracking report changed this to the more generic On the way’. I thought this all strange and rather contradictory but the systems still showed the estimated delivery on the day of between 12:15 and 15:15 and I stayed in.

There was no delivery and at 15:15 and I tried to call UPS to see if the parcel was on the van or not. It turns out that UPS don’t have people to answer the phone. You get asked to recite your 18 character long parcel id and the system reads back the number they think they have heard. It took 3 times of trying to get the automated system to get the parcel id right. You then get told when they hope to deliver on the day, but as I say that was not clear at all to me, and the system offers the option of talking to an agent. I took that, heard a long automated message and the the call is auto-terminated! The message says nothing of use, just suggesting the website or to talk to the people who sent the parcel. It left me incandescent with rage I have to say.

So I looke to twitter for a solution:
“.@UPSHelp_UK How do I get to talk on the phone to an agent about a delivery that does not seem to be happening. The published number of 03457 877 877 does not guarantee an agent and just gives recorded messages of no use to me. Thanks.”

Ans: Hi there. Thank you so much for contacting us. If you need assistance with a parcel, please send us DM with your tracking number, first and last name, phone number, and delivery address to check more information about it. We are here to help you. ^Carmen”

I Send them a DM with the relevent info.

Ans: Hi there, I can definitely understand your frustration. Unfortunately, due to day-to-day variations in package volume, driver delivery routes, driver pickup routes, and your location on these routes; UPS is unable to provide or schedule a specific delivery time. Residential deliveries are generally made between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) & sometimes later depending on the driver’s workload. The estimates are not guarantees, they are simply estimates. The parcel is currently out for delivery, kindly provide more time for the driver to complete his route. -Kendra”

I then DM: Thanks but why do UPS systems say to me to expect delivery between 12:15 - 15:15 then? Also, for my parcel”out for Delivery” is not the last tracking message. An hour later the Tracing is said to be On the Way”, which has been the position for several days. Do you really know it is on the van?”

Ans: Hello, we do not have direct communication with the driver to confirm if the parcel is in the van. According to our records, the parcel is out for delivery. -Kendra”

I DM: And my first point… Thanks but why do UPS systems say to me to expect delivery between 12:15 - 15:15 then?”

Ans: As previously mentioned, due to day-to-day variations in package volume, driver delivery routes, driver pickup routes, and your location on these routes; UPS is unable to provide or schedule a specific delivery time. The estimates are not guarantees, they are simply estimates. -Kendra”

I DM: Better not to give estimates that are not worth spit really. I very much hope it is on the van but your tracking systems offer contradictory information that does not inspire confidence.”

And that where it got to as at 16:08 on the 14 June.

As per the tracking system and messages from UPS I continued to hope for delivery and stayed in. But nothing arrived on the 14th.

Its now the 15th June and I’ve sent the following DM and open Tweet to Lenovo: Despite your messages nothing arrived yesterday. I pointed out to you that the tracking system gave contradictory info and looked to you to give me sensible information in the circumstances using your skill and knowledge of the realities. All up I stayed in from 12:00 until 21:00, for no good reason. Bad tracking systems, made worse by poor customer care.”

There were two further Twitter messages from other people repsonding to my initial open tweet

Don’t get your hopes up. All they could do for me is tell me what I already know.”

Ack! I had some of my stuff sent up here a few months ago, so I looked into feedback on all of the available companies, I was so surprised that the big names (FedEx, UPS, etc) all have really rubbish service - not something we should have to stress about, sigh.”

The final thing is that I can’t divert the parcel to a pickup location - it has to be delivered to my home address, I guess for security reasons. But this makes it even more imperitive that the system correctly report when delivery will happen.

Conclusion after a day of no delivery
Any organisation can fail at times, but what you want is to be able to talk to them and get accurate info on the position and hear what they will do to about sorting it all out. UPS project themselves as a prime courier but in reality their systems seem to be lacking and the appearance of a timed delivery slot is a myth (in the UK anyway) and ultimately they don’t even actually know for sure if a parcel is on van for delivery or not. And don’t expect to talk to anybody about a problem.

I’ll update this when I finally get a delivery.

Feltham: Destination scan << on ios app
03:29 15 June

Feltham: On the Way << on web
03:29 15 June

As at 06:00
On the ios app it has: Scheduled delivery - information unavailble
On the Web it still has: Estimated delivery: Monday, June 14 between 12:15 - 15:15

As at 09:00 the ios app and web page are still as above - so no Out for Delivery’ message and not clear it will be delivered today.

There is a DM from UPS as a repsonse to my Twitter message of heavy criticism:

Hi there, our most sincere apologies for any frustration caused. Your package is inside the van, so please expect the package today. Due to high volume, packages that were out for delivery but could not be delivered because of the time, get sent out for delivery the next business day. - Silvia”

My response to them @ 09:30

Currently, neither the web or ios app indicate that delivery is today and there is no Out for Delivery’ tracking message. And why, having failed and inconvenienced customers yesterday, are they not prioritised and delivered to first today? I waited 9 hours for nothing yesterday, and I’m just expected to wait in all today for something your systems don’t actively show is going to happen anyway.”

and this from UPS

I’m really sorry that the website and app haven’t updated this information yet, this is what we have here:

SCAN 5095P/WEST LONDON, GB 06/15/21 03:29 Out For Delivery

SCAN 5095 /WEST LONDON, GB 06/14/21 04:58 DESTINATION SCAN

SCAN 5095 /WEST LONDON, GB 06/14/21 04:58 Arrived at Facility

  • Silvia”

And my response to them:

Thanks and I’d like to be sure this will happen today but am not. Your 03:29 entry of Out for Delivery’ is contradicted by an 03:29 entry of Destination Scan’ (ios app) and an 03:29 entry for On the Way’ on the web - a generic holding message. I also got an Out for Delivery’ message in the early hours yesterday and it meant nothing. I’m not at all convinced the parcel was on the van at all yesterday, but we will never know. What we want, those of us failed already, is clarity from a premium provider and we see none of it.”

I got no answer from UPS.

As at 11:00 on 15 Jun 21 there is no change - neither the web or ios app show any delivery information re my parcel. I have no confidence it is on a van at all.

As at 18:00 on 15 Jun 21 there is no change - neither the web or ios app show any delivery information re my parcel. I have no confidence it is on a van at all.

At 18:18 on 15 June there is a UPS message to say that Delivery will be delayed by one business day” and there is a rescheduled delivery shown as Wednesday 16 June, 12:00 - 15:00. So a second day wasted and of course the parcel is not delayed one day but rather it will be two days from their first proposed delivery.

Sent this DM to UPS firt thing on 16 June
““Despite your messages nothing arrived yesterday - Tuesday 15 June. It was the same on Monday 14 June. I pointed out to you on both days that the tracking system gave contradictory info and looked to you to properly investigate and all you did was tell me it would be delivered and to stay in ready. At 18:18 last night UPS messaged to say there would be no delivery that day and it is changed to today, Weds 16 June between 12:00 - 15:00. So I am having to stay in for a third day. I hope it happens.”

And also did a public tweet at the same time:
“.@UPSHelp_UK Despite your messages on both Monday & yesterday, no parcel arrived. I pointed out on both days that the tracking system gave contradictory info but you offered no useful information/support bar saying wait in & it will arrive. I’m now staying in for a third day.”

Re staying in - although delivery is estimated at 12:00 - 15:00 I have cancelled something this morning just in cast it arrives before the estimate. From previous conversations with UPS it is clear that estimates are rather illusory rather then based on any real plan - say in the way DPD work and where estimates are usually accurate to the hour.

08:23 on 16 June I get a DM from UPS:
“Hi Bruce. We have forwarded your concern to our local team, so they can follow up with you on the status of the delivery of your parcel. They will contact you within two hours. If you have any questions or need further assistance do not hesitate to contact us. -Mitzy”

I get a telephone call from UPS and effectifly document it in a DM to UPS:
“The local team have just contacted me. They talked to the driver and it is on the van for today. They also said they have no idea why UPS give out a time slot of between 12:00 and 15:00 (in my case) because it’s not offered as a service and it could come at any time. I can’t help but think it would have been way better to involve the local team’ earlier, rather than just keep being given generic information and a hope it should be OK despite the tracking info being odd. I also note that currently neither the web or ios app show any tracking information at all for the parcel. Hopefully it will work out and I won’t be back here tomorrow…”

So I did the right thing to cancel a trip out this morning because it could come at anytime.

And just to confirm, as at 09:43, there is no tracking inofrmation at all for the parcel - on the web or ios app. All it says is Details not availble” on ios app.

09:43 16 June DM from UPS:
“Bruce, once again I am terribly sorry for the inconvenience with the delivery of your parcel. I appreciate the update and please if for any reason your parcel does not get delivered today, get back to us, and we will follow up.-Mitzy”

As at 11:08 on 16 June, there is tracking info availble again but it has not been updated since yesterday - not yet anway.

And the parcel has been delivered - at 15:46 on the 16 June 2021.

I’m amazed by the length of this record of what has happened. It really shows the uncertainty and impact on folks life when carriers don’t have decent systems and customer care etc. What I will do is add a heads up summary of what has happened to the top of this piece.

Tech Lenovo Courier UPS


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