I spent over $20 on bubble wrap and sturdy cardboard boxes to prepare it for shipping. I wrapped it better than a museum curator would wrap a priceless artifact for a trip across the ocean. I taped it like a mad woman and double boxed it. In fact, there was so much packaging involved it cost over $35 to ship it via UPS ground from Miami to New Jersey. I, of course, insured the package with UPS.
Imagine my horror when the buyer contacted me to say that the package arrived with the side of the box smushed in and this is what was inside….
Had I just thrown it into a box with some newspapers and hoped for the best, I would have just refunded her money and moved on, but there is absolutely no way that this gorgeous piece could have been destroyed like this unless the box was either opened in transit or handled roughly.
I immediately filed an insurance claim with UPS. Before I could even upload photos or proof of the value of the item, they sent me an email stating that they would go to the buyer's house to inspect the package. I emailed UPS and asked how to upload the photos and the valuation papers. They sent me back a form email.
I don't use UPS to ship a lot and I don't ever recall filing a claim for damage with them. I wanted to make sure that they had everything that they needed to process this obviously valid insurance claim quickly. I called the UPS customer service line. After going through one of those irritating long menus where you have to talk to a computer who never understands what you are saying, I was put on hold to wait for the "broken package " department or whatever UPS likes to call it.
While I was on hold (which was quite a long time) I googled something like "How to file a UPS insurance claim" and realized that A LOT of people have these claims denied. Like a lot, a lot. This made me concerned. Once I finally spoke to the customer service rep, he seemed to want to rush me off of the phone and pretty much said that they would be by the buyer's home sometime on Monday to view the package and that they did not need any more information.
I asked to speak to a supervisor. The lawyer in me wanted to make sure that the photos and proof of value were attached to my claim. The customer service rep started to argue with me a little bit. "Why do you want to speak to a supervisor?" was his lovely response. He put me on hold for 8 minutes and then I mysteriously got disconnected.
I called the 800 number back. Went though the whole menu thing again and after being on hold for at least five more minutes, (these minutes were spent googling "class actions against UPS for insurance fraud" and "taking UPS to court over insurance claims") I finally reached another customer service rep. I explained to her that I was on hold for a supervisor over an insurance claim and I wanted to be connected to a supervisor. She started to ask why I wanted to be connected to a supervisor.
I explained that I had already wasted at least 30 minutes of my precious summer day on the phone with UPS and I wanted to speak to a supervisor. She refused to connect me to one unless I told her the whole story again. I was having none of it. I asked for a fax number for the customer service department as I already was drafting a letter. She flat out refused to give me a fax number. She insisted that UPS did not have one. While I was fighting with her, I started a live chat with UPS and the person/computer chatting with me in a box on the side of my screen also insisted that there was not a fax number for anyone at UPS.
Let me digress here. I was asking for a fax number because in my history as a lawyer and excellent letter-writer, I've found that emails don't always get read. A paper copy or a fax is always a better way to start a paper trail.
At this point I was not only upset about the loss of the lovely $350 plate, but at this horrible treatment from UPS, which I now refer to as the "House of No". I googled "UPS fax number" and finally found one. I also found the email addressees of six of the top executives in the company.
I wrote and faxed a letter explaining the situation and the horrible customer service that I received to the COO of UPS . I copied it via email to all of the executives at UPS and wouldn't you know it,within three hours, I received a phone call from a delightful man named Scott from UPS who is now working on my case.
Stay tuned. Will UPS do the right thing and pay the claim so that the buyer can go off and search for another fabulous piece of Mackenzie Childs pottery? OR will UPS make me toss off my summer sandals and put on my uncomfortable lawyer shoes ?
Let's hope for my feet that UPS does the right thing. I will be sure to keep you updated.