UPS daughter I-Parcel seems to have taken ineptness to a whole new level.
Six weeks after shipping, the box with my six author copies of Spark: A Creative Anthology, Vol.VIII has still not made its way to me. Some of you may remember me sharing some thoughts on this a few weeks ago. The conversation with I-Parcel ended with them enigmatically informing me that they had been “unable to set up the shipping logistics successfully to the Netherlands”.
My query as to what on Earth that statement might possibly mean, lead to the following bizarre and infuriating exchange.
I am flabbergasted. What, exactly, does it mean that “we were unable to set up the shipping logistics successfully to the Netherlands”? I was under the impression that you are in fact a shipping and logistics company. If I-Parcel can’t manage shipping of a box of books across the Atlantic, the outlook for the future of international delivery is dire indeed.
Also, in my previous message I stated explicitly, and not for the first time, that my shipment did nog originate with Amazon. Referring me to their customer service is less than helpful, unless you have more information than I do, in which case that information is very welcome.
This first attempt to get some answers was met with ear-shattering silence. So I followed up with:
I wasn’t being sarcastic (okay, just a bit). I am honestly curious what “we were unable to set up the shipping logistics successfully to the Netherlands” means. How does a logistics company attempt to deliver a shipment?
This finally elicitated a response:
Thank you for your email. I am sorry for any confusion I have caused. Your parcel was returned due to a technical error. Unfortunately as you have stated, we are a logistics company, not a last mile carrier. No attempt for delivery was actually made,
Are you keeping track? First, they were “unable to set up shipping logistics successfully”. Now Stephanie invokes “technical error”, and admits that “no attempt at delivery was actually made”.
In the meantime, I had contacted my publisher to enquire about the returned box of books. Unsurprisingly, my question came as a complete surprise to him. As it turned out, returning the shipment hadn’t actually involved returning the shipment. Apparently, in I-Parcel’s definition, failing to deliver, and then storing the box on a dusty shelf somewhere, constituted return-to-sender.
It was clearly time to up my game.
Taylor, Stephanie, whoever,
I’ve contacted my publisher, who shipped the box of books to me. He has not had the package delivered back to him. Which means that due to “technical error”, or “inability to set up the shipping logistics successfully to the Netherlands”, or whatever other lame excuse you can come up with, I-Parcel has managed to disappear a box with six books.
This is simply unacceptable. EG&J Press, my publisher, is a small-press outfit that can ill afford the loss of any books. From my point-of-view, payment for my contribution to the book was in cash and author copies, so you have in fact made part of my payment vanish.
And it still remains to be explained how you can fail to deliver my package, while you managed to deliver within days an identical package, from the same publisher, to a friend of mine who lives 30 miles from me (and those miles put her further away than me from both the States and Schiphol Airport), and which was shipped at the exact same time.
You can consider this message a formal complaint. I expect you to now burst into a flurry of frantic activity, and put in every conceivable effort into determining what exactly went wrong with the shipment, and where the package actually ended up. After which I also expect you to try again to conquer the “shipping logistics to the Netherlands” and overcome any “technical error”.
PS: I should probably mention that I really don’t care in the least that you’re not “last mile carrier”. I’m confident that if you had managed to hand the package to a “last mile carrier” here in the Netherlands, that third party would have had no trouble in delivering it to me. And quite apart from that, the package was shipped through I-Parcel, I was given an I-Parcel tracking number, I’ve communicated with I-Parcel throughout, and as long as everything looked fine, you were perfectly willing to communicate with me about the package. Given all that, I-Parcel should have the guts to take responsibility for the loss of the package as well.
A week of silence ensued. Had they decided I was no longer worthy of a response? Had they scattered to the winds in panic and confusion?
But no. After a week I got this:
Thanks so much for your patience while we looked into your order. Unfortuantely your order was returned as we currently do not service your location for delivery.
At this time I suggest reaching out to Amazon directly in regards to this order.
All the best
Remember: simultaneously with their inability-to-set-up-shipping-logistics slash technical-error, they had delivered an identical shipment to a friend living a stone’s throw away.
Also remember that I had informed I-Parcel a whopping five times that my shipment did not originate with Amazon.
This is reaching new levels of absurdity. Be forewarned I will keep on nagging until I get some sense out of y’all. Consider this a continuation-slash-reiteration of my formal complaint.
For one, no matter how much you and you colleagues apparently wish it were so, my shipment did not, I repeat, not, originate with Amazon. Suggesting I enquire with their customer service department is about as meaningful as telling me to ask Aeroflot about it.
For another, if my shipment had come from Amazon, it would have been in my possession for weeks, because I’ve never had any trouble at all getting orders delivered across the Atlantic from Amazon!
Continuing my points, I have mentioned numerous times that my publisher EG&J press sent this shipment. I also mentioned, in my last message, that they never received any returned package. Which means that I-Parcel managed to disappear our books. Which, as I also previously stated, is unacceptable, and needs to be corrected by I-Parcel.
Fourthly, I am mindblown that after “we were unable to set up the shipping logistics successfully to the Netherlands”, and “technical error”, I-Parcel’s latest excuse is “we currently do not service your location for delivery”. Since those three excuses can’t all be true simultaneously, I can only conclude that I-Parcel has so far lied to me at least two times.
Which brings me to number five: if it’s true that you don’t service my location, why on Earth would I-Parcel have accepted the shipment in the first place?
But that question is reduced to irrelevance by my final point:
Are you seriously telling me that you shipped the exact same box to my friend over in Utrecht, 20 miles from me, but that you don’t service Amsterdam? Please tell me what transportation method you use that can deliver to Utrecht but doesn’t reach as far as the Dutch capital.
PS: While I wait for the first sensible and constructive response, I will compose an update on my blog for all the readers who have indicated they are eager to know how this unfolds.
Satisfied with the update?