. Vite Vinifera De Vino's Blog: Is It Possible...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is It Possible...

... that the big companies that govern a large portion of our economy are never accountable for the problems they create? It looks like this has become a generalized issue all-around: there is ConEd's ridiculous refund decision for the 8-day blackout a of couple years ago; anybody that ships regularly with UPS knows that if they lose or break a package it will take several hours on the phone in order to get a refund that, in my experience, is rarely a full one. The funny thing is that Verizon, UPS, FedEx, Con Ed and many others have increased their prices dramatically, while exponentially lowering their service standard. Today, to send 12 bottles to California via ground shipping will cost little over $45; 3 years ago the same shipment was $ 25. It almost doubled, and proportionally their customer relations got twice as bad, as did the services they provide. UPS lost and broke a fair few of my packages, and every single time that sort of mistake was made, I ended up frustrated by the way their errors are handled.
I'll give you one of the truly ridiculous examples of what I'm talking about, just so it doesn't sound like I'm whining over spilled milk; if UPS loses a package, their policy states that it is the shipper's responsibility to notify UPS, open a claim and wait 8 business days to hear from the claims department regarding reimbursement. First of all, can anyone explain to me why I'm responsible for notification (or anything, really) when UPS loses something? How am I even supposed to know? Second - in the case of a lost package, if I ask them what I should do while the claims department is coming to a decision the answer is, as usual, that my course of action is my responsibility, and that UPS has 8 business days to find the package and deliver it. Now I understand the reservation of a number of business days (though 8 seems a little hefty), so they don't deliver the same package twice, should I choose to ship a replacement. But it is truly incredible how many times I have heard, "IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY" when someone has lost or damaged something I entrusted to their care.
To top it all off, when I want to know exactly what the responsibilities of UPS are, because I don't feel like they're fulfilling them, the conversation always ends up tethered to the phrase, "I'm sorry you feel that way." Well, I do feel that way, because of the moronic mistakes of these companies. - Today, it was Verizon's turn... the credit card and fax line was down, so I called the Verizon repair number, and I was told that there was a problem with some cable that will be repaired by June 17th at 8pm. I said, "that's 60 hours from now... how can I do business without processing credit cards?" Peter, my brilliant Verizon representative, answered: "well, you are the businessman, you figure out how to overcome the problem. Maybe hook the credit card machine to another line." What other line? The only line I have available is the store line, the one that needs to be free to receive orders! This was my unanswered reply, and when I asked about compensation, they told me that MAYBE I would get a refund for the days of non-service (a whopping $6), but that Verizon is not responsible for loss of business. Once again, those words of wonder - "NOT RESPONSIBLE."
"Considering the fact that my business is done mostly on credit cards," I told Peter, "you do the math, and see if $6 will do me any good." The last words I hear are:" things break... we didn't do this on purpose, you know... cars break, airplanes break etc etc." Yes. Things break down. I know. But again, I don't understand how that allows these companies to shirk responsibility for their problems. Why is it that their problem has to fall on my shoulder? Why is it, when UPS loses a package, I automatically lose several business hours to report the loss, and start a long and painful refund process that would never happen if I, the non-offender, didn't initiate it? What happened to the services that made this nation powerful and efficient? Where is common courtesy, now that we are almost slave to the services (read: functions) the companies that take advantage of their stronger position to steal our time and money?
The saddest part of this mess is that the situation is getting worse, and is spreading into every company. I switched to FedEx because I was fed up with UPS. FedEx promptly broke a package insured for $260, and I got a check for $118 because according to them, I didn't declare the package's value. So I had to download the shipping detail from the FedEx's website, print it out, then call an 800 number and fax them the details in order to retrieve what was missing... and when I asked how it was possible that FedEx denies a claim based on a lie, the conversation's culmination was, of course:
"I'm sorry you feel that way."

Buona Bevuta a Tutti

1 comment:

Joe Manekin said...

Exactly what you said. Hope you enjoy your summer vacation.