Ordinarily, UPS is rock solid reliable but this is the Christmas season when package loads increase and the parcel service brings in extra drivers to handle the volume.

One of them, assigned to deliver in Floyd County, got lost Tuesday and went back to Roanoke is many packages undelivered.

One of those packages should have come to Chateau Thompson, where UPS delivers 15-20 packages a month. On Monday, I ordered some urgently needed photo and video supplies from B & H Photo in New York and paid the premium to have them shipped overnight.

By 6 p.m. the package had not arrived so I checked the tracking number on the UPS web site and found this message:



Obviously, they were trying to contact me via pony express because no phone call came into either home or office or via email. The message was posted at 6:09 p.m. I called at 6:30 and, after several frustrating attempts to get through their voice prompt system, finally reached a live person.

Or so it seemed.

"The driver couldn’t find a street number where you live," he said. "You need to have an identifying number out in front of your house."

Identifying number? We have three of them: The number on the mailbox in front of the house, a sign that points to our number and the number of the only other house on our lane and a lighted number sign at the entrance to the driveway.

Perhaps, I suggested in a lower tone of voice that indicates seething anger, the driver got lost?

"Oh I doubt that sir but I will contact the regional center (in Roanoke) and have them call you within the hour."

Ninety minutes later and still no call back. So I called back. A bored sounding woman said the regional center was now closed and she would have someone call me in the morning.

"Unacceptable," I said. "Let me speak to your supervisor."

She tried four times to say her supervisor was not available and would call me back before she finally understood that I would not accept that brush off and would not hang up until a supervisor came on the line.  When the supervisor finally got on the line I explained in an escalating volume that I was sick of being jerked around by UPS and wanted an answer tonight on where the package was and just when they expected to deliver it.  She promised to check into it and call me back in thirty minues. In five minutes she was back on the line, having reached someone in Roanoke who admitted that, yes, they had a temporary driver on the Floyd route Tuesday and, yes, he got lost and that, yes, there were a lot of angry customers like me who didn’t get the delivery they expected.

After multiple apologies and a promise of a full refund of my shipping charges, UPS promised to deliver the package first thing Wednesday morning to our studio in Floyd.

Let’s see if they can deliver on their promise this time around.

UPDATE: 3:17 p.m. Package arrived. Not exactly "first thing Wednesday morning" but at least it is finally here.


  1. Hi; thanks for the opportunity to record this information. Hopefully it will help others to make rational decisions on shipping arrangements.

    I had a package scheduled for delivery yesterday by UPS. I waited in all day and kept looking out the window in case the driver hadn’t been supplied with the flat number – an occasional problem, though it never before led to a failure to deliver – but when it hadn’t arrived at 5pm I checked the tracking on the net and there it was: “A CORRECT STREET NUMBER IS NEEDED FOR DELIVERY. UPS IS ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN THIS INFORMATION”. There was also a note to say that the driver had sent a postcard to me to find out the street number. But strangely, he did of course have the street number – all that he lacked was the dreaded flat number. If he didn’t have the street number how did he expect the postcard to get to me? The postman was going to have to deliver the postcard somehow! Anyhow, all he had to do was come to the block – 4 floors of 2 flats per floor – and ring one or more of the buzzers. I would certainly have answered – and I would have seen the van if he’d parked outside. But rather than try to deliver – to save coming back and to try to keep the customer satisfied – he appears instead to have drafted a postcard to me . . . . . .! I’ve done courier work myself and my approach was always to deliver if at all possible, to save a return journey, and to prevent the customer from having to wait in again.

    Having contacted the UPS call centre this morning before 9am I was informed that the delivery will be rescheduled for tomorrow – time unspecified. A short time ago I checked the tracking and at just after 1pm there was an update to say that UPS are still attempting to get a correct street number . . . . more than four hours after I provided the detail that will hopefully make the job easy. I appreciate that the original shipper should have ensured that the flat number was included along with the street number, but UPS haven’t covered themselves in glory here. . . again. This was my second UPS experience. My first was two weeks ago when I was shipping something to someone else. The driver failed to appear on the due date to collect and turned up just before midday a day later without an apology. 2 experiences and both bad. I won’t be using UPS again, and I won’t allow anyone shipping to me to use them at my expense. It’s not going to hurt them of course since I’m only one customer lost but I don’t think that poor service should be rewarded with more business.

    Again, my thanks for being allowed to post this information. Appreciated. jim

  2. I had the same problem with UPS multiple times. They’ve always been late or they cant locate my house. I called UPS and they said that it might be a new driver and that they would have to deliver tomorrow. Kept giving them a chance but i’ve decided never to use UPS again.

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