Who owes me a box of cookies?
November 17, 2011 11:07 PM   Subscribe

What can I do about a lost UPS package?

On Monday, my boyfriend, who lives in NYC, shipped me a package of cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar. I live in Seattle. I believe the package had a value of around $20-30, and the shipping cost around $30.

On Wednesday, he told me to look at my front door for a package (it was supposed to be a surprise.) I went and looked; nothing. I asked my landlords, who live upstairs and sometimes get our packages, and they said nothing had come. I searched all around the house and checked my neighbors' houses and across the street; nothing turned up.

My boyfriend called UPS, who told him they would contact the driver today and see where he had left it. They didn't contact the driver (or maybe the driver didn't get back to them, not sure which) so now they are saying they'll contact him tomorrow. UPS is denying responsibility for the lost package.

Momofuku is also denying responsibility (my boyfriend called them as well). Given that neither party appears to want to take responsibility, how can he get his money back for a package which was never delivered and/or delivered to the wrong address, through no fault of our own? This seems quite unjust to me, as it's not my fault nor his that the package was not placed where UPS claimed it to be placed.

Who is responsible here and how do we get our just desserts (pun intended)?
posted by queens86 to Law & Government (14 answers total)
Boo! Sorry your cookies were misplaced.

Did Momofuku ship the cookies themselves? In the absence of any other agreement, they should be responsible for getting the cookies to you, then. If he paid for a credit card, he should just file a chargeback with his card issuer. Goods not received is a pretty straightforward reason for a refund.
posted by grouse at 11:17 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you have the tracking number so you can confirm that it made it onto the truck for final delivery?
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 1:06 AM on November 18, 2011

I'm a little confused--is your boyfriend consulting a tracking number to see that the package is marked "delivered," or is he just going by an estimated delivery date?

If he has a tracking number and the package is indeed marked "delivered," I agree he should file a lost package claim. This sucks for you guys, but at least he'll (probably) get the money back. Money he can spend on sending you more cookies!

If he doesn't have a tracking number, I would be persistent in calling UPS and getting a package status update. I've had UPS weirdness before where my package went missing between two facilities and didn't show up as anywhere in the system, only to reappear a few days later. The trick is to be nice, be persistent, and if you can, always talk to the same manager at your local UPS distribution center.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 2:17 AM on November 18, 2011

Bella has it. Keep on UPS, be polite and persistent. Ask for a status update rather than accusing them of losing it. At this point they may simply be denying that the package is lost, rather than denying responsibility if it were to become lost.

If UPS loses it, they are responsible to fix, but it doesn't sound like you know yet that the package is lost. (I may be misreading your q, though.)
posted by sesquipedalian at 2:22 AM on November 18, 2011

If Momofuku is the shipper, you have no relationship with UPS. You can report a lost package to them, but they'll only send a refund to Momofuku.
posted by grouse at 2:25 AM on November 18, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry for the confusion. Yes, he has a tracking number that has reported the package as delivered to my address.

Also, Momofuku sent the cookies.
posted by queens86 at 6:00 AM on November 18, 2011

Initiate a claim.

UPS allows drivers to "driver-release" (no signature) packages at their own discretion, depending on how safe the neighborhood seems.

If they got a signature, ask to see it. If they didn't, I think they're on the hook.
posted by adamrice at 7:46 AM on November 18, 2011

I've had a couple things disappear after being delivered. Merchants have always taken responsibility. (My memory is fuzzy. These multiple incidents may all have involved Amazon. In any case...) There's no reason to think that UPS did anything irresponsible and if there were, Momofuku should be dealing with them. If you're going to offer shipping, then packages that walk away is part of the cost of doing business. It might be worth his time for your boyfriend to try talking to a different person at Momofuku, but he may eventually need to have a conversation with his credit card company. Assuming...
posted by stuart_s at 10:23 AM on November 18, 2011

I ship a lot and sometimes packages get lost. I have always taken the responsibility, even when, for example, a package has knowingly been stolen. Then again, I always insure my packages if they are over a certain amount that I don't want to take a risk for (especially as each item is custom, and is difficult to recreate).

It is about integrity as a business. Momofuku is not showing themselves to be a good business, and I would not use them again. For that small amount of $, they should absolutely reship a new order for you. UPS will trace the package and then take responsibility once they have done an investigation. But Momofuku may have to instigate the trace.

Seriously, I would just not use that company again. In my book, that is a very bad business practice.
posted by Vaike at 10:48 AM on November 18, 2011

I work customer service/quality assurance at a company that ships UPS, and regularly deal directly with UPS regarding missing packages. Here's the process we go through:

Your shipper should be able to contact UPS and open up a trace on the item, whereby UPS will do what they can to try and locate the package. You'll know this is done when the tracking information for your package updates from "Delivered" to "Tracer request. / Lost package tracer. " UPS will call your boyfriend and tell him that "this process can take up to eight business days." At the end of this they'll have either found your package, or will notify the shipper that the package has been lost and reimburse them the package cost. At this point the shipper should be able to either refund or reship your item (UPS will not reimburse you directly because they're technically billing the company, not you; you're not really UPS' customer in this instance, the shipper is).

UPS will officially take up to eight business days before deciding what to do; you can ask them for updates within that period but you may not get beyond "Hey, we're working on it". It's up to the shipper to decide whether they take action before that. A good company will ship a replacement as soon as possible regardless.

UPS usually won't outright deny responsibility for a lost package, unless they have actual proof of delivery like a signature, or if you asked them to leave it and waived responsibility. If the company won't resolve the issue within two weeks then you can start raising hell.

Again, I deal with UPS on the regular, so let me know if you have any questions.
posted by Smallpox at 12:51 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

UPS has done stuff like this to me a few times. Once a package was delivered to 'me' which turned out to mean a school a couple streets away who called my number off the shipping label.

Your boyfriend who bought the package has to contact the seller and they should either re-send the cookies or refund his money. Very seldom will UPS admit to being wrong.
posted by abitha! at 5:32 PM on November 18, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all for the suggestions! The package did finally turn up, and I'm also apparently getting a replacement from Momofuku after UPS contacted them.

Guess a lost box of cookies isn't so terrible after all :)
posted by queens86 at 7:34 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

How were the cookies?
posted by grouse at 9:40 PM on November 19, 2011

Response by poster: delicious! UPS also sent me 2 free boxes so I am still working on them all...
posted by queens86 at 9:39 PM on November 26, 2011

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