What do I owe UPS?
July 19, 2016 12:19 PM   Subscribe

What are my responsibilities regarding a package sent to the wrong person at my property? Complications within.

Stopped by an out-of-state property I own but do not live in and there was a UPS package on the porch addressed to a person who hasn't lived there in more than 5 years.

I took the package with me, and tried to drop it off at the UPS store where I live, hours away. They couldn't take it, said to call UPS.

30 minutes on the phone, and UPS says they can't pick it up because it's not located at the delivery address. They would like me to drive it back to the delivery address (my property) and leave it there for pick up. Obviously, I'm not going to do this.

When I said no, they said we were at an impasse, because they can't pick it up in my state, and won't let me drop it off at a UPS location. I then suggested that I throw it in the trash. They told me that would be a problem because the package does not belong to me. (Is it illegal? Will I be blacklisted from UPS?)

A further complication is that it wasn't miss-addressed by the shipper: shipper sent it to address 1 and UPS somehow rerouted it to address 2 (my property) but says they did this in error (old change of address or something).

What are my obligations?
posted by OrangeVelour to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I took the package with me, and tried to drop it off at the UPS store where I live, hours away. They couldn't take it, said to call UPS.

I have done exactly this with wrong-addressed packages left by the door of my business unit, and have never gotten any pushback. I'm not sure why they're giving you trouble. If I were you I would just walk into the UPS store, put it on the counter, say "this was delivered to a vacant address, nobody lives there" and walk away.
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:30 PM on July 19, 2016 [20 favorites]

What I personally would do is google/facebook the sender and/or recipient and try to get in touch with them because UPS is actively being dumb. You don't "need" to do this, but it would be a kindness and earn you a ton of moral high ground points.

If that's not an option you'd like to pursue, you can also take the package in to your local UPS franchise, drop it on the counter, and scarper off. Someone will run a barcode scan on it eventually and figure it out from there.
posted by phunniemee at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses - this feels like a lot of hassle.

I could try to track down the guy, but then we're still in a whole thing where I have to get this package shipped to him. He's the previous owner of the home and was not a nice person during the transaction. Have not been in touch since, but not particularly interested in making contact.

When I went to the UPS location, they told me I needed to have a UPS delivery person bring me a shipping label, that they were unable to generate *this kind* of label there. I can bring it in, throw it and scamper off in shame, but I live here and am fairly recognizable and just don't wanna, since they already told me no. I could drive to another UPS facility, but then I'm still complaining about how much hassle this is.

I'm already an hour in to a package that isn't mine.
posted by OrangeVelour at 12:37 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just leave it at the UPS store, it's their problem. Of course they'll probably just redeliver it to the vacant address.

Honestly don't feel too bad about just trashing or leaving it somewhere. You don't have to track down and pay for delivery to someone you don't like. You're not doing anything malicious either, it's just a whole lot of not your problem, and UPS isn't doing anything to relieve you of it.
posted by so fucking future at 12:39 PM on July 19, 2016 [6 favorites]

I could try to track down the guy
I live here and am fairly recognizable and just don't wanna

If you ask a question, get two correct answers, and promptly reject those two answers because they don't fit your perspective on life, you're going to have a hard time here.

UPS is a business, not a charity. They will not be offended when you correct their mistake. Most likely, you will not even be remembered more than 15 minutes after you return the package. The employees process literally thousands of packages a day. Neither this package nor you are a unique snowflake to the employees at UPS. The package will make it to the addressed recipient one way or another. Be polite, state that this was misaddressed, and walk away.

This is not nearly the toughest problem UPS has faced in its existence. Trust me, this will be alright.
posted by saeculorum at 12:41 PM on July 19, 2016 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Don't think of it as scampering off; think of it as telling, not asking.

What happened was you got ahold of a UPS store clerk who didn't know how to handle a situation, so tried to flip it back on you.

What needs to happen is for you to walk in boldly and proudly, put it on the bench, and say "I found this on my property and it doesn't belong to me." Then leave it with them.

Some form of higher intelligence at the UPS store will eventually figure out to return the package to the original shipper.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:45 PM on July 19, 2016 [42 favorites]

Drop it in a UPS drop box.
If it won't fit in then just set it on top of the box.
Then, as randomkeystrike says, UPS will figure out what to do with it once it's back in their system.
posted by ZabeLeeZoo at 12:48 PM on July 19, 2016 [6 favorites]

I'm with the other folks, in that you should leave the package with UPS. I don't understand why they would not just send it back to the sender if it can't be delivered to the right person. I recently had a UPS package sent to me that was addressed incorrectly, they eventually found me (because I have UPS My Choice, I'm guessing) but if they hadn't, the package would have gone back.

I'd handle it like I would a misdelivered letter or package from the post office - I'd write "no such person at address" on the package and give it to UPS. I don't know why they wouldn't take it, but they were wrong not to.
posted by cabingirl at 12:56 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah—you're simply making it their decision of whether to toss it in the garbage.
posted by XMLicious at 1:03 PM on July 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

To add a little to randomkeystrike's correct answer, when I've encountered a company trying to foist off their mistakes onto me (man, that happens a lot), I've found it helpful to remind them that I don't work for them, and that if they want me to do something to help them fix their problem, they need to pay me.

It not only helps me to draw a clear line, but a couple of people I've dealt with seem to have suddenly understood my objection when I put it like that.
posted by ernielundquist at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2016 [18 favorites]

For all of those advocating abandoning the package at a UPS store:

Most UPS stores are franchises that have pretty much no real integration with UPS as a whole. Aside from selling UPS services at a slight markup, they really don't do much other than serve as a temporary storage for parcels in transit.

Dropping the package off at one of the corporate Distribution Centers would likely be a better option for everyone involved.
posted by BrandonW at 1:49 PM on July 19, 2016 [9 favorites]

Having just had a rather tense conversation with a UPS Store employee today about why they would not accept a package with a return label affixed despite the UPS website directing me to drop off at that exact location, my guess is the problem is that you're at a "UPS Store". Those places are not UPS, despite the name, and there are myriad things they won't do for you. You can only do these things at actual UPS locations. In my area this is one place with customer service hours of 2-4 pm. Hopefully your area is better.
posted by donnagirl at 1:53 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

there are myriad things they won't do for you

He's not asking them to do squat for him. Unless they're physically going to tackle him and strap the box to his box, they can't really stop him from setting the box down and leaving. At that point, the problem is theirs. Given what OP's already done, unless the distribution center is actually more convenient for him (it's probably on the edge of town and open once every two weeks), I don't think he's obliged to hunt it down.
posted by praemunire at 2:39 PM on July 19, 2016

The easiest "nice" thing for you to do would be to contact the sender and have them email you a label to send it back to them if they want it back to resend. Depending on the value of the item, they may just have you trash it.
posted by Yorrick at 3:17 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

in addition to randomkeystrike's script, you could also add "you delivered this to the wrong address" since they were the ones that re-routed it to your address. I'd also clearly write "wrong address" anywhere the address of your property shows up on the package.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:45 PM on July 19, 2016

I would just take a Sharpie and write, "Not At This Address-Return to Sender" on the box and place it inside a UPS drop-box. If it's too big to fit in a drop-box and/or there isn't one at a Staples or someplace similar, I would write the same thing and leave it at The UPS Store or, even better, the closest actual UPS facility. This shouldn't take long, and any obligation will be fulfilled.
posted by katemcd at 4:13 PM on July 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

UPS is literally the worst. Worst customer service ever, to the point where it seems like they are actively trying to NOT deliver your package. Somehow I'm not surprised they were absolute shits to you--this is the company that charged me $40 to leave a note saying "put package on the patio." (Then I moved and changed credit cards and didn't renew. It's not like it worked anyway.)

If there is any way you can drop the package and run without actually talking to someone at UPS, do it. If they make you talk to them, don't. If not, then just trash the package. You don't like the guy and don't want to be in contact with him and they refuse to deliver it = screw this shit.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:39 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

If it were me, at this point, I would simply put it aside, maybe in my garage and forget about it for a while. It was delivered to your property without a signature. At some point someone will wonder what happened to the package and someone will take liability, either UPS or the shipper or the intended recipient. They have no way of knowing you have the package unless someone inputted something into their system when you tried to give it back.

Maybe UPS will track it to you and ask. At that point tell them they can come get it. Or if the former resident has the guts to call, tell him to send you a label and you will drop it off at a UPS store. Then, after about a year, I would open the package and see what it is. Maybe it is something useful to you.
posted by AugustWest at 8:48 PM on July 19, 2016

Is there a local news station that may be having a slow day? This kind of story may interest them. You could ask if they might like to try to return it to UPS.
Otherwise, I agree with most of the above answers. Walk into a UPS store, drop it on the counter, smile brightly and say "tag, you're it!".
posted by BoscosMom at 9:10 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older Help me find this online quiz to prove I have no...   |   Fiction set in Quebec City? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.