Margaret Rusco
January 15, 2012
Eric Rohman
February 24, 2012

UPS to stop giving drop off receipts

Being in the computer business, we deal with shipments quite frequently.  Either we are receiving broken laptops shipped to us from customers, receiving stock for inventory, shipping parts to customers or returning parts to vendors, we are often dealing with boxes, labels, and tracking numbers.

Insurance and shipping

When you ship something of value, you are often asked for a “declared” value. This tells the shipping company how much your box is worth. They use that number to calculate the cost of the insurance for the shipment. If i am not mistaken anything under $50 is covered with no additional charges. (Or it used to be) If your package is worth more than $50 you usually have to pay for additional insurance. This provides protection against loss, damage, breakage, etc. Almost a necessity when shipping anything of value.

Insurance claims

If your item is lost or damaged in shipping, usually the first question is “Was it packaged correctly”. If you didn’t provide adequate protection on each sides and inside the box, your claim may be denied.

I found this out first hand 8 years ago. We shipped a new computer and when the customer received it they said it had tire marks on it. It had been ran over by a truck or car at some point after we gave it to UPS. They sent pictures of the box and pictures of the smashed (I do mean smashed) computer. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

UPS refused to honor the insurance citing “it wasn’t packaged correctly” I told them the packaging  wouldn’t have mattered if a car ran over the box. In either event they refused my claim and I am still leery to ship with UPS even to this day.

If you ever need to file a claim for a package lost in shipment, there are a few pieces of paper you need. You need to know your tracking number, you need to have proof of payment, and you need some documentation showing chain of custody.

Change to chain of custody

Previously, this chain of custody was easy to produce. You would need a copy of your tracking number and you needed a copy of the drop off receipt. That little piece of paper showing that you dropped your package off at the counter.

This drop off receipt was a small but informative piece of paper. It had everything you needed on it. Tracking number, drop off location, store clerk, store address, store ID, time, date, etc. Everything you needed to prove that you did mail a box.

Without that drop off receipt, there would be no way for UPS to verify you actually took a box to the counter for shipment. Sure you had your tracking number, but until the box is scanned into the system, the only person who knows that box actually exists is you. If I were UPS, I wouldn’t pay out insurance claims on boxes that were “supposedly” lost in shipment that we never received. How crazy would that be?

If you never gave it to us, then it isn’t lost. (That is what I would say if i were UPS)

What the change does

Imagine that conversation two ways;

(Them) We don’t have a record of your shipment sir.

(You) I have proof, I have my drop off receipt. It says right here scanned at 11:30am on Feb 13, 2012 at location #1234

(Them) Can you send us a copy of that receipt?

(You) I sure can.

(Them) We received your drop off receipt and will start processing your claim. Sorry for the inconvenience..    yada-yada-yada.

(You) Thank you very much


(Them) We don’t have a record of your shipment sir.

(You) I dropped it off 2 days ago at your store on 123 anywhere street.

(Them) We don’t see your shipment in the system sir.

(You) I don’t know what happened, but  I dropped it off 2 days ago at your store on 123 anywhere street.

(Them) Do you have any documentation of this?

(You) No. They told me they stopped giving out drop off receipts. I asked and they wouldn’t give me one.

(Them) I am very sorry, there is nothing I can do for you sir, we don’t have any record of your shipment.

(You) %3$%SH!

(Them) We don’t see your shipment in the system sir.

This probably goes round and round until someone hangs up on someone.

Small change big impact

I’m sure this small change saves a few bucks for UPS. (Probably million’s in paper cost actually). The change has the potential to screw the shippers big time. If you can no longer get proof of your drop offs, they can deny-deny,deny they ever received it.

Find some cost savings somewhere else please. I will bring my own paper for a drop off receipt if that helps.