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The UPS Store - I got screwed by UPS and MBE Mailboxes Etc
Posted on Friday, October 9th, 2009 at 1:13pm CDT by 3f79986e
Company: The UPS Store
I'm just near tears out of exhausting frustration with UPS. And, their in-house insurance people, CRAWFORD. And, UPS Corporate offices, and the local San Diego UPS Store/Mailboxes Etc corporate offices that handle their franchises.
I don't know if I need an attorney, a group to gather and picket the UPS store, a horde of people to email, call, and harass the crap out of the principals involved tll they do the right thing... or somehow to find the time to sue them in small claims court. Or, a good attorney to go after their asses. They say no good deed goes unpunished and I know 'stuff' happens sometimes, but this is just an awful situation.
I know a wonderful family in Tustin. Their Grandma, Sophie, is 93. And, sharp as a tack. Sophie and I chatted last spring about a very special Lladro she'd sent away for years ago, from Spain. It's called "Flowers for Everyone" and it's a gorgeous figural setting, large and very delicate. It sold for $4,500 and it's now retired since 1994. Sophie's Lladro was new in the original box, still held in place with the wood and screws and box guards. Never left the box, documents still encased and intact. I have seen these sorts of things before but usually covered with dust on a table in someone's home.
Sophie's on a fixed income and it's really limited. As she says, 'hell, who expects anyone to live till they are 94?' so she asked me if I knew how to sell this item and bring her in some extra income. I told her I'd get it all photographed and put it up at eBay for her, and sell it for her. See what I could do. I happen to be a powerseller there (nothing car related, just collectibles and antique items) and I added this item online to my ebay store. I'd researched and seen these selling for $3000 - $4500 online, so I priced it at $2950 with free shipping. She agreed it was acceptable.
Cut to late July. Item's still not yet sold. Had a few bites, nothing serious. And, she had given me some other small collectible items to sell also and we did sell them, so the 'need' to sell the Lladro wasn't as desperate. I had brought the pricing down to $2489 and it hadn't sold yet, so I closed the item out of eBay on the last day of July. The very next day, a woman from Texas emails me and asks 'did you sell the Lladro?' and I told her 'no, I just closed the item, I am bringing it back to the consignor, we will wait tll the holidays to relist it...' and Texas woman (her name is Susann) askd if I'd accept $2250 for the piece, and still ship it for free. I ran the offer by Sophie, and surprisingly, she agreed. The woman paid me thru Paypal ($2250, of which $66 was paypal "fees") on Aug. 2.
On August 3, I gave Sophie $1964. The other $286 I kept to compensate myself for the $200. UPS bill for shipping and $66 for paypal charges and the other $20 bucks or so what what eBay charged me to list the item for 4 months.
On August 3, I had my live-in housekeeper Joyce bring the piece to the UPS store in Laguna Niguel at:
28241 CROWN VALLEY PKWY, STE F
LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA 92677
and the woman who packs and ships fragile items is also the owner of that franchise store. Her name is SONG. She charged $200 to pack, insure the item for $2300, and ship in to Susann in Texas.
On August 8, Susann emails and calls me. UPS delivered the Lladro, Broken. There are pieces of flowers everywhere in the box and the lightpost pole is loose in the box, broken in a few places. A disaster.
I call UPS. They send out an adjuster to retrieve the damaged Lladro and take it (a few days later) and when I start calling about claims paperwork, they tell me 'I can't talk to you, Mrs Whitmire, You have to talk to your UPS store. They are the shipper on record."
I look at the receipt I have and it shows the person it was shipped for is Joyce, at my own home address, but the store's name, #890 and the UPS store's name is in the spot where OURS should be. I make a few calls to UPS and finally get someone to email me the claim form that goes with the piece now. It comes as a PDF file. I print it out and fill it out and fax it back immediately.
That was August 11.
I call the UPS folks 2 days later and once again I am told hey cannot discuss this claim with me. I have to talk to the UPS store who shipped the piece. I call Song's store to speak with her... and have to wait till 2pm daily because those are her hours. I call daily for a week and hear from her that she is busy and will call me back or she has 5 customers standing there waiting, and she will call me back. She did not return a call to me in August. I always had to call her. A week and a half later, she tells me that the insurance company is mailing the refund, to call next week and she'd tell me when I could pick it up. The following week, I get no call from her so I call Weds and she says 'bad news, they are not mailing a check. They want an appraisal on the piece in its present condition, and its overall value.'
I was stunned. I was also angry. I had provided, with the insurance claim form, printouts of this same piece for sale on 12 other websites online (ebay, etc) at $3000 - 4500 ... and now I have to go find an appraiser?
I contacted an estate appraisal company who'd been in business for 40 years, she knew her stuff. She wrote the appraisal very formally. Said it was certainly well worth the insured value and more, but now in its present condition, it had little or no value. No one wants a glued together Lladro! It only had value as a perfect retired piece. I paid the standard $300 fee for the immediate, drop everything service. She attached her resume (impressive) and Joyce brought it to Song the next day. Song SAYS she faxed it to corporate along with the 12 examples of the piece's selling price online PERFECT, like it had been when I brought it to the UPS store.
TWO weeks go by. No word, still have Song's "song and dance" on the phone when I would call.. "I'll call you back" or "I have five customers".. after that 2 weeks period, I'd had it.
Mind you, this was all going on during Cash4Clunkers... I was already stressed, and this did not help matters!
I called UPS and figured out that UPS stores has a local office for their franchisees, and I called them, located a man named Andy Nethken who handles problems between customers and their stores. I told him what was happening. He apologized, said he would get back to me in a couple of days after talking to Song at her store and UPS as well. He did get back to me a few days later and said that Song was still working on it. I told him that I did not want to talk with her anymore. I had ZERO faith in her ability to resolve this, and I resented that UPS refused to discuss MY claim with ME when I am the one with her butt hanging out on the line for $2250.
He calls me back - and leaves me a cel phone message which I have saved on my cel phone that says -- (God am I glad I saved it!) "The refund is going out immediately, so Song's store will have it in a few days, maybe a week. I wait, and wait. No call from Song. No call from Andy. I call Andy a week later, and he says "Bad news. I made a mistake - and he says that UPS "Lladro specialist" for their insurance company wants to see photos of the broken Lladro now. I happily obliged. I took 48 photos of all the breaks and broken of flowers and petals and all sorts of things that flew around in that box. I sent them to him 1 at a time in his email, and then called him and he acknowledged receiving them.
A week later, after this, he calls and tells me 'they don't see any damage".
I said 'are you freaking kidding me? Do you see all the broken things? The pieces and parts all stuck around the tape and in the box and all of the broken flowers, the post..?" and he said HE could see it was damaged and now, here I am thinking... OK this guy's gotta be nuts. How hard is it to say to some guy on the phone "wait there a minute, let's both review these 48 pictures, because I see damage in every one of these..." and I said "Andy. why the hell did I pay $300 bucks for an appraisal of an expert if you people were not going to READ it?! Song insisted I get this appraisal to be able to get paid. Now, I am out $2250, and $300 for the appraisal that you INSISTED be provided.
He said "I'll make sure this gets taken care of and you get your money. I'll call my security manager and we'll take care of this.
That week, at the end of the week, he says that UPS wants to repair the piece and ship it back to the Texas woman. I share this little tidbit with her and she is furious... who wants a glued up Lladro in 15 places? She has been very patient, waiting with me for this insurance refund, but she is out $2250 and has nothing to show for it.
I beg her to be patient, that I am still trying to work this out with UPS Corporate folks. I still cannot believe at this point that they are not just writing this check and taking this piece back - if they think it's got any value after being fixed in over a dozen places, then they can have it and fix it and sell it. I don't have a buyer for a busted up glued together Lladro.
She files a claim thru Paypal (who can blame her!) and they immediately freeze $2250 worth of my money to hold until this is resolved somehow.
Last letter I received said:
I have forwarded your email to MBE Security and Crawford. They state that the expert Lladro repair person is recommended by the Lladro corporate office to repair their items. They claim that the repairs are so good that they cannot be detected under a black light, therefore there is no loss in value. With this in mind, they are willing to pay you $650 for the damaged piece plus shipping/packaging plus the $300 appraisal.
Again, MBE and The UPS Store play no role in making these decisions. I am strictly relaying the message. Please let me know if this offer is agreeable to you.
MBE, A UPS Company
Conflict Resolution Coordinator
and I was furious. Making that offer means they ADMIT guilt - they broke it. But, why would they just ignore the item's insured value of $2300 and WHY would they ignore the esteemed appraiser's estimate of the value. Anyone who knows fine porcelain knows you can't glue these things up and have them retain any value. And, worse: I do not have a buyer at the other end for a broken Lladro. I HAD a buyer for a new, in the box, intact and perfect one, and UPS broke it.
I pretty much told them to go pound sand, and that I was going to sue them. As an afterthought, I called Andy Nethken's superior today and left her a message to please call me. She emailed me back today with this:
Subject: FW: #0890 - Dianne Whitmire - Broken Lladro
Date: Oct 7, 2009 6:34 PM
I received your voicemail today regarding your UPS claim. My associate, Andy Nethken, has been keeping me stated of this situation. Andy has done everything possible on your behalf to resolve the issue. I'm sorry that we have not been able to assist more. As Andy states below, MBE and The UPS Store do not play a role in approving or denying claims. If you plan to file suit, as you mention below, that is a business decision that you would need to make.
I am sincerely sorry that your item was damaged and this hasn't been resolved to your satisfaction.
MBE Customer Relations
I'm a little in disbelief -- I mean, I bought their insurance. And, anyone who deigns to call themselves an expert at Lladro or any other fine porcelain collectibles knows that it's worthless with so much damage.
I can't go back to Sophie and get the money back. I just cannot do that to this sweet little old lady.
I know I need to mobilize. I thought about taking a couple days off and setting up a table and picketing outside the UPS store and bring the busted up Lladro with me and show her prospective customers as they walk in what could happen to them if they trust UPS with their goods and their item gets damaged. I thought about small claims court and figure I'd do well there but I could only sue her store.
Anyway, these are my thoughts as my head races in frustration.
Dianne, aka Cheated Big Time by a UPS Store in Laguna Niguel, CA