Customer Support for the Independently-Owned UPS Stores is a Joke

The UPS Store That Has My $250

The UPS Store that has my $250.

Even thought I’m a strong supporter of local small business, it still pains me to watch those new doing business local commercials from The UPS Store.

In short, UPS doesn’t stand behind this product. UPS lends their name, and obviously their advertising dollars, to these independently-owned stores. But UPS does not support customers when they have an issue with a store. In fact, The UPS Store customer services does not even stand behind this product.

When you have an issue with a local UPS Store guess who your customer service is? That would be the store owner. If you have an issue with the owner, guess who your customer support is? No one. UPS Store Customer relations (at 1-800-789-4623) is a joke. They will only send your request back to the store owner.

UPS, The UPS Store, and Mail Boxes Etc (the company that created and controls the UPS Store franchise system) is not interested in ensuring customers of The UPS Store receive adequate service. In my case, they are standing on the sidelines as a local owner provides poor service and refuses to give me service for the money I paid. Here’s my predicament:

I recently purchased mailbox services from The UPS Store. I prepaid $250 for a little over a year’s worth of service. When I finished paying, the associate told me he did not have a key for my mail box and that I should return later to pick it up and that he would call me when it was ready. No apology.

A day goes by and no call. Three days later, still no call. So I decide to head over to the store to inquire about the key. The key still is not ready. There is no apology, no “sorry, sir”. Just a blank look like I did something wrong and again, my key wasn’t available.

I was told to come back later and they’d have my key. Haha. Fool me once…

I asked for the manager and told them that I wasn’t interested in the key anymore. I said that because of their lack of completing the transaction (i.e. giving me a key to the box I paid for), and poor service in the process, I wanted my $250 back. He refused and said that they would go make the key and have it ready within the hour. I said that they could forget it and that I wanted to see the owner.

The manager refused to let me talk to the owner. So, I dialed up The UPS Store customer support (number above) and they said that I would need to talk to the store owner to resolve it. I asked why they couldn’t help and they said that the stores are independently-owned and that they cannot help. They also said that I signed a non-refundable contract and so even though I was not issued a key, I could not get my money back.

Frustrated, I took to the Internet and found their customer support contact page. I found that individual store owners have email addresses and there are some other customer support and PR lines. Here’s my email to the owner (, CCing customer support:

Dear Owner,

Since your manager won’t give me your name or phone, I am emailing you the store/owner (I assume):

This letter is to inform you that you have breached your service agreement.

I paid your business $250 on 6/18/12 to provide mailbox services. It has been several days and I have not received a key to my mailbox after numerous attempts at great cost to me.

This is a breach of our agreement.

In the real world, when you pay someone for service, it is provided. In this case it was not, and since you refuse to issue a refund, I will be disputing the charge with my credit card company immediately. Expect a notice from them.

I would have loved to have talked to you about it, but you refuse to do so for some reason.

Your manager was rude to me in all of my attempts to get the key. He never once apologized for the lack of service.

Here’s the response I received from The UPS Store customer support:

Hi Philip,

Thank you for taking the time and sharing your concerns with us. I would like to take this opportunity and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience it has caused you.

I spoke to Gabe, the store manager [not owner]. He said you set up the mailbox on 6/18 and wanted to cancel on the same date. He is under the impression that you don’t want the mailbox.

Anyway, he told me that the key is available for you to pick up at the store. We will address the rudeness issue with them as well.

Again, we are very sorry about what happened. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call.


Esther Jiang
Conflict Resolution
MBE, A UPS Company

While I appreciate Esther’s nice response, she’s passing the buck and this isn’t a satisfactory response as I’ve made attempts to get the key. Am I being unreasonable for not wanting to continue to return to get my key after no calls and multiple attempts?

I then contacted Chase to dispute the transaction. After two months of research, Chase didn’t come through for me. They said essentially their hands were tied because of the signed contract and receipt, which shows that keys were paid for. Ironically they said that the store told them they had my key. So they are aware of the uncompleted transaction. I know I put them in a tough spot, but I expected them to take one for the team. I even threatened to leave Chase over the issue and they wouldn’t budge.

So that’s where I’m at today. If you are considering the services of The UPS Store, be aware that you are not dealing with UPS, nor can you rely on The UPS Customer Support. If something goes awry, you are only going to be dealing with the people behind the counter, at that store. Make sure you are comfortable with that. And if you do sign up for mailbox services, make sure you get a key before you leave.

What would you do in this situation?

Update: I’ve picked up some responses from The UPS Store customer support on Twitter. Here’s one:

This shows how worthless The UPS Store customer support is. They can’t handle a simple customer complaint about obvious poor service.

They bow to the wishes of the independent owners and nothing ever gets resolved. How can they say it was fulfilled when I was never given a key after several attempts?

UPS and The UPS Store gets to wash their hands of the issue because they can say their “Support” is handling it. UPS, you need to own up to this farce of a customer support group and take responsibility for the mailbox product brand that you own and promote.

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About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon. He created this website back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence. He uses Personal Capital to track his wealth. All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.


  1. Legal_Beagle says

    When in doubt, read and re-read the Contract (Agreement) before signing the document. First class in Contracts.
    I scanned the boilerplate UPS (US) Agreement. In sum, the person holding the mailbox key, is deemed the possessor of  its contents (i.e., your mail).There is no language which expressly mandates the Store must furnish a key to the mailbox and front door. It is implied [the Customer is required to leave monies in deposit, is common sense, and in keeping with a good faith transaction], but not an obligation. 
    The Agreement clearly notes, no refunds. The credit card company cannot, I would think, file a Claim against the UPS Store-there does not seem to be  fraud, malfeasance or illegal activity on the part of the Manager (see above for my reasons). They did follow the letter (but not the spirit ) of the Contract.
    What was the final outcome? Did you cut your losses (and reduce your blood pressure) by walking away? In retrospect, would you have the key in hand before agreeing to, at most, 3 months of service?

    • Philip Taylor says

      @Legal_Beagle The final outcome is the same as I said above. No key. No refund. Yeah, I’m done. But I’ve often thought about heading over there on the last day of my contract and demanding my key one last time, just so I can say I used it once.
      My retrospect: never work with UPS Stores again.

  2. The College Investor says

    I’m really surprised that Chase didn’t come through for you.  That is piss poor on UPS and Chase and this point.  I’m irritated for you because I use box service and I’d be pissed if that happened to me.

  3. William_Drop_Dead_Money says

    I hear you. I had one bad experience – fortunately it cost a whole lot less. UPS tried to neutralize the advantage FedEx got on them by buying Kinkos. It is nothing but Mailboxes Etc. with a new name, so UPS can tell customers “we also have a FedEx Office clone.” Once you realize you’re dealing with MBE, everything comes into place.
    You do have the choice to go to Small Claims Court… if you think $250 is worth the aggravation.

    • Philip Taylor says

       @William_Drop_Dead_Money Good point, William. I’ve looked into it and it would cost a minimum of $75 in fees to get started. Not worth the headache.

  4. What a bunch of B.S.  Ridiculous.
    I hate to say it, but I agree with Michael, just pick up the key and move on.  You’ve already gotten them back with this article and that’s about all you can do.

    • Michael Pruser says

       @Mike Holman What do you mean you hate to agree with me?!  I’m an agreeable fella.

    • Philip Taylor says

       @Mike Holman Well, my wish is that they’ll step forward to resolve the issue by giving me a refund. Then, I’ll edit the post with the positive action they took.

  5. Money Life and More says

    That sucks… It sounds like you either walk away and lose $250 or go get the key and use it for the rest of the year… i’d find some way to pay them back for the favor though… maybe the local news could help?

    • Philip Taylor says

       @Money Life and More But that’s the issue…how many times do I have to go back to get the key? Isn’t there a reasonable standard for completing mailbox service timely? I don’t have time to deal with companies that aren’t ready to do business. I want to work with people that have their act together and know how to treat a small business owner willing to give them their hard earned money.

      • Money Life and More says

         @Philip Taylor I’m not saying it is a good option, just saying that it seems to be the only option left at this point. Sad, but true. Some media exposure might change the owner’s mind is the only other thing I can think of.

  6. Michael Pruser says

    A perfect follow-up from my NFL story today Phil.
    I recently was charged a $75 fee from Comcast for cancelling a contract I never had (I had moved after four years of service and was without a contract for the last two).  This fee stayed on my account for a month and I called in three separate times, being told three separate times the fee would be removed in a few days, sorry for the inconvenience.
    I left for a weekend trip and returned Monday to see a collection letter in the mail for the $75 Comcast says I owe.  I called up Comcast immediately and was told by them that the matter was now in collections and they were powerless to help (even though they clearly see three sets of notes saying the fee would be overturned).  All talks must be made with the collection agency and after speaking to them, I have to pay the $75, no exceptions.
    So I could fight it until I’m blue in the face, ruin the credit I have tried so hard to improve over the last three years, or just pay the $75.  I paid …
    In your case PT, I would pick up the key and be done with it.  There are battles in life you fight, and those you retreat so you can live to fight another day.  You’ve already gone above and beyond in getting justice but don’t let the little things tear you up like this.  If I had two lives, one would be spent bringing down people, places and companies like this but alas, I have just one life and I’m gonna enjoy it as much as possible.
    Good luck Phil