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Unfair UPS Charges

Q:I sell a small, lightweight, inexpensive product of my own design from my home-based business. In the past, I've used UPS to ship, and was pleased with their prices and level of service. This satisfaction, however, has dropped recently, for a few reasons. I'm hoping that you can commiserate with me, or tell me if I'm off base.

A:This extra dollar is a burden, because my product costs just $6.95, and weighs just a bit over a pound with packaging. Shipping from here in California to the east cost on a residential delivery costs me $5.12 now. How can I charge someone almost the entire cost of the product just to ship it to them? They'll never buy anything from me if I have to charge that much. I've been using USPS lately, but they don't pick up from my place of business, nor do they have tracking (yet). This also is a problem because the UPS driver determines if the package is delivered to a residence. I don't know when people order from me using order forms whether their address is a business or not. Many people run businesses from homes. Then, the darn drivers erroneously put down that it is a residence, when it is really a business. I sent a package to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes in California, and the #*&%! driver put down that it was a residence! They back charged me, and I fought 'em the whole way to get it removed. This was AFTER the driver's supervisor apologized to me for their error. They charged me anyway! I feel that if they want to charge extra, that they should publish some sort of database that we can use to determine residence or business. Otherwise, the driver makes the call, and I don't trust them. Nobody ever said that life is fair. The successful people are those who can get things done in the real world, not some fantasy world in their mind where everything works out the way it should. UPS is free to charge whatever the market will bear. If they get too high, someone else will move into the market. If they go too low, they lose money. If you think the charges are too high, then look around for the alternative. One I see is the $3/2-3 day Post Office option. I know that Fed/Ex is aggressively looking for new business contracts for non-time sensitive deliveries (ie, to fill up airplanes when there is extra room after all of the overnight stuff is loaded). Finally, consider the possiblity that you are selling your gizmo because no one else has been able to do it, and still turn a profit. Perhaps all you are doing is confirming that the market will not bear the costs to produce, sell, warranty, and ship your product. Maybe you need to raise the price.

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