Share your experiences with shipping

DeeJayK

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I know that a few of you do a fair bit of buying and selling equipment, which often involves shipping. I'm curious which carriers you find to be the most reliable. Feel free to interpret "reliable" however you like: on-time/ reliable, good care/ package damage, loss, etc.

The pandemic obviously threw a wrench in the entire expediting business, but it seems that some carriers have recovered better than others.

I've generally found I've had the best luck with USPS in the past year, in terms of both reliability and value. However, a recent shipment from a sale on this site took a circuitous route to it's destination and arrived several days later than I anticipated.

Pre-pandemic I might've contended that FedEx was the most reliable carrier, but it seems that lately EVERY package I receive via FedEx, I experience something like this:
Screenshot_20210921-171338_Chrome.jpg
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I.e. the package was initially expected to arrive Monday, but on Tuesday evening it remains several hundred miles away. I literally cannot recall the last package from FedEx that actually arrived on the date it was initially promised.

UPS seems pretty predictable in terms of scheduling, but it's the one where the packages seem to arrive in the worst condition. I haven't yet had any gear actually arrive broken, but the boxes appear as though they've undergone some serious ill treatment.

I'm curious what others are experiencing?

- K

P.S. Sorry for my US-centric post. By all means, feel free to share your experiences with other carriers in other countries as well. My point is not so much to complain, but to see if other's experiences line up with mine and determine which carrier to select.
 
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I have always found USPS the best for my photo centric shipping. As a seller you should check out Pirate Ship and you get access to the low bulk shipping rates you can't get at retail post office.

UPS here has always been the most reliable and accurate delivery dates for anything I have shipped. USPS is second and FedEx is very distant 3rd.

I've had three packages in the past 3 weeks delayed for multiple days for no reason by FedEx. Last year we had them lose an above ground pool for 3 weeks and it ended up in the lost shipment location in Utah... I'm in NC. It's nearly impossible to get direct numbers to call locations and talk to humans that can connect you with the next possible location it went to. When it finally showed up the box was decimated and pieces were trying to fall out. To top it off the driver ran over my daughter's bike and I had to start a damage claim.
 

Mack

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USPS used to be reliable when we had same carrier person. They've rotated so much now that I'm often delivering other people's mail as they seem to not read the address numbers as to where they belong. I've had to chase down the driver at times when a package says "Delivered" online, but I have nothing. Sometimes he/she back tracks and finds it. I've noticed with the driver changes, the mail comes 2-3 hours later as well.

Yes, UPS seems to deliver more banged up boxes. I've had stuff broken with them. Never had a missed delivery. They are slow though and do not deliver on weekends unless you pay a lot for it. I've paid extra at times thinking they would deliver on a Sat. but I was wrong. Their union seems to be pretty driver driven and not customer driven. I used to get some things via B&H Photo and Amazon via them, but they both seemed to have moved to Fedex now for large stuff and smaller via USPS who does deliver on Sat. and Sunday with Amazon Prime orders.

One friend who worked in a school's delivery building actually had their UPS driver come back and take away a package that he delivered and put it back on his truck. He said "He'd get into trouble delivering it early as it wasn't a paid priority fast delivery." Friend said, "It made no difference to him as it would sit several days anyway before they opened it to clear the purchase order." UPS driver still took the box back and delivered it again the next day.

Fedex has given me the delayed notices as above. B&H Photo says "Two day delivery" (Free over $50 I think?), but it often takes 6 days to the West coast. Often it is because the B&H warehouse is very slow to get the items out, often by 2-4 days (With weekends involved and their closures.) so that slows down the delivery a lot. I'm going through that right now on a lens I ordered last Thursday and it might show up tomorrow (i.e. 6 days. So much for "Two-day delivery."). I've paid a lot for next day with them, but sometimes even that goes four days so I gave up paying extra. Fedex usually calls a day ahead saying, "They need someone to be present to sign for something" arriving the next day so I wait around, but sometimes even with that message they'll skip a day.

I've had pretty good luck with eBay sellers who use USPS. Seems to get here faster than Fedex or UPS.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Coincidentally, just received my new tripod and M42 adapter for Sony E mount from K&F Concept official website (they had some very deep discounts) but it took 11 days to arrive, what I found odd and frustrating is that on their tracking it appears they took a 6-day flight from China to the UK with no updates or information of what's going on. If I wasn't strapped for cash I would have bought them from sellers closer to me but they didn't have as low a price.

PS. The shipping box it came in was literally the product box and it was a bit like an accordion on each side but the stuff looked fine.
 
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DeeJayK

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... what I found odd and frustrating is that on their tracking it appears they took a 6-day flight from China to the UK with no updates or information of what's going on....
I'm guessing a good chunk of this period involved waiting to get through Customs. Or else they're using extremely slow planes. ;)

...
PS. The shipping box it came in was literally the product box and it was a bit like an accordion on each side but the stuff looked fine.
That's sub-optimal. Do you know which carrier it shipped with?

- K
 

DMLarson

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Pre-Covid I preferred Fedex, which were always on time and in good shape.

Since the start of Covid all of my Fedex packages are late, as are all of my USPS packages.

PreiCovid I hated UPS. But in the last year I have come to prefer UPS as it has been on time most of the time.

My most abused packages are usually USPS.
 
Joined
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Miami, FL
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William
I know that a few of you do a fair bit of buying and selling equipment, which often involves shipping. I'm curious which carriers you find to be the most reliable. Feel free to interpret "reliable" however you like: on-time/ reliable, good care/ package damage, loss, etc.

The pandemic obviously threw a wrench in the entire expediting business, but it seems that some carriers have recovered better than others.

I've generally found I've had the best luck with USPS in the past year, in terms of both reliability and value. However, a recent shipment from a sale on this site took a circuitous route to it's destination and arrived several days later than I anticipated.

Pre-pandemic I might've contended that FedEx was the most reliable carrier, but it seems that lately EVERY package I receive via FedEx, I experience something like this:
View attachment 908874

I.e. the package was initially expected to arrive Monday, but on Tuesday evening it remains several hundred miles away. I literally cannot recall the last package from FedEx that actually arrived on the date it was initially promised.

UPS seems pretty predictable in terms of scheduling, but it's the one where the packages seem to arrive in the worst condition. I haven't yet had any gear actually arrive broken, but the boxes appear as though they've undergone some serious ill treatment.

I'm curious what others are experiencing?

- K

P.S. Sorry for my US-centric post. By all means, feel free to share your experiences with other carriers in other countries as well. My point is not so much to complain, but to see if other's experiences line up with mine and determine which carrier to select.
I have had the same experience as above but this has only started just recently with FedEx.

Ordered a lens from B&H that was supposed to be 2nd day air, it arrived after 7 days. The litany of excuses that I got ranged from a hurricane (one did hit the NE US, but package was in Memphis), flooding (central Tennessee was flooded but Memphis is in the southwest corner of the state), plane arriving late and plane unloaded late. Though the package sat in Memphis for 3 days before finally moving.

I understand that there is a logistics nightmare going on and Covid has exacerbate the situation but those excuses were over the top. Had they been consistent with their responses it might have been believable.

As others have mentioned, UPS has seemed to have upped their game as they were the worst of the bunch, at least in my local area.
 

Mack

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I have had the same experience as above but this has only started just recently with FedEx.

Ordered a lens from B&H that was supposed to be 2nd day air, it arrived after 7 days. The litany of excuses that I got ranged from a hurricane (one did hit the NE US, but package was in Memphis), flooding (central Tennessee was flooded but Memphis is in the southwest corner of the state), plane arriving late and plane unloaded late. Though the package sat in Memphis for 3 days before finally moving.
.....
Same here. I figure on B&H to take 6 days to west coast even with their 2-Day shipping claim. Sometimes Fedex takes 3 days, but getting out of the B&H warehouse also takes 3-4 days (Ain't no Amazon Prime!). Maybe Covid, but I'm also suspect of their Payboo Card where they pay the sales tax (~10%) if you pay in full on the first balance due date to Synchronvity Bank (Their Payboo card issuer.), else you get hit with the 30% interest from day one. If they can delay the shipment, the time to pay off the balance is shortened almost a week so you might get stuck with the bank's high interest by the delay as well as any delay to post to your account. The payment, as well as any warranty, is when their register closes, and not when you get the item. Been there.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I'm guessing a good chunk of this period involved waiting to get through Customs. Or else they're using extremely slow planes. ;)


That's sub-optimal. Do you know which carrier it shipped with?

- K
1632334600816.png
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That flight was before it even got to customs, must have been the new Uber travel, Uber: We get you anywhere, whether you like it or not.

I don't know who was the original carrier, Royal Mail delivered it to my door but I get the feeling it's not them playing the acordian here.

Generally my worst experience with delivery companies in the UK is: Hermes and DPD
Generally my best experience with delivery companies in the UK is: Royal Mail and Yodel
 

DeeJayK

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Update on my original post. FedEx delivered that package last Saturday. So five full days later than the initial delivery estimate. And it took them four days to move it the last ~160 miles.

I finally called them on Friday and the phone rep was predictably clueless and unhelpful. At least she didn't even bother making up some BS excuse.

Meanwhile USPS reads this tale of delivery incompetence and says, "Hold my beer."

I took them nearly 4 and a half days to move this package from Minneapolis all the way to St. Paul, a distance of maybe 10 miles.
Screenshot_20210927-194209_Chrome.jpg
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- K
 
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SVQuant

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I have generally had good success with USPS during the pandemic, especially priority mail. FedEx seems to always take an extra day or two (my son's new backpack shipped from PA and showed in CA 12 days later. It took 4 of those days to leave PA and another 3 after it made it into Cal. Seems to suggest that their reverse last mile is broken.

I have never had very good luck shipping out with UPS, but their deliveries seem to make it a day after promised. And forget about signature, cause they will leave it at the door and move on.
 
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I generally use USPS because it's convenient and generally reliable. It's also much less expensive for me as a shipper (and receiver) than either UPS or Fedex from and to Hawaii. I've had pretty good luck shipping and receiving via USPS Priority Mail. They now have free tracking, which is more reassuring, and they have seldom delayed my shipments. I can pay for and print the Priority Mail labels at home and just drop it off at the post office without standing in line. With USPS, I can offer free shipping to buyers, but if I had to use UPS or Fedex, I'd have to ask buyers to pay, which makes selling my items less attractive. So, for me, USPS is the only feasible game in town. I had a couple of misfires on deliveries, but when I called USPS customer service, they've resolved it quickly. I don't ship International.
 

RichardC

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Expectations need to be lowered (although I still marvel at Fedex's ability to deliver in 1-2 days UK to USA door-to-door).

In the UK I ship 70-90 packages a week by Royal Mail Tracked. Can't really fault it. Rarely later than the advertised transit times and I've never had a Tracked parcel go missing. The 24/48 services are prioritised over all other Royal Mail post other than 'Special Delivery'.

Special Delivery, a 'guaranteed next day' service, is however an excellent example of an industry wide deception. People pay double to quadruple standard rates in order to 'guarantee' next day timed delivery. It's something I don't offer, because refunding your shipping charges (on application of course) when the package is late is not the same as guaranteeing to deliver your goods on time. Royal Mail do not get you a replacement van just to deliver your parcel on time if they have a breakdown or delay. They are frequently late, especially at weekends, but make so much more money for the service that they can easily afford to take the odd hit.

In general terms though, people need to appreciate the number of hops/connections that a parcel has to make from point A to point B. It takes just one delay, breakdown, street protest etc to throw the whole process out of kilter.

In the present time we have pockets of widespread sickness combined with significantly higher parcel traffic compared to pre pandemic. It will be a very long time before courier services return to normal.
 
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Mack

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Uh Oh! The news said USPS would slow down and seems they have. One of my shipments has not moved from the shipping post office for two days, and now maybe Monday. At this rate it might take a week to move across the USA - if not more for weekends.

Supposedly, USPS is resorting to using Ground instead of Air. Maybe they had a contract with FedEx or UPS using their air carrier network, and possibly that contract expired or they did not renew it. I heard FedEx's union may have called a strike which might be part of the matter between the two.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon Prime handles this with their two-day delivery (Which is sometimes 3 days.).

Ugh. Pony Express is coming back to a post office near you.
 

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