Why I am not compatible with UPS's tracking system

UPS is well known for their excellent package tracking system. Packages are scanned when they move ten feet (or so), so that customers can always track the exact position of their new shiny. You can even map your package travels.

However, like many systems, they aren't quite as effective as they can be. Recently I ordered a package which was being shipped to an old address. Upon calling UPS to reroute the package I was informed that I must call between 6AM-9AM the morning the package is due to be delivered (four days hence from the placed call) to alert the driver not to deliver the package. I questioned why the operator could not go ahead and note on the package tracking that the address was incorrect and to go ahead and reroute the package now, saving UPS from 4 unnecessary days of travel and shipping.

The operator responsed that "the system does not work that way." Being a caring customer, I wanted to give my feedback to UPS that this was perhaps not a good solution, and they could be more effective, and have happier customers, by using their tracking system to make notes on packages in transit.

The response: "I will let them know that the system is not compatible with you."

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.