FedEx, UPS, and USPS – Best, or At Least Better Than the Others

This time of year, I would assume that more people are shipping packages than during other times of the year.  You would think that the big three shippers –  FedEx, UPS, and USPS – would want to impress and wow their customers, especially USPS, who could really use the money. Which of these shippers is the best when one considers cost, ease of shipment, punctual delivery, and professionalism (which includes care with packages)?

USPS is usually the most cost-effective of the three, and I have to give ease of access to USPS also.  Cost and ease of access are about the same for UPS and FedEx. Overall, I’d say that UPS and FedEx are more punctual in their deliveries, so it comes down to professionalism.  I have issues with all three shippers in this area, and here are my stories about each.

UPS often leaves packages at doors or on porches.  For the most part, this is an accepted practice.  In our apartment complex, however, leaving packages at doors is not allowed.  All shippers attempting to make deliveries are required to bring any undeliverable packages to the leasing office or take the packages back to try the next day. One day this summer, my husband and I came home to find that UPS had left three large round tubes on our patio rather than following the required procedure.  Getting to our patio was not easy since it is completely surrounded by shrubbery.  What was wrong with this?  First and foremost, it was against the complex rules about package deliveries.  Next, because we knew the rules of delivery, we never expected to need to make special arrangements if we were not home when between two and three thousand dollars worth of newly purchased art was delivered.  Yep, it was a very expensive delivery.

FedEx has not had a problem with leaving packages when we are not home. Instead, FedEx has had a problem with reporting an attempt to deliver a package and no one was home two days in a row.  What is the problem with this? Because my husband and I knew the package was to be delivered and required a signature, we stayed home all day the first – at least one of us  was home all of the time.  In addition, our dog barks anytime someone comes to the door, so there is no chance that we did not hear someone knock.  Finally, if delivery attempts are made unsuccessfully, drivers are to leave documentation at the door, and this did not happen.  After not receiving our package the first day, we called that evening.  The next day, when delivery was to be attempted again, we were home all morning.  At noon, I checked tracking, and the driver had reported an attempt to deliver our package at 11:31 a.m. with no one home.  WRONG!  We were home; the dog did not bark, and no documentation was at our door. I called FedEx immediately and explained the situation.  The lady with whom I spoke said the driver would be called. Amazingly, the driver was able to find us 10 minutes later, and our package was delivered.

This summer, our daughter-in-law took a small package to her local USPS office to mail it.  The clerk at the post office told her how much postage was needed and put the postage on the small package.  About ten days later, we had not received the package and feared it lost.  Just as we had given up hope, the package was returned to our son and daughter-in-law marked – are you read for this? – insufficient postage.  To wrap up this comparison, I must use a cliché:  a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are pictures of boxes delivered to me by USPS or delivered to family that was shipped by me via USPS.

Package Shipped USPS to Son's Family

Package Shipped USPS to Son’s Family

It was clearly marked fragile, but look at some of the damage.

It was clearly marked fragile, but look at some of the damage.


Package shipped to me via USPS from a major department store, and this is how it arrived.

I think that I have to rate USPS at the bottom.  Then it comes down to which I rate as better between UPS and FedEx.  When I consider my years of experience with the two, not just the last few months, I think I have to go with UPS with a slight advantage.

Who do you think is the shipper of choice?


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