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UPS didn't deliver my package on time. Can I get a refund?

Series: PROBLEM SOLVED | Story 1

Sue Maier's sister sends her luggage to London via UPS, but the package misses her by a day. Can she get her money back for the shipping costs?

I'm hoping you can help me obtain a refund from United Parcel Service. It's for a shipping fee that my sister paid to UPS to send me a package containing the contents of a backpack that I accidentally left behind when she drove me to the airport to board a flight to London.

My sister shipped the contents of the backpack to the address of my hotel in London. We have tracked the package. The address she used is the accurate address. My sister paid $338 for Worldwide Express service to ensure that the package would arrive before my tour was scheduled to depart.

The package, which contained prepaid receipts for tour transports and excursions, as well as my camera and iPad, did not arrive until the next day, by which time I had left the hotel. I did eventually receive the package when I returned to the hotel a week later at the end of the tour. But it was of no use to me then since the trip was over.

My sister asked UPS for a refund. A store manager said she would receive a refund within 7 to 14 business days, subject to approval by UPS. But that was a year ago.

Since then, UPS has offered $100 to settle the matter. I would like her to receive a full refund of $338, which is what my sister paid for a service that was not rendered. She paid a sizable fee to do me a favor and assure me that I had what I needed for my tour. And we did not get the Worldwide Express Service that she paid for and had every right to expect. Can you help me?

Sue Maier, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

UPS should have delivered your package to your hotel on time. But I'm not surprised it didn't. International deliveries are difficult -- there are customs and other red tape to contend with, not to mention the long distance. I've had numerous "overnight" or "express" packages delayed for various reasons.

UPS has a money-back guarantee, but it's not that specific. It offers a refund on "certain" services to "selected" destinations. You have to review your order to determine if the money-back guarantee applies. I should note that using the word "free" with the money-back guarantee, as the website now does, is problematic. I've never heard of a money-back guarantee that costs anything.

Reaching out to one of the UPS executive contacts on my consumer advocacy site might have helped. A brief, polite email, along with a few tried-and-true methods I've developed, might have prompted some action from UPS. After one year, you would think UPS would have given your sister a definitive "yes" or "no." Instead, she just had the promise of a UPS store manager that she would get a full refund -- but she didn't.

It's possible that your UPS package wasn't eligible for a money-back guarantee and that the store manager spoke out of turn. In that case, someone should have let your sister know that a refund was out of the question. (And even if UPS had said that, I would have still taken your case.)

I contacted UPS on your behalf. The company responded shortly afterward and promised to investigate your claim. UPS issued your sister a full $338 refund.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him at

© 2023 Christopher Elliott


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