My iPod was stolen while in the possession of UPS Peru.
I had a buddy in Bogota mail some things from my apartment to Peru. At the top of the list was an unopened iPod. When the package arrived, I saw the package had been opened. The iPod was missing. Package, instruction manual, and headphones were there, but no iPod. I shot off a polite but urgent email to my UPS contact.
What transpired is a completely typical example of customer service in Latin America.
A week went by with no reply. I sent a reminder email.
My contact replied saying the case had been forwarded to the Lima office at:
UNION PAK DEL PERU S.A.
Av. Pérez Araníbar # 2107 – San Isidro
Teléfono: (511) 264-0105 anx 231
Fax: (511) 264-5822
Another week passed and I got this from UPS in Lima:
Sr. Colin Post
Estuvimos investigando sobre el iPod que no llego en su envió, desde su llegada e ingreso al almacén, hasta la entrega a los almacenes de Lan Peru para enviarlo a Arequipa, se a determinado la perdida en los almacenes de Lan Perú
Lamentamos lo sucedido, el hecho escapa a nuestro control, el envió llego con un valor declarado de US$ 5.00
Según el procedimiento de UPS para estos casos reconoce el valor declarado en la factura del envió.
What do we have here besides poor written Spanish? UPS absolves itself of guilt and lays the blame on LAN airlines, who I had no contact with as a customer.
Not only did UPS Peru lay the blame on a third party, but they also attempted to pay out only $5 for the iPod Shuffle as per the alleged declaration value. This second part was more insulting because I still had the invoice showing I declared the full iPod Shuffle value of $50.
I sent an annoyed reply which was greeted with radio silence. I waited a full week before swallowing my pride and contacting the Lima guy again with a polite tone and a screenshot of the invoice declaring the iPod at $50 value.
In addition to swallowing my pride, I said I didn’t even want cash. I was now moving to Peru from Colombia and I’d take the $50 on another dispatch (after 4 years in LatAm, I’m still stupid). UPS Peru said that was fine.
Back in Bogota, I put together a package of things that wouldn’t fit in my suitcases and took them to the local Deprisa office. The Deprisa agent assured me all the stuff I was sending was legal to send through Peruvian customs, and I paid Deprisa to ship it.
The package was held up in Peruvian customs on account of a T-shirt. It was held for two months.
After two months UPS Peru emailed me a balance to pay at the bank. Two months storage was due. They sent no itemized invoice, they made no pretense that the $50 credit had been discounted. They just sent a balance and an account number.
I found this to be the norm with Peruvian customs. If you want your stuff, you pay.
By the time UPS Peru sent me that balance due, I didn’t care about the $50 credit. I just wanted my stuff. So I paid.
I’ve found this to be the norm with customer service in Latin America. Which is to say, if you want service, grab your ankles.