Good and bad companies

The good and the bad

I’ve recently had a few experiences with some companies and thought I’d share my thoughts. It’s really quite interesting to see the level service offered by big companies, and how they can differ so widely – they’re not all bad.

Some are bad, of course, and don’t seem to put any effort towards customer satisfaction, and continue only to operate because there is no viable competition. This is unfortunate, as this puts the customer in between a rock and a hard place – with the result being a feeling of losing one’s hard-earned cash.

Good: UPS

First up, UPS, the package delivery company everyone seems to love to hate. However, my experience with them was great. Back at the end of April, right after I’d finished school, I needed some way to get a lot of my stuff back home to my parents’ for the summer. A moving company was impractical; I didn’t have enough stuff to warrant using their service, which had a minimum fee and would probably end up costing me between $600-$800. UPS was thus a natural choice.

They shipped my computer, monitor, two big boxes of clothes, and a few other boxes cross-country for only about $120 CAD. I shipped the stuff on Monday morning, and it arrived Friday afternoon – which for me, was a fast transit time. They even found my home despite the confusing road signs in the area. And, of course, nothing was damaged in transit. The only caveat would be that you have to be able to get all of your stuff to one of their stores for shipping.

Average: Purolator

I recently ordered some stuff from Dell Canada, and Purolator simply could not find my house to deliver it. Mind you, there are confusing road signs present in the area, but this is no excuse – other shipping companies have managed to find my house, and furthermore, Purolator previously had no trouble delivering other packages from Dell. I phoned them twice, clearly explaining my location to the customer service rep., and pointing out to them that it was clearly shown on Google Maps.

Purolator transit record

Now, I know that Purolator knows how to use Google Maps, since they use the service on their own site to help customers locate shipping centres, etc. However, despite all of this, they just couldn’t find my house and must’ve given up. I ended up having to go into their shipping centre to pick up the package.

As a side note, most of the half-dozen or so people I saw at Purolator picking packages were also collecting purchases from Dell Canada. I guess Purolator has a deal with Dell Canada, which must explain why everything I’ve ordered from Dell has come via Air – even though shipping’s free! So, I guess I can’t complain too much.

Bad: U-Haul

When I was moving at the end of the school year, my friends and I (like most students) rented a U-Haul truck to transport our belongings. First of all, their pricing scheme is downright deceptive. Many trucks are emblazoned with ridiculously low prices like “$29.95!”, but this is only if you adhere to the equally-ridiculous usage rules. These basically amount to keeping the truck in-town, not traveling over a certain number of kilometers, not using the extra moving tools, and probably ensuring that you don’t drive by any crying babies.

Realizing that there would be a huge demand for these trucks near the end of the school year, my housemate diligently called U-Haul and reserved the truck a month in advance. One day before we had to move, U-Haul called us to confirm that the truck was still available… in another city. My housemate had to take a train to the other city (over an hour away), then drive the U-Haul back into town – all at his expense. When he signed out the U-Haul, he was promised that free “extra mileage” would be added to the deal since he had to drive the truck the extra distance back – a promise that not surprisingly, wasn’t kept.

Besides the inherent safety issues that come with operating a U-Haul (the OPP’s inspection of 220 U-Haul vehicles yielded 109 failures), their entire operation seems just a little on the sketchy side. It seems as almost any business can become a U-Haul authorized partner – this means, for example, you might be returning your truck to a place that also doubles as a laundromat or dry cleaners.

However, there’s little alternative – if you need a moving truck, and want the convenience of being able to drop it off in a different city than you rented it at, U-Haul seems to be your own option.

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