CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – A small business owner in Charlotte faced a shocking shipping nightmare last month.
Lucy McDermott, the owner of Stash Charlotte, says she was charged more than $1,300 to ship a package that should have cost her less than $50.
“I own a thread, fabric and sewing machine shop in Charlotte,” McDermott said.
She often ships inventory, but what happened this time was unexpected.
“I had received a suitcase show from a fabric company that contained some quilts, some dresses, nothing heavy, nothing, nothing bulky,” she said. “I think it had been in two or three other stores before mine and I sent it on to the next store.”
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She thought she had done everything right before dropping off the package at her local UPS store to have it shipped just down the road to Gastonia.
“I measured it, weighed it, sent it on its way and thought everything was fine,” she said. “A week later, I received an email that said, ‘Hey. Your shipment was too heavy and too large, so we charged you an additional $1321.00. I thought, OK, that’s a mistake, isn’t it?”
This is where things got complicated, says McDermott.
“First I contacted UPS but they wouldn’t speak to me because I went through a secondary shipper called Pirate Ship for postage,” she said.
She bought the shipping label through this company, Pirate Ship, at a discounted price.
“So I contacted Pirate Ship, filed a dispute, submitted all the documentation, pictures, descriptions of the content and so on,” she said. “And a week later I received an email saying your dispute was dismissed and you cannot appeal.”
She tried to speak to someone at the company but continued to receive automated replies online.
The company does not have a phone number on its website.
“At this point, as you can imagine, I’m absolutely furious,” she said. “And then I contacted you. I also contacted my credit card company and coincidentally at this point I heard again from Pirate Ship that UPS has graciously waived this fee but you need to be more careful going forward as they will not do so again. ”
She says she never found out exactly what happened, so WBTV’s Caroline Hicks reached out to Pirate Ship for answers.
A spokesman sent a statement in which he read in part:
“Somehow the machines saw the package as larger than the carrier’s maximum limits, which at the time resulted in very expensive penalties.”
We also reached out to UPS for comment. A spokesperson told WBTV:
“Meeting the needs of our customers is a top priority for UPS. UPS has worked with the customer to resolve this issue and we are pleased to report that the issue has been resolved.”
Paul Bartholomy, vice president of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont and Western North Carolina, says this is a lesson we should all learn before the holiday season.
“Unfortunately, stories like this are not uncommon, and not just with cruise lines but really with any type of discount, discount providers can inherently cut corners and you may not get the same quality and customer experience either,” he said.
To avoid such a situation, he recommends researching the company, including its shipping, return, and refund policies.
“You have to decide if you want to take the risk you know, pay full fare and take it to a counter and have your labels run, or take the discount and just hope for the best,” McDermott said. “I did that and it didn’t go well.”
If you find yourself in a situation where you think you have been overcharged for shipping, the BBB recommends contacting your bank and dispute the charges with the shipping company. If you think you have been the victim of fraud, you should also contact the prosecutor.
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