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UPS lost my computer

A new Lenovo computer gets delivered. But where?

Michael Horowitz

Michael Horowitz wrote his first computer program in 1973 and has been a computer nerd ever since. He spent more than 20 years working in an IBM mainframe (MVS) environment. He has worked in the research and development group of a large Wall Street financial company, and has been a technical writer for a mainframe software company.

He teaches a large range of self-developed classes, the underlying theme being Defensive Computing. Michael is an independent computer consultant, working with small businesses and the self-employed. He can be heard weekly on The Personal Computer Show on WBAI.


Michael Horowitz
3 min read

UPS delivered a new Lenovo computer yesterday. It was supposed to go to my wife, but no such luck.

We live in an apartment building that has been accepting UPS packages for over 30 years. The system is pretty well grooved in by now. So it was quite unusual for a package to be missing, seven hours after the UPS website said it was delivered. Also strange was the name of the person who signed for the package; it wasn't anyone who works in our building.

Last night, my wife called UPS and was told the computer was not delivered to our building at all. Instead of being delivered to 8 East 8th Street (the addresses are fictional but illustrative), it went to 777 East 77th Street. You have to call UPS to learn the actual delivery address because the website tracking says only that the package was delivered, it doesn't say where.

But is the computer really at 777 East 77th Street? As I write this, it has been about 20 hours since the first of multiple phone calls to UPS. No one there knows exactly what happened to the package. Their first reaction was to trace the package, a process that takes a week. A week, as if it were 1977 again.

Needless to say, Lenovo was contacted too. You might think they could lean on UPS to get a straight answer. So far, multiple contacts with Lenovo have produced nothing.

Looks like we have to wait all over again for Lenovo to build and ship a new computer, a process that took ten days the first time around (four to build, six to ship). But that process can't start until Lenovo or UPS declares the first machine missing in action and we don't yet know when that will happen.

With all their many computer systems, how can UPS lose a package? Was it stolen or sold rather than lost? Can UPS ever make a final determination about what happened? Is there a Bermuda triangle in New York City? We'll see. Watch this space.

Who really gets screwed here? That is, if the computer never turns up, who is out the cost of the machine? Lenovo? UPS? One of their insurance companies? If you know, please leave a comment below. Thanks.

Over the years, my wife and I have had many computers delivered to us. This was the first time anything went wrong. If something like this has happened to you, please leave a comment below.

Defensive computing even extends this request to the shipping company.

Update. January 18, 2008. After dealing with UPS for a day or so, and getting nowhere, Lenovo agreed to build and ship a second computer.

Update. February 15, 2008. The replacement computer showed up today. Finally. The majority of the delay was on Lenovo's end rather than from UPS. For whatever reason it took Lenovo a much longer time to build the second machine than the first one. Both were made and mailed from Mexico. If I had to do it again, I would cancel the original order, make sure the credit card company didn't bill me for it and place a new order - one unrelated to the original order. That would have saved about three weeks. Neither Lenovo or UPS ever got back to us about what happened to the original computer.

Update. February 20, 2008. The original computer showed up today. I refused delivery.

See a summary of all my Defensive Computing postings.