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New Paramount ME II and a bizarre experience with UPS

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#1 angelfj

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 11:46 AM

I should be feeling extremely excited and enthusiastic.  You see, yesterday I received my new Paramount ME-II mount.  Well, actually I am excited. I’m looking forward to many enjoyable hours with this remarkable piece of modern technology. However, first I need to be sure that the contents of these two heavy boxes are undamaged, considering the indifferent treatment given them by the guy in the brown truck.

 

It all started yesterday morning.  I received an email from UPS that two packages were on their way with delivery expected between 12 noon and 4pm.  I told my wife to be on the lookout for the big brown truck, just in case I had to go out. She agreed and the rest of the day went by routinely.  About 2pm, we got a call from our daughter saying that she was without electricity and could one of us please stop over with a few grocery items.  We ’ve had some intense thunder storms all week. These were the aftermath of tropical storm Isaias.  I said, “no problem”.   What I was thinking had to do with UPS and according to Murphy’s Law, the truck would probably arrive while I was out.  Well, family comes first, so I was off to my daughter’s place.  With luck, I figured I’d be back in less than an hour.

 

Upon return, sure enough, there was a UPS truck parked across the street from my house.  This might seem normal, but our street is quite wide and we have above average traffic that time of day.  The driver was sitting in the cab reading something. I rolled down my window and gave him a friendly wave. He didn’t notice me, so I pulled down our long driveway. I intended to park in the garage and then guide the driver down the driveway to a point in front of the garage door.  I figured the closer he parked, the shorter the distance.  After all, those boxes are heavy.  After parking the car, I turned and saw the driver struggling with the smaller (86 lbs.) of the two boxes.  I called up to him as I walked up the driveway, “use your hand truck”.  I was worried that he was going to drop that box. He said, “I don’t have a hand truck.  We don’t have enough at the warehouse, and they were all gone when I left to make my rounds.”  I said, “why don’t you pull your truck down the driveway”.  He said, “I’m  not allowed to drive onto your property”.  So, at that point he puts the box down at the top of the driveway. It was more on the street side of the curb near my mailbox.  I said, “you’re not going to leave it there, are you”.  He said, “yes, I’m only required to deliver it to your address, which is as close as I can get it to your mailbox”.  I said, “no, I don’t want you to leave it there.  Let’s get your manager on the phone. Maybe with my approval, he’ll let you drive down to the garage door.  He said, “I don’t have a manager”.  At this point, I’m  thinking there’s something wrong with this person and he has a serious problems with his job, his boss, and perhaps life in general.  I’m also thinking about how unlucky for me to get this driver for this particularly important delivery.  At this point,  my wife walks out to see what is going on.  She says, “why don’t you ask Joe (our next-door neighbor) if you can borrow his hand truck.”  Hand truck, what hand truck.  Oh, right, Joe is the neighbor who helped us load those heavy boxes for the church picnic last summer.  So, over to see Joe and back with a rusty but serviceable hand truck.  A few minutes later, both boxes are  sitting on the floor of my garage.  I reluctantly thanked the driver and asked him where I needed to sign for receipt of the delivery.  He looked very confused by my question but said that a signature wasn’t necessary because this was not considered a high value delivery.  Oh? Well, I’m not a rich man, but this equipment cost a bit more than lunch money.  So, I asked him what he would have done if I had not encountered him upon returning home.  He explained that they routinely leave large boxes like this at the mailbox, and that he would have done just that.   My wife and I looked at each other in surprise, not so much because of what he said, but the indifference in the way he said it.   So, off he goes to his trusty brown truck.  I was thinking about his next customer and wondering if he/she would have an easier time and almost didn’t notice him walking away with Joe’s hand truck. My wife, always the voice of reason, said, “you better leave Joe’s hand truck right there.  He works for FedEx”

After a bit of reflection, I decided to write this little account.  I tried to contact UPS by phone, which I learned is close to impossible. During the pandemic they are not taking  phone calls and  offer their online customer service support site as the only option. 

This experience was really strange and in some respects even comical.  It left me with a number of questions. Why did the driver park across the street and risk danger rather than in front of my house/driveway?  How did he plan to  deliver two boxes weighing 86 and 115 lbs., without a hand truck?  Why doesn’t UPS have enough hand trucks? Considering last year’s  $75B revenue, you’d think they could buy a few more lousy hand trucks.  Is it true that UPS can’t/won’t drive onto  your property?  Why weren’t the boxes marked high value?  What is considered high value?  Why didn’t the driver ring the doorbell to tell us he arrived?

 

I was able to reach Software Bisque and reported my experience. They were very nice and explained that they generally don’t have a problem with UPS. They told me they plan to look into this and also to have a discussion with the dealer.  They asked that I provide feedback regarding the condition of the contents of the two boxes.

 

I really hope this was just an unusual incident.  However, I have read some hair-raising stories about UPS and other shipping companies here on this forum.  I hope to record the unboxing of my new ME-II.  I’m not so experienced at recording video, but if its successful, I’ll post it here.

 

Best regards,

Frank


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#2 sg6

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 11:54 AM

Have to say you really do have problem with delivery in the US.

We are boring here, things generally get delivered on time, in one piece, totally undamaged and right to the door.



#3 Voyageur

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 12:21 PM

That is indeed a bizarre encounter. I have had wonderful service from my UPS driver for decades. UPS is required to deliver to your door here in the US, just like in the UK and I believe in any country it services, not drop things out at the street.

 

Something was very wrong with that driver, and I hope you are able to make a formal complaint and get some satisfaction. 



#4 MikiSJ

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 12:23 PM

Congrats on the new Paramount. I had a Paramount ME in the late oughts and it was a joy to use, and expensive joy but worth every Dollar.

 

It is probably true that UPS cannot drive onto your property, unless you are a commercial enterprise. The hand truck was likely buried further into the truck and the driver didn't want to unload boxes to get to it. I am sure UPS doesn't allow any employee to pack around an #86 box.

 

The Bisque boys do nearly everything right, and that includes packaging their mounts. If your packaging is anything similar to what mine came in, I am sure UPS could have dropped the box from their overland truck at 60 mph and it would only scratch the cardboard.

 

Once again, enjoy that mount. What kind of OTA will you be placing on top.



#5 DeanS

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 12:32 PM

Hmmm, I have a 600 foot long driveway and UPS regularly drops off boxes at my door.  Sounds like a driver having a bad day? Or attitude?


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#6 dkb

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 12:37 PM

This sounds like an issue with the driver or the local UPS.  I live in rural area and they always drive right up to your house even when you have long private driveways.  They've even asked me if it was okay to open a gate that I sometimes have closed at end of driveway if they need to and I said that is fine.



#7 angelfj

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 01:10 PM

Hey guys!  Already some very good comments!  Everything you are telling me says it was the driver and not necessarily the company.  To the gent from the U.K.  I worked in Wiltshire in the early nineties.  I don't remember, but didn't UPS have service throughout England and Wales.

 

Regarding the packaging. OMG, I have to say considering the attitude of that driver, I was concerned about the part of the handling that I did not see, e.g. at the warehouse, loading platform, of and on the truck, etc.  But, I must agree, this is the best, and most rugged packaging I have ever seen.  The smaller box contained accessories, power supply, cables, knobs, keypad and the counterweights and CW Shaft were at the bottom. There was no skimping on the packaging.

 

The large box contains the mount itself. Wow, what a work of art.  I must tidy up the observatory before "she" resides there.  The attention to detail in the secure packaging is obvious.  Now I completely understand the comment about dropping the box at 60MPH.

 

More later!

 

Frank



#8 angelfj

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 07:59 AM

Hi guys.  I shot some video last night.  I need to edit it and then I'll post a link.

 

For the record, in general, I do not have an issue with UPS.  I sent an email to their customer service dept. I'm curious what the'll have to say.

 

Can I upload an MP4 video directly to the forum, or do I have to first publish it on Youtube?

 

Best regards,

 

Frank



#9 Jeff B

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 08:44 AM

And this is why I use FEDEX or good old USPS Priority.

 

Jeff



#10 dkb

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 12:10 PM

And this is why I use FEDEX or good old USPS Priority.

 

This really just depends on the driver(s) and/or your local FEDEX/UPS center.  Here, FEDEX is by far the worst compared to UPS.



#11 Jarno

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 12:30 PM

It happens everywhere. I sent an eyepiece I didn't like back to TS in Germany from the Netherlands using UPS. It was in its original packaging with foam, which was wrapped in bubble foam, which was surrounded with sturdy foam and all of that was inside a second box. First they lost the package for two weeks and when it was returned (not even delivered...) the outer box was crushed and it had sustained such hard impact(s) that one of the lenses inside the eyepiece had broken free and damaged two others. About the only thing I can think of that could accidentally cause such damage is a plane crash. I'm sure I'd have heard about that so it looks like it was intentional. Getting the claim sorted took another two months. Great service UPS...

 

Anyway, you now have a GEM of a mount (bad pun intended) and your UPS woes are a thing of the past. Get out under the stars and enjoy! 

 

Jarno 



#12 idclimber

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 01:52 PM

Congrats on the ME. I have had the MX+ since March. I absolutely love this mount.



#13 EFT

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 06:22 PM

Hence the reason I use only FedEx and USPS (who can also screw up but not like UPS typically).  I can guarantee you that the boxes have been treated roughly including being dropped.  But I would also say that it is highly unlikely that there is an damage as I'm sure that SB knows how to pack so that there is no damage.  I have received mounts from overseas (with DHL) where it was obvious that a fork lift was rammed through the box and foam and only resulted in a small <1/2 inch shallow scratch with not other issue.  The only time I have had a new mount substantially damaged was when it showed up no longer in the original box or foam with the substitute box so covered in tape that it must have been an antique. 

 

At this point, if there is no obvious physical damage to the mount and accessories and the boxes were not in particularly bad shape that would suggest there should be, you are going to need to get the mount set up and tested as soon as possible and then work with SB to determine if there are any problems.  I would have to guess that SB fully ensures the mount and if there is a problem, it will be up to them to take care of it (i.e., deal with UPS), not you.  

 

His statement about low-value was BS.  He had no idea.  In regards to signatures though, it would not have mattered regardless of the value of the package.  Because of the virus, no one is requiring signatures these days.  I am not seeing signatures required even for packages insured for $2000 and up.  I'm lucky if I get to the door before they take off.  The only things I have had to sign for in months are mounts coming from 10Micron.  All insured items should require a signature typically.  I understand the reason for not getting signatures, but I don't look forward to when something goes wrong and I or a customer did not even get the chance to inspect the box when it was delivered so that the damage would be documented or the delivery refused because of obvious damage.

 

I have never heard of a box being dropped by someone's mailbox that is not right at their house so I would have to question that.  While my house is not very far from the street, all boxes are hauled up the stairs to my front door regardless of the weight.  It is stupid that UPS does not strictly mandate that drivers use a hand truck for anything over 50 lbs. (and perhaps less).  I don't know if I have ever seen a mount delivered by UPS with a hand truck even when over 100 lbs.  Their workman's comp claims must be ridiculous.  

 

For now though, don't worry about it and just enjoy your new toy.  Congrats.




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