National News

Phoenix woman says UPS can't track lost iPhones

Posted November 29, 2017 4:03 p.m. EST

— Cassandra Rios says she can't imagine life without her smartphone.

"I mean, it's everything," she tells 3 On Your Side. "If you need to get somewhere, you have your GPS and you can check your emails."

With that in mind, Rios thought getting iPhones for her mom and stepdad would be helpful to them.

So, back in September, she paid around $1,600 for two iPhone 7 Pluses from Verizon Wireless. Rios then took them to a UPS store just off of 44th Street and Oak Street in Phoenix. Here, she says she paid a UPS store employee to wrap, package and ship the phones to her parents in California.

"They do this stuff for a living so they would make sure the phones don't get broken and they will be packaged safely and I wouldn't be having any issues," she said.

But, why would she have issues? After all, UPS boasts about having a Pack and Ship Guarantee. And they have commercials telling consumers not to worry when it comes to shipping.

However, Rios says she did think it was a little strange when the UPS employee didn't wrap and package the phones in front of her as she expected.

"So, he doesn't package the phones in front of you?" 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper asked. "Did that bother you?"

"Well, I thought I was a little off but then I thought they were getting ready to close and they'll do it later," Rios replied

Rios says she then left the UPS store. But, bad news came days later when her parents said the phones never arrived.

Concerned, Rios says she kept complaining to the UPS store and she also filed a claim with UPS' corporate office.

However, UPS never did locate the two phones. And, as for the UPS store, Rios says the manager left a handwritten note with his employee.

"Tell her (Rios) they ain't gonna do nothing more," the note said. "It's closed. I called and checked this morning and they (UPS) said case closed."

Rios says she was shocked.

"I mean, I wasn't at fault," Rios said.

On UPS' tracking site, you can clearly see Rios' phones were processed and ready to be shipped.

However, after that, things get confusing. The next notation states only that a "lost package" investigation was issued.

Rios says she's now on the hook for paying Verizon Wireless for those phones. In fact, Verizon Wireless said her balance remains past due and had increased to nearly $1,800.

At 3 On Your Side's request, UPS reopened its investigation. Days later, they wrote 3 On Your Side an email reiterating that the phones were "... lost in transit..."

UPS didn't explain how or why they became missing. Instead, they blamed Rios for failing to declare the value of the devices were $1,600.

Rios says at this point, it's not the value in question. The focal point she says should be where her phones are. Rios says it's the first and last time she'll ever use UPS.

"How stressful has this been for you?" Harper asked.

"Oh, so stressful. The other day I had an anxiety attack at work. I couldn't breathe and I was crying," she replied.

UPS settled the claim by issuing her a $100 check. That's the maximum amount UPS issues without declaring a higher value.

However, Rios maintains the real issue should be locating those missing phones. If UPS' tracking system is so dependable, Rios wants to know why they can't track her phones.

3 On Your Side asked UPS that question, but they never answered the question.

By the way, 3 On Your Side asked Verizon Wireless to see if the phones had been activated and are currently being used. Verizon told us the phones have not been activated with them. However, they have no way of ascertaining if the phones may have been activated with another cell provider.

A statement from UPS can be found below:

After researching Ms. Rios' claim, the package (1Z2E33790325493072) shipped from The UPS Store was lost in transit and an investigation was initiated by UPS. Because Ms. Rios did not declare any additional value on the package to indicate the contents being shipped were worth $1600, the claim was paid at the standard $100.00 plus shipping charges. I've included links to the UPS Terms of Service and the UPS Declared Value information page outlining loss or damage claims on shipments without declared value stated will receive a maximum of $100 dollars plus shipping costs.

UPS Terms of Service:

UPS Declared Value FAQ:

Please remind your viewers who are concerned with higher value shipments that UPS provides automatic protection against loss or damage up to $100. If no value is declared, UPS's maximum liability for loss or damage to a package or international shipment is US$100 (or the equivalent in local currency. Shippers sending goods with values exceeding US$100 can choose to declare a higher value for the goods, up to certain maximum amounts and subject to restrictions, by paying an additional charge. Also, declared value is not insurance, which can be purchased at time of shipping.