Practical Ecommerce

Pros and Cons of UPS SurePost, FedEx SmartPost

If you are looking to save money on shipping, start with a call to your UPS or FedEx representative. Speak with her about UPS SurePost or FedEx SmartPost. These are consolidated delivery services, which utilize the extensive logistics of UPS and FedEx, while relying on the U.S. Postal Service to provide final delivery to your customer.

SurePost and SmartPost are available to businesses that ship at least 50 packages per week. In my ecommerce business, I found this volume requirement easy to meet by shifting from USPS Parcel Post and Priority Mail to UPS SurePost. As I explain in the “Pros” section below, shifting USPS packages to UPS or FedEx will increase your average spend with those companies and contribute to decreasing your negotiated rates.

Why would you want a consolidated delivery service? In my experience, here are the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Reduced shipping costs. Pricing is lower than conventional ground service. The most expensive part of a delivery is when UPS and FedEx drive their big heavy trucks up to your customer’s front door. This is why UPS and FedEx will tack on delivery area and residential areas surcharges to your base ground rates. Consolidated services like SurePost and SmartPost eliminate these charges by delivering packages from many different vendors directly to the local USPS office branch that normally handles their mail delivery. UPS and FedEx get to make just one stop to deliver many packages, and the USPS letter carrier who is going to be driving by every house in a residential area on his daily route is not having to modify his route. The savings that these efficiencies bring is passed on to you, the merchant.

Unfortunately, I am not able to provide exact figures for FedEx SmartPost, because my company (Tastyworms.com, an ecommerce site specializing in nutritious food for birds, fish, and reptiles) uses UPS. But both services — UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost — function roughly the same and the savings should be similar. UPS SurePost shipping rates, in my experience, are equivalent to ground rates to a commercial address. Here are sample costs using UPS SurePost, based on UPS’s published shipping rates.

Florida to New York

UPS Ground Residential: $13.64
UPS SurePost Residential: $10.52
Savings: $3.12

Florida to California

UPS Ground Residential: $15.04
UPS SurePost Residential: $11.92
Savings: $3.12

  • Saturday delivery included at no extra charge. UPS and FedEx charge a hefty surcharge to deliver packages on a Saturday. However, USPS has no such delivery surcharge. Thus, a package that UPS or FedEx would normally wait until Monday to deliver might actually show up earlier than expected and on a Saturday. USPS plans to discontinue Saturday delivery in August 2104. But this only affects letter delivery and not package delivery. In fact, all signs point to USPS expanding package delivery, perhaps to even Sundays in major metropolitan areas.
  • Utilize normal UPS or FedEx pickup. No trips to the post office are required, SurePost and SmartPost are services of UPS and FedEx, respectively. You can mix the boxes in with your normal daily pickup.
  • Unified package tracking is available via UPS and FedEx websites. While the shipping labels will actually contain two tracking numbers, one for the ground carrier and another for USPS, you only have to provide the UPS or FedEx tracking number to your customer. With this tracking number, the customer will be able to see the progress of the shipment, regardless if the package is in the possession of the ground carrier or USPS.
  • SurePost and SmartPost shipments increase your weekly spend. UPS and FedEx determine your negotiated rates based upon your average weekly spending amount. If you increase your spending by moving services from other carriers — such as from USPS to UPS or FedEx — you could reduce all of your shipping rates.
  • Integrated into most shipping software. SurePost and SmartPost services are available in many popular shipping software packages such as ShipStation, ECC by Webgility, and ShipWorks.

Cons

  • Delivery time is slower than ground service. The delivery time of SurePost is typically one day slower than UPS Ground. This is because on the day UPS would normally be dropping the package off at your customer’s door, it is instead dropping it off at the USPS branch nearest to the customer. FedEx SmartPost works on a consolidation model, which involves collecting packages at various consolidation sites around the U.S. and delivering them to the USPS only when it has met an unpublished volume requirement. This can result in FedEx SmartPost delivery times being more inconsistent than UPS SurePost. [Editor’s note: This paragraph was updated May 21, 2014, 6:18 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time.]
  • Cannot ship outside of lower 48 U.S. states. While you can technically use SurePost or SmartPost to ship to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, the fees are simply too high to make it worthwhile. In these cases, it is always better to ship directly through USPS.
  • Must use your own boxes. Even though you have the advantage of final delivery through USPS, it will not permit you to utilize the free boxes that it provides. While UPS will deliver any box, USPS will return a misused Priority Mail box to you in most cases.
  • Unified tracking sometimes causes confusion for customers. Customers are sometimes confused when UPS or FedEx hand the package off to the USPS. In the tracking report, it will indicate that the package has been delivered, often to a zip code that is different from the customer’s. My business receives a slightly higher number of customer service inquiries from our SurePost shipments for this reason. We let the customers know that USPS will be responsible for final delivery and that within 24 hours, the tracking number will show as “Out for Delivery” in the proper zip code. As these services become more widespread, these inquiries should likely drop to normal levels.
  • Limited shopping cart support. Both UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost are integrated into the respective shipping APIs from UPS and FedEx. However, the services are not integrated in the vast majority of shopping cart software by default. If you are an experienced programmer, or are willing to hire programmer, direct API integration into your cart can be added manually.

As a workaround for UPS customers, automatic calculation can be performed by adding an additional shipping method that uses UPS Ground for rate calculation to a business address but is renamed and has its delivery day range increased by one day. This works because UPS uses UPS Ground Business rates as the pricing for SurePost. Most shopping carts are able to handle integration in this manner.

Which Packages for SurePost and SmartPost?

Shift packages to SurePost and SmartPost that cannot be shipped via USPS First Class Mail or in a USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail envelope. These USPS services are a tremendous value when you factor in their low costs and fast delivery times. My rule is the shipment must weigh between 2 and 10 pounds, and it must not fit into a USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail envelope. From experience, I know that at the 11 pound mark ground services become the better value. Your experience may vary, however, so calculate your own break point in this regard.

Conclusion

UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost can provide significant shipping savings over traditional ground services by eliminating hefty delivery area, residential, and Saturday delivery surcharges. While these services are not the answer for shipping every package, they are compelling option for a customer who is price sensitive, but not time sensitive. When implementing this service into my own business, I added it as the lowest cost delivery option at a flat rate cost. Promoting a flat shipping rate avoids sticker shock at checkout. I find these services to be a good fit in this regard.

Christopher Bosdal
Christopher Bosdal
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Comments ( 74 )

  1. Robert May 20, 2014 Reply

    Chris – Thanks for the ShipStation mention!

    • Christopher Bosdal May 21, 2014 Reply

      No problem! ShipStation is one of the many shipping solutions I have evaluated in the past year. I was very impressed by it, but at the time, it did not support my cart unfortunately.

  2. Chris May 21, 2014 Reply

    The FDX and UPS products do not function the same way. UPS SurePost is carried by UPS’s normal ground network to the most local USPS DDU (delivery center), whereas FDX uses a consolidation model, holding packages in 23 SmartPost facilities around the country until there is requisite volume to move the consolidated load to its next location on it’s way to the local USPS DDU. This leads to extended delivery times for FDX SmartPost to remote locations. UPS SurePost is pretty reliably ground +1 day for transit time, anywhere.

    • Christopher Bosdal May 21, 2014 Reply

      Thank you for clarifying the delivery speed difference for me. I was unable to get a FedEx rep on the phone for this article, so there was an assumption that the systems had similar delivery times. We have updated that paragraph.

  3. Susan May 21, 2014 Reply

    On Monday, May 19, two items were shipped from Overstock.com. One by UPS and the other by FedEx SmartPost. The UPS package arrived today. The SmartPost is languishing in Ohio after a 17 hour trip from Penn (by foot?). The delivery date for the smaller SmartPost has been pushed ahead to Saturday. Nice job. This is not the first time SmartPost walked packages from point A to point B. Very disappointing.

  4. Jason May 22, 2014 Reply

    Great post and comparison.

    The biggest con is that in relies on USPS making the final delivery.

    I have had a lot of delivery issues with USPS this year and I added on UPS as an additional shipping option.

    • Christopher Bosdal May 23, 2014 Reply

      Jason, I agree that USPS being involved in not ideal. We also have quite a few problems with USPS. UPS in general has been more reliable for us. Our delivery rates are higher for USPS w/ SurePost than without. Of course, it could also be that they are less likely to misplace packages vs. thick envelopes.

      I guess it depends on where your delivery issues arise most often. SurePost won’t solve the problems associated with USPS delivering to the wrong address, or marking an item as delivered when it has not been. But, those packages which get lost or delayed in transit are resolved by using the UPS logistics chain.

  5. Derek May 22, 2014 Reply

    I’ve been using FedEx Smartpost for at least five years. It’s always smart to compare rates between this (or UPS SurePost) to USPS to get the best rate per package.
    One pro to Smartpost is it’s now built into ebay. When you create a shipping label with paypal for a transaction, you have the choice of using smartpost (as long as the street address isn’t a PO Box #) to get the best possible rate.
    A con to Smartpost is you cannot get signature confirmation for a package. It’s not an option. If I have a big order (over $70), I won’t use Smartpost because I prefer a signature upon delivery to ensure nothing goes wrong.

  6. Catherine Tobsing May 22, 2014 Reply

    I tried Fedex Smartpost awhile but it added 4 days to a shipment that was only 40 miles away and almost lost a customer. Not worth the savings. I am in Chicago, they route all packages to New Berlin Wisconsin , then back out again. That is NUTS.

    • Darren February 9, 2015 Reply

      I understand exactly how you feel. It drove me nuts tracking my package go right through my city and head to Wisconsin then make it way back to me. Just right out crazy.

  7. eCC May 22, 2014 Reply

    If UPS/FedEx drop-off their shipments at the local post office of delivery prior to Critical Entry Time(s), SurePost and SmartPost will be delivered to customers the same day (0).

  8. Bill Brown May 23, 2014 Reply

    We have used Fed Smart Post from almost the beginning. We now use it sparingly for packages that must travel more than half way across the country. The price is great but the service is awful compared to UPS and USPS. Also, don’t know if this is change recently but I was told by UPS that I don’t qualify to use UPS Sure Post so we have been stuck with FedEx Smart Post.

    • Christopher Bosdal May 23, 2014 Reply

      It seems like UPS SurePost is the preferred service based on the comments I am seeing here. I verified with UPS 5/2014 that the minimum volume is 50 packages per week in order to qualify for SurePost. So, if your volume meets or exceeds that level, then you should be able to have a rep sign you up.

      The volume change is somewhat recent from what I understand. When we signed up a couple of years ago, the required volume had been much higher, I want to say 150 per week, but I don’t remember exactly. Our rep was able to get a waiver for us to utilize the service despite our lower volume.

  9. Carlos Rivera May 27, 2014 Reply

    Loved all the info and comments on this article! Thank you for making sense of this for me!

  10. Todd Perry June 13, 2014 Reply

    Also when the packages are handed off to the USPS if you address is not a registered USPS mail delivery address they will not delivery it and it will be returned to sender.
    I get my FEDEX and UPS packages at my home and my mail goes to a P.O. Box.
    I have ha every package that was sent by UPS Sure Post or FEDEX version to my physical address USPS returned to sender because they do not deliver mail here. I must have had 20 packages returned over the past few years because of that. Some orders i just told the shipper to give me a refund and some had to pay to have the items reshipped costing these companies more money then if the shipped by normal UPS or FEDEX.
    The problem is all these sellers say they use UPS or FEDEX but they fail to understand how the Post or Sure Post actually works.

    • Christopher Bosdal June 15, 2014 Reply

      Hi Todd, this is an interesting comment. It sounds like as long as the seller is clear about the final delivery service, then this should not be an issue?

      I.E. If we ship SurePost, we should say USPS and not UPS.

      • Julie October 20, 2014 Reply

        Wrong. It IS a problem. Wrong. UPS and FedEx won’t accept packages that are addressed to a USPS PO Box. As a customer, I have fought with this issue for many frustrating years. Usually – eventually – I get my packages, but – as Todd pointed out – the sender(s) will have spent extra time and money dealing with an unhappy customer and re-shipping the using a service that will finally get it delivered. Todd’s lucky if he’s only had 20 packages. I live in a rural area so shop online a lot. Sometimes I can control (out-guess) the shipping method, but many times I can’t. I think it’s outrageous that the Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx have entered into cooperative agreements where they must know that, sometimes, delivery-as-addressed will be impossible.

  11. hrz June 15, 2014 Reply

    “USPS plans to discontinue Saturday delivery in August 2104.”

    I, nor nearly anyone else alive today, will have to worry about this … fact ?!

    Happy Fathers’ Day. :)

    • Christopher Bosdal June 24, 2014 Reply

      Package delivery will still occur. Unless you ship letters, you don’t need to worry.

    • Bl wilcox May 29, 2015 Reply

      Fallacy.. USPS has NOT discontinued Saturday delivery and probably will not be allowed by Congress to do so. Don’t make assumptions from some Media press release.

  12. Lucinda June 24, 2014 Reply

    Hello,
    I found your article informative. I have one question that I don’t believe was addressed, and would appreciate it if you can provide some direction. I prefer to receive my boxes at my post office box rather than at my physical address due to security concerns. This has always been a smooth process until the last few months (not exactly sure of he date). It seems that there has been a change in the coding for my local post office, and now my packages are being addressed to me, but to a different (incorrect) postal processing facility. I need to find out how to get the coding corrected so I can receive packages without delays, or the packages being returned. Please respond to my email. Thank you!

    • Christopher Bosdal June 24, 2014 Reply

      Hi Lucinda,
      Unfortunately, this sounds like an issue with the Post Office routing between NDC’s. Postal service packages move from one Distribution center to another based on your zip code. From time to time, people in certain zip codes will get rerouted in a way that causes delays with their packages.

      I don’t understand if your issue is only with SurePost / SmartPost packages or all USPS deliveries. If it is all USPS deliveries, there is nothing you can do. If it is only Sure / Smart Post than you can ask the person who is shipping to you to use a USPS service. The price might be higher for shipping however, so they might need to pass that cost onto you.

      • Lucinda June 25, 2014 Reply

        Hi, thanks for your response. I don’t know is it’s a post office issue or if there’s some sort of cross-reference table that’s recently been changed. I was hoping to ascertain that with your help. So I get packages from qvc, amazon and moma. In the case of qvc, until recently, the mailing instructions, which have two labels, were addressed directly to be delivered to the post office where
        my po box is located. In about April, I suffered a returned package, and had several severely delayed packages. I then noticed that the packer/invoice now had an entirely different postal processing plant as the “deliver to” post office. Since I have recently suffered the same misdirection of packages from the other companies, I decided there must have been a recent change in instructions from the post office or, if such a beast exists, in the “sure post” coding office. I was hoping you might know of the office that sets these instructions up, as to which post office packages should be delivered to. It might be a post office issue, but I can’t seem to find out locally, and don’t think it’s a local issue.
        Well’p, thanks for your prompt response. I’ll search further and if I find anything out, will advise you. From the other responses I read, there could be more of these same type of coding issues out there.

        • Christopher Bosdal June 26, 2014

          Sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance. All I know is everyone who receives mail has an National Distribution Center or NDC assigned to them, a cross reference to your zip code as you stated. In my experience, I’ve seen packages routed to certain zip codes in Idaho go to Washington State first and back. I can only assume they get flown over and trucked back, but this is an assumption. You probably fall into one of these underserved zip codes and I would definitely raise an issue with USPS if I were in the same position.

  13. Willis C August 9, 2014 Reply

    I will bring up some more CONS from the “end user/customer” perspective. Sure post is a hassle when the customer lives in a small town outside a major city. U cite an extra 24 hrs delivery time. Well on a Friday evening when FedUP & Brown get to the post office after close packages routinely sit in the post office till Monday. Perhaps the carrier/mail run was early that morning & it wont be taken care of till after the weekend. USPS then blames fedUP & Brown for the delay. When amazon sends me surepost packages & they show up late I refuse to accept the package or let it sit @ the post office till they return it. Then I send amazon the recipt where I bought the item full price somewhere else. Yet they still keep doing it. So to the businesses that want to use surepost then u must not care about loosing 10% of your business on the spot! Surepost is crap & the typical “letter carrier” has a chip on his/her shoulder & will do just about ANYTHING possible to *not* deliver packages on time! I have USPS on video not even knocking on my door & putting the pink slip in my box. They don’t even bother to take the pkg out of the truck if they think they can get away with it. Surepost provides the cover for them to blame their laziness on UPS/FedEx. That cant be good for YOUR business either.

  14. Myles October 11, 2014 Reply

    A ‘Pro’ factor you omitted for final delivery by USPS is that postal letter carriers (but not UPS or FedEx delivery drivers) can deliver inside of postal parcel lockers, when available at the residential delivery address. Since late 2006, postal rules usually require such lockers at newly built residential condominium and apartment complexes. (Similar but older housing may optionally
    install such parcel lockers as a ‘retrofit’ project.) In places where theft of merchandise parcels (left unattended by delivery drivers) is common, that can be an important security consideration.

  15. H H Bull October 22, 2014 Reply

    Another con is that there are areas where the mail does not come to your home and you must go to the Post Office to get your mail, go to your P.O.Box.
    That is not door to door service. At this time I have paid more than once for UPS,
    only for it to go to the Post Office. The retailers neglect to tell you about
    SurePost, when upgrading your shipping.
    This may not be the norm, but it happens.

    • Nff January 5, 2015 Reply

      This happens frequently to me. I am at the point where I will not use a vendor that I know uses FedEx Smartpost. UPS is better — I am offered a way, for a fee, to upgrade to door to door dellivery. That is okay. When I have no way to leave a comment to tell my vendors that this service will cause HUGE delays and inconvience, I have to choose another vendor once I know they use this service. I only get to my post office, some 30 miles away, now and then.

      You need to tell your shoppers when you are choosing this option so they may upgrade to true door to door delivery before you ship.

  16. Jim Daley November 13, 2014 Reply

    One con you overlooked! When I order a product I want it delivered to my home address. The P.O. is too far away and I can’t carry medium or large packages.
    I care less that the company I bought from (thru Amazon) is saving a couple of bucks…it is at my expense! UPS offers a workaround for this…but it cost me $3 or more per package. FedEx doesn’t even offer the workaround.
    Screw the consumer, eh?

  17. Bill November 18, 2014 Reply

    I bought an item on eBay without understanding that FedEx SmartPost was much different that FedEx. Going from Phoenix, AZ to a suburb of Indianapolis will take 16 days! Never again. **way too long!! And generally, the longer a package is in transit, the more beat up it gets.

  18. Marie November 26, 2014 Reply

    We live in a rural area where there is no postal delivery.No matter what post office offering delivery, Fed EX chooses they do not deliver to us. Bottom line–when a company chooses this service, it will be at least 30 days before we get the package. We pick up our mail at the local post office, so packages can be dropped off there even though they do not deliver. If they would do that we would get the package in 2 – 3 days

  19. Stanley Krute December 4, 2014 Reply

    I have Amazon Prime. I hate Amazon’s random usage of UPS SurePost with a deep passion, as do most folks in rural America.

    I receive my mail at a PO Box. I receive UPS packages at a street address. There is no postal service to that street address.

    Amazon does not tell me when they’ll be using SurePost. Mostly they don’t, so I give them my street address, which UPS delivers to.

    When they surprise! use SurePost, my package gets returned to the sender by the PostOffice.

    I don’t hate much of anything. But I hate this use of UPS Surepost by Amazon.

    I am not alone: http://goo.gl/tAvYGl

    A pox on this usage.

  20. Brian December 5, 2014 Reply

    As both an online buyer and seller, I can say that there are NO REAL advantages to Smartpost. Sure, you may save a few bucks in upfront shipping costs, but any savings are illusory, as you will be alienating a lot more potential repeat customers, since in my experience, deliveries to anywhere outside a major metropolitan area will take at least one extra week, and potentially as much as an extra month. Customers get fooled into expecting good service because of the name “FedEx,” but eventually to come realize that they’ve been scammed by a cheapskate seller who puts a few pennies above customer satisfaction.

    If you really are greedy enough that you don’t want to spend the very reasonable charge for standard ground delivery through USPS or one of the major carriers, then at least use UPS Surepost.

    The consolidation model used by SmartPost is irretrievably broken and only serves to drive a wedge between sellers and customers. Sure, Amazon might be able to get away with SmartPost, since their volume is large enough that they can afford to alienate some customers, but for a smaller seller, using SmartPost is suicide.

  21. CJ December 14, 2014 Reply

    What this guy doesn’t tell you is how horrible this service is for the customer that is receiving the package.

    The “one day longer delivery” thing that this guy is talking about is not true. Surepost and Smartpost usually have packages being at least 3 days to a week late – sometimes longer. This is because the packages normally get dumped in a pile behind all the other “priority” packages that USPS has and the USPS get’s around to delivering them when they feel like it. Surepost and Smartpost take a back seat to the USPS services. Not to mention there is usually a ridiculous amount of backtracking and delay along the way (package to be delivered from AL to TN – package leaves AL goes to FL, sits in FL for 2 days, goes to GA then ends up in TN 4 days later where it sits at the USPS for 2 more days).

    Combine that with the confusing tracking number fiasco and your business will be having A LOT of customer complaints and calls. I finally stopped using it as a shipping option simply because a thread was started on a rather popular forum about my business and “slow shipping”, even though Surepost was to blame. I stopped using it as a option and explained on said forum what the issue was and those complaints disappeared.

    Yes, the savings can be nice but it’s not worth the hassle… especially if you’re on the receiving end of the package. Pay the extra three dollars and have the far superior and competent UPS deliver your package to your doorstep.

    DO NOT USE THIS SERVICE!

    • GR December 17, 2014 Reply

      Absolutely right. I have been waiting on a small package out of Ohio. It took two days to get to Florida via FedEx Smartpost. Not my choice of delivery. Was the choice of the sender. It sat in a smartpost facility in Orlando for over a week. Now it is sitting in my post office. Probably for two more days. By the way, Orlando is less than 20 miles from where I am. I wish the senders would specify that when they say it will be sent by FedEx that they will say if they are using smartpost. At least that way you have the option of using a different type of delivery.

  22. Christopher December 15, 2014 Reply

    Your article was concise and informative, thank you.

  23. Tina Colliton December 17, 2014 Reply

    I had ordered something to be delivered to another individual. The FedEx SmartPost process was used by the company I ordered from for standard shipping. FedEx was able to move it somewhat along rather quick, but when it arrived at the local USPS for final delivery – this is where the problem began. Initial delivery attempt – notice left – package too large for receptacle – that would of been obvious anyhow when FedEX left it at the USPS given the size of the package and generally the size of a standard mailbox, but that aside – a re-delivery of this package was requested to have it put at the front porch / door of addressee’s residence (*since this same post office did this in the past for other packages I had shipped to this same addressee); three days later, no indication of re-delivery being made on USPS website for tracking status. Called local post office, worker searched for package, not at post office. Called addressee to confirm they indeed did not receive it, they did not. In midst of all this, another person I know, orders from the same company to be shipped to same addressee using the same exact shipping method, and same local USPS used – package of theirs arrives to the front porch / door of the addressee’s residence, on the initial delivery attempt. Still waiting on outcome of my package – either it went to the Twilight Zone or something more ‘mysterious’ happened to it. What a complete waste of money, using these services, when things are not fulfilled as requested – and goodness knows, requesting it to be solved, would likely take another fifteen years, so why bother. Not using FedEx, USPS, or SmartPost EVER again. Thank goodness for emails – the packages will have to wait until I see people in person. Not wasting my time or energy with this process any further, especially when things are not handled consistently.

  24. Tom Vesely December 31, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the informative article and the many followup comments. I had the same problems as many stated here; PO Box mail delivery.

    A solution is to sign up for “Street Addressing” at your local post office. This program offered by USPS uses the address of the post office followed by “Unit (PO BOX number only)”. For example:

    John Smith (Your name)
    1000 Maple Street (Street address of local post office), Unit 100 (your box number)
    Anycity, USA

    This program is not well advertised by USPS but you can get the paperwork online and take it to the local post office. Just search “Street Adressing” to learn more about it.

    This is not super fast delivery, but UPS and FEDEX will deliver to the post office’s street address, where USPS will then deliver it to your PO Box.

    When ordering online, just use that address for everything. It WILL get to your PO Box………eventually! Try it, you might like it!

  25. Elaina January 5, 2015 Reply

    As a consumer, I won’t repeat business that uses smartpost or surepost. If you’re that cheap that you have to save a few bucks, then usually it will reflect in your customer service.

    Be honest, or just use USPS in the first place.

  26. EJ January 13, 2015 Reply

    If I’m looking to buy something and find out it will be shipped fedex smart post I will not order. It’s so slow and actually comes to my state to only be shipped straight through to another state then back. Very frustrating when your the buyer. I am waiting on something now that if I knew it was going fedex smart post I wouldn’t of ordered and bought same item drone someone else. This is a small package and coming from Texas to ohio and its day 9 now. I shipped something I sold overseas by this and one month later buyer received item. Never again I’ll pay more for shipping in this day and age it should not take more than 5 business days from Texas to ohio. Beware of these shipping options. I ship usps and love it and would rather sellers ship that way to me. Very disappointed once again with fedex.

  27. Namma January 19, 2015 Reply

    If a business uses SmartPost or SurePost WITHOUT INFORMING ME, causing delays in expected arrival of the shipment, then I will give them ONE CHANCE more providing I am allowed to add instruction to shipping to forbid the use of those two horrible shipping methods. If I cannot use notification then I will not complete the order – ever. If I forbid by notification and it’s still done the same end result – NEVER use that vendor again. Stop dumping on those who make it possible for you to stay in business. Without customers you have nothing.

  28. Jeff January 20, 2015 Reply

    ok so get this. The UPS package actually arrived at my home town in Myrtle Beach, SC. My UPS driver drives by my house every day as it is, so its not like he has to go out of his way to deliver my packages. So instead of just throwing my package on his truck today and delivering it, they are delivering it to the local post office instead so now i have to wait god knows when for the post office to deliver it. How is that cost effective to them at all? I dont get it. Seems to me they would have saved more money just throwing my package on the UPS truck and having them deliver it since my driver goes right past my road every day as it is. Apparently adding more legs and another shipper onto a delivery, and inconveniencing customers is somehow better.

  29. Janie Cowan January 28, 2015 Reply

    I encourage Amazon to use UPS ground, they are dependable. The package shipment via the local post office mail carrier was not. They said they attempted delivery, they did not, no notification slip of paper was left at the door nor in the mail box. I spent time on the computer and via the phone to find the location of my package, the excuse “I forgot” I had the package “I forgot” is not acceptable

  30. funderbunk February 3, 2015 Reply

    If you are a business that ships something to me via SurePost, you are a business that I won’t be ordering from again. The service is horrible.

    Consider the cost of lost customers when you evaluate the “savings” of using SurePost.

  31. Fred February 3, 2015 Reply

    How about this – let the CUSTOMER pick how they want the package shipped and via which carrier, and how much THEY want to pay for it to be shipped. In most cases the CUSTOMER knows which services are reliable and consistent in delivering to their address.

    Me, I’d pick USPS Priority every time. And YES, I’ll pay for it. My Postal carrier delivers around the same time each day, and most packages are securely deposited in my mailbox. With Fedex and UPS, they might come at 8AM, or noon, or not till 5PM. So I’ve either got to wait around ALL day, or they will just drop the package in my driveway, where it can be stolen. Unacceptable.

    And NO, you don’t have to take it to the Post Office. USPS will pick up any Priority Mail package directly from your office/warehouse, for free. And you can use the SAME type of online label preparation to get a high quality shipping label with postage – you can even print it on the same label stock you might use for labels for other carriers.

    Refuse to enter any “exclusive” deals with one shipping carrier, as this will cut you off from customers that can not or will not accept delivery from that carrier.

  32. Jim Fields February 4, 2015 Reply

    With smart post if you live in a rural area with no postal delivery you are out of luck . Most dont comprehend this including the shippers
    Been down this road with Walmart and Kohls both . usually only happens with clothing items

  33. Joe M. February 9, 2015 Reply

    I’m rural, USPS doesn’t deliver to my house. So I have to wait for the handoff, then for the carrier to give me a slip, so I can go to the post office and pick it up. Packages arriving Friday aren’t available until Monday. But UPS delivers right to m y door. For this reason I refuse to order from companies that use Surepost. If they advertise UPS I include a comment when purchasing that says UPS ground all the way, no surepost – if that’s not possible cancel the order. I found that necessary because many companies say UPS but fail to mention the pass-off part. I’ve slowly built a good sized list of companies I won’t buy from because they insist on Surepost.

  34. Kathleen Salmon February 14, 2015 Reply

    What about insurance? With two shippers involved which one is responsible for lost, damaged or stolen packages.
    I do not like SmartPost.

  35. Jonathan February 20, 2015 Reply

    SurePost is worthless. Anytime you include the USPS in shipping something is going to get screwed up. I have never had anything but problems from the USPS. Where I work is supposedly rural, the USPS worker will not deliver anything that wont fit in the mailbox, last couple of things that ended up going to USPS they marked return to sender unable to deliver, door to the business is 3 feet from the parking lot. USPS is too lazy and does not give a damn about customers

  36. Jack February 24, 2015 Reply

    UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost suck. They took over from DHL as the worst possible way to ship.

  37. Traci March 12, 2015 Reply

    I ordered 2 packages.. On March 1, 2015. 1st came from Oregon arrived FedEx on March 9th.. 2nd order came from Utah with UPS Smart post set delivery day is March 11th.. It is now March 12th and no package… I needed that package on the original delivery date which was March 7th… I have had so many issues with UPS.. After farther research I found out the handed the package off to the USPS. How in the world do you hand a $300 piece of equipment off for the mail 2 deliver.. Ugh Very disappointed with UPS..

  38. Dot March 20, 2015 Reply

    I ordered a Keyfob which I did not receive. tracking showed delivered/in/at mailbox. Mailman said he delivered it a 8 x 10 envelope in February Vendor told me to file a claim with post office Something doesn’t sound right HELP

  39. John March 23, 2015 Reply

    Doesn’t it make more sense to go USPS the whole way? There is no delay for dropping the parcels from UPS or FedEx to the Post Office, USPS prices (especially for light weight products) are as cheap if not cheaper than the competitors, and free packaging supplies for many Postal classes.

    • Christopher Bosdal March 23, 2015 Reply

      With all due respect, I can see that you actually work for the postal service John. Much has changed since I wrote this article, and the Postal service IS very competitive now especially on local LDC (the 4 closest zones to you). However, the 4 furthest zones the USPS is far more expensive even now with increased UPS / Fed Ex rates.

  40. Kyle Maxwell March 24, 2015 Reply

    I think this is the absolute worst system for the consumer – I ordered my item over two weeks ago and have complained to the company who sent the item – they gave me a tracking # and USPS still doesn’t have record of receiving it – I would have never ordered this item if I had known it would be this long. Unfortunately for the manufacturer I will never order from them again. The reality is that consumers order online for convenience – this is not convenient by any means and has done nothing but cause me to be angry with the merchant.

  41. Tom Eagan May 14, 2015 Reply

    SurePost and “SmartPost” are both MUCH worse, at my location, than USPS Priority Mail. I can send (I’m not a high-volume business shipper) a package from Washington State to New York via USPS and it will arrive in 3 days, almost always. I’m waiting for a package from Dallas (in Washington), which is scheduled to be delivered via “Smart” Post, and it’s well over a week until it’s scheduled to arrive. Ridiculous.

  42. Martin Linke May 27, 2015 Reply

    I will leave a post. FedEx Smartpost sucks, period. My package sent from an Ebay seller was shipped last week. FedEx Smaprt post says I might/maybe/ get my package sometime next week. Really , maybe 11 days from Florida to Chicago! Bad, sucks. I will never do business with anyone who ships via this crappy service. Screw them! I called this service and told them they suck. I aslo wrote the Ebay seller telling them the same thing. 2015 and we have to deal withthis crap. Really?

  43. Maria May 29, 2015 Reply

    Ups surepost is terrible. In my opinion the only pros are for the shipper. If you are someone who receives packages regularly and have had to deal with surepost you most likely feel hatred when you see your package is being shipped through that “service”.i believe that your article is incorrect in regards to the tracking. I have never been able to get any tracking from ups or usps once the package is handed off to the post office. It will say that it was delivered to local post office and then the next day it might say it’s delivered by local post office even though it hasn’t or it will say that delivery was attempted and note was left when no one knocked and there was no note.
    I would suggest companies considering using this service don’t as you will at best frustrate your customers and at worst lose them.

  44. Meg May 30, 2015 Reply

    I’m waiting on an Ebay purchase that is coming via Fedex smartpost from Central ohio to Philadelphia. The expected delivery date is TWELVE days away and I spent 15 dollars on shipping for a shoebox sized (3 lbs weight) item! Priority mail would have delivered it in 3 days, maybe for a slightly higher shipping charge (that I would have been very happy to pay). Frustrating, to say the least.

  45. Bob Bush June 4, 2015 Reply

    If the USPS will provide boxes and pick up the boxes, what is the purpose of including the middleman like FedEx or UPS? I’m waiting on a package that’s being delivered by FedEx SmartPost. The package sat in FedEx facilities for a total of 36 hours and traveled almost 300 miles in the opposite direction from where I live. Doesn’t make sense to use a shipper that takes longer to deliver.

  46. Valeria June 20, 2015 Reply

    Chris, I agree with the others that said the value of this is from the shipper’s point of view only, not from that of the recipient. I dropped off one such package as a return to a high-end clothing company on 6/10/2015 at the Merced, CA main post office–it was finally transferred to the shipping agent (FedEx) on 6/18/2015. This is nine (NINE) days of waiting at the post office before transfer to shipping agent FedEx, BEFORE actually beginning journey as a return. I had paid for the shipping in original order–I don’t call that good service. The zip code listed on my receipt is a takes it back to the FedEx shipper but the actual business I am returning it to is in the San Francisco area, figure three hours’ driving time from Merced. This is insane. I found out about this only because I kept going online, trying to figure out why my shipment had not made it back there yet (and I may not be able to get the exchange needed, because of this delay.) On the other hand, a package mailed with a return USPS priority mail tag to another SF-based business, mailed the afternoon of Thurs 6/17, has already arrived as of ll:20 the morning of Sat 6/19. That’s the shipper that is really concerned about my business. This FedEX/USPS situation is not consumer-courteous at all. Unless I can find another company-approved way for returns, it will definitely limit my purchases from the first company. Their return policy is no good, unless I can actually get the merchandise back to them in a timely manner.

  47. Susan July 2, 2015 Reply

    These new services have been a nightmare. We live in a rural area where there is no mail delivery. Everyone has a P.O. Box. FedEx and UPS will not take a package without a street address and our (dysfunctional) post office will not deliver things to our box with a street address. Consequently, I have had over a dozen packages returned to the sender. I spend a lot of time tracking and reordering packages. I wish these programs would go away.

  48. Tim Tray July 20, 2015 Reply

    I ordered a tee shirt on July 10th from Amazon and they shipped it via FedEx Smartpost and I have yet to receive it. I am leaving town early tomorrow morning and will not be back until the first week of September so go figure. I ordered four books for a friend in Illinois on July 14th and they shipped them FedEx smartpost. They’re not supposed to arrive until July 24th. The tracking information indicates a very substandard level of service to say the least! FedEx Smartpost doesn’t seem so smart to me!! I can’t believe FedEx would get themselves involved in such a terrible venture..

  49. Tim Tray July 20, 2015 Reply

    FedEx Smartpost is ATROCIOUS!!

  50. ajvasta July 22, 2015 Reply

    Just “ONE” day later for Smartpost? Ha, that’s a laugh. Try 3 or 5 days later, if you’re lucky. And tracking it will make your blood boil for how long it sits at one location, or how it takes a roundabout way to get to you.

  51. Chris S. July 23, 2015 Reply

    My package got here when it was supposed to. YAY! (was UPS Surepost). I don’t know if that was because I had it sent directly to work, but I am glad I did.

  52. Tina Krause July 23, 2015 Reply

    I received a shipment today where the Box outside looked like something had been placed on it and smashed it, and then the Box inside was smashed and not New looking either, and this is supposed to be a gift.

    Is this what is to be expected? That their is no care and comments when something is delivered damaged anymore?

  53. Ingrid August 5, 2015 Reply

    I believe your con list needs to be updated. In my city, the usps does not do any rural street delivery. What this means is that any package dropped there has to have a PO box listed. Most online ordering services that end up shipping USPS Surepost still require a street address and will not accept a po box when entering a shipping address. This creates an impossible delivery. I.e. vendor will not accept shipping address with po box. Vendor ships UPS Surepost. USPS dies not accept package without PO box. Package is returned to shipper. This has happened to every surepost package I’ve received. This ultimately creates processing costs for usps, for ups, and for the vendor…and often at tge ultimate cost of an entirely canceled order.

  54. R Mathena August 10, 2015 Reply

    The UPS/FedEx and USPS combined system is a failed system. It is the turtle of all delivery methods. Neither will assume responsibility for the package, frustrating the customer. I will refuse to buy from a merchant who uses this system.

  55. Don G August 12, 2015 Reply

    Worst service ever for your customer. Want lots if lost, incorrectly delivered packages? Want to anger and alienate all your customers? Then this service is for you.

    I realize this is an older article. But its so rediculously onedide I had to comment on it. UPS Sure Post loses a huge percentage of the packages shipped and refuses to track them past the handoff to USPS. USPS doesnt do any tracking and has no problem refusung service but to apartments and PO boxes but then giving your package to someone blocks away you dont know and not even keeping track of where they lefy it. Wirst shipping service ever! Never waste your reputation with your customers this way just so you csn save a few cents per package.

  56. tina August 15, 2015 Reply

    I ordered a shipment and it was being delivered via Smartpost. I am disappointed because no one knows where my package is. When FedEx handed it off to the post office, I was told by the Post Office that they are behind and can’t locate the shipment. They also told me it could take up to 14 more days until I receive my package. The Post Office does not care about delivering timely. I would not use this service again. SMARTPOST is not reliable.

  57. Vic August 22, 2015 Reply

    FedEx SmartPost is the most IGNORANT thing going!! A place I order from (one state, 2 hrs. from me, (VA.) Source is NC) used UPS–my packages ALWAYS got here next day, or second day (ground).

    With FedEx DUMBpost a REFRIGERATED package–or it started out that way, has gone from NC, to WV, to MD, BACK to NC! up to the the town next to me (10 miles)–THEN handed off to the USPS—total time 8 DAYS! That’s IF it comes tomorrow—and doesn’t have to run the USPS system of over 60 miles to sort. Egads–can an idea GET any stupider than this method?! I want to MEET the “GENIUS” behind this mess.

    However, It WILL Save money—for the shipper AND me! Since this has happened a few other times with other companies who use FedEx Post–if I know you are using FedEx Smartpost as a shipper—I will immediately CANCEL my order!!! NO MORE—there is NOTHING I want that is worth the hassel of this useless shipping system.

  58. Kyle August 27, 2015 Reply

    Thanks for the concise and yet complete summary.
    This let’s me know I have to add one day to the ETA provided by my vendor, and in my case USPS can get into my building but FedEx and UPS cannot so I can actually get my packages delivered to my home this way.

  59. Chris Martini August 29, 2015 Reply

    My package arrived on the day expected but to the wrong house! The people living at the wrong house brought it to us even though we do not know them! Our address is 1300 which indicates it is the beginning of the block not in the middle! This needs to be addressed!

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