Charlotte business owner gets surprise $1.3K bill after shipping a package using discounted label

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – A small business owner in Charlotte faced a shocking shipping nightmare last month.

Lucy McDermott, 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 have a yarn, fabric and sewing machine store in Charlotte,” McDermott said.

She sends the list again and again, but this time what happened was unexpected.

“I received a trunk show from a clothing company that had two quilts, some dresses, something heavy, nothing, nothing heavy,” she said. “It happened to two or three other stores before mine, I think, and I was sending it to another store.”

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She thought she had done everything right, before dropping off the box at her local UPS store to be shipped down the road to Gastonia.

“I measured it, weighed it, sent it on its way and I thought everything was fine,” she said. “A week later I received an e-mail saying, Hey. Your shipment was too heavy and bulky, and so we’ve charged you an extra $1321.00. I thought, well, it’s a mistake, right?”

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This is where McDermott says things got complicated.

“First I contacted UPS but they wouldn’t talk to me because I went through a secondary shipper called Pirate Ship for the postage,” she said.

She bought a shipping label at a discount through that company, Pirate Ship.

“So I contacted the pirate ship, filed a dispute, submitted all the documents, pictures, details of the contents, and so on,” she said. “And a week after that I got an email saying your dispute was denied and you can’t appeal it.”

She tried talking to someone at the company, but continued to get automated responses online.

The company website does not have a phone number.

“At this point, as you can imagine, I’m absolutely alive,” she said. “And after I contacted you. I also contacted my credit card company, and coincidentally, I heard back from Pirate Ship that UPS graciously waived the charge, but you need to be more careful in the future because they won’t do it again. “

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She says she never found out exactly what happened, so WBTV’s Carolyn Hicks reached out to the pirate ship to get answers.

A spokesperson sent a statement reading in part:

“Somehow, the machines saw the package as being larger than the carrier’s maximum limit, which at that time was subject to very expensive penalties.”

We’ve also reached out to UPS for comment. A spokesperson told WBTV:

“Meeting the needs of our customers is UPS’s first priority. UPS worked closely with the customer to resolve this issue and we are pleased to report that the issue has been resolved.”

Paul Bartholomew, VP of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont and Western North Carolina, says it’s a lesson we all need to learn before the holiday season.

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“Unfortunately those types of stories are not uncommon and not just with shipping companies, but really with any type of discount, by nature discount sellers can cut corners and you don’t get the same quality and customer experience,” he said.

To avoid such a situation, he recommends researching the company’s shipping, return, and refund policies.

“You know you need to decide if you want to take a gamble, pay full fare and take it to the counter and run them your labels, or take a discount and just hope for the best,” McDermott said. “I did it and it didn’t work very well.”

If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you have been overcharged for shipping, the BBB recommends contacting your bank and disputing the charges with the shipping company. Additionally, you should contact the Attorney General’s Office if you believe you are a victim of fraud.

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