July 26 2006 11:41 AM

This month�s Viewpoint column by William J. Augello not only is inaccurate but one-sided. I begin by noting he has singled out UPS for criticism over procedures that are standard throughout the industry. That is not an accident. Mr. Augello is actively involved in litigation against UPS on behalf of a client and has used these pages before to further his viewpoint without disclosing his litigation bias.
As for UPS� guaranteed services, customers throughout the world benefit every day from our outstanding reliability and our pledge to stand behind our delivery commitments. The vast majority of packages are delivered on time. For those customers whose packages are not timely delivered as promised, UPS backs its services. It�s that simple.
We also take a great deal of pride in the fact that it was UPS that introduced ground guar-antees in the first place, complementing our air guarantees with commercial ground guarantees. We recently went further by extending the ground guarantee to all residential addresses in the 48 contiguous states.
As with any guarantee, procedures must be in place to verify the legitimacy and accuracy of claims requesting payments under that guarantee. UPS, like any other fiscally responsible business, has designed guidelines to establish reasonable methods to substantiate requests for guaranteed service refunds. In addition to helping UPS maintain reliable and accurate procedures for our customers to request refunds, the provision referenced in Mr. Augello�s article is also intended to achieve other important goals as well. For instance, it provides a protocol to preserve and protect customer and UPS confidential business information and systems. In addition, it ensures our customers receive accurate information about UPS� services and performance. UPS� overall goal is maintaining its outstanding relationships with its customers.
UPS has received numerous claims for service refunds made by third parties that were not well founded and, in fact, were inaccurate, incomplete and inappropriate. Customers following the procedures that UPS has designed would not have made many of these inaccurate requests. It is not our intent to avoid paying legitimate and accurate requests for service refunds submitted by our customers.
UPS has invested billions of dollars to build one of the world�s most advanced and robust technology infrastructures with the intent to provide technology solutions for our customers that add value to our services and add dollars to our customers� bottom lines. These systems are designed for our customers only, not every person who may want to tap into them for any reason. The position asserted by Mr. Augello is tantamount to hitching a free ride for delivery on our planes or trucks. We would not permit, nor would any sensible business person permit, third parties to just ride along without charge on the back of huge investments made in planes or trucks or, in this case, information technology systems.
Our technology also is designed to establish added protection for the proprietary information of UPS and its customers. In essence, it is our view that customer information should not be accessed by anyone other than our customers or by UPS as set forth in our privacy policy. Additionally, UPS � and other carriers for that matter � must protect the propriety of the information that is uniquely important to their businesses, particularly rates and other transportation-specific information. We rightfully take precautions to protect the confidentiality of this information, and the provision referenced by Mr. Augello is simply one of these precautions.
UPS� approach to guarantees is fair and reasonable. Our overarching goal is to provide outstanding service to our customers and foster excellent relationships with them. Part of that process is UPS� legitimate business need to validate those service claims that are presented to us; protect the confidentiality of customer and UPS information; protect our investment in our information technology assets; and ensure the UPS� services and performance are accurately represented. UPS invites any customer with a concern about our guaranteed refund policy to call an account representative, and we�ll be glad to address it.
Rick Campana is vice president of Marketing for UPS. For more information, please visitwww.ups.com.