Why We Don't Ship UPS

We'd like to be able to offer you the choice between the U.S. Postal Service and UPS. We really would. So why don't we?

Cost

Most of our products have a shipping weight of four pounds (1.8kg) or less. Thus, in most cases U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail is less expensive, and we pass that cost savings on to you.

Speed

Priority Mail is delivered anywhere in the United States within two or three days. UPS says "one to five days". And the Postal Service delivers on Saturdays, too.

Accuracy

The rates provided by UPS's automated rate request system cannot be relied on. UPS does not validate U.S. or Canadian postal codes properly, so it will provide rate quotes for postal codes that do not exist!
What's ValidWhat UPS Accepts
U.S. ZIP Code5 digits
5 digits - 4 digits
9 digits
4 or more digits
5-digit number that is not a valid ZIP code
Examples: 46228, 46228-2808, 462282808 Examples: 1111, 99999, 12345678901234567890
Canadian Postal Code letter, digit, letter, space, digit, letter, digit letter, digit, letter, multiple letters, digits, or spaces in any order
Example:
L0L 2E0
Example:
A0BC8 THIS IS BROKEN

Why this is bad

UPS software accepts "4606" as a valid ZIP code, assumes that the missing digit belongs at the end (e.g. 46066), and returns a rate quote based on that assumption -- which may or may not be correct. Which of these codes did the customer intend to enter, and what's the correct rate?
46066 -  $9.78
46606 -  $9.78
44606 - $12.87
04606 - $13.83

Apparently UPS considers it acceptable for the billed rate to be more than forty percent higher than the quoted rate.

We don't.

Outrageous fees

UPS charges outrageous customs brokerage fees for packages shipped to Canada from the United States. For most of our products, the UPS brokerage fee is at least 15% of the cost of the item, and may be much higher. For example, on a PS21 bobbin winder costing just over C$100, UPS charges a brokerage fee of C$29!

Canada Post charges a flat rate of C$5.

Ease of use

The U.S. Postal Service makes it very easy to do business with them on-line, both for us and for you. UPS is quite a different story.
  • UPS doesn't permit us to display their rates on the same web page as other carriers' rates. Because UPS won't let us have a simple drop-down list that offers Priority Mail, Parcel Post, and UPS Ground in the same menu, we'd have to put UPS rates on a completely separate page from U.S. Postal Service rates. That would make the site harder for you to use, and harder for us to build and maintain. We asked them to waive this requirement. They ignored us.

    The U.S. Postal Service has no such restrictions.

  • UPS requires any web application which uses their "Rates and Services Tool" to display the UPS logo — as long as we comply with a long and detailed list of conditions they impose for displaying it (including minimum whitespace border around it, and very specific trademark language which must be reproduced exactly).

    The U.S. Postal Service doesn't require us to display their logo.

  • UPS requires us to include "a prominent reproduction of UPS's copyright and proprietary notices in a form and format specified by UPS." We don't have room on a pop-up rate calculator to display all that legalese. We'd be happy to link to it at their web site, but they won't let us do that.

    Again, the U.S. Postal Service has no such requirement.